Joanne McCully

Administrative Assistant, Recreation and Wellness Center, SDES 2015 Womens History Month

What is your current job title and responsibilities?
My current job title is Administrative Assistant to the Recreation and Wellness Center Director in the division of SDES.  I assist the director with important operational tasks such as: coordinating his calendar, assisting with budget, special events, search committees, UCF policies and procedures, preparing and processing new USPS & A&P hires and serve as the HR Liaison.  I also serve on many UCF/SDES search committees and other UCF/SDES/RWC committees as well as the Pegasus Parent Ambassador and a mentor for International Studies.  I am serving my last year of a two year term as the President for Staff Council. 

What is your history at UCF and before UCF?
I started working at UCF in May of 1986 in the Music Department as a Secretary Specialist.  After 2 ½ years, I took a promoted at what was then called Recreational Services.  I reported to the Director and was an office manager for one year and was promoted to the Administrative Assistant.  From 1989 – 2002 my responsibilities included HR, payroll, budget, and supervising student office staff.  In addition to my position, I offered to take on additional tasks.  I coordinated and supervised all facets of the aerobic program, certifications programs, and special events and eventually supervised the weight room.  I hired, trained and supervised the staff in the aerobic and weight room and wrote the first maintenance policy for the facility. I also implemented a personal training program for students.   I purchased equipment for the weight room, software and trained office staff on the computer.  Lastly, I started an event called RecToberFest in which I coordinated all the logistics of the program.  That program is still being held today and is now called RecFest.

After 2002, a SR. Secretary was added that reported to me and several student office staff.  I facilitated internal and external memberships, established a membership distribution list and coordinated several Master Classes such as: dance classes, two spin classes instructed by former WESH-TV News Anchor and Central Florida Celebrity, Wendy Chioji, and aqua aerobics.

What is your favorite UCF memory?
I think is the most memorable for me, would be participating in the homecoming parade on at least three occasions.  The most memorable year for me was when my son was very young. He, my husband and I rode on the Staff Council float dressed as knights and a maiden.  We rented our costumes from a theatre downtown just for the event and I must say we looked great! The parade was held downtown at that time and many of the community members came out to watch.  I never felt more proud to be a UCF Knight.  We threw out candy to the kids, had a sword fight, smiled and waved to the crowd.  My son had so much fun.  Who knew then that years later my son would go on to become a proud UCF Knight.

If you could change one thing at UCF, what would it be? ($ and time no object)
I would like to see free tuition for our children to attend UCF, especially for staff who have put in at least 10 years.

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with your colleagues?
Not to get too comfortable in your place of business no matter how much you might love it.  Move around within the campus and learn and diversify your resume.  This advice was given to me when I found it difficult to go to that next level.  However, I did diversify my resume, served on many committees, went to conferences and every workshop I could.  Even though I stayed in one area a long time, I wore many hats and was never bored.  Never stop learning, you can never know too much!

If UCF was going to name something in your honor, what would you like it to be and why?
I suppose it would have to be the program that I initially started at the RWC called – RecToberFest.  It was an idea that I had and was told it would not work, but that I could go ahead and give it a try.  It was so successful and everyone had so much fun, that the Director did it the following year and now, 26 years later, it still continues.   It proves that you should never give up on an idea/goal or let someone tell you it will not work, because you just never know the outcome or impact it might have.

If you could have lunch with anyone at UCF (who you do not normally eat lunch with), who would you choose and why?
I would love to have lunch with Mrs. Martha Hitt because I have such respect and love for her.  From the very first time we met until now, she has been such a sweet and kind lady who treats everyone with the utmost respect regardless of their title.  In the more than 21 years she has been part of the UCF Family and I have never heard an unkind word about her. She is my favorite First Lady for UCF.

Who at UCF would you like to thank for your success?
I would love to thank my first supervisor at the Recreation and Wellness Center, Mr. Loren Knutson, Director.  He was the first boss that noticed the drive in me and gave me the flexible, support and confidence to go beyond my job description and allow me to try new ideas, programs and additional responsibilities.  He installed in me the attitude that you should never stop learning and I have been doing just that all through my career at UCF.

Name and describe a teacher or researcher from your past who truly inspired you and why.
There have been two.  Her name escapes me now, but it was a Comp I class at UCF, very early on in my degree.  She was so caring and wanted to help everyone get through the class.  She would always try to work around your schedule to meet with you and taught in such a way that encouraged you to write like you never thought you could.  When I found out mid-way through the class that I was pregnant and had to be off my feet until I delivered, I thought that I had to drop the class.   She would not let me drop the class and she worked with me and allowed me to write my papers from home. Writing about my feelings and fears of the possibility of losing my baby was what got me through a rough time.  Those papers turned out to be some of my best writing. The other was an Art Teacher whose inspiration, love and passion for his craft brought out my creative side so much that I wanted to be an artist.  He taught me the techniques to paint and sculpture and I used those techniques to give me the confidence that I could be an artist one day.  Art helped me express my feeling and thoughts and helped me get passed challenging times.

What undergraduate or graduate class/program/experience inspired you the most and why?
I loved taking all the philosophy classes.  It allowed me to interact with the students and professors on an intellectual level to ask questions and see other perspectives. 

What is your favorite restaurant or food?
My favorite Restaurant is Seasons 52 and my favorite food is lasagna.

What is your favorite movie, book or music?
I would say the Sound of Music.  I saw the movie in New York and it was the first time I ever saw a movie on a huge screen.  The screen was so big, I felt like I was in every scene.

What is your favorite vacation destination?
I have been to Hawaii twice and at this time it is my favorite destination, but my goal is to someday travel to Australia, Ireland, Alaska, Italy, and England. 


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