2-ai-nicolebourbon-320x400Name: Nicole Bourbon

Title: Project Coordinator and Executive Assistant to the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Advancement Operations; Vice Chair of Staff Assembly

Q: How long have you worked at UCI and what made you interested in coming to the campus?
A: I’ve worked at UCI for close to three years. I started in April of 2014. At the time I was working for a corporation that was acquired by an overseas competitor. It was a great time for me to return to higher education, which is truly my passion. I also am an alum, so coming back as a staff member has been a rewarding way to experience and give back to my Anteater community.

Q: Can you share a bit about what you do in your current job?
A: When I first arrived at UCI, my job was to support the AVC of Advancement Operations who wasn’t hired yet. I spent six months working closely with the teams in our advancement operations unit: special events, donor relations, IT, data management and prospect development. In this capacity, I supported the directors with team projects and process improvements. When my boss was hired, I was able to focus on supporting her in her leadership role, and it evolved into higher level project management of solutions designed to support UCI’s fundraising priorities. It became a great opportunity to learn directly under senior leadership at the university. On any given day I could be proofreading research profiles, learning functionality in new software platforms, filtering incoming requests to the AVC, managing timelines for special requests and projects, or brainstorming with team members. The work we do is in support of securing funding for UCI’s exciting initiatives and plans for growth.

Q: What is the best part about working at UCI?
A: My favorite part about working at UCI is working for a leader who genuinely loves my alma mater. I know that the work we do is contributing to UCI’s forward progress as a notable institution. I also enjoy being in the higher education environment because it exposes me more often to events, lectures and workshops which highlight friends and partners of UCI and reminds me of the impact of universities on the global community. I also have found my time with Staff Assembly to be the most inspiring, because I am surrounded by peers and colleagues who have a strong affinity and drive for making UCI the place to be.

Q: How did you get involved in Staff Assembly?
A: At previous institutions where I worked, I was able to incorporate my passion for volunteerism and social justice through campus committees and days of service. When I arrived at UCI, I started to research the volunteer opportunities on campus and reached out to Staff Assembly’s community relations committee. I moved into co-chairing the education and enrichment committee. This transition helped me hone my leadership and programming skills by allowing me to be creative and develop workshops and a series of talks designed to support professional development for UCI staff. I’m now in the vice chair role, where I can support the council’s core initiatives and learn directly from our chair and past chairs. I truly enjoy being an ambassador for Staff Assembly, and feel that my involvement in this organization made my experience with UCI that much better.

Q: Do you have any advice for new Anteater employees to be successful/make the most of their time at UCI?
A: I would definitely suggest Staff Assembly for any employees seeking ways to develop leadership skills and to contribute to the positive culture here at UCI. There are many other organizations available for employees to become involved, including organizations that advocate for underrepresented groups and educate represented groups on becoming allies. These organizations are a great way to meet new people and develop connections on campus.

Q: What do you do in your free time when you’re not busy with Staff Assembly projects?
A: In my free time, I study. I’m at the tail end of my graduate program. So after work, it’s school. I also am empty nesting with my son in college in New York, so I do have more “me” time. Following failed attempts to Facetime with my son, I shop until I drop, tan by the pool on sunny days, enjoy happy hours with colleagues, brunches with friends, and find new hobbies like yoga and Zumba! I also love to travel, so I spend a lot of time researching new cities and figuring out how to make a dollar out of 15 cents!