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Outgoing Staff Advisor to the Regents Ann Jeffrey on a ‘life-changing opportunity’

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350_Anne Jeffrey

Ann Jeffrey, outgoing staff advisor to the Regents and UC Berkeley assistant vice chancellor and chief of staff, entered her role without an agenda. “It puts you in listening mode. You pay attention to what people care about, and figure out where you can jump in and make a difference.”

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As Jeffrey concludes her two-year term, she shares some of what she’s learned as one of UC’s first-ever remote staff advisors to the Regents, and why you should consider applying by Friday, April 9.

The staff advisor role is usually very hands-on, with the opportunity to visit locations and meet face-to-face with staff across the system. All of that changed this year. Tell us a little about your experiences in this role before and during the pandemic.

This was a very unusual term!

Like all staff advisors, I spent my first year learning everything I could. I was fortunate to be able to work with, and learn from, Staff Advisor Kate Klimow.

Right before March Regents, everything changed. It was disappointing to lose the opportunity to meet with staff members in person, and to miss out on those informal connections with people you run into along the way.

Fortunately, though, virtual meetings have proven to be a very meaningful way to interact with the Regents. Since they haven’t had their usual busy travel schedules, Lucy and I have had the opportunity to meet with more members of the current board than we would have otherwise. Even virtual campus visits have their advantages – we’ve been thrilled at how many people have been able to participate and feel that we’ve had the opportunity to hear from a wide and diverse group of UC employees.

With all of the issues that have arisen during the last two years, where do you think you’ve been able to make a difference?

I am very grateful to have been one of many, many people continuing the years-long work of bringing the Pay for Family Care and Bonding Program to UC. It’s exciting to be part of something that will make a difference for so many UC employees.

Our responsibility to support faculty and staff who care for children and other family members really is an issue of the past, the present and the future. The pandemic has only made its importance more clear, and it’s central to the issues of equity and inclusion we’ll need to address post-pandemic. 

Looking forward, the next staff advisor will have the opportunity to be part of the conversation about what our workplaces will look like in the future. This experience has changed the way we work, and we need to learn from it.

What impact has the staff advisor experience had on how you see UC?

Everywhere I look, at every level, I have been so impressed by the dedication of the people who work for UC. Starting with the Regents — I’ve seen how much they care, and how much time and effort they invest into understanding and addressing the complex issues that come before them.

And then of course there’s our systemwide university community. Participating in the Regents meetings and talking to people one-on-one has given me a very real understanding of the breadth of what we do, and the impact of UC’s contributions to both the State of California and the world. I’m more grateful than ever to be a part of this university.

What’s next for you? How will you continue your involvement now that this chapter is coming to a close?

I’m keeping an open mind! But I’m looking forward to taking the perspective I’ve gained in this role and bringing it to the important work that lays ahead for UC.

I’m also excited to join the community of former Staff Advisors to the Regents. I’ve received so much support from this amazing group of people, and I can’t wait to do whatever I can to support future staff advisors. 

What advice would you give someone who’s thinking about applying to be a staff advisor?

Take the leap and apply. The application process will teach you more about yourself and about what’s possible at UC. And if you’re selected, it’s a life-changing opportunity.

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