Name: Michele Berendsen
Title: Communications director, the Lied Center
What that means: Michele Berendsen serves as the communications director for the Lied Center. In that role, she is responsible for the oversight of marketing and promotional communications, such as website and social media posts, performance e-mail blasts, sending and collating information for online post-performance surveys, gathering and preparing informational copy for performance programs, writing advertising scripts for TV/radio and copywriting for the season promotional brochure.
Notable: Berendsen’s motto is “let’s get it done,” and she does. She has a strong work ethic and a dedication to complete consistently high-quality job assignments on deadline. Berendsen is adaptable and has the ability to be flexible when changes arise. For example, beginning last season, the Lied Series programs began having multiple performance inserts in the books, rather than just one. Because Berendsen compiles information for the programs, this change necessitated a shift in the production timeline for each book. Berendsen did a great job of providing feedback about changes to the production schedule, and adjusted to the new timelines.
Berendsen works closely with other Lied Center staff, including a student marketing assistant who she oversees, to promote Lied Series events on campus and in the community. She particularly enjoys the opportunity to interact with students and other patrons while staffing the Lied’s promotional information table at shows, information fairs and events on campus. Berendsen interacts in a highly professional, yet approachable manner with her student assistants. She is not only a supervisor but a teacher and mentor to them.
Berendsen is always willing to go out of her way to assist other staff members and will often volunteer to take on extra tasks or responsibilities. She is a team player who works well with all staff to further institutional goals. She consistently goes above and beyond what is required of her in her regular job duties to help make the Lied Center the special place it is for patrons and visitors.
Name: Mason Powell
Title: IT technology coordinator
What that means: Mason Powell leads a team that is on the front line of customer outreach and engagement. His team interacts with students, faculty and staff to understand their needs and connect them with the solutions and services they need to be successful.
Powell has a singular focus on serving others. Whether it is helping a new student connect to Jayhawk WiFi, helping a faculty member find the right solution for a multimedia project or helping an IT colleague navigate a tough technical challenge, Powell enthusiastically embraces the opportunity to assist.
Notable: Powell brings personal, focused attention to his encounters with customers, and it is clear that he is deeply invested in helping them succeed. His calm, sincere demeanor sets people at ease. When interacting with customers, he listens more than he talks and seeks to fully understand their needs. He will share initial insights but also commits to following up with more thorough and thoughtful information when more research is needed.
Powell and his team over the past three years have expanded KU IT’s role each summer at student orientation. Through his efforts and leadership, they have achieved a 500 percent increase in the number of students they talked with and helped at KU Orientation this summer compared with 2013. This summer, they talked with more than 3,040 students and helped them configure their mobile devices for wireless and email.
Powell also led his team in outreach efforts to international students. At the beginning of each semester, he and his team will hold help sessions on campus specifically tailored to the needs of international students relying on mobile technology. Powell and his team answer questions, provide support and ensure that these students know how to access IT help throughout the year.