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Takiyah Ray, executive assistant in the office of diversity initiatives, has been a Rebel since 2008. She recently was named the third-place recipient of the President’s Classified Employee of the Year award.
Red is my favorite color. Seriously, it’s just the idea of helping our young people here in Southern Nevada. I love the environment — our buildings and grounds —and the atmosphere here. It is never dull at UNLV.
That includes scheduling meetings, handling all of our bookkeeping aspects, paying bills, answering the phone, handling the website, doing event and program planning and coordination, doing community outreach, doing grant research, and supporting all the others. Also, making coffee. We don’t function in this office without coffee and since I usually am the first person in, I do it.
Patty Rice. Patty (the finance and operations manager in the president’s office) taught me how to navigate on campus — the different policies and procedures, where to go to find information on the website, who I needed to talk to, which systems I needed to be able to access, and even which space to park in at FDH to get shade in the afternoon.
Two printers because in order to stay on top of my job I do a lot of multitasking. I may be printing on one and scanning on the other. One went out last week and it was like, “Someone is going with me to Office Max to buy one because I can’t do this job and be efficient without them.”
My first job ever was as a drive-through attendant at a Jack in the Box in Monterey, Calif., when I was 16. That was a very intense learning experience. It taught me how to work and still stay focused on my education. I learned how to prioritize and how to manage my time. I also learned a lot about customer service. It was an interesting time to work at Jack in the Box. Do you remember the kangaroo meat scandal? People stayed away for a long time.
That when I was a kid I wanted to be an auto mechanic. I wanted to open an all-female repair shop where customers could either have us do the repairs or rent a bay from us and do the repairs themselves using our tools. I thought many women would be more comfortable dealing with female mechanics. I actually still enjoy the idea.
In March I earned a nonprofit management certificate through Educational Outreach.
My absolute favorite is The Sound of Music. I have seen it 500 times. That’s closely followed by The Color Purple, which I have watched 485 times. In The Sound of Music I love the storyline of a woman searching for her place and trying to find her purpose in life and then finding it in the most unexpected place. Through her own journey of discovery, Maria was able to affect a positive change for (Captain Von Trapp) and his kids. That is inspirational to me. When I was 9 and my father was in the Army, stationed at Darmstadt (Germany), we took a vacation to Austria and were able to visit some of the filming locations. That was such a great trip.
Debbie Hart, executive assistant to the vice president for diversity initiatives & government affairs
“(Takiyah’s) attention to detail is unmatched and her willingness to go far beyond the call of duty is always apparent. She comes in early and stays late to meet with students, faculty and staff on behalf of ODI (the office of diversity initiatives) and/or the Classified Staff Council. Each spring Takiyah’s dedication to our students is displayed with the UNLV students of color graduation celebrations. While these celebrations are not tied to ODI, Takiyah is cognizant of their importance to the students and she does whatever is necessary to ensure their success.
“Takiyah is a self‐starter who is highly motivated, proactive and hardworking. With the location of her office near the elevator, she is the first person that people see when exiting the elevator and as such, she receives countless requests for information and directions for the other four departments located on the floor. If someone comes to her with a problem, she always does her best to provide them with the information they seek and point them in the right direction, while maintaining a constant smile.
“She even utilized her connections made through the UNLV Nonprofit Management Program to connect Three Square food bank with the UNLV Cares Food Pantry. Now the UNLV Cares Food Pantry has a mutually beneficial relationship with Three Square which has enabled the pantry to sustain and increase its capacity to serve the UNLV Rebel community during these tough economic times.”