Stacey Smith says she can trace her dedication to customer service back to her high-school job working as a cashier and shelf-stocker at a Bruno’s grocery store.
“You had to learn really quick that ‘the customer is always right’ while staying calm and professional. You couldn’t let them get to you, and I have carried that with me through all of my jobs,” she said.
In her role as program administrator in the School of Nursing’s Office of Student Success, that customer service has earned her the respect of her colleagues, who say she always strives to help those around her, no questions asked, and also the title of UAB’s Employee of the Month for February 2019.
“I’ve heard on more than one occasion from various UAB employees that ‘every office needs a Stacey.’”
“For me, UAB has become a place where we help people to find purpose and vision for their life,” said John Updegraff, director of student success in the school. “Countless times I have seen her add to this purpose and vision by spending extra time with students to help them solve their problems and with officemates, dropping everything she is doing to assist with problems that arise.”
Smith has worked at UAB for 17 years, starting in the School of Health Professions and moving to roles in the Department of Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences and SON. In her current role, she supports the SON’s director of admissions and program managers and processes the majority of applications.
“Her knowledge of several areas of SON and UAB as a whole serve her very well in her work with students,” said Kevin Jerrolds, SON registrar. “I’ve heard on more than one occasion from various UAB employees that ‘every office needs a Stacey.’”
“On many occasions, my colleagues tell me I should have been an FBI investigator. I like to get to the bottom of things and not leave things unresolved.”
Managing the application processes for all SON programs, from the undergraduate to doctoral level, is detail-oriented work. Smith has been instrumental in creating a system for organizing applications, and her colleagues say that her troubleshooting abilities are outstanding. This past year, when the school began using its new application system, TargetXPlus, Smith played a crucial role in bridging the gap between the existing software and the new system. She says she learned to overcome challenges while working in the nurse anesthesia program as it transitioned from the School of Health Professions to SON, because she had to be open to change while adjusting processes and implementing new procedures.
“Experiencing that transition helped me to become a well-rounded person,” she said.
One of Smith’s biggest talents, Jerrolds says, is that she never presents a new problem without offering an idea on how to solve it. Smith says her secret is that she loves to brainstorm research and investigate.
“On many occasions, my colleagues tell me I should have been an FBI investigator,” she said. “I like to get to the bottom of things and not leave things unresolved.”
Each month, UAB recognizes an outstanding employee for their dedication, hard work and contributions to the university’s success. If you know of a great employee, you can learn how to nominate them for this recognition at uab.edu/humanresources.
Smith cites her faith in helping her stay calm and professional while also being counted on as dependable, dedicated and helpful; she says she prays to God when she feels overwhelmed, and keeps Bible verses visible at her desk, which bring her comfort and strength throughout the day, she added.
She also strives to remember she’s making a difference in someone’s life, even if she is doing something as simple as putting a transcript in a file.“When someone is coming to this university, it’s life-changing,” Smith said. “This is their future, and you can affect what direction they choose. In everyday life, we need to remember what you do or say can affect anyone – your friends, family and co-workers. You can make a difference in a person’s life by simply smiling as you walk by and say hello.”