Ada Mailhot is a two-time Employee of the Month winner with a UAB career that spans 26 years. She has spent the past 15 years as director of administration and fiscal affairs in the School of Public Health, for which she has managed personnel and grants, among other duties.

Ada Mailhot is firm in her belief that teamwork and open communication are the keys to running a productive office.

Open communication helps people avoid conflicts – and gives everyone in the group a voice, she says.

“We have open communication about everything we do,” says Mailhot, director of administration and fiscal affairs in the School of Public Health. “I tell my group we need to be open and willing to listen to each other. I believe communication is everything.”

Mailhot’s office runs efficiently, and she sets the example. Her resourcefulness fosters a sense of well-being through effective stewardship of the school’s funds and through innovative and responsible management of personnel and finances. Those are the qualities that make her December’s Employee of the Month.

This isn’t the first time Mailhot has received the honor. She earned Employee of the Month honors in July 1997, too.

“I was very surprised 10 years ago, and I was again this time,” Mailhot says. “But this belongs to the people I work with. We do everything like a team. Sarah Brooks, Kay Peterson, Daphne McMurrey, Sabrina Hagen and Linda Bridges are outstanding. “This is a result of their work. It’s not mine. What they do makes this school what it is.”

Finding a home

Mailhot, a Honduras native, moved to Birmingham in the early 1970s with a couple of goals in mind.

Completing her undergraduate studies in accounting at UAB was one; finding a place to call home was another. She succeeded on both counts, earning two master’s degrees and enjoying a UAB career that is now in its 26th year.

“I’ve been to many places, but I have a special love for Birmingham,” Mailhot says. “People from Birmingham are very kind, very helpful. And the UAB community is a special place. Whenever you’re looking for help there’s always someone that can give you an answer.”

Mailhot has spent the past 15 years in her position in the School of Public Health, for which she has managed personnel and grants, among other duties. Co-workers say Mailhot always is generous with her time and patience.

“I work late at night sometimes, and I see her here helping investigators on last-minute grant preparations and budget issues,” says Al Bartolucci, Ph.D., professor of biostatistics. “She never says no to someone’s call for help. She has helped me on countless number of occasions with my grants and fiscal challenges.”

Dedicated, dependable

John E Ehiri, Ph.D., hasn’t worked with Mailhot as long as Bartolucci. He came to UAB from the Liverpool School of Public Health in England in 2002 and quickly found a valuable resource – and extraordinary person – in Mailhot.

“Ada played a huge role in orienting me to UAB and our school – to the academic culture of this country and to the administrative systems of UAB,” Ehiri says.

“I found that she was a dedicated, selfless and dependable employee who always is willing to sacrifice her time and skills to facilitate the work of others.”

Mailhot says she is privileged to work among some of the best and brightest faculty in the School of Public Health.

“I’m very proud of our faculty and staff,” she says.

“Our faculty are extremely productive. The number of grants they bring in is staggering. They are excellent teachers, and they care about the students. Our staff is very dedicated and committed to the success of the school.

“It makes you proud to work here.”