Monday, August 27, 2012

Rebecca Hefti considers working at UNC Charlotte to be an extraordinary experience.

“The diversity of the University is so great. This is such an interesting place to work, because I get to meet new people from all over. There is this mixture of cultures and backgrounds that is so awesome, and I am learning so much from the experience,” said Hefti, office manager in the Department of Educational Leadership in the College of Education.

Hefti, who has been in her current role since January, joined the University in October 2008 after accepting an administrative position with the Facilities Management Department. She noted the importance of that department to campus. “These are the people working 24 hours a day behind the scenes – just think how our University would operate without them. Sometimes I feel they get overlooked.”

Transferring to an academic department required a bit of a learning curve for Hefti, primarily because of the differences between the areas, especially the increased contact with students. Her goal is to do the utmost to meet the needs of the department’s faculty and students.

“We work as a team to handle all the day-to-day operations,” said Hefti. “Joann Zhang is just fabulous. What goes on around here is an effort that involves us both working together. We handle the budgeting, supervise student workers, support 25 faculty members and assist our students as we take care of all the usual office tasks, such as filing, making copies or answering phones.”

A native of Colorado, Hefti became enamored with North Carolina during a brief work assignment to the state. As a trainer with Carraba’s Italian Grill, she spent time in Matthews during fall 1996 as the chain opened a new location.

“I stepped off the plane and looked around, and it was gorgeous with the colors of the trees and the temperature, and I said out loud ‘I’m going to live here one day,’” said Hefti. A couple of years later, she and husband Ryan visited the Morganton area, which sealed the deal. They returned to Colorado, gave notice, packed up and moved across country to Hickory.

In hindsight it seems crazy, she said. But it is a decision they don’t regret. Two years later, they bought their first home in Newton, and after a few years, Hefti said her husband decided to pursue a doctorate in nanoscale science at UNC Charlotte. He encouraged her to apply for jobs at the University.

“For six months, every day I applied for every single job at the University, but eventually I got that one phone call from David Smith,” Hefti stated.

The couple now resides in the University City area. A self-described gourmand, Hefti enjoys cooking and baking. Vacations revolve around exploring restaurants, which she researches on various websites, such as Yelp or Urban Spoon. She is an avid digital scrap-booker, too. “Taking photos is easier with a digital camera. I have a software program that I use to create scrapbook pages. There are websites that I can upload the pages to show family and friends. It’s a great way to share memories.”