California State University, Long Beach
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Anderson Selected As EOM

Published: October 17, 2016

image of CSULB President Jane Close Conoley, Shonnick Anderson and a few friends.
PHOTO BY SEAN DUFRENE
CSULB President Jane Close Conoley and Shonnick Anderson (c), along with a few friends.

Administration and Finance’s Shonnick Anderson was recognized recently by her coworkers as Employee of the Month. Anderson was honored at a special ceremony held near the University Student Union that saw Friendship Walk renamed Shonnick Anderson Lane for the month.

“I feel honored to be recognized,” said Anderson, who joined the university as an intermittent emergency hire in Parking and Transportation Services in 2008 before moving into a customer relations specialist role in Parking and Transportation and the Department of Event Services the following year.

CSULB President Jane Close Conoley praised Anderson for her work ethic. “Shonnick is noted by her co-workers as always being very helpful,” she said. “If she doesn’t know the answer, she will find someone who does. She always has a positive attitude towards all of her clients and goes the extra mile every day to help those around her. She is a pleasure to work with.”

Anderson believes one reason for her distinction is her work ethic and attitude. As special Events Liaison, her responsibilities include helping student, departmental and outside organizations plan special events on campus such as Homecoming. “It is up to me to organize the logistics to make sure the client’s ideas and plans can be implemented on the day of the event,” she said. “Our busiest time of year is the fall semester and that is when time management is one of my biggest challenges because so many events are happening on campus at the same time.

“October is one of the months that I am really engaged in my work because I am on the committee for Living Well at the Beach, Health and Safety Week,” she added. “This is a weeklong event that brings awareness to students, staff and faculty of the health and safety resources that are offered on campus. In November, our annual homecoming event returns. I work very closely with the organizer making certain the logistics are in order. It is up to me to make sure we get the necessary approvals, fire marshal permit, the banner is hung from the parking structure and so much more. I want to make sure everyone has a memorable homecoming experience, from freshmen to alumni.”

When Anderson moved to her current position in 2014, she had spent six years in the Parking and Transportation Department and thought it was a good time to find a new position.

“I enjoyed working in parking but I was up for new challenges,” she recalled. “I applied and was given the opportunity to be part of the Event Services team. Assisting with an event on campus was more than I expected. I learned about fire marshal permits, certificates of insurance, endorsement letters, all the different approving parties, facility use agreements and more. One of the first things I learned was the role that other approving departments played in each event when planning campus events. For example, when you have an event on the lawn, you need to notify facilities management and make sure the irrigation is off and request tables and chairs to be delivered and set up. I learned that facilities management was so much more than just doing maintenance and repairs.”

An important part of Anderson’s professional skill set is her ability to analyze and solve problems.

“In order to do so, you need to first have a great attitude. I know people prefer to work with those who have good attitudes,” she explained. “A good demeanor and positive approach is important in order to help achieve the goal of team building. When I work with others with not the greatest demeanor, I don’t let them change mine.”

Information is key to Anderson’s position. “Finding information comprises 85 percent of my job,” she explained. “Each event is different. Everyone has a different idea and that means running those ideas past each approving department with phone calls or meetings. We schedule events on campus for third parties such as filming. For example, telling a major film company (when money is no object) that they cannot have free run of the campus because knowing they will continue to ask in very clever ways. In moments like these, I have to remind the film company of university guidelines and how I will not compromise them.”

Time is always an element in event planning.

“We handle a number of last-minute requests and some require a quick approval status,” she said. “Many parties come in wanting an event booked right away. The customer is not aware that there are other campus departments involved in approving an event, from facilities management to, at times, the University Police. I want to meet the expectations of the university and satisfy the customers. That can make for a long day.”

Anderson is a lifelong Long Beach resident who graduated from Long Beach Poly. She enjoys spending time with family her nine-month-old grandson. She loves the city and all the improvements that have taken place. “Our university is beautiful and high achieving, we have a mayor who is making great changes and improvements, the Long Beach Airport is beautiful and we have a great public transportation system. I love my city,” she said.

She enjoys working in the Office of Administration and Finance because she has learned so much about the university from a different perspective than being in parking. This has given her a chance to apply what she has learned. “Everyone has been so welcoming and willing to assist me with information or help that I may need,” she said.

Anderson is glad she chose CSULB. “I wouldn’t want to work anywhere else and not just because the campus is local to where I live but because the people I work with and the students I meet are a joy to be around,” she said. “My biggest pleasure is seeing the students graduate and succeed. When I am recognized off campus by students who have graduated, it is the best when they greet me with a hug. I feel as if I made a positive difference in their college experience.”

Anderson received several gifts with her recognition including a CSULB sweatshirt, dinner for two at Naples Rib Company, a $10 gift card for Barnes and Noble and a $5 gift card for In-n-Out.