Berkeley Today Stories
Spotlight On: Dover Campus Operating Officer Lynn Stamatelatos
Berkeley College Campus Operating Officers (COOs) at the New Jersey and New York campuses, plus Berkeley College Online®, have a variety of responsibilities, including, but not limited to, overseeing day-to-day operations, finances, student and staff retention, space management, community outreach, and monitoring training and professional development programs.
At each campus, there are always new challenges and new opportunities. Though the needs vary, the COOs all agree that they love mentoring, coaching, and discovering the potential in their students.
Dover Campus Operating Officer Lynn Stamatelatos discusses the importance of teamwork and shares her thoughts on student outreach and support and the benefits of community partnerships.
What kinds of skills have you learned or developed since coming to Berkeley College?
When I took on the position of Internship Coordinator for Career Services in 2014, I already had strong customer service skills, but this position gave me great experience in working with students to help prepare them for career success. In this position, I was fortunate to work closely with multiple departments developing a greater sense of student needs and what we could do to support each student during his/her experience at Berkeley College. While working at Career Fairs and other events organized by Career
Services, I learned to identify internship and employment opportunities and build strong partnerships with local communities and companies that ultimately benefited our students.
What excites you about your job?
It’s very exciting to be a part of the success of our students and our campus. We have a small campus, and as the COO it’s my goal to meet individually with every student. I want to ensure that our students are familiar with all of the resources we offer. I want them to think and plan ahead for internships and practicums so that they set themselves up for career success. I am also excited about the strong teamwork and collaboration that exists among coworkers, departments, and students at the Dover campus. I strongly value the importance of teamwork and how it improves the likelihood of achieving goals.
What sort of career obstacles have you faced, and how did you overcome them?
Early in my career, I was often discouraged from taking positions and assignments due to my gender. Time and again I heard how an assignment was not really fit for a woman. I quickly realized that there would always be obstacles at any job, and if I didn't want to limit my opportunities, I needed to learn how to overcome them. I overcame these challenges by taking the time to be completely prepared — educating myself on the position, conducting research, and undergoing training when necessary. Each and every time I had to show my determination and sheer willingness to face a task with confidence.
When I was much younger, I found myself in situations where I had to train and supervise staff members who were older and had many more years of work experience than I did. Some of these employees were not always agreeable to change or to taking directives from a supervisor who was younger and new to the field. In order to break down the wall between us and overcome these obstacles, I first and foremost made sure that I was sensitive to employee concerns and hesitations. This understanding was essential in order to successfully accomplish my job and, in the long run, promote a better work environment.
How is your Berkeley College campus unique?
Our campus has a strong connection to the community. Members of the Dover Historical Society and the mayor of Dover attended our 85th Anniversary celebration and spoke about the importance of having Berkeley College in the community. Dover associates are actively involved in the Chamber of Commerce in Morris and Sussex counties. As the COO of this campus, I take a very hands-on approach to reaching out into the community, and I make it a point to be at all of the College’s community outreach events.
What or who inspires you? Who are your role models or mentors?
I have always been inspired by opportunities to overcome challenges. This can be applied to situations in employment, education, or everyday life. It is also essential to pay this knowledge forward and to assist others in building a foundation based on strong ethics, commitment, and determination. Simply stated by legendary soccer player, Pele, “Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice, and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.”
What advice do you have for prospective students/current students/graduates?
Never lose sight of your goals and don’t allow other obligations to prohibit you from pursuing your dreams. Students who aren’t working while attending college should volunteer or seek out community service in areas that relate to their fields of interest. This will provide hands-on experience and a wonderful opportunity to network. It’s also a good way to get a job reference. All students should attend workshops or training seminars. There’s always something to attend at Berkeley College, including online webinars for those who are unable to participate in on-site events.