On the Job with Giancarlo Brugnolo

What is the biggest lesson you've learned working in the profession?

I have learned the most from my students by just listening to their stories, experiences, and thoughts. As someone who manages building operations, I find it incredibly valuable to get the input of students when making decisions and policies. In being transparent, they understand where I am coming from, and in turn feel comfortable in offering feedback. They feel like they are a part of the process and that their opinion matters.

When working with events, what factor is most likely to make or break its success?

Empathy is an important trait. It is easy to quickly say no to people, but I really enjoy working with people to find a good compromise. That means understanding what their event means to them and trying to find a good way to make it work. It is really rewarding when you see an event happen that you helped plan and the group is happy with how things went.

What is one project or innovation you're proud to have helped implement?

What I am most proud of is the hiring process that I have created for our building manager position. The operations of the building cannot run successfully without them, so having a solid hiring process was important to me. In consultation with my student staff, we created a three-step hiring process: an application, an interview, and a group process. While on the surface it seems ordinary, what has made the process work has been involving my staff in every step, including the hiring decision. Prior to the hiring process, I do an overview with my staff of the whole process and we discuss what we are looking for in candidates. Once the process is over, we review all the applicants and make our hiring decisions. Along the way, we are able to have some meaningful learning moments and conversations that help them develop professionally and personally.

Describe a memorable day on the job.

It had been a rough week at work for me. There were a lot more fires to put out than usual, and it had also caused me to fall behind on my emails, which created more fires (sound familiar?). Anyway, my student staff must have seen that I was stressed out. At our biweekly staff meeting, they gave me a card offering encouragement and thanking me for the work that I have done. It is little moments like that which remind me why I chose to enter the profession, and why I love what I do.

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