Staff Spotlight: Carleen Henderson, ITG
In September, Carleen Henderson, manager of user services in Weatherhead’s Information Technology Group, received the Staff Service Award. One nominator wrote: "Carleen is a very supportive, competent person who is truly committed to helping all of us use and understand our resources." (Picture caption: Award presenter Lucille Mayne, Carleen Henderson, and Dean Myron Roomkin)
Weatherheadlines sat down with Carleen on an unseasonably warm day in November to talk about the nine years she’s spent at Weatherhead both as an employee and student.
First, the basics: What is your job title and how long have you been at Weatherhead?
I am the manager of user services in the Information Technology group. I’ve been here since December of 1996, although it’s gone by pretty quickly. As they say…time flies when you’re having fun. I’ve been in the same department but in different positions. The department has changed a lot over the years but it remains a great place to work.
When I was hired, I had an associate’s degree. Just this past spring, I finished my Weatherhead MBA. I’ve always had a desire to work at the university. Many people have suggested that after I graduated I would leave, but I really have a desire to grow here. It's such a great opportunity to meet some of the most amazing, intellectual people.
What about the rest of your life, outside of Weatherhead?
I have two children – my daughter, who is 17 and my son is 12. We live in University Heights. I also have a one-year-old chocolate Lab, she's a great dog.
My daughter’s volleyball team is in the High School Regional Playoffs – they went the previous years and didn’t win a set for two years in a row, but this year they are winning. They have a good team this year and I have the office all hyped up about it.
Last night we were at my daughter’s Regional Playoff High School volleyball game against Chagrin Falls when I looked across the gym and thought I recognized someone I knew…I thought he looked just likeDavid Cooperrider . Sure enough it was his daughter who was playing on the other team. After the game I went to say hello and told him I spotted him before the game…but didn’t want to go into enemy territory.
My daughter is about to graduate so my husband, Dave, has been very dedicated to contacting college volleyball and track coaches. He has been online many long nights filling out forms and sending e-mails to encourage coaches to come to games and setting up visits and tryouts to see her play.What did you do before you came to Weatherhead?
Before Case, I spent the largest chunk of my non-academic life at the hotel division at Nestle in accounting and credit. After five years, I decided to try something new. I went to UPS and found that it was not a good fit for me.
Then I went to a small software development company, and it was there where I gained most of my hands on technology and project management experience. I started as a software tester and went into project management.
What would you recall as your best job experience?
Even when I was at UPS, I was constantly keeping my eyes open for something here at Case. It wasn’t until a couple of years later that I found a position in the technology group at Weatherhead and was hired into it.
I’ve always had a desire to work here. I think very highly of education. I am the first in my family to obtain a degree in higher education. I am honored to have the opportunity to work at Case.
I also truly love working Commencement every year. It is a very exciting time and, while I was in School, kept me motivated knowing that I would be walking the stage one day myself. It’s also great to see the students you know graduate and to meet their families.
And of course, so far what has been your worst job or job experience?
I will never be a waitress again. The worst job experience I had was the two times I worked as a waitress and wound up in tears. Customers can be so rude sometimes!
Do you have a mentor or someone who or something that inspired you?
One of the core classes you take for the MBA is the Leadership Assessment and Development class. You do a lot personal writing in this course regarding goals and your inspirations. My mother has always been an inspiration and role model and her influence was the basis for most of my writing.
I would have to say that my most inspiring mentor has been Diana Bilimoria. I took her executive leadership course last year and every time I walked out of that class I was very inspired and was ready to take on the world.
Best stress buster?
Walking my dog. She was actually my husband’s birthday present, but I was really happy to get her to have a walking buddy.
What are your interests or hobbies?
The only thing I seem to fit in as a hobby is exercise and family time. A daily walk with the dog can be very satisfying and energizing. Most of my free time is spent with my family. My daughter is very active in volleyball and track so there is always a game or meet to attend. My son enjoys tennis and chess and he’s always up for a good match, too.
What would you eat if you knew it would be your last meal?
I love Mexican food. My husband, brother and I often meet at Lopez in Cleveland Heights for a great dish. I also love dining out with my family at really good restaurants. PF Chang’s is another one of our favorites.
What was the last book you’ve read or recommend?
I just started Angels and Demons by Dan Brown after reading his The Da Vinci Code which I thought was amazing. But, I could also say that the last good book I read was a textbook, because that has been all I’ve read for my required courses over the past four years!
Famous person you share your birthday with?
The first person who comes to mind is John Travolta. I don’t know if that is good or a bad thing. Matt Dillon also has the same birthday.
Who would you want to play you in the movie of your life?
The person I would want to play me – Julia Roberts, America’s sweetheart right? However, my favorite actor is (Robert) Dinero. I love the Godfather movies.