Communication, connection and inclusion are priorities for 2023 Outstanding Staff Awardee

Monique Leduc is the director of the Enterprise Financial Systems unit in Financial Affairs. A valued member of the UC Santa Cruz community for 34 years, her vision has shaped the campus' digital lalndscape. (Photo by Carolyn Lagattuta)

Each day starts off the same in the Enterprise Financial Systems (EFS) unit. The 24 team members join Director Monique Leduc on Zoom for a huddle. The 15-30 minutes they spend together is one of the keys to the 100% remote unit’s success.

“The main reason we meet is so that everybody feels connected, feels that human connection, so people don’t feel so isolated,” Leduc said. “We used to see each other in the hallway. Now we see each other on Zoom.” 

When it comes to her team and the work of Enterprise Financial Systems, communication, connection and inclusion are top priorities.  

Monique Leduc is the 2023 recipient of the UC Santa Cruz Outstanding Staff Award (OSA). The award recognizes staff members who provide distinguished service each day to the students, staff and faculty of our campus.

34 years of service

Leduc has been a valued member of the UC Santa Cruz community for 34 years, starting as an assistant analyst in the Financial Aid office in 1989. Six years later, she moved to the office that became Financial Affairs and has worked there ever since. 

In 1999, Monique was promoted to manager of the Financial Information System group and in 2005, EFS was created, and she was named, and continues to be, the director. The unit manages the Financial Information System, which is the system of record for the official UCSC financial ledgers and chart of accounts; CruzBuy, the campus electronic procurement system; CruzPay, the time and attendance system staff members use to report hours worked and leave taken (as appropriate for their positions; CruzFly, the campus travel and expense management system; the Effort Reporting System (ERS), a web-based system used to certify effort supported by federal funds; and the main Financial Affairs website.  

“Monique is an exceptional leader and has been integral to charting our digital financial environment,” said Associate Vice Chancellor/Campus Controller Biju Kamaleswaran. “Her dedication to UC Santa Cruz drives her passion for building a better digital environment for our community. Her vision has shaped our digital landscape and fostered a capable team that consistently delivers results, steering us toward a successful future.”

In 2006, the campus financial processes went from being decentralized to centralized. Launching the new CruzBuy and CruzPay systems was a crucial part of that. “They were two new campuswide, branded systems. Both of those projects were very complex. We were all very proud of actually getting them up and running. It had been in progress for a few years before that, but that’s when it all came together,” Leduc said.

“She is dogged about solving problems, even if there isn't an easy fix,” User & Production Support Team Manager Anne Depage said. “Sometimes it takes years to get things where they should be, but she sees it through.”

Leduc uses her deep institutional knowledge to give her staff context on how things were done in the past so they can see how they got to that point. “As a public institution, as opposed to a private corporation, we are here for the duration. We were here 50 years ago, and we’re going to be here 50 years from now, so it’s a continuum of change.” 

While she is the person managing the unit, Leduc says her role is to empower and equip her team. “The people in EFS are very smart. They know their job, they’ve been here a while and they really are the primary drivers for the success of the systems. I might steer the boat a little bit to make sure that we're meeting executive-level timelines, but really, the drive comes from the team.”

“Monique's department is a "simmering pot" of a variety of business systems, each one of which has evolving needs and unique issues,” said Annette Truong,  CruzPay & ERS Manager. “She is a steady rudder of support helping each system caretaker adapt to changing policies and needs.”

Outstanding Staff Award

For more than two and a half decades, the Staff Advisory Board (SAB), UCSC Alumni Association and the Chancellor’s Office have worked together to honor a member of the staff through the annual Outstanding Staff Award. Nominations are solicited across campus. 

“This is the highest award a UCSC staff member can receive,” said Lumpy Ervin, chair of the Staff Advisory Board. “It honors them for their exemplary work supporting our campus community every day. We thank those who took time to nominate their colleagues and bring attention to their work. There were many outstanding nominees this year, and selecting a winner was not easy.” 

The nomination criteria includes, going "above and beyond" to provide distinguished service to students, staff, or faculty colleagues; champions the work of their department/division and adapts to changing needs; fosters the Principles of Community; embraces and values diversity, strives for an inclusive community, and promotes mutual respect, trust and support that strengthens the UCSC community; and engages or volunteers in UCSC activities and promotes campus initiatives.

Three guiding pillars

Leduc’s work is guided by three pillars: open communication, mutual respect and a sense of humor. 

“I want to make sure my team members are fully informed about things that will affect their jobs, our systems, or affect us at the campus level.” During the morning huddles, she shares campus communications and events, such as the message from Chancellor Larive celebrating the start of the new academic year.

“I go through it, and I say, ‘Which of these things affect Enterprise Financial Systems?’ Some of them won’t at all, but read between the lines. When you drill down, you see it will affect us.” 

Through these conversations, the group examines how process and business changes happening in other units affect them. “I don’t want them to have a narrow vision. It’s very important for them to see that we are part of the whole. I’m sure I bore them to death a lot when I say, ‘Well, in 1992...’ but I want them to understand what’s going on at UCSC.”

Creating an inclusive work environment is at the center of all she does. “We take the Principles of Community to heart and mutual respect is a big part of that,” Leduc explained. The principles are “a big part of how I try to make sure that people are engaged and coming forward and giving their ideas. People should feel confident and safe in being able to express themselves and their ideas.”

The third thing that shapes Leduc’s leadership is a sense of humor. “We have to look at the light side of things,” she said. “Humor is a way to let off steam respectfully when things are stressful.” Leduc says that’s even more important now that they work 100 percent remotely.