Who is your SRAI Leadership: Meet the Midwest Section & Chapter Leadership

by SRA International on Thursday, May 31, 2018

In each monthly issue of the Catalyst, the “Who is your SRA Leadership?” column introduces you to the SRAI leadership, committee members and volunteers. This virtual platform serves as a good starting base to meeting the members of the SRAI community. This is a great opportunity to get to know each other and we at the Catalyst want to hear from you! Share your story! Contact us to be featured in a future column, or nominate a co-worker or colleague to share their story.

In this issue, we will feature 10 of your colleagues: Tabatha Lemke, Kevin Titus, Sikirat Tijani, Jason Claes, Ruth Halsey, Kimberly Pratt, Melissa Karby, Nicholas Prieur, Heather Kraus and Lisa Werning.


Tabatha Lemke, Midwest Section President

What is your title and organization?
Grants Manager, Operations, Sanford Health.

How many years have you worked in Research Administration?
9 years.

When did you join SRAI?
2011.

Why SRAI?
Honestly, I initially became a member because it was assigned to me when I was hired. Over the years, I have had the opportunity to attend other professional conferences and have chosen to continue my SRAI membership because of the excellent educational programming, family-like environment, and the opportunities to get involved.

What does volunteering for SRAI mean for you?
Volunteering for SRAI was initially a selfish act to push myself out of my comfort zone and develop myself professionally. Today, volunteering means that I get an opportunity to give back to an organization and group of people who have guided my professional journey over the past seven years. Volunteering has given me confidence and an opportunity to build a network of colleagues and friends, and more recently share my knowledge with others as a presenter. Through my volunteering, it is my goal to make every member feel welcome and important.

What is one thing people don't know about you?
I am a strong introvert. For my first three years as an SRAI member, I did not attend any social functions and declined any invitation to join others. I nominated myself to be a part of the section leadership to force myself to network and grow professionally.

What makes you smile?
The huge smiles, hugs, kisses, and stories I get when I pick my children up after work!

Is the glass half empty of half full?
I see the glass as half empty – others are continuously filling my glass, giving me the opportunity to share mine with others.

What's your life philosophy?
Life has no remote, get up and change it yourself!


Kevin Titus, Midwest Section President Elect 

What is your title and organization?
Business Director, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.

How many years have you worked in Research Administration?
9 years.

When did you join SRAI?
2009.

Why SRAI?
Why not? My job is partially focused on research, so it helps me keep up to date.

What does volunteering for SRAI mean for you?
I learned a long time ago that we start as a sponge; absorbing information. At some point we need to transition to a fountain and share what we’ve absorbed.

What is one thing people don't know about you?
As a teenager, I broke into jail.

What makes you smile?
My kids and helping others.

Is the glass half empty of half full?
Definitely half full, with more root beer being poured in.

What's your life philosophy?
Life is good!


Heather Kraus, Midwest Section Immediate Past President

What is your title and organization?
Senior Manager for Research Administration, University of Michigan, College of LSA.

How many years have you worked in Research Administration?
14 years.

When did you join SRAI?
2012.

Why SRAI?
SRAI was the first organization that I didn’t just feel like another attendee. All the members were so friendly, welcoming, and supportive. Since joining SRAI, I have had so many great opportunities and have built a great network of not only colleagues but friends!

What does volunteering for SRAI mean for you?
Volunteering is a way for me to give back to an amazing research community. I not only get to help others but I meet so many wonderful people!  

What is one thing people don't know about you?
Family is very important to me. I love spending time with my husband and children camping at our property in southern Ohio. I also love party planning and making cakes for my children’s birthdays!

What makes you smile?
My children, my husband, and Disney World! 

Is the glass half empty of half full?
For sure half full!  

What's your life philosophy?
Never take today for granted! Always have faith, put your all into everything you do, and love life!


Sikirat Tijani, Midwest Section Secretary 

What is your title and organization?
Associate Director, Grants and Contracts, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.

How many years have you worked in Research Administration?
16 years.

When did you join SRAI?
2013.

Why SRAI?
SRAI played a key role in changing my view of research administration as a job to a profession/career.

What does volunteering for SRAI mean for you?
Giving back.

What is one thing people don't know about you?
I am a TV and movie snob.

What makes you smile?
My family.

Is the glass half empty of half full?
Half empty.

What's your life philosophy?
Treat others like you want to be treated.


Jason Claes, Midwest Section Treasurer and Ohio Chapter Immediate Past President

What is your title and organization?
Assistant Director – Sponsored Research Services Accounting, University of Cincinnati

How many years have you worked in Research Administration?
11 years.

When did you join SRAI?
2007.

Why SRAI?
Having a group of professionals to call friends among our profession is what draws me to SRAI. 

What does volunteering for SRAI mean for you?
Every day at my job I am called to serve and volunteering for SRAI allows me to extend that service mentality beyond my comfort zone.

What is one thing people don't know about you?
In the summer between senior year in high school and freshman in college, I hitch-hiked for three months by myself through Europe and some former Soviet Bloc countries. I saved Christmas, birthday, lawn-mowing money, etc. for years without telling my parents until the week before I left for my trip.

What makes you smile?
Being with my wife and two daughters.

Is the glass half empty of half full?
Half-full. You need to make the best of every situation even when it’s the toughest thing you are facing now, which allows for growth.

What's your life philosophy?
Carpe diem! 


Ruth Halsey, Michigan Chapter President

What is your title and organization?
Post-Award Financial Manager, Division of Cardiology, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan.

How many years have you worked in Research Administration?
16 years.

When did you join SRAI?
2005.

Why SRAI?
SRAI provides professional development opportunities tailored for research administrators working at the Department level, one-on-one with faculty.  I have greatly valued the knowledge, network connections, and opportunities presented from being part of SRAI.

What does volunteering for SRAI mean for you?
I have a natural servant’s heart and passion for the field of research administration.  I love the field because it gives me the opportunity to use my organizational, finance, and management skills to be part of the research process, knowing that when I do my job well I give time to the research team to do what they do best – research!  I also love to watch the research process and see something develop from an idea in the laboratory to devices that touch the lives of others and knowing that I was part of that process gives me great satisfaction with my career.

I volunteered initially with SRAI in order to learn how to do my job better.  I volunteer now as a leader in order to share my passion, knowledge, and wisdom with the next generation of research administrators.

What is one thing people don't know about you?
I love to volunteer my time and energies and am part of many volunteer organizations.

What makes you smile?
Teams working toward a common goal to achieve successes larger than themselves; be it partnership with your spouse to build a life together, partnership at work to achieve your organization’s goals, or partnership in your volunteer work to serve others and bring success to those you serve.

Is the glass half empty of half full?
Definitely half-full, often brimming over and overflowing!

What's your life philosophy?
Build the foundation, purpose, and vision for my life on something bigger than myself;
Be the change I wish to see in the world;
Life doesn’t occur in a vacuum, every choice impacts someone;
Someone is always watching, so be a good example;
Do the right thing, regardless of the consequences;
Care and show compassion for others, even if they don’t deserve it;
Within every challenge is a hidden opportunity – my goal is to find the opportunity;
Everyone makes mistakes, what shows character is what I do after the mistake;
Leadership is anticipating the needs of my team and giving them what they need to be successful before they ask, even if it means sacrifice on my part.


Kimberly Pratt, Ohio Chapter President 

What is your title and organization?
Sponsored Projects Officer, The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

How many years have you worked in Research Administration?
7 years.

When did you join SRAI?
2015.

Why SRAI?
The majority of my initial training and education as a research administrator was “on the job” at a science museum/science center with a growing research focus. I wanted to connect with others who were doing what I was doing (and could hopefully teach me a few things!) so I joined SRAI about three years ago. I quickly became involved in the Ohio Chapter, and have served on the executive board since 2016. I’m happy to have met so many knowledgeable, welcoming people through SRAI who I can talk to when I have a question or a great idea.

What does volunteering for SRAI mean for you?
I enjoy volunteering with SRAI because it gives me a chance to make connections with other research administrators across the country and build professional skills outside of my regular day-to-day work.  

What is one thing people don't know about you?
I love to read murder mysteries, especially cozy, British ones, on the couch with a cup of tea.

What makes you smile?
My son (4) says the funniest things that always make me laugh.

Is the glass half empty of half full?
I’m going to be the person that says empty. I’m a confirmed pessimist.

What's your life philosophy?
Never stop learning.


Melissa Karby, Michigan Chapter Secretary 

What is your title and organization?
Director of Research Administration, University of Michigan School of Dentistry.

How many years have you worked in Research Administration?
17 years.

When did you join SRAI?
2013.

Why SRAI?
Being a member of multiple research administration organizations is important to me. SRAI was a draw mainly due to my local chapter and I have branched out into the regional section just recently. SRAI also seems to have more volunteer opportunities, again mainly due to my local chapter.

What does volunteering for SRAI mean for you?
I like that I can contribute my expertise outside of the walls of my institution. We are all in this fight together and volunteering allows us to build relationships we wouldn’t normally have the time to build.

What is one thing people don't know about you?
I am a mallet percussionist and play in a German Oompah band called the Merry Music Makers. You can find us playing over the summer at The German Park in Ann Arbor. And no I am not German. :)

What makes you smile?
A good joke, my husband and healthy doses of sarcasm.

Is the glass half empty of half full?
I am one of those “realist” people so my glass is half-empty. I find that my outlook where I work to understand the worst-case scenario is a nice compliment to my line of work because we are always prepared.

What's your life philosophy?
Every tomorrow is a vision of hope – Billy O’Neill


Nicholas Prieur, Michigan Chapter Treasurer

What is your title and organization?
Research Process Manager, University of Michigan – Ann Arbor.

How many years have you worked in Research Administration?
16 years.

When did you join SRAI?
2012.

What does volunteering for SRAI mean for you?
It’s vitally important to me to give back as much as I can to the research administration community, both locally and at large, as it has done so much for me throughout my career. Volunteering for SRAI (both as a presenter and a Chapter Officer) has allowed me to meet new people, sharpen my research administration skills, and continue to assist with training the next generation of research administrators both at UM and abroad.

What is one thing people don't know about you?
In my down time, I’ve been moonlighting as a bartender for almost 16 years; I started two months after I started my career at the University of Michigan.

What makes you smile?
Spending time with my partner and family, good coffee, and spending a good chunk of my summers on Mackinac Island, MI.  

Is the glass half empty of half full?
Always half full – if it looks empty, just pour more into it!

What's your life philosophy?
Always under-promise and over-deliver.


And we present one of our great volunteers from the Midwest Section: 

Lisa Werning, SRAI Volunteer

To read about Lisa Werning, please please see the Member Spotlight here

 


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