SCET Operations Director, Jesse Dieker, has just been awarded the 2021 UC Berkeley Excellence in Management Award. Jesse was nominated by her colleagues at the Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology for her superb leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic. During this unprecedented event, Jesse helped the management team plan for different scenarios and outcomes that might come depending on the course of the pandemic. Because of this guidance, SCET was able to adapt its professional, global, and academic programs to hybridize, create new initiatives, and ultimately find sustainable approaches to continuing programs and making an impact with thousands of students around the world interested in developing their leadership, innovation, and entrepreneurship skills.

“In addition to the above, Jesse has shown tremendous sensitivity to the morale and work-life balance of both the staff and management team at the Center,” says Jocelyn Weber, Director, SCET X-Lab and Xcelerator programs.

Jesse scheduled weekly Zoom “coffee chats” for the entire Center team to help boost morale and have a space for social interaction. These were open forums to catch up with teammates, and add a bit of fun with themed sessions and “questions of the week” chosen by alternating team members.

In November, Jesse took another key action to boost morale.  As the entire team had been working very diligently to adapt and react to the changing environment, Jesse could see the burn out setting in. With the Thanksgiving holiday approaching, Jesse made the suggestion that everyone agree to not schedule any meetings and severely limit emails during the Thanksgiving week. She also suggested staff take the entire week off with a combination of holiday and vacation time should they choose. This allowed everyone to take a much needed break from the intense pace of the prior 8 months, without feeling as though they were letting anyone down or were having their inbox pile up while they were out. This was very well received and appreciated by everyone at the Center and staff returned with renewed enthusiasm after the break.

This year’s award theme was “Leading in Difficult Times” and highlighted leadership that demonstrated and encouraged resilience, inclusiveness, compassion, adaptiveness, work-life balance, well-being/morale. Cheers to Jesse for her work to demonstrate this leadership at SCET and support staff to thrive through this very difficult period and congratulations for being recognized with this outstanding achievement.