“I’m not a jack of all trades; I’m a master of many. I don’t feel there is anything I can’t do if I want to.” -Robert “Evel” Knievel Jr.
Travel agent, Event Coordinator, Logistics Guru, Research Associate, and Caregiver. These words are only a few of the words to describe Jennifer Williams, OIE’s Office Manager. She is the foundation that holds us up, the glue that holds us together, and the oil that keeps us going. Without Jennifer, the “wonderful work environment” that she talks about in her interview, would not be the same. She is loyal, patient and attentive and everyone who knows her, loves her!
Tell us about your background.
I was born and raised in Fayetteville, AR. My roots here in Northwest Arkansas run deep. My great grandparents settled here in the 40’s and now our kids are the 4th generation to attend the local schools. As a child I often thought I would grow up to be a teacher, then in high school I took Intro to Psychology which led to AP Psychology and my interest was piqued. After I graduated from FHS, I went on to attend the U of A where I majored in Psychology. My parent’s attempted to instill in me a strong work ethic and a sense of personal responsibility. I started working when I was 15, to pay for the expenses that came with the privilege of driving and my work ethic has remained strong ever since. As a young adult, I continued working while going to school, eventually getting married, and starting a family. In 2008 I began working at the U of A in the National Office of Research, Measurement and Evaluation Systems (NORMES) and then transitioned to OIE in June of 2014. It is interesting how life circled me back to into a profession that involves education. I am currently happily married with three wonderful human children and three (mostly wonderful) fur babies.
What is your role at the Office of Innovation for Education?
My role is to support the awesome staff of OIE. I help coordinate everything from little trips around the state to our annual Innovation Summit.
What are some things that you do to help maintain a positive culture at OIE?
I truly enjoy helping others. I love being able to provide whatever support those around me may need. On some days I may be a thought partner and other days I might be the travel agent.
Tell us something that might surprise us about you.
I may be a Dwight Yoakam groupie……over the years my husband and I have seen Dwight Yoakam preform so many times I have lost count.
What is your favorite thing about working at the Office of Innovation for Education?
We have a wonderful work environment that is very team oriented and family focused. Our little office has accomplished some amazing things because we are given the opportunity to thrive personally and professionally.