Our Community Advisory Council, established in 2006, serves as a sounding board and network of support for Encore Learning’s Board of Directors. The Council, comprised of community leaders and representatives from our affiliates, meets once or twice a year with the Board and staff to review acquisition of classroom and office space, membership levels and diversity, recruitment of instructors, and additional affiliations. The broad, deep and diverse experience they bring to the discussion is invaluable. Here is the first of a series of interviews with our current Council members.
Community Advisory Council member, Una Murphy, is Director of Administration and Operations for George Mason University’s Arlington campus and for Mason in Loudoun, co-located with Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) at Signal Hill Plaza in Sterling. Ms. Murphy, or Una, as she prefers, has served on Encore Learning’s Community Advisory Council since 2013 and is a frequent sight in Founders Hall. She recently shared the following with us:
I arrived in the DC Metro area in the summer of 1990 from New York, where I had attended Brooklyn College and received my BA in Business Management and Finance. After working as a professional fundraiser for 20 years, 13 of those with Mason’s Advancement team, I changed careers to become a campus administrator. My first encounter with Encore Learning actually was during my time in University Advancement – Encore Learning’s generosity in supporting students through a scholarship for students that attend the Schar School is a testament to the partnership between Encore Learning, the University, and our Arlington Campus family. Encore Learning does such a service to the community, promoting lifelong learning and bridging the relationships between scholars who are starting their journey and those who have the life experience and can give back. I have seen members of Encore Learning interacting with members of the student body, faculty and staff, offering a friendly hello or deep in conversation about issues that impact today’s society.
Una’s generous assessment of our mission and its impact belies the great deal of work her staff performs on behalf of Encore Learning. It is Mason’s classroom support group that services the audiovisual equipment behind the scenes and when our own staff and class aides are stymied by a technical glitch. Mason’s facilities crew keeps the building and classrooms in order and clean. The group in her office suite handle a multitude of duties that support our presence in the building: the information desk in the lobby, the community e-notices of campus events and lectures, the scheduling of classrooms – all are under her direction. As she put it succinctly: “We do our best to support Encore Learning by making the Campus run as efficiently as possible and be as welcoming as possible to Encore learning members who take classes on the Arlington Campus.”
When not dividing her work week between two corners of Northern Virginia, Una finds a bit of time to relax over the weekend with her husband (and lovable dog, Louie Tutone, seen below) on the Potomac River on their boat. “We try to vacation when we can – favorite destinations include Florida, Hawaii, and visits with family and friends.” And what about when she actually retires? Would she be interested in what Encore Learning has to offer? “I would absolutely be interested in courses on history (I am currently reading a biography on Douglas MacArthur) and definitely Arts and Music.Honestly, I don’t think I could go wrong with any course I could take at Encore Learning… the passion I have seen from volunteers and members and the teachers – the whole community! – means that any class I take would be an adventure!!”