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Award winner Bessie Giannikos a leader, a mentor and friend to staff


November 30, 2012

By Fred Michah Rynor

Bessie Giannikos"Overwhelming but fulfilling," is how Bessie Giannikos, Departmental Finance Administrator in the Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning (CTL) describes her job.

Giannikos is this year's inaugural recipient of OISE's Leadership Award which heralds the achievements of a staff member who demonstrates leadership through taking the initiative to inspire and facilitate teamwork within the OISE community.

"I had actually nominated two of my own staff members for these awards and didn't know that someone in my department had nominated me as well," Giannikos laughs. "It's nice to be acknowledged this way but I have to admit I was shocked."

A staffer at U of T since 2000 and a member of CTL for more than a decade, Giannikos has worn a number of hats since arriving. She left the university's financial services department for OISE when she felt the need for a new challenge – and she certainly found it here she states.

"Every day is a whole new experience partly because my department is the biggest at OISE. I try to keep my teams as effective and involved as possible by motivating and encouraging them to take on new projects and I spend a lot of time mentoring people as well."

She states that she's an unabashed fan of OISE and all it stands for "partly because the people here are fantastic and that includes the staff, faculty and students. It's such a diverse place and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else."

This award is especially meaningful for Giannikos "because it means I'm doing a good job especially in the leadership department and it also re-affirms the direction we've been going in," she says.

"The reaction to me winning the award has been overwhelming with so many emails and people congratulating me," she adds and that sentiment is echoed by Christine Lowe, a finance assistant at CTL who has worked with Giannikos since 2007.

"Bessie's award is very well-deserved and we were over the moon when we heard she'd won. She's an awesome person, a mentor to me and others and she's wonderful to work with," states Lowe. "She really cares about the job and the department and it's great to work with someone with that kind of devotion."

Giannikos won't have much time to bask in the award's glow however, as her department is in the midst of completing various tasks in the research and operations areas including the completion of CTL’s new Smart Room to be used for high quality web-based conferencing.