Vito honored Mentor of the Year in 40 Under 40 award ceremony
UA Vice President for Student Affairs Melissa M. Vito was honored as Mentor of the Year at the 40 Under 40 awards ceremony mid-December. Vito started her time at the UA as a student more than 30 years ago and has held such positions as Financial Aid Administrator and Associate Dean of Students along the way to her current position as Vice President for Student Affairs. Vito answered a few questions about being named Mentor of the Year.
Did you have any idea that you were nominated, and do you know who nominated you?
Vito: No, I did not. I believe it was Kasey Urquidez and Keith Humphrey who were being honored for 40 Under 40, who I had nominated for 40 Under 40.
What was your reaction when you found out you were named Mentor of the Year?
I was stunned. I was absolutely stunned. I was really honored. Of honors I have received I would say this is one of the most meaningful ones because I try to work hard with my team to know as many of my team as I can and to help, help my members of my team be as successful as possible. Whether that is having the right fit in terms of role, understanding, you know what they do that makes them successful and things to work on. Creating opportunities for newer staff or younger staff to move into leadership roles. I really work hard at that, and so it was really meaningful to receive that.
What do you do as a mentor, and does it come naturally?
It is probably something I just believe is an important part of what I do. And so whether it’s people I work with directly, people I know in the community who might say ‘I am trying to figure out my next move, I am a teacher, what do you think?’ And my normal thoughts are: How do I ask them questions to get them things to think about? And find ways to connect them with other people? I think some of it is probably just for me, something I just think is an important part of what I do, and I think I am pretty comfortable doing it. I think giving good feedback, creating opportunities, helping people undertand when maybe this isn’t the best fit but they’re great at what they do but a different environment or different role may be a better place. It’s all sort of part of that package.