Through each turn in her professional career, Susan Ridley has kept her teams’ operations flowing smoothly.
Ridley has been the office manager in the Department of Psychology since January 2007. She won the Staff Senate Spring 2009 Outstanding Supervisor Award, and was honored again in Fall 2009 with the CHSS Outstanding Contributions in Administrative Support Award.
In December 2011, she won the 11th annual Mary Roper Award, awarded to a College of Humanities and Social Sciences classified staff member who has shown outstanding service in support of the core goals of the college.
Since graduating from the University of Mary Washington in 1982 with a degree in economics, Ridley has worked with a variety of different employers. After stints with a hospital and a defense contractor, Ridley lent her talents to Sprint, where she stayed for 9 years, eventually serving as senior supervisor for worldwide data billing. The volume of billing increased by about 1,000 percent throughout her tenure there, keeping Ridley and her team on their toes.
After Sprint, Ridley went to work for a company called EcoVault, a manufacturer of storage tanks, where she acquired an impressive array of knowledge. In charge of finance and administration, she also had to understand steel tanks, plumbing, piping, engineering drawings, trucking and cranes. She even learned how to pour concrete.
These job duties are far cries from her Mason experiences. In the psychology department, she deals with both simple and complex budgetary and enrollment issues, handles much of the office’s operations management and fills in other roles whenever needed. She is her department’s ace.
"Susan has been the office manager for psychology for about six years, but ‘manager’ does not quite capture all that she does," said Robert Smith, interim chair of the Department of Psychology. “She is an incredible asset to the department and the college, and she deserves to have her contributions honored with the highest award the college can bestow on staff.”
Eden King, faculty member in the Department of Psychology, said Ridley has been there at the important turns in her career.
“Susan has been there at every decision point, from setting up my lab to conference travel to my promotion and tenure packet, to help support my career. She not only made my job easier, but her calm and supportive demeanor helped put my fears at ease,” King said. “Perhaps what is most amazing is that Susan helps every person she encounters this way. She deals with each student, faculty and staff member with respect and kindness. She routinely goes above and beyond the call of duty in every aspect of her job.”
Carryl Baldwin, also a faculty member in the Department of Psychology, said Ridley always seems to know what to do in any given situation.
“I don’t know what we’d do without her at this point,” Baldwin admits. “She’s the institutional memory of our department, and she knows the workings of the university inside and out. She cares about people and takes into consideration many individual needs.”
Baldwin added, “She makes Mason a more pleasant place to work.”
For her part, Ridley is gratified by the recognition from her fellow employees.
“The most endearing part of all of this is that people took out the time and energy to recognize me,” she said. “The people that are here make all the difference. I have a good rapport with the faculty and staff in the department here, and I'm fortunate to have a good work environment. It makes all the difference.”
In her spare time, Ridley enjoys traveling. When her husband was in the Navy, they took trips to Europe. Now, the family organizes one- or two-day long road trips. Ridley is also a self-proclaimed “movie nut” and enjoys taking advantage of early movie showings, usually before noon, to beat the crowds and to take advantage of well-priced tickets.
Her eldest daughter graduated with her master’s degree and lives in Miami, while her youngest daughter just graduated from James Madison University. Ridley lives with her husband in Vienna.
August 13, 2012