Tara Stewart might be a new face in the Robins School of Business, but she has already formed strong bonds with students, faculty and staff members in her administrative assistant position that supports The Richmond MBA program and Executive Education. 

Stewart joined the University of Richmond after an eight-year tenure at The Martin Agency as senior operations assistant.  “While at the Martin Agency, I conducted new hire orientation, handled event planning for the agency and provided a wide variety of administrative support for the operations department,” she said. 

She was initially drawn to applying for the administrative position at the University because she knew she would have the opportunity to interact with students and the greater community on campus. 

“I was ready for a new challenge,” Stewart explained.  “With this particular position I knew I would be working with the students and would love it.”

Stewart had her eye on available positions at the University for some time. 

“I’ve always thought this would be a great place to work,” she said.  “I love the activity on campus.  I have enjoyed taking part in various events such as football games and I have even taken a few cooking classes.” 

In her role, Stewart divides her day between supporting The Richmond MBA program and the Robins School’s Executive Education division.  On the MBA side, she is instrumental in programs like the Glimpse Inside, MBA Career Management and Dinner series.  She also can be found on the go at Opening Residency, on hand during Capstone presentations and just about any other MBA-related event. 

Debbie Fisher, Assistant Director of the MBA program, has been impressed with Stewart’s initiative and said that she has already made her own workload more manageable.

“[Stewart’s] initiative in taking on new responsibilities and her organizational skills have enabled me to be more productive in my own role,” Fisher said.

Within the Executive Education division, Stewart said: “I’m a ‘runner’ more than anything else but I provide administrative support and work closely with students in the Mini MBA program.”

“A typical day is arriving at 9:00, checking in with each member of The Richmond MBA program to see what I can help out with,” Stewart explained.  “I spend the mornings strictly working on MBA programs and administrative items.”

Just before lunch, Stewart transitions to supportive duties for Executive Education.  “I’ll set out afternoon snacks and make sure the classrooms have everything they need,” she said. “Once I’m back from lunch, I check in again with Executive Education and MBA staff.” 

Her day typically wraps up around 6:30 pm.  “Around 5 pm, I pack Executive Education things away, straighten the classrooms and lock up,” she said.

“I then make myself available for MBA students should they need me. I would say that at least one night a week we have an MBA event which I’ll assist with.”

According to Fisher, Stewart has already gone above and beyond to develop relationships with students in The Richmond MBA and master her knowledge of the program.

“Another great quality I admire in Tara is her desire to understand every aspect of the MBA program and to know all of our students,” Fisher said.  “Sometimes just before classes, Tara will visit the atrium so she can say hello to MBA students as they arrive.”

“This is a community-building activity and students appreciate it,” according to Fisher.  “We tell prospective students that the MBA staff cares about and gives a high level of support to students.” Stewart exemplifies this every day.

Stewart, who studied psychology at Radford University and is a full-time mother of four outside the office, said that interacting with students is the best part of her job. 

“I have enjoyed the energy of the students and getting to know them,” Stewart said.  “I look forward to going through the entire process with them from Opening Residency to Commencement day.”