By: Sarah Tewksbury, Editor-in-Chief
Walking into the office of the president at USM visitors are instantaneously greeted by a friendly face. Julie Costanzo, the administrative specialist in the office, sits constantly prepared for the demanding job she holds. Her day starts before President Cummings walks into the office. Without Julie, the President would not know what his day is supposed to consist of, or even have appointments to begin with. In charge of the schedule and making sure it is executed as flawlessly as possible, Julie has to be on top of her game from the start of her day, right up to the last minute she is sitting at her desk.
Her tenacity to work through the endurance race that is her job is just one of the qualities that makes Julie stand out. Positivity and humor are continuously visible on Julie’s face.
Since the age of thirteen, Julie has lived in Maine and considers herself to be a Mainer, though she acknowledges the requirements for being considered being from the state to have been born here, to a family that was all born here. “I try to use the fact that my mom is from the County to give me a little bit more street cred with Mainers. I’m like, hey my mom has actually harvested potatoes, does that matter? And Mainers are like, no,” Julie said with a laugh.
After graduating high school, Julie was confronted with the classic question eighteen year olds are often saddled with–what are you going to do with the rest of your life? Being guided by her parents towards a professional, highly coveted career, such as medicine or law, Julie went the opposite way and decided to just take a few classes in college before leaving university. Hardworker
Julie got on her career path after completing the certificate course in health unit coordinating at SMCC. Once she had earned the certificate, she got a job at Maine Medical Center where she stayed for nine years.
“It was a very interesting job. I was a health unit coordinator so I worked directly on a health unit, and it worked very similar to the way this works, in that I was the low person on the totem pole but I got to tell everyone what to do and when to do it,” said Julie.
After leaving Maine Medical Center, Julie worked hard and persevered through a several jobs working in the administrative sector. Some positions allowed for Julie to thrive and to make offices flow effectively and efficiently. However, there were a few positions along the way that were more difficult to work through.
Listening to Julie tell her story and talk about how she got from high school to working for USM in the President’s office was interesting. Though what she was doing is fascinating, to me, I learned more about Julie from how she spoke about her life. Julie tried so hard to focus the entire conversation on others and away from herself. She showed how much she values the people that she works with and who are in her life by doing this. For the first ten minutes of the interview, Julie talked about how wonderful of a boss President Cummings is and how his attitude and outlook make coming to work everyday such a joy.
The two main points that Julie shared with me during an interview that stuck with me were that the quality of life can be improved greatly if you are willing to be positive and embrace humor and that a great boss has the ability to make any job worthwhile. Throughout her professional career, Julie has had bosses that made going to work everyday a serious drag. In Julie’s opinion, being able to work as an administrative assistant when you can admire and look up to your boss can make the work being done fulfilling and meaningful.
Julie’s hilarious and bright personality is noticeable the second she introduces herself. Assertive and kind, she is able to tackle the most difficult problems at USM, while simultaneously being able to admit when she needs help or when something has gone wrong. Having fun throughout her day, Julie thrives when a good joke can be made. Her laughter is not easily forgotten or ignored.
For me, Julie is one of the most inspiring people at USM because she never fails to care. Everytime that I walk into the President’s office, which oddly enough is more often than you’d think, Julie takes her hands off her keyboard, looks me directly in the eye, smiles, and says, “Sarah! How are you doing?” Her genuine and kind nature is constant, even amidst her own bad days. She is there for students, staff and faculty when they need a laugh or someone to just say hi to them. After hearing her story and the emphasis she places on certain aspects of her life, I must say that I am more motivated to be as good and nice of a person as Julie is. There is no finer administrative specialist than Julie Costanzo.