Jay Monteiro sums up his 19 years at NIU in a simple, yet meaningful, few words.
“You can solve a lot of things with a smile,” offered Monteiro, assistant to the dean for marketing, communications and events in the College of Visual and Performing Arts.
Monteiro gained that perspective through 14 years working in the university’s human resources department and in various positions over the last five years within student affairs, and in the College of Education, where he worked with alumni relations. He understands the value of being able to provide basic customer service by doing the little things – finding answers to questions and showing compassion to those who need it.
He’s also been very active with the Operating Staff Council in support of NIU workers who he calls the “unsung heroes working in the trenches” to make the university the best place it can be for students and others.
Monteiro’s longtime and continued impact at NIU recently earned him an Operating Staff Outstanding Service Award, an honor he calls humbling. While he says his work is an extension of who he is, others recognize the depth of Monteiro’s commitment.
“My experience working with Jay has been rewarding and encouraging. He is a talented professional who is eager to learn and build upon his experiences working with staff across the university,” Amy Franklin, assistant to the vice president in student affairs, wrote in a nominating letter. “He is committed to student success and mindful of how the work we do on the administrative side of the ‘house’ might impact our students.”
Added Associate Vice President for Student Affairs Kelly Wesener Michael, “Jay understands the value of helping people with life issues, not just work issues. In his many roles, particularly in his work in human resources, Jay has always valued spending time with staff. He fully appreciates that work issues are often rooted in life issues.”
Monteiro’s pride in his work is likely only matched by the strength of his connection to the university. He and his wife Christine, also an operating staff employee, met during their undergrad years at NIU. Their daughter, Olivia, is now a student.
“We kind of bleed red and black,” he said.