Friday, December 22, 2017
After over five years of dedicated service as executive administrator, the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) department bids farewell to Carrie Toffoletto before she transitions to the Office of the Provost in January.
"Carrie has been the most supportive, positive and inspiring boss who brings out the best in everyone, but at the same time has nurtured all of our individual talents," said Victoria Leyton, lead research administrator. "While I am sad to see her leave ECE, I know she will bring the same energy to her new position within Rice."
Toffoletto joined the department in 2012 as the graduate administrator and was later named executive administrator. She has led, managed, and provided strategic direction for the department's operations-related functions. She has also served in an advisory capacity to support the faculty, staff and students.
"She has become the common denominator that has fortified the cohesiveness that exists within the ECE department," said Cyndi Menchaca, lead financial analyst. "Carrie provides guidance, common sense and the power to help make great things happen when we all work together towards a common goal."
Vicki Schutter, purchasing coordinator, who has worked in the ECE department for over 33 years, echoed Menchaca's sentiment. She said Toffoletto immediately became a major asset and integral part of the team.
"I have been through a lot of department administrators during my time here, and Carrie is one of my two favorites," said Schutter. "One of the best things about Carrie [is that] she trusts the staff to do their jobs, which makes us trust her to have our backs."
When recalling particularly fond memories, Toffoletto recounted a rather electryfying ECE team building experience that involved llamas at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo in 2014.
"We felt that, as a staff, we needed a team bonding experience," said Toffoletto. "So we decided to go to the llama costume competition at the rodeo."
At the Youth Llama Costume Show, which is held annually at NRG Stadium, llamas and alpacas are dressed in wild garb to compete for a grand prize.
As a nod to the event, staff members were asked to dress miniature llama figurines in costumes prior to attending the show.
"That experience was a great team exercise," said Toffoletto. "It snowballed from there, and now the llama has become the official staff mascot."
It's memories like this one that Toffoletto is sure to hold dear as she begins her new chapter as the executive administrator of the Office of the Provost.
"It has been an amazing journey [at ECE]," said Toffoletto. "It has been filled with challenges and celebrations. I have learned and grown a lot from the experiences and interactions with everyone."
The faculty and staff recently presented Toffoletto with a Chief Llama Emeritus award as well as a plaque of appreciation to recognize her outstanding service and wish her well in her future endeavor.