Lana Cooke

The consummate confidential secretary

January 21, 2010

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SFU’s annual staff achievement awards honours staffers’ exceptional personal and work-related accomplishments. Throughout this semester, SFU News will profile each of the 2009 winners, who will be recognized at SFU’s annual faculty and staff awards dinner March 10 at the Diamond Alumni Centre.

Lana Cooke was surprised to receive the 2009 Staff Achievement award for work performance. In her job as secretary to the dean of applied sciences, she works very much behind the scenes to keep the dean’s office running efficiently. "I didn’t think that kind of work would be noticed," she says.

Cooke is very much mistaken. More than a dozen nominators, including past deans and co-workers, raved about her exceptional efforts on their behalf. "Lana is likely the most thorough staff person at the university," said one. "Her attention to detail is phenomenal and a dean’s dream. Nothing she does is done just well. It is done the best it can be. I would wager she is probably the best personal secretary at the university, probably by far."

Cooke has worked at SFU for 22 years, 20 of those in her current job. Before that, she spent 11 years as secretary to the political science department chair at the University of Lethbridge.

"My first job was at a university and I’ve loved it," says Cooke. "I’ve been lucky."

Her role as dean’s secretary sees her organizing the dean’s schedule and coordinating all paperwork related to faculty personnel matters, including renewal, tenure, promotion and salary reviews. It was big job when the faculty included six schools and close to 200 faculty members, she says. And the recent transition to a faculty with just two schools hasn’t made it any easier because there’s now a new dean and new initiatives to coordinate.

Cooke’s nominators say one of her greatest strengths is her keen understanding of university policy procedures, a critical asset in helping to running a dean’s office.

A former dean, who worked with Cooke for seven years, says she was like a wise parrot on his shoulder, "hinting that I could be doing something a little differently, a little better, with a more positive outcome for the university." She is, he says, "the consummate confidential secretary."


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Lana Cooke is always so professional and so helpful -- this award is well-deserved!

B. D. Dua

We miss Lana Cooke for her exceptional professionalism and gift of grace at the University of Lethbridge. Indeed very glad to hear that she has been recognized for the award she well-deserved.

Guy Moore

Well done Lana your award is the Gold

medal award of secretarial work.

Well done long overdue.I am very proad of you.

Best wishes Guy Moore.

John Christianson

Lana, i am so proud of you. you definetly deserve this award. i know that the university is very lucky to have a person like you. your whole family is very proud of all your hard work. good for you Lana!!!

Fiona Burrows

Congrats Lana-you're a star and so deserving of this award.

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