People of SFU

People of SFU: Meet Joelle Mariano, VPFA Office Assistant

April 22, 2021

Meet Joelle Mariano, Office Assistant for VP Finance and Administration (VPFA). SFU News asked Joelle to tell us about a typical workday at SFU. Here’s what she had to say:


I always start my day with a mug of Matcha tea almost the size of my head. Somewhere in the middle of working remotely, I switched from coffee and I haven’t looked back!

The first thing I do, whether I’m working on campus or at home, is tackle my emails. I constantly check my inbox throughout the day to ensure I prioritize and respond to any urgent requests. 

Today, as per usual, I am providing administrative support to the VPFA Chief Officers, trying to squeeze some upcoming meetings into their very packed schedules.

After that’s accomplished, I turn my attention towards providing project assistance on some operational administrative pieces. I’m fortunate to collaborate with various departments around many high-priority university initiatives and projects, one of which is coordinating meetings for the Personal Safety Steering Committee. The committee’s engagement work is especially important during this time as they work towards enhancing personal safety across our campuses.

This morning, I’m also assisting the financial services department by entering timesheets for VPFA staff. I know they appreciate my help getting everyone paid and keeping vacation days updated. I’m happy to say a lot of staff have taken much-needed time off in these last few weeks, as the office has been ramping up to prepare for the busy months ahead.  


My morning work completed, I usually try to get some fresh air in the middle of the day. Whether it’s taking my dog out for a quick walk or moving my laptop to the front porch, I like to spend time outdoors and take a break from my screen. 


After another scan of my email inbox, I work on the remaining projects on my list in the afternoon. 

Today, I have a Zoom meeting with my colleagues to discuss VPFA Strategic Plan 2020-2023 reporting. We’ve been developing a tool to improve the efficiency of data collection while we are all working remotely. 

I also help support one of the VPFA’s priorities: sustainability. We moved office locations over the pandemic, so I’ve been working to certify the new office as a “Sustainable Space” at the highest level possible and recording ways to improve workplace sustainability once more staff are regularly on campus. I’m looking forward to the day when we can all work together again in person at the office. In the meantime, working from home and having Zoom check-ins is a great way to stay engaged and connect with colleagues.

End-of-Day Wrap Up

With one last look through my emails and calendar, I turn off my laptop and leave my workstation. 

In looking back at what I accomplished today, I take pride in knowing I’ve provided exceptional client service throughout my assignments (another VPFA priority!) as well as trying to instill the VPFA core values of accountability, respect and engagement throughout my work. 

What I enjoy most about my job is the role I get to play in coordinating and providing support for projects and initiatives that have positive direct impacts for our VPFA people and the wider SFU community. What I do and contribute makes a difference and that’s the best feeling one can have.

Thanks to Joelle Mariano for sharing a brief glimpse into her typical workday world as part of the VPFA. The VPFA provides leadership in foundational, day-to-day operational and administrative support services to meet the needs of SFU’s students, staff, faculty and wider community across all three campuses. You can learn more by visiting the VPFA website:

This is the second story in our People of SFU series, where we’re celebrating SFU’s unsung heroes—those who go above and beyond the call of duty to create community, advance SFU’s mission and make the university a great place to work and learn. You can read more stories here.