The University of Newcastle, Australia

End of a 44 year era for the Mother of HR

Monday, 20 November 2017

After an amazing 44 years working at UON, our beloved Debbie Smith, Administrative Officer in Human Resource Services (and garden guru) is saying cheerio to UON and is leaving for a well-earned rest.

Debbie Smith

Throughout this time, Deb has been instrumental in creating a positive culture and atmosphere for UON and for the people that have been fortunate enough to work with her.

Deb has maintained strong relationships across UON which is testament of her beautiful character.

Interim Director, People and Workforce Strategy, Tina Crawford reminisced on Deb’s time working at UON.

“I always say to Deb that she is like the Mother of HR. She is an integral part of UON and has played a big role in the culture of HR. I am sure we will all feel a bit lost without her,” Tina said.

Deb started as a stenographer at UON in November 1973 and has been the backbone of HR for many years.

Even from very early on working at UON, supervisors and colleagues all saw something very special in Deb. Her staff evaluations over the years all reflected her true nature and an appreciation of her work – the dedication she has had to her roles, and her willingness to assist those she worked with.

Former Associate Director of Employee Relations at UON, Paul Munro has fond memories working with Deb.

“Deb was the first person I met in HR when I commenced with the University in 1991. It took me no time to recognise she was the glue that kept ‘Staff Services’ together, and she also became my friend.

“Deb has amazing technical skills and many times got us out of a tight situation. I was always astounded that she could produce complicated and lengthy documents in amazing timescales,” Paul said.

Getting stuck into her garden and taking up photography will be hot on Deb’s retirement ‘to do’ list.

Deb will be farewelled on Friday 24 November with a special morning tea by her colleagues in HR.


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