For the past 10 years, Lina Balcom has served the UVM community as Assistant Director of Davis Center Operations & Events.  She came to UVM with an extensive higher education resume and quicky found her place within our Davis Center family serving as the day-to-day point person for supporting both full-time staff and a team of 75-80 students who, among other things, are responsible for managing and supporting thousands of events and meetings each year. 

Lina embodies all the ideals of the Our Common Ground Award and has continuously looked for ways to improve herself, her team, and the Davis Center.  Those who are familiar with Gallup’s StrengthsFinder assessment tool, will not be surprised to hear that Lina is a “WOO” - someone skilled at “Winning Others Over”.  She does this by being an authentic and enthusiastic communicator who, as one colleague stated, “has a knack for making quick connections, then mines those for meaning”.

Lina keeps students at the core of her work and fiercely strives to support and mentor them.  Countless Davis Center alumni have left UVM with a robust set of leadership and customer service skills, as well as a deep appreciation for their time on our team; much of that experience is the direct result of the vision and leadership Lina has invested into developing our team and its culture.
From day one, Lina has demonstrated a commitment to recruiting and retaining a talented and diverse student staff.  A current student nominator expressed that before meeting Lina, she did not have a strong connection to any staff at UVM and as a student of color, stated that it had been particularly difficult to find staff she could trust and feel comfortable around - until she connected with Lina.  A former student, and current colleague nominator, stated that “the respect and trust she places in her staff translates to an excellence in the workplace from students who feel respected, empowered, and capable… which creates an environment in which they are motivated to succeed.”

Another nominator stated that “Lina is a highly skilled communicator who excels in approaching difficult topics and conversations in a respectful way that lifts all of us to a greater level of awareness, creating dialogue, not defensiveness.”  She is increasingly seen by others as a “tenacious problem-solver, relationship-builder, space-maker, and campus community pillar.”   

Those who know Lina will find truth in these descriptions and those who have yet had the opportunity and pleasure to get to know Lina will certainly come to realize and appreciate what she brings to our community.  She is the complete administrative package, and a perfect example of the caliber of staff this important award aims to recognize and celebrate.