Seeing to it that the Trains Run on Time—All Day, Every Day

Mary Sue Oehlke, Valerie Alombro, Amy Keeler ’93, and Janet Yochim
Mary Sue Oehlke, Valerie Alombro, Amy Keeler ’93, and Janet Yochim

As Dean Locander says of the CoB administrative staff, “Those four are the ones who keep the trains running on time around here. Without Amy, Mary Sue, Valerie, and Janet, we—faculty and students—would have a very rough time getting anything done.” That is to say that Amy Keeler ’93, Mary Sue Oehlke, Valerie Alombro, and Janet Yochim are truly the behind the scenes conductors of the CoB. They are the ones that make sure purchase requisitions are completed so folks get paid, that exams are typed and printed in time for class, that CoB picnics are a success, that the phones are answered and “customers” are happy, that lost items are found, and well, anything and everything else that keeps the CoB running.

Amy Keeler ’93 carries two titles, assistant to the dean and network administrator. As the dean’s assistant, Amy is involved in many aspects of the dean’s work including managing correspondence and calendars, faculty hires, and issuing contracts, to name just a few. Running a close second to her assistant duties are her duties as network administrator, managing the CoB’s computer network which includes an exchange server and four data servers. In her “spare” time, Amy manages the CoB computer lab and oversees the maintenance of the four multi-media classrooms in Miller Hall. All of this translates to “if anything breaks, call Amy.” And, oh, how we call!

Amy has worked at Loyola since 1988. She started out in the Physical Plant office as secretary and then transferred to the Loyola Institute for Ministry (LIM), where she worked as the administrative assistant for graduate enrollment for nine years. It was in 1998 that Amy made the CoB home, hired by former Dean Pat O’Brien. He was impressed not only with her administrative track record but her undergraduate degree in computer information systems as well. O’Brien knew Amy’s understanding of technology would fit in well with the launch of the CoB’s exchange server.

In addition to Amy’s busy work life, she has a busy home life—which she loves. “My husband, Mark, and I have been married for 18 years, and we stay busy with our three kids’ school activities and our church. We are always juggling homework with track meets, football games, dance recitals, birthday parties, and youth group activities for Justin (15), Andrew (13), and Elyssa (5). And we wouldn’t have it any other way.” Amy’s children all attended Loyola’s Whelan Children’s Center until the age of five, and she is looking forward to her kids returning to Loyola for their undergraduate degrees.

Mary Sue Oehlke has been with Loyola for 28 years, 26 of those in the CoB as administrative assistant for CoB faculty. She started working as a three-month part-time hire in the communications department. Well, as things go, that part-time position in communications turned into a full-time, two-year job and eventually led her to the CoB. After 28 years at Loyola, Mary Sue has connections to just about every department on campus, which means she is a great person to know if you need to get anything done around here. Mary Sue had a really great connection to Loyola’s Physical Plant for 28 years—her husband, Bob. But now that Bob has retired, she has to get her info. second hand. And, she has to drive herself to and from work—no more being chauffeured.

In her position, Mary Sue works closely with more than 35 full-time and part-time faculty to ensure that book orders are processed, syllabi and exams are typed and printed, and any other clerical work that needs to be done is completed.

Mary Sue’s connections to Loyola go beyond her 28 years of service. Her aforementioned husband received an undergraduate and law degree from Loyola, and both her daughters attended Loyola. Oldest daughter Rebecca earned her M.B.A., and youngest daughter Rachel received a B.S. in political science from Loyola.

When asked what her favorite part is about working at Loyola, she doesn’t hesitate to answer: “the students.” Mary Sue responded, “We see the students when they have first left the nest and then we help them to earn their wings and fly, tackling the world outside of college. We are proud to have been a small part of their lives and to see what they have accomplished.”

Mary Sue lives a busy life outside of work. She is involved in her church parish in Eucharistic ministry, the altar society, and parish council. She and her husband make the rounds at Corvette shows and entertain at their retirement homestead on the Lake at Hide-a-Way. But her most important activity outside the CoB is being the best grandmother ever to her grandson, Caleb.

Valerie Alombro, also administrative assistant to faculty in the CoB, has many, many connections to Loyola. In addition to having attended Loyola and working on campus for 12 years in the CoB, Valerie has three sons, Christopher, Nicholas, and Matthew, who all hold degrees from the college. Step-daughter Amber and step-son Andrew are both currently pursuing business degrees at Loyola. In addition, Valerie has a sister, Lisa Gaul Adams, who graduated from and works at Loyola and several nieces and nephews who hold degrees. But most significantly, Valerie’s mom, Jean Arnoult Gaul, received her bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1955 and a master’s degree in education in 1992. Maroon and Gold runs deep in this family!

Before coming to Loyola, Valerie worked in the health care industry at Children’s Hospital. She says, “the best part of life is being a mom.” When her sons were students in the CoB, they would leave notes on her desk letting her know “she was the best!” And although her kids are grown, Valerie is still mom to her four-legged friend, Gracie, her rescue lab. She and her husband (and best friend), Lloyd, keep busy on various volunteer projects for her family. Valerie enjoys listening to music of the RedFish Blues Band in which Lloyd plays the bass. She also enjoys gardening and is a devoted Saints fan!

Valerie says her favorite part of working at Loyola is that she gets to work with “so many wonderful and generous people. I thoroughly enjoy assisting people whether they are our CoB students, faculty, co-workers, or our Executive Mentors.” (Valerie served as assistant to the director of the Executive Mentor Program for five years). “I love watching our business students mature and grow during their four years here at Loyola.”

Valerie shares work duties with Mary Sue, making sure the faculty have what they need to hit the ground running from day one of the semester until the very last final exam is given. She mentioned that since she and Mary Sue have worked together in the same office, sitting across from one another for 12 years. “Quite often someone will ask a question and we will respond at the same time with the exact same words, or at the very least, be thinking the exact same thing.” And they both agree that some faculty members’ propensity to procrastinate drives them crazy—but no names were mentioned of course.

Janet Yochim has worked at Loyola for 12 ½ years—five of those years in the CoB as executive secretary to the dean and associate dean; the other years were spent in Institutional Advancement at Loyola. Working in education in some form has been a big part of Janet’s work life as she was with the Orleans Parish School system for 32 years in the Vocational Education Department. Janet developed her strong background in clerical duties at Soulé College, earning a secretarial degree from the business school. Soulé was the oldest business school in the south when it closed its doors in 1983 after 125 years of operation. It boasted many well-known business people in the community including almost every president of Whitney bank—and Janet.

The training Janet received at Soulé has been put to good use at Loyola. Among Janet’s many duties are providing clerical support to the dean and associate dean, typing up and mailing those pesky probation letters some students receive, making sure time sheets are turned in, and processing purchase orders and check requests so folks can get paid, and she is the first person you see when the elevator doors open on Miller’s third floor.
Not least among her duties is working on the annual student awards ceremony. Janet is instrumental in making that event happen every year, ensuring its success. From getting student groups together for nomination meetings, ordering trophies, programs, and invitations, Janet takes the lead.

Like other members of the administrative staff, Janet has various family members who have graduated from Loyola, including a sister who teaches piano in the College of Music and Fine Arts. In addition to her degree from Soulé, Janet also has an associate’s degree in commercial art with a concentration in graphic arts, and she has an unofficial degree in the art of using proper grammar—she will be happy to correct yours for you!

When not working, Janet enjoys spending time with family and friends, gardening, traveling, and dropping the occasional quarter in the slot machine at one of her favorite casinos.

All of our administrative staff members work tirelessly on special events including the very popular CoB picnic. Interesting that when asked what their favorite part of working at Loyola and the CoB was, all commented that it was the people they work with, that the CoB and Loyola were like one big family. The CoB thanks Amy, Mary Sue, Valerie, and Janet for being an integral part of that family, and of course, for keeping the trains running on time. All aboard!

View the complete fall 2012 issue of Loyola Executive.






The CoB is lucky to have four

The CoB is lucky to have four of the most outstanding administrative staff I've ever met! Not only are they exceptionally competent, they're also delightful people. I miss them tremendously!

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