Throughout the academic year the Staff Council randomly selects a staff member to celebrate in our Spotlight on Staff. Our recipient for the month of April is Lyone Conner.
Lyone Conner is a true Gael. She has been part of the SMC Community for the past 14 years, first as a student and RA, and then as a staff member. Lyone fell in love with SMC as a high school senior because of the spirit and mission of the College. As a result of her strong feelings, she chose to make SMC the only school she applied to. She is a two time alum, graduating in 2004 with a bachelor’s in Liberal and Civic Studies and Spanish, and graduating in 2011 with her master’s in Leadership. Over the years she has served in numerous roles, from Resident Director to the Coordinator of Housing and Facilities, to her current role as the Assistant Registrar. Saint Mary’s has played a big role in Lyone’s personal life as well. She met her husband, Teohn, here when they were both undergrads and they completed the master’s program together. They were married at SMC in 2009 and have two beautiful children, Tauvia and Taun, who are sure to be future Gaels.
Lyone’s favorite memories include serving on the Diversity Retreat four different times, where she was able to interact with students more personally and attend as a learner as well as a leader. Another favorite is the Black Admitted Students Reception where she has been able to meet incoming students and their families and talk with them about the ins and outs of Saint Mary’s. Prior to having children, she regularly attended the cultural nights, guest speaker presentations and the Dance Company Performances. She served as the MC a number of times for the Black Graduation Ceremony and recalls sharing that role with Dr. John Dennis before he passed. Lyone also has a special memory of participating with her mother on a Women’s Resource Center panel about relationships between mothers and daughters.
How long have you been at Saint Mary’s?
I entered as a student in 2000; graduated in 2004 and immediately began working for the College.
Tell us a little about your job.
I’m an Assistant Registrar. I work at the front counter as the first responder for the office; I am the VA Certifying Official; I supervise the student employees; I build the schedules for KSOE; I’m the Cal Grant GPA reporter, and I do a lot of specialty tasks, such as Independent Studies, Challenge for Credits, Competency Evals, most Open Enrollment accounts, Leave of Absences & Withdrawals, etc.
What do you enjoy the most about your job?
I work in an office, where my colleagues and I talk about issues beyond the work we do, so we’ve been able to know each other through deeper levels of conversation. I also realize that the questions the students ask at the counter require the exact answer, as it could otherwise misguide their degree completion, so I appreciate the challenge of learning details about our academic programs and policies, as a means by which to further help the students. I am a ‘rules’ person by nature, so I thrive on needing to memorize so much information, and it feels like I’m on a game show as I’m daily asked an array of questions from faculty, students, staff and visitors. Also, my family dynamic has recently changed, so I’m grateful for the flexibility to be present for my family as needed, and to still have the opportunity to work, as they are my priority.
What do you enjoy most about the SMC Community?
I love that the SMC Community feels like a community, in terms of its membership and relational sense. I’ve sat on a lot of hiring committees for other departments; I serve on the Discipline Hearing Board (DHB) Committee, I served as an interim Assistant Director in the Intercultural Center, and I’m a Campus of Difference (COD) facilitator, none of which has to do with being an Assistant Registrar, so I appreciate being able to expand my involvement and relationship with other departments in that way. I am a pretty direct person, who is upfront with people by choice, so I am grateful for those who welcome my character. I also like that it’s possible to have such connections with members of the campus, alongside of my role at the Registrar’s Office; such opportunities have taught me so much about who I am, what I believe in, and how I think we should strive to be at Saint Mary’s.
I’ve also been at SMC so long that there are many employees, past and present, who are not just colleagues but true personal friends, with whom I see and speak to outside of work. This campus has supported my growth, development and personal well-being in many ways. That doesn’t mean I don’t have a list of items or practices which I believe the College ought to change, but these experiences have been a large contribution to my retention.
Finally, I like seeing students while off campus. Though it can also be awkward for a number of reasons, I like when students notice me in other settings and feel comfortable to say hi. My daughter especially finds it exciting to see a “real live student from the College” in her everyday world.
Outside of work, is there anything you'd like to share about your interests, hobbies, family, or volunteer work?
I love to dance and have done everything from line dancing, African dance, Tahitian, Bailé Fokloriko, and more. I am in love with my family, which includes my four-year-old daughter and 8 month old son, and I am a big supporter of my husband who graduated from SMC, played under Randy Bennett, & who plays in an ABA league. My Mom is a recent breast cancer survivor, and I am in full admiration of her triumph of this process and disease.