This article originally appeared in Williamsburg's Next Door Neighbor (pdf).
With years of experience in auxiliary services and a passion for higher education, Cindy Glavas loves her job. She has an engaging attitude and infectious smile, and is currently the Director of Auxiliary Services for William & Mary. Cindy works diligently to ensure that her department functions efficiently for both staff and customers. Within a higher education setting, auxiliary services are essential for a diverse array of the population, including students, faculty and guests.
According to Cindy, auxiliary services encompass everything from the dining hall to trademark licensing. “Auxiliary Services vary from school to school, but at William & Mary they include dining services, W&M bookstore, McCormack-Nagelson Tennis Center, Tribe card services office (ID Cards and the Express program), parking and transportation, print shop, Williamsburg Child Care Center, conference services, vending and trademark licensing,” she says.
Cindy’s career path into this field began during her own higher education experience. She grew up in Gloucester Point, Virginia, and after attending Hampton Roads Academy, went on to college at American University in Washington, D.C. She received her BSBA with a concentration in International Business and then went on to receive an MBA.
While attending American University, she worked part-time as a cashier in the Eagle’s Nest, the school’s convenience store. The store was one of the auxiliary services at the university. She took that job 26 years ago. “ Through that experience, the manager of the convenience store asked me to take on more of a business manager role in Auxiliary Services by preparing deposits and helping update reports,” she says. “Later, as a junior, I started looking for a full-time job at American University, but there was not an opportunity in Auxiliary Services. However, I was successful working full-time in Financial Aid, Design and Construction, and in Facilities Management at the Washington College of Law, that’s American’s law school, while finishing my undergraduate and graduate degree at American University.”
The spark had been lit, though, and Cindy started to explore opportunities to work in this field. Although she did not work in higher education for a couple of years, she later had the opportunity to return to American University to become the Marketing and Contracts Manager for Auxiliary Services. After remaining there for another 10 years and becoming the Director of Auxiliary Services during that time she decided to take an opportunity, in 2005, to become the Finance Manager for Auxiliary Services. This position allowed her some flexibility of telecommuting and gave her and her family the opportunity to move back to Williamsburg in 2008. After spending many years in the Washington D.C. area, Cindy and her husband decided that they wanted to return to Williamsburg to raise their family. They now have two sons, ages 14 and 11, and her parents and her brother’s family also live in Williamsburg.
“I continued telecommuting until 2010 from Williamsburg, at which time I accepted a job as the Associate Director of Business Operations at Old Dominion University managing all business operations for the Office of Housing and Residence Life.” Cindy became the Director of Auxiliary Services at William & Mary in 2013.
“I love my job,” she says. She points out that people don’t generally land in a job like hers without really wanting to do it. “I don’t think I went to college saying I want to work in auxiliary services, but I think once I got into auxiliary services and started working full time for higher education I knew that was the path I wanted to take. I took a break for two years, and we actually moved down here once and lived in Norfolk. I worked in the for-profit world, and that really cemented for me that higher education was where I wanted to be. After that experience, I had the opportunity to go back to American and took it.”
Cindy finds her job interesting because she never has the same day twice. “I have always loved working in higher education and am so happy to be in Williamsburg and at William & Mary,” she says. “We have a great auxiliary services team who wants to provide the best services to our students, faculty, staff and guests.”
During the years Cindy has been working in this field not much has changed, as these services typically encompass the amenities that students expect to receive as part of their university experience. There is, however, one exception. “One area that has evolved is the technology available to support operations and another is marketing and communication,” she says. “We have been very successful at W&M updating the systems that support our different areas. We have also effectively built our marketing and communication efforts to our students via email, Facebook and Instagram.” The efficiency of technology has allowed them to disseminate information through multiple channels so each of the auxiliary areas can provide better customer service.
Cindy’s job entails not just working with students, though. Her department interacts in many ways with the general public as well. “Our bookstore is located in Merchants Square so there is a lot of involvement with the local community and visitors. The bookstore also works closely with Colonial Williamsburg and Merchants Square for the different events that go on throughout the year.” W&M dining services is also responsible for the concessions for football and basketball games, and the parking and traffic services interact with visitors for special events.
An important aspect to auxiliary services is that they are self-sufficient. “Auxiliary services is another potential revenue source for the college, so we need to be self-sufficient and cover our operating expenses, our debt and our facilities,” she says. Since they provide another source of revenue for the school they are always looking to cut expenses or discover new revenue opportunities. An example of a revenue producing product would be the scented candle that was introduced and sold by Yankee Candle in 2013. Dark green in color, the scented candle was wrapped in a W&M logo. W&M can then earn a commission off of the sale of those products.
“ The bookstore is always looking to diversify what they are offering,” Cindy says. “Our entire department wants to be up with the trends. Within food services we want to make changes and be able to respond to the foods that our students are looking to have when they come to the campus.” W&M currently has a registered dietician on staff to address specific food concerns that students might have, and they offer vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options.
One additional thing that Cindy Glavas really enjoys about her job is the energy students bring to campus. She stresses that feedback from students is always welcome as it is essential to keeping her department running at maximum efficiency.
“In each auxiliary area we can’t fix a problem if we don’t know about it,” she says. “We constantly try to share our links from our website so we can have feedback. Dining services right now is doing a survey, and although we don’t want to over-survey our students we find that those are very valuable to get feedback. We have different committees that we sit on where students are also members and they provide that feedback as well. We’re always trying to communicate that we welcome that.”