Yolanda Cassidy: From Temp to Manny Genn Prize Winner
“I was only supposed to be here three months, in 1998,” Yolanda Cassidy said with a laugh.
Twenty years ago, Ms. Cassidy walked three blocks from her home to Einstein to fill a temporary position in supportive services for someone on maternity leave. When the three months were up, she was asked to stay.
Since then, she’s worked in departments all over Einstein and is currently an administrator in Einstein’s department of epidemiology & population health. Last year, she earned a master’s degree in business management and leadership — and she became the newest recipient of Einstein’s Manny Genn Prize.
Emanuel “Manny” Genn, the former associate dean of administration and finance who retired in 2008 after 36 years at Einstein, established the award with his wife Myra to support the professional development of members of the Einstein community by providing grant money for career-oriented courses or trips to professional conferences.
A Happy Coincidence
It’s particularly fitting that Ms. Cassidy is a Manny Genn Prize winner, because that first temp job at Einstein two decades ago was working with none other than Mr. Genn himself.
“I am probably the only recipient who has actually worked with Manny,” she said, laughing again. “He was great. He taught me a lot. He was very proactive, a roll-up-your-sleeves and get to work kind of guy.”
Back then, she worked with Mr. Genn on budgets using pencil and paper. Now, she’s tasked with navigating the sometimes complex world of research grant funding.
Putting the Award to Good Use
She plans to use her prize money to attend a National Council of University Research Administrators (NCURA) conference — and to cover costs for the Certified Research Administrator (CRA) test.
She attends a NCURA conference in Washington, D.C. every year, but they also have larger conferences in other locations that she’d like to attend.
“Every time I come back from a conference I feel more confident. When a doctor asks me a question, I know the answer – or I’ll know who to call to get an answer,” she said. “The conferences give me a chance to brainstorm with my colleagues in the grant world and to actually discuss regulations with people from the National Institutes of Health.”
Rules and regulations on how to treat human subjects are changing all the time, she noted, so it’s important to stay up-to-date. “That’s why I like these meetings. I can go to a seminar on the treatment of human subjects and I’ll think of ten things I didn’t think of before. The rules are evolving more and more, and you have to keep up. It’s challenging.”
A Permanent and Positive Impact
After 20 years at Einstein, the Manny Genn Prize is a validation of her hard work.
“I didn’t feel like I was worthy of applying at first. But after I got my master’s I felt like I paid my dues, so I applied,” she said.
She made dean’s list at Concordia University in Bronxville after completing a 14-month program, with classes on Friday nights and Saturday mornings.
“Manny Genn paid it forward, and his award is such a positive thing,” she said. “It’s a pat on the back, and it makes me feel good about my work and my worth.”
Posted on: Tuesday, March 26, 2019