Robin Mahoney, Managing Employee Welfare
If you love the food and look of our newly renovated Building 21 cafeteria, thank GEWA Business Manager Robin L. Mahoney.
Robin L. Mahoney
Goddard Employees Welfare Association (GEWA) Business Manager and Deputy Chief Operations Officer
Formal Job Classification:
Organization She Works For:
Code 100.1, Business Management Office, Office of the Director
What is most interesting about your role here at Goddard?
My position was created in May 2010 and keeps evolving, so it is always interesting. I’m lucky that I get to help define my job.
My day usually starts with a funding request for the Goddard Employees Welfare Association (GEWA) for light refreshments for Advisory Committees or employee activities on Center. I then make a funding recommendation, which the GEWA Council must approve. I’m the person behind the treats at the awards ceremonies!
I’m also behind the renovation of the GEWA Exchange Store. We hope to be done by November 2012. We’re coordinating the design of the facility. We benchmarked with other Centers to obtain feedback on how they ran their stores. Based this benchmarking plus our own
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Photo of Robin Mahoney. Credit: NASA/W. Hrybyk
employee survey, we’re revamping the merchandise to include more NASA-specific gifts and memorabilia, snacks, and small convenience items. Once up and running, we will also introduce more retail strategy.
GEWA money is both appropriated funds from Congress and non-appropriated funds. I manage the appropriated money, which is significant because a lot more Federal regulations then apply. I also manage the non-appropriated service employees including their personnel pay and leave. These are the people who work for the Exchange including the Post Office, recreation center, Visitor Center store, and GEWA store.
Everything I do involves teamwork and collaboration. Although I work for Goddard management, I am the liaison between the GEWA Council and Goddard management. I’m fighting for the interest, morale, and activities of the employees. We all want the same goal, but funding is always an issue. Work-life balance helps employee morale, so I try to recommend new initiatives and programs to help.
What is the coolest thing you’ve ever done as part of your job at Goddard?
By far the coolest thing I’ve done was walking into my new position and immediately becoming part of a management team tasked to write a solicitation to renovate and then operate the very old Building 21 cafeteria. We issued an employee survey and used that feedback to help us design the interior to be more like an internet café complete with collaborative areas for meetings. We wanted warm, inviting colors and lighting. We also wanted a greater variety of fresh food at a reasonable price including international cuisine, vegetarian, and branded franchises like Starbucks. At the end of the day, the employees love their new café which really makes me feel good. I love eating there myself!
As someone who has only been here about 18 months, what advice would you give to new employees?
Our Building 21 cafeteria food is delicious! Be open to learning the scientific culture here. The people are all very nice and extremely helpful. Be flexible with scheduling. “Goddard time” tends to run at least 15 minutes later than real time.
As a recent Leadership Development and Excellence in Management (LDEM) graduate, what is the most important thing that you learned from the program?
As a newcomer, LDEM was a great way to start building a network of people from all over the Center. Also, LDEM challenged me to step outside of my box and become more open in my thinking.
Is there something surprising about you, your hobbies, interests, activities outside of work that people do not generally know?
Growing up, my mother was in a bowling league, so I fell asleep in the bowling aisle on Tuesday nights. I started bowling in my early 20s when one of my closest friends brought me a purple and turquoise bowling ball, which is now my lucky bowling ball. My mother inspired me, but she still beats me every time.
Is there someplace in the world that you want to visit, or someplace you have been and want to go back?
I love to travel and plan a big trip once a year. Next year I’m taking my mother on a seven day Caribbean Cruise for her 60th birthday. Someday, I want to go to Italy to sample the fine cuisine and wine.
› More Conversations With Goddard
Elizabeth M. Jarrell
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.