Staff Superlatives: Janelle Perron Jennings and Sarah Rogis Receive Outstanding Staff Member Awards

Janelle Perron Jennings, Director of Academic Operations, and Sarah Rogis, Director of Career Development, are the winners of this year’s Franklin Staff Awards, which annually recognizes and rewards staff members who have contributed to a culture of courtesy, collegiality, and academic excellence at the School through their excellent work.

Janelle Perron Jennings and Sarah Rogis

Janelle Perron Jennings and Sarah Rogis

Year after year, McIntire offers its students an exceptional educational experience unlike any other. It is the result of the dedicated efforts of numerous individuals who put in the work, day in and day out. They form the backbone of the Commerce School and essential roles at McIntire, helping support world-class faculty, connecting a tight-knit community across a vast global alumni network, and guiding students as they advance to successful careers. A great deal of what makes McIntire great is made possible through the unwavering dedication of the often-unsung heroes: the staff.

Hoping to give proper attention to those staff members who embody the best qualities of McIntire, Laurence C. “Larry” Franklin established an endowment with $50,000 in the spring of 2023 to fund the Outstanding Staff Member Award—a generous gift matched dollar-for-dollar by the Commerce School. The award annually recognizes and rewards staff members who have contributed to a culture of courtesy, collegiality, and academic excellence at the School through their excellent work.

Janelle Perron Jennings, Director of Academic Operations, and Sarah Rogis, Director of Career Development, are the winners of this year’s Franklin Staff Awards. The two recipients were honored during the McIntire Staff Day held on May 23, 2024, each receiving an award of $2,000.

This is the second successive year that the award has been given to staff members who were nominated by their peers, with Jennings and Rogis chosen from among nominations gathered across the School and final determinations made by a committee.

Honoring Excellence

Jennings joined McIntire’s staff in 2016, having first arrived at UVA in 2005 to pursue her Ph.D. in Higher Education. A first-gen college student herself from Plymouth, MA, she held multiple roles at the University before her current one, including as a Doctoral Intern in the Office of the Dean of Students and the Dean of the School of Nursing as she completed her doctoral program, and as Associate Registrar at the Darden School of Business from 2012 through 2016.

In nominations for her contributions to the School, her peers enthusiastically praised her abilities and attitude.

“Janelle is an extremely talented woman with an eye for detail, a fantastic can-do attitude, and a willingness to make and implement good suggestions,” wrote one faculty member. “She’s pleasant and understanding, yet firm, with the students, and I believe our programs are much stronger for it. She is also phenomenal at managing faculty expectations, giving straight answers about what’s possible in terms of both physical and temporal challenges, and nine times out of 10 exceeding those expectations as she works to fulfill one’s requests. She’s a visionary, she’s an encourager, and she rolls up her sleeves and gets things done!”

Another faculty member who works closely with Jennings scheduling courses, managing enrollments, and troubleshooting problems throughout the semester says she is a fantastic colleague, highlighting her ability to enhance the student experience, respecting everyone’s time, and treating everyone fairly as she seeks to balance competing demands between students, staff, faculty, and academic areas.

“Janelle is highly adept at creative problem-solving,” wrote an Area Coordinator. “Whenever I have a seemingly unresolvable conflict, she always comes up with solutions I hadn’t thought of. She can juggle countless little details while also keeping the big picture in mind. She goes above and beyond in researching answers and identifying problems. Janelle’s leadership, attitude, knowledge, and overall effectiveness are a huge part of what makes McIntire’s programs so successful, and I’m excited to nominate her for this award.”

Rogis, Jennings’ co-winner, joined the McIntire School in October of 2015 as an Associate Director with the Commerce Career Services (CCS) team. In the fall of 2019, she became a Director of Undergraduate Career Development, and in summer of 2023, she assumed her current role as Director of Career Development.

In her nomination, one of Rogis’s CCS colleagues writes that she is “consistently the hardest-working member of our team, going above and beyond to tirelessly help students, alumni, faculty, staff, and McIntire constituents.” Rogis has been credited for her tenacity and grit and for providing outstanding leadership and having a positive outlook as the department has grown and met new challenges. “She truly embodies the spirit of McIntire excellence and service.”

Another colleague writes, “Sarah is an outstanding and valuable member of the CCS team who inspires those around her daily,” calling her “a quiet leader who leads by example, never expecting anyone to do something she is unwilling to do herself. She is innovative, inspiring, and extremely driven to make McIntire, specifically Commerce Career Services, the best it can be.”

Additionally, a colleague credits Rogis for “spending countless hours researching and benchmarking, all while managing and mentoring her team and coaching numerous students. I am always so impressed with her interest in developing the skills to provide appropriately focused and timely advice and resources to our students, especially as we see the job market trends changing and being influenced by technology.”

She has been praised for her mentorship, with a junior peer explaining that “she teaches having a volunteer spirit, great communication, and learning by doing. She is the heart of CCS.”

Celebrating as a Team

Jennings says she was both surprised and humbled when she learned she received the Franklin Staff Award. She believes she was chosen for it because of the effort she puts into solving problems creatively and the time she takes to consider improving various aspects of the School.

“Although I spend time planning for the future and the changes that are to come, I also keep my head down and work with an amazing team to get the everyday things done that we need to do,” says Jennings. “Because of this, I do not think about others noticing the work that I do, so the fact that someone took time out of their day to recognize me is just amazing.”

For Rogis, she insists she is motivated by a great deal that is rewarding about her work in both higher education and at McIntire in particular: “I am surrounded by incredibly bright and driven students and challenged and supported by our faculty and leadership to both create and innovate.”

But she is quick to praise her CCS team for her own success. “They remind me every day that while our plates are full, our world is unpredictable, and the needs of the students we serve are ever changing—I’m not alone in this bigger mission to graduate self-aware, empowered, and resilient change agents and future leaders. The Franklin Staff Award is therefore especially meaningful to me, as it represents the recognition of my peers, without whom I could not possibly succeed and for whom I have the utmost respect and admiration,” Rogis says.

Jennings was also grateful to many at McIntire: “I would like to thank my nominators for this wonderful award, and I also thank the outstanding Student Services and Academic Operations team for their unwavering support. Thanks for all that you do every day!”

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