March 2021 Profile of a Senator

Meet Natalie Davis: Staff Senator and Research Initiatives Specialist, Office of Research, Innovation, and Economic Impact (ORIEI)

Natalie Davis, her son Leo, and husband Stephen.

Roles: Primarily, I support the Vice President for Research, though I also provide support to our various offices and departments throughout. Overall, I help keep our day-to-day operations and initiatives running smoothly; as with most of us, this encompasses a number of duties and responsibilities. I love what I do, and I am consistently grateful to work with so many fabulous people! I enjoy seeing what the faculty and staff accomplish in research, and I’m glad to be part of this office and the larger Mason community.

Mason journey: I received my bachelor’s degree from Mason in Integrative Studies and held an internship my senior year with the Office of Admissions. This led me to realize how much I loved working in higher education. My first professional role at Mason was at INTO Mason, which was such an incredible experience. I have held two positions since then – one as Executive Assistant to the Provost, and now my current role, both of which have been tremendously rewarding. Overall, my time at Mason amounts to roughly 8.5 years, and I’m looking forward to many more!

COVID-19 transition: When COVID-19 first hit, I was serving in my previous role. I was assisting the Provost and our immediate team in any way possible, which especially included scheduling many meetings to prepare for what was to come and shifting and adjusting a lot of what we had on the calendar. It also included a lot of organizing and coordinating with my colleagues to ensure we had what we needed to transition to telework and responding to constituent concerns. At this same time, we were also preparing for the transition between our former provost and our current provost. It was a busy time, but manageable with so many excellent colleagues!

Staff support for research: I want to especially highlight all the wonderful staff and faculty who are part of research at Mason. Mason is one of the youngest universities (if not the youngest) selected by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education as one of the top research universities in the country. While many of us working at Mason hear this often, it is a genuinely amazing achievement. Mason reported just over $220M in research for fiscal year 2020, a record high for the university. I want to give a shout-out to our staff throughout ORIEI, the units, and the university overall who do so much to support research at Mason. While we absolutely cannot perform research without our faculty, many staff also greatly contribute to making our research possible and supporting these endeavors. Especially in the era of COVID, there was so much our staff did to help support our faculty and ongoing research, and many processes that had to adapt quite quickly to keep things running smoothly. I’m really proud to work with such amazing people!

Best thing about working at Mason: There are so many possible answers to this question! I suppose if I had to choose one thing only, it would be the people (as so many before me have agreed!). Mason is what it is because of the wonderful staff, faculty, and students. I loved my time as a student, and I have greatly enjoyed every role I have served in professionally, and it’s all credit to the amazing people who are part of the Mason community and the environment we have all helped shape. I especially love that I have learned so much from those around me, and the diversity that Mason has.

Why I serve on Staff Senate: Should I say again that I just really love Mason? But because of that, while there are so many positives to working here and my experiences have overall been really great, I know that there are also things we can improve! I’ve always been passionate about making a difference where I can, and I believe serving on Staff Senate is a great place to do just that. I especially love finding ways to appreciate and recognize our staff, and to help advocate for an even better Mason. It’s really just an honor to be part of making a positive impact for our community!

Role model: A fun fact is that one of the people I most admire in all of history is William Wilberforce. The work he did for social justice (which tremendously includes ending the slave trade in England, but also many other things) astounds me. There is so much that we can contribute to our own communities and those around us if we only try. Wilberforce may have spearheaded many movements and initiatives, but he had many standing alongside him. In whatever role it may be, we all have a chance to contribute to creating a better world.

At the end of the day: I am a full-time working mother (to my spunky 2-year-old son), a wife, and a Christian. I’m incredibly passionate about peacebuilding, and I hope to bring some of these principles into the work I do at Mason and on Staff Senate. I look forward to serving our staff and helping make Mason even better than it already is. I am grateful for the education, flexibility, kind colleagues, learning opportunities, and career path that Mason has provided me and I look forward to “giving back” through my work here.


March 2021

Nominations for the Jack Wood Award for Town Gown Relations Being Accepted Through March 19

Jack Wood, former Mayor for the then-Town of Fairfax, was the driving force for arranging a campus to be located on land adjacent to the town and deeding it to the university, thus beginning the Town Gown relationship between university and community. 

 In his honor, the George Mason University Office of Government and Community Relations presents this university/community-wide award program to recognize faculty, staff, students, businesses/not-for-profits, community members and elected officials/staff who demonstrate leadership in fostering mutually beneficial relationships between the university and the community. Those with community relations/outreach as a primary responsibility in their job description are not eligible. 

Nominations for the 2021 Jack Wood Award for Town Gown Relations are currently being accepted. To nominate yourself or someone else, please submit the online form by March 19. Award Recipients will be selected and notified by April 9, with an award ceremony to be held May 6 in conjunction with the Board of Visitors meeting. 

For questions or additional information, please contact Traci Kendall at 


March 2021

February in Review

March 2021

Spring Flyer Clean-up

Photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Services

The Staff Senate would like to offer a friendly reminder to encourage your departments or units to refresh any outdated materials with current material. Please recycle outdated posters and flyers at recycling centers that can be found in common areas of buildings. A reminder that Student Centers is electronically approving flyers for posting in designated locations within the Student Centers buildings.

March 2021

Mason Libraries’ Virtual Edible Book Festival

Mason Libraries’ Edible Book Festival is going Virtual! The Festival features creative food projects inspired by books and stories. Edible books can physically resemble books, or they can refer to an aspect of a story, or they can incorporate text.

The Festival runs March 26 – April 1, 2021. Entry deadline is March 26– anyone can participateVirtual Edible Book Festival entries will be posted on on March 29 +30. View them – and then vote for your choice in each prize category on Selection Day, March 31. Anyone can vote!  Winners will be announced at Noon, April 1.

More information here!

March 2021

Sessions from the Center for the Advancement of Well-Being

Rx Racial Healing Circle Online Events

Mason students, faculty, staff, and alumni can join an upcoming Rx Racial Healing Circle (RHC) to build racial awareness, well-being, and community together through sharing stories.

Online RHCs will be held on:

· Monday, March 29, 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.

· Tuesday, April 13, 9 a.m. – noon

· Monday, April 19, 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Register here for any of those upcoming dates here.


Mindful Mason Moments Online Mindfulness Sessions

Mindful Mason Moments online mindfulness sessions give you an opportunity to take midday breaks in ways that can deepen your mindful awareness and overall well-being. Mindful Mason Moments sessions are held via Zoom every weekday at noon. Sessions run for 30 minutes Monday-Thursday and 20 minutes on Friday. Join sessions here.



Mental Health First Aid Training

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training provides information about the signs and symptoms of common mental illnesses and a strategy for connecting with those demonstrating such indicators. Participants who complete this 8-hour training earn a 3-year certification through the National Council for Behavioral Health.

The next opportunity to participate in MHFA training will be March 25 and April 1 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The free training will be offered online via Zoom and split into two 4-hour sessions. You must attend both days (March 25 and April 1) from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Successful completion of the 8-hour training will result in a 3-year MHFA certification. Learn more and register here. Direct questions to Katie Clare at

March 2021

Updates from Parking and Transportation

A One-Day Summit on Accelerating Active Transportation

Change in Northern Virginia

Screen Shot 2021 02 21 at 8.54.10 AM 300x245 - Accelerating Active Transportation Change in Northern VirginiaEleven northern Virginia organizations, including Mason’s Parking and Transportation department, are teaming up for a one-day virtual summit entitled Accelerating Active Transportation Change in Northern Virginia to be held on Thursday, March 25 from 9am-5pm via Zoom.  The summit will address how to make active transportation more accessible to all including sessions on the intersection of health and active transportation, promoting equitable outreach, the business case for active transportation, and much more. Event speakers include local elected officials, advocacy, planning, and consulting professionals, and academic research faculty.  Registration is required; please visit. We hope you can join us!

Save the Dates for Virtual Bike to Mason: April 19-23

Photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Services/George Mason University

We hope you can join us for a virtual Bike to Mason celebration this year during Earth Week, April 19-23.  We’re putting together virtual events each day to highlight Mason programs and facilities as well as provide online training on various aspects of biking.  The schedule will be posted when available.  In the meantime, if you have suggestions on classes you’d like to see, please reach out to Parking and Transportation at



 ParkMobile at Mason

ParkMobile LogoIf you’re coming to campus and looking for a convenient way to park, some areas of the Fairfax and SciTech campuses are linked to the ParkMobile app.  For locations and codes, please visit Quick Links or directly on Mason’s Parking & Transportation website.  If you have questions, please call 3-2710 or email

March 2021

George Mason Toastmasters Virtual Open House

George Mason Toastmasters invites you to practice your speaking and leadership skills while developing new skills using a virtual format.

We are hosting a virtual open house on Wednesday, March 24 at noon. This will be a great chance to learn more about Toastmasters and see our meeting in action. You will have a chance to participate in Table Topics, impromptu speaking practice, and ask questions about our club. The meeting details can be found on our website with Zoom meetings now scheduled through the end of spring semester.

Guests who join GMU Toastmasters as a result of the virtual open house will receive a discount on membership dues. For more information, please contact Heather Aleknavage, VP

March 2021

Call for Applications: 2021-2022 Leadership Legacy Program

Applications are being accepted for participants for the 2021-2022 Leadership Legacy Program (LLP). It is designed for Mason faculty and staff who are committed to furthering their leadership development, whether they are newly entering a leadership role, wish to prepare for alternative positions, or simply wish to strengthen their capacity to lead from their current position. A major goal of the program is to develop and strengthen the leadership culture at Mason. The program curriculum provides opportunities for participants to advance their conceptual and experiential understanding of leadership in the context of university settings and is co-sponsored by MasonLeads and the Office of Human Resources and Payroll.

The LLP’s leadership themes are embedded in the context of a higher education institution (state relations, shared governance, planning, budgeting, etc.). Key concepts, such as strengths-based leadership, leading change, and leadership for inclusive excellence are overlaid with practical topics (consensus building, managing and resolving conflict, etc.). The design of the curriculum is developmental with each seminar topic building upon the other. Reflective activities are integrated into each seminar, allowing participants to deepen their learning and experience a highly engaging learning environment. Each of the program sessions are co-facilitated by experienced Mason leadership scholars and senior university leaders. Significant program components include self-assessments, case studies, and leadership coaching provided by non-Mason certified coaches.

Selected program participants must be willing to attend all 12 LLP seminars, typically held from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on Fridays (kickoff sessions will end at 3 p.m. – dates TBA later this spring). Sessions will be virtual to support participation from members of all Mason campuses, with the goal of holding the kickoff and final sessions in-person should health and safety guidelines permit.

Interested applicants should submit:

  • A statement that addresses the following (no more than 2 pages)
    • Your current leadership philosophy
    • Responses to each of the questions:
      • How would participation in the program strengthen your ability to perform in your current role?
      • How would your participation in the program benefit the university?
      • What leadership behaviors do you want to build upon/strengthen?
    • A commitment from the applicant to attend each seminar in the series
    • Current CV or resume
    • Any additional information for the selection committee (no more than 1 page)

    In addition, applicants need to have one completed recommendation. The recommender should be a supervisor or someone with whom they have collaborated closely. Recommendation documents should include responses to each of the questions:

    • How would participation in the Leadership Legacy Program strengthen this person’s ability to perform in their current role?
    • How would participation in the Leadership Legacy Program benefit the university?
    • Is there anything else that you would like to share with the selection committee about this applicant?

    Applications are due April 2, 2021, and should be emailed to Recommendations may be collected and included in the application email, or emailed separately by the recommender.

    All applications will be reviewed according to the following criteria. (NOTE: Incomplete applications will not be considered.)

    • Articulated interest in and rationale for their leadership development
    • Provides evidence of leadership readiness and potential
    • Demonstrated high performance in their professional experience
    • Offers evidence of commitment to and need for diversity in higher education
    • Nominees have at least six months of FT experience at Mason (one year preferred)
    • Eligible nominees
      • from academic units will be administrative/professional faculty, instructional faculty, or research faculty, with tenure or manager/director experience preferred
      • from administrative units should have experience as a manager/director; MA or advanced degree preferred

    PLEASE NOTE: The Leadership Legacy program values diversity across administrative units, academic units, and identity characteristics; efforts will be made to select as diverse a cohort as possible.

March 2021

Updates from Human Resources & Payroll

Celebrating 30 Years of Employee of the Month

The first ever George Mason University Employee of the Month was honored 30 years ago in March 1991! Mason’s Employee of the Month award highlights the hard work and achievements of a Mason faculty or staff member who embodies the values of the university.

To celebrate 30 years of this wonderful Mason tradition, we will be sharing Employee of the Month memories, photos, and stories on social media. Please follow the month-long celebration of the Employee of the Month program on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.

 Well-Being Announcements

“This? Or That?” Well-Being Game
Would you choose this? Or that? Join the fun with your colleagues on HR & Payroll’s Instagram stories by playing the limited-time well-being game, “This? Or That?

Each Thursday for eight weeks, we will post well-being themed polls that put your favorite well-being options against each other.

Visit our Instagram stories every Thursday to join the fun and maybe get some well-being ideas! The weekly themes are:

  • Exercise
  • Healthy Eating
  • Mindfulness
  • How You Prefer to Work
  • Social Media
  • Financial Favorites
  • George Mason
  • The DMV Area

Play at @GMUHRandPayroll!

Employee Assistance Program (EAPWellness Resources
Mason’s faculty and staff have access to Kaiser Permanente’s EAP Wellness Resources, whether you’re a member of Kaiser or not.  Visit their website to explore a range of self-care tools, tips, and activities to help you thrive in mind, body, and sprit.  You’ll find articles, meditations, and other useful well-being resources.

Questions?  Contact

Financial Well-Being Announcements

Fidelity 1-on-1 Consultation Sessions

Fidelity will continue to host virtual or telephone 1-on-1 consultation sessions from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on March 11 and March 26.

During the sessions, Ron Seegers, the Fidelity Retirement Planner, can address your retirement plan questions and concerns, review your investment strategy and portfolio allocation, and discuss retirement planning or other related topics. Upon request, the consultant can also produce annuity income projections.

Go to Fidelity’s website to reserve your appointment.

TIAA Financial Seminars

Looking to learn more about your finances?

TIAA is hosting several financial well-being seminars. Check out the flyer to learn more!