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Interview with Janette Pitts, OEC Management Service Specialist

Q: What exactly does a management service specialist do?
A: Another way of describing my position would be an “administrative officer” or “office manager.” Basically, I manage the office.

Q: What kinds of responsibilities does managing an office include?
A: I process personnel actions such as hiring and terminating staff, updating staff personnel files, writing position descriptions, and setting up training for staff. Timecards, travel requests, and purchase orders are all processed through me. I provide services to all of OEC staff and clients within and outside of the Institution. I work closely with a variety of offices in the Institution that handle staff and financial affairs. My goal is to provide excellent customer care to all of OEC staff and clients by making sure their needs are met to their expectation in a timely manner.

Q: How long have you worked at OEC and why did you decide to start working here?
A: I’ve been working here since 1996. I started out as a management support assistant. A friend who was working here told me that OEC needed some help. They contracted me to work with them for thirty days. Somewhere along the line, those thirty days turned into twelve years of employment!

Q: What kind of training and/or experience did you have before coming to OEC?
A: I worked at a large health insurance company for twenty-three years prior to coming to the Smithsonian. There I worked as an enrollment specialist, claim processor, unit leader, and customer service representative. I have had various training in leadership skills, how to manage time and people, the federal policy and regulations pertaining to procurement, travel, and many other topics.

Q: What is your favorite part of the job?
A: I love working with people. In my job, I spend a lot of time working with the staff of OEC. Also, I get a behind-the-scenes look at how exhibits come together prior to being put on display in a museum.

Q: What is a challenge you have had to face?
A: One challenge is adjusting to changes as they come down through the Institution and communicating those changes to the staff. Changes startle some people, so my job is to reassure and assist staff as they adapt to the changes.

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