Human resources manager by day, Girl Scout leader, soccer mom and PTA chair by night, Ramona Agrela gets involved when she sees a chance to make an impact. As assistant director and compensation manager of human resources, Agrela uses her position as a springboard for participation in campus activities that support staff.

In her latest extracurricular role, Agrela will serve as 2005-06 chair of UCI’s Staff Assembly, a group that aims to promote employee interests and produce events including the annual Staff Appreciation Picnic and Pancake Breakfast.

“Ramona’s a professional who is clearly passionate about her work,” says Penny White, manager of distribution and document management and former chair of Staff Assembly. “Her approach to the workplace is refreshing and inspiring. She’s the kind of person whose enthusiasm is infectious, an attribute that should serve her well as incoming Staff Assembly chair.”

Through the years, Agrela has held a variety of Staff Assembly positions, including human resources representative and scholarship committee chair. She also volunteers her time to the 40th Anniversary Committee and the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on the Status of Staff.

In human resources, she provides leadership and direction for the campus compensation program and manages administrative operations, strategic planning and budgets. Before coming to UCI as an employee-relations consultant in 2000, she spent six years honing her human resources skills at the Santa Margarita Water District, an experience she says prepared her for the opportunities she faces in her current position.

“UCI has been a good environment for me because the atmosphere and culture continue to provide the challenges I need to thrive,” says Agrela.

One of those challenges-turned-award-winning program
is FastClass, a Web-based system designed to streamline the formerly cumbersome process of reclassifying employees into more appropriate job classifications and pay when their responsibilities change or increase. Agrela helped make reclassification easy and efficient by standardizing the procedure and moving it online. FastClass was recognized with the UC system’s 2004 Larry L. Sautter Golden Award for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Information Technology.

Agrela is always looking for new endeavors like FastClass to help employees build successful careers at UCI. She plans to make promoting on-campus career development opportunities a goal for Staff Assembly.

“Ramona selflessly volunteers her time to serve on the Staff Assembly and is an active advocate of staff interests,” says Jacob Godfrey, principal auditor and current Staff Assembly chair. “She is a true volunteer and never hesitates to offer her time or assist others. We enjoy working with her and are eager to follow her lead as chair.”