Linda Truong Le, management services officer in the Spanish & Portuguese department, can handle even the most challenging problems and people without appearing to lose her cool.

“If there’s a difficult situation, I try not to rush to judgment,” Le says. “I find it extremely important to give myself time to think and assess the problem.” By the time she sits down to discuss the issue, she’s calm and respectful.

Le received the spring 2007 Living Our Values Award for individuals who have worked at UCI more than five years in large part because respect is indeed the cornerstone of her interactions with her co-workers.

“I was so touched and surprised when I heard I had won. This award acknowledges that my contributions have had positive effects and are appreciated,” Le says. “I’m thankful I have the full support and trust of my staff and faculty.”

Her style is hands-off. She does not micro-manage, respecting her staff members enough to let them do their jobs, trusting them to make their own choices and supporting them when they need help.

“I don’t look over their shoulders. I assign them projects, explain what needs to be done and just let them take off,” she says. “If they have questions, they always come and ask. I have a great team.”

By treating others with dignity and compassion, she’s made the people in her department feel secure, wrote Pamela Marshall Ganné, the department’s administrative assistant.

“She never fails to amaze me with her empathy toward the wide range of individuals one encounters in a department such as ours,” Ganné wrote. “She embodies integrity, maintaining truthful and supportive relationships with her co-workers, students, the faculty and her supervisors.”

Le got her bachelor’s in biology from UCI in 1996 with the idea of becoming a chiropractor. Then she got a job in the electrical & computer engineering department and was quickly promoted to graduate program coordinator for Spanish & Portuguese in 1997. Management became her new calling. Eager to expand her skills and knowledge, she got an M.B.A. from Hope International University in Fullerton 2001, without missing work and working late on nights she didn’t have courses. She became management services officer in 2002.

“As an MSO, Linda has great supervising skills, guiding staff in all aspects of their jobs. She also excels in the management area, preparing budget requests and making sure our finances are perfectly under control,” wrote Jacobo Sefami, acting department chair, in his nomination letter. “She is admired by all because of her integrity, respect, effectiveness and hard work.”