Harris Wears ‘Many Hats’ at Global Learning Center

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From explaining to a client why he can’t bring a horse into the Global Learning Center (GLC) for an event to overseeing construction projects, the activities that make up a day in Phyllis Harris’s job are seldom the same.

“As director of operations for the GLC, I wear a lot of hats, and sometimes it’s difficult even for me to define what I am,” Harris said. “I’m responsible for facilities, meeting arrangements, guest services — any of the logistics of keeping things running. And if you’re wondering, no, the client wasn’t allowed to bring the horse in.”

After years of working in the hospitality industry, Harris moved from Florida to Atlanta (this was her second time moving to the area) to be closer to her parents, who live about two hours away from the city.

“At that point, I was looking for a job where I could use the skills I’d gained, and the idea of applying them in an academic environment was intriguing,” she said.

Harris was offered a job at Tech, and almost nine years later she is still here.

Recently, The Whistle had a chance to learn more about Harris and her time at Georgia Tech. Here’s what she shared.

What did you want to be when you were a child?

I’ve always loved to cook, so I wanted to be a chef. I started off helping mom cook our holiday meals. I can bake an amazing batch of brownies. They are pretty simple to make — but it’s my secret ingredient that makes them so amazing.

What is the most satisfying part of your job?

The people on my team are such hard workers. It’s always nice to work with a group of people you can count on to follow through and get things done.

What do you enjoy most about working at Tech?

It’s the only job that I’ve ever had where I am surrounded by such a diverse group of people. For example, today I was approached by a student from Brazil who was here for language testing. He was eager to learn more about the university and our campus. I really enjoy having the chance to get to interact with new people from such a variety of cultures on a daily basis.

What is a professional accomplishment that you’re proud of?

I’ve received my Certified Meeting Professional designation from the Convention Industry Council. Now, I’m in the process of earning my Facilities Management Certificate from the International Facilities Management Association.

Where is your favorite spot on campus?

I enjoy the walk from Tech Square to the Student Center — and the Dunkin’ Donuts coffee that I always stop and get on the walk.

What is the one piece of technology that you can’t live without?

Three months ago, I would have said that I hate technology. But then I got an iPhone, and I love it! I don’t know what I did before I had access to all of these great apps.

Which do you prefer and why: Facebook, Twitter or a world without either?

A world without any of it. It always seems like a lot of work to maintain these accounts, kind of like a job. And I don’t want another job to do in my spare time.

What is the greatest risk you’ve ever taken, and did it pay off?

Several years ago, I quit a job right before Christmas — and I didn’t have a back up plan. I realized that the situation wasn’t right for me, and I was so comfortable with the decision that I wasn’t worried about what came next (even though I’m a chronic planner). Thankfully, I found another job quickly, so I’d say the risk paid off.

If you could have dinner with anyone — dead or alive — who would it be?

My grandpa, Sam. He passed away about 30 years ago, and I miss him.

Where is your favorite spot to have lunch?

Usually, it’s my desk. But, I do like the Vortex, and I’ll order the turkey burger.

Tell us something about yourself that others might not know.

When I was in the first grade, I won the spelling bee. But my spelling success was short-lived. In the second grade, I lost; I left the “r” out of “street.”



  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created By: Amelia Pavlik
  • Created: 03/21/2012
  • Modified By: Fletcher Moore
  • Modified: 10/07/2016

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