The Larry Merkley Leadership Award 2019/20

November 06, 2020

Written by ITS Campus Engagement, Jim Phillips and ITS Communications Coordinator and UCSC Legal Studies Student, Jane Tobias.

Melanie Douglas

The Larry Merkley Leadership award is given in recognition of exemplary leadership and vision in service of Information Technology Services and the campus. Larry Merkley served as Vice Provost of Information Technology from 2001 until his retirement in 2008. This award is tied directly to the vision of ITS to be a people-first organization that values relationships.

This year’s Leadership award went to Melanie Douglas, chief technology engineering officer. Melanie was completely surprised when VCIT Van Williams announced that she won the leadership award at the ITS All Hands Zoom meeting in August. The award is based on nominations received from staff across ITS, and John Vaughn took the time to read from Sanjay Menon’s uplifting nomination. 

Melanie is an exceptional leader! She gracefully handles every situation with complete professionalism. Her ability to comprehend, objectively analyze, and provide direction is unmatched. Despite her immense workload, she always makes time to maintain a personal touch and provides reassurance even in the most challenging times.

Douglas responded, “It's such a challenging time right now, so being the recipient of the Larry Merkley Leadership award is quite humbling. I am very honored and grateful for everyone's support and I can't thank the team enough for this acknowledgement.”

Even though the division did not have an opportunity to celebrate together in person like in years past, it was nonetheless a special moment. In their responses, a common thread of gratitude to all the staff who contributed to the success of the effort was seen. The new ITS organization prioritizes gratitude and recognition. The mutual respect that was conveyed for one another’s efforts exemplifies the supportive culture in ITS which fosters teamwork and collaboration.