Betty Fujikawa, who joined CSULB this year and earned her B.A. degree with a special major in photography from the university, was chosen recently by her colleagues in Payroll Benefits as employee of the month.
The Payroll and Human Resources Support Assistant was recognized in a special ceremony held on Friendship Walk near the University Student Union, which was renamed Betty Fujikawa Lane for the month.
CSULB President F. King Alexander praised Fujikawa’s service to the university and for her positive attitude when dealing with questions from faculty, staff and students. “This is the kind of commitment that makes CSULB the university of choice,” he said.
“I feel very honored and excited to be named employee of the month,” said Fujikawa. “Even though I’ve only been here five months, I know what an honor it is even to be nominated. In our division, there are so many hard-working and dedicated professionals, this award ought to be called ‘employees of the month.’”
Her main responsibilities include providing customer service for payroll procedures and concerns as well as assisting new hires with the completion of a variety of required forms.
“Processing hiring documents makes up the biggest part of my day,” she said. “For many students, this is their first job and first time filling out hiring documents and this can be a little overwhelming. All documentation must be reviewed to assure payment to the employee and also that the campus is in compliance with the requirements of federal and state laws. At the beginning of the fall semester we hired a record number of over 700 new employees. I also provide assistance with various requests such as employment verifications, direct deposits, withholding allowance changes, MyCSULB, as well as other administrative support duties.
One reason she was recognized as employee of the month are her people skills, she believes. “I try to keep a positive attitude and treat people the way I would wish to be treated,” she said. “I am a firm believer in customer service. With the high level of patience and empathy that this job requires, it can be occasionally very demanding at times. One of the keys to doing this job successfully is being able to turn a negative situation into a positive one.”
One of the things she likes best about CSULB is the office staff with whom she works. “They are an exceptional team of people. I came to CSULB from the private sector where I worked as a payroll specialist,” she explained. “Still, CSULB is very different from the corporate world, but everyone here has been so patient in explaining the complex aspects of the university’s payroll and human resources procedures. This department is very customer service oriented and realizes that there are many needs to be met.
Working with the students is a big plus. “I really love this campus,” she said. “The students here are very respectful and have such a positive outlook. Their whole future is ahead of them and I enjoy being part of the process that encourages them. It really blesses my day to work with them.”
Her CSULB connection is also a family affair. Her daughter Lori was a President’s Scholar who graduated from CSULB in 2006 with a BFA degree in graphic design. Fujikawa and her husband, Scott, also have a daughter Jennifer who also is a President’s Scholar at CSU Fullerton.
When she isn’t solving crises at CSULB, Fujikawa enjoys using the photographic skills she honed as part of her degree. “I enjoy volunteering for community projects and I’ve used my photographic skills working with Tyra Banks and her TZone Foundation which seeks to encourage young girls to embrace positive core values,” she said. “I also belong to a church crochet group and we donate our work to hospitals, nursing homes and orphanages. Currently, we’re making scarves for foster teenagers who are attending college. I believe volunteering is good for the heart and always reminds me how fortunate I am.”
Fujikawa received several gifts with recognition including a CSULB sweatshirt, a gift certificate for four tickets to one CSULB home game, a $15 gift card for Bristol Farms, a gift certificate for one full-service hand car wash at Circle Marina, a $10 gift certificate for Katella Deli, a $25 gift certificate for Taco Beach restaurant, a gift certificate for Tommy’s World Famous Hamburgers and a gift certificate for one free Whopper at Burger King.