News at Mason
Dawn Hicks is November Employee of the Month
November 4, 2019 / by Damian Cristodero
Dawn Hicks admitted she would be uncomfortable accepting an award for her individual work achievements. That’s because the director of community relations in George Mason University Athletics said she could never do her job alone.
“You have to have community partners, campus partners. You have to have buy-in from our student-athletes,” Hicks said. “So for us, in Athletics, that recognition is really for our department, not just me.”
Maybe so, but it is Hicks who is Mason’s November Employee of the Month.
“She’s just a tireless worker,” said Zack Bolno, director of external affairs for Mason Athletics. “And she is deeply committed to our athletic department’s mission in helping educate and develop future leaders.”
Hicks, who has been at the university for two and a half years, previously worked for the foundation and business of Mason associate athletic director Darrell Green. She has been integral in efforts to better mesh athletics into the broader campus culture.
She led an initiative of engagement with student organizations, Student Government, Student Involvement, Greek Life and Residential Life that last season helped increase attendance at men’s basketball games by 22 percent, Bolno said. Hicks also coordinated with Mason’s Panhellenic Council to celebrate their sorority on National Girls and Women in Sports Day that resulted in the highest student-attended women’s basketball game at the university.
“That was the goal, to engage and collaborate with them to deliver as much of what they wanted as possible,” Hicks said.
Hicks launched a new school adoption program that partners Mason athletic teams with local middle and elementary schools, where Mason athletes spend quality time mentoring students about academics and athletics. In just two years, athletic teams have adopted five schools. While serving on Mason’s Homecoming Committee, she engaged the City of Fairfax, which led to the proclamation of February 2019 as George Mason University Month.
Hicks believes it takes a community to do community relations, which when she received her award from Mason President Anne Holton, she was not alone.
“There is no way I can accept that award by myself,” Hicks said before the ceremony. “I expect to have a number of people there to stand with me, so I can thank and acknowledge them.”
How she got here:
Divine orchestration. I was the business operations manager at an energy efficiency company and realized it wasn't for me. I fasted and prayed for 21 days to seek the Lord's will for my life. About one week later, totally randomly, I texted my former long-time boss and friend Darrell Green, and asked if he knew of any jobs for which I would be suitable. By God's amazing grace, he read my text immediately after leaving a meeting at Mason about who they would hire as his assistant, preferably someone he knew. And now, here I am.
Best day on the job:
The City of Fairfax Mason Month in the city proclamation on January 22, 2019. It was a historic event that deepened town-gown relations and celebrated everyone: Mason, the city, Mason Athletics, alumni, local businesses and organizations, student-athletes, students and our entire community.
What she likes best about working at Mason:
Collaborating with and serving our student-athletes. They are truly impressive, exceptional young men and women. They balance schedules that would overwhelm most adults, yet still manage to compete athletically and perform academically at the highest levels.
What she does when she’s not working:
With 22 teams to support, corporate and community events, business development meetings, school visits and Athletics special events, any down time is spent managing everyday life.