Staff Spotlight: Hellen Olumilua, Director of SMHS Administration and Operations
It’s possible you may not know the name Hellen Olumilua, the director of administration and operations for the George Washington University (GW) School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS), but she knows you. As the woman behind the 24/7 operations of SMHS facilities, Olumilua is the Tom Joad of the school. Wherever there are safety and security needs, she’ll be there. Whenever there is an event in need of facilities support, she’ll be there. You’ll find her when a basic science lab has health and safety compliance questions or training needs. You’ll hear her among the faculty, staff, and students meeting their emergency response, academic scheduling, and asset management needs. And when you meet her, she’s likely to be wearing a broad smile as she ensures the SMHS community is receiving reliable services that comply with university and regulatory standards.
Q: How long have you worked at SMHS?
Olumilua: I’ve been working at GW for 23 years as the director of SMHS Administrations and Operations. I handle all things operations for the school — classroom services, event management, food services, asset management, space management, safety and security, facilities management, construction projects, and the list goes on ….
Q: How do you define success in your role?
Olumilua: Quoting Albert Schweitzer, “Success is not the key to happiness, happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” I love what I do here at SMHS. Each day is something different; it’s never monotonous or boring. I go home at the end of each day knowing I have put in my very best. To me, that is success.
Q: What excites or inspires you the most about your job?
Olumilua: I really enjoy the proactiveness and problem-solving aspects of my job. I am constantly thinking of ways to improve efficiency in current operational processes.
Q: What’s the best career/life lesson you’ve learned while working at SMHS?
Olumilua: Employees are a valuable resource. An employee’s personal and professional growth and well-being ultimately benefit the organization.
Q: What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t doing this?
Olumilua: I would be an architect.
Q: If given the chance, whose role at SMHS would you like to have for a day? Why? What would you do?
Olumilua: I would try my hand at any of the administrative dean positions because I would like to have a peek into the types of challenges students face and see what can be done to make each SMHS student’s college experience a little less overwhelming.
Q: What’s a fun fact about you that most people don’t know?
Olumilua: I am a princess. My dad was a king. My papa is my role model. He was a true leader; a monarch of a town in Nigeria who was very protective of his people and instituted order and built relationships. He led by example; you would always see him interacting with everyday workers. Integrity and hard work are some of the values he instilled in his children. Now you know … I am a princess.
Q: Complete this sentence: In another life, I’m pretty sure I was …
Olumilua: … an army general. I thrive in a “well-structured” environment. I believe rules and regulations are put in place for a reason.
Q: If stores sold a Hellen Olumilua action figure, what accessory would come standard with every purchase?
Olumilua: A hard hat, some work gloves, and a Lowes or Home Depot T-shirt. I am like a kid in a candy store when I am on construction sites.
Q: What are some of your other interests or passions?
Olumilua: I love painting houses, and I love a great fictional book. Vince Flynn, who writes political thrillers, is a current favorite.
If you have academic scheduling, event management, facilities planning, or construction and management needs, visit the resource management and operations website, and Hellen Olumilua or her team will be there.