My Career at U of T: An Interview with Jean Radley

August 11, 2014

Photo: Jean RadleyBy Kelly Rankin

For anyone who has had the pleasure of meeting Jean Radley, a senior HR assistant in the Central Administration HR Services (CAHRS) at U of T, news of her retirement was a surprise.

Not that she hasn’t earned it.

It’s just that Radley’s smile and ever-helpful nature seem to be as much a part of U of T as the oak tree on the University’s crest. But, after 42 years at U of T, Radley said she is looking forward to spending more time with her grandson Jaxon and her three dogs Tessie, Storm and Annie.

The Bulletin caught up with Radley to ask her about her career at the University, her plans for the future and her favourite memories at U of T.

Tell us about your first job at U of T.

In 1972 – when I started at the University – I worked as a receptionist in what was then called Personnel. I was responsible for greeting visitors and welcoming them to the department. My other duties included answering the telephone and providing assistance to candidates applying for positions at the University. I was also responsible for preparing all of the administrative job postings … on a typewriter!

How long have you held your current position?

My whole working career has been at the University in various roles in Human Resources, and I have been in my current role since 1997.

My responsibilities include providing frontline benefits information and advice; conducting benefits orientation sessions and individual interviews with new staff. I also provide in-depth HRIS advice and support to our clients; respond to basic inquiries related to collective agreements and HR policies and practices; produce various reports for administrative analysis and conducting research and compiling data in support of special projects.

Tell us a bit about your career trajectory, i.e., how did you get from your first job to your current one at the Central HR Admin Services Office in the Division of Human Resources & Equity?

I took advantage of the many training opportunities through Organizational Development and Learning. I have also been very fortunate to have wonderful, supportive supervisors who always encouraged me to take courses and participate in working groups. This has been instrumental in my career growth.

What is about U of T that makes it a place where people want to come build careers?

The University is a wonderful place to work. I feel very fortunate to have been able to spend my whole career here.

U of T has a lot to offer employees, there are many opportunities for learning and staff can apply for positions and advance their careers while continuing to work. The University also encourages work-life balance, the benefits are excellent and I know that many people, me included, really appreciate the time off in December.

What are some of your favourite U of T memories?

I have developed many friendships over my 42 years. When you work with people for as long as I have, you share your life with these people. I will always remember the University fondly, I couldn’t have asked for a better place to work. I can honestly say that I love what I do.

What are your plans for retirement?

Jean Radley and her grandson Jaxon after her retirement function July 2013
I am very excited to move on to the next chapter of my life. I am planning to look after my little Grandson Jaxon, two days a week and then take him to his daycare the other three. I am really looking forward to the time with him; we have lots of things planned!

I also plan to take long walks each day with my dogs – they will love the extra time outside. I am going to regularly pop over to my son and daughter-in-law’s house to bring my dogs for a play-date with their dogs. Another great thing about retirement is that I will be able to go grocery shopping on a day that isn’t a Saturday!

Jean Radleys Canine Companions Tessie, Storm, Annie