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8 Questions with … Constance Mallette, vice chancellor for Finance and Administration

Constance Mallette was named vice chancellor and chief financial officer at Winston-Salem State University in January 2018. In this role, Mallette has administrative oversight of Financial Planning and Budget, Financial Services, Business and Auxiliary Services, and Facilities Management. Previously, she served in various financial management roles at multiple University of North Carolina institutions, including serving as the assistant vice president of finance for the University of North Carolina System.

How does your financial savviness in your work role play out in your personal life?

My personal life and my work life, in terms of financial savviness, are the same.

Constance Mallette

Many of the approaches that I apply here in my work environment mirror my home environment. Even my family challenges me with “Really, why do we have to do that?” But when you come from a place of wanting to be financially astute, it’s kind of who you are. I just happen to be in a job that I love that is indicative of the person that I am - so there is no real separation.

When you’re not crunching numbers for the university, what do you enjoy doing?

I enjoy traveling, spending time with my family, and watching sports – preferably football. I love the Carolina Panthers.

What financial advice do you wish you were given when you were in college?

I share with current students the importance of good credit and understanding that a college loan is just that – a loan. Nobody is giving you this money. I learned this after the fact. Each time I would get one loan paid off, here comes another.

Your job is very important, but often behind the scenes. How does your role play into the university’s student success mission?

I often remind my staff that nothing happens on this campus without Finance and Administration. Whether it’s Facilities preparing for people to come to the campus or Accounts Payable making sure that the light bill is paid, Finance and Administration as a whole is fully ingrained into everything that happens on campus.

In grade school, what career did you plan to pursue?

I wanted to be an attorney. I think it was when I realized how much schooling it would take that I was deterred.

What do you want your legacy to be?

From a professional and personal standpoint, I want my legacy to be the fact that I am always willing to help someone else. If I cannot help or benefit someone else – and this may sound corny – but what’s the purpose? Every day that I get up, I get up with the mindset, “What can I do to help?” As a good leader, I hope that even when I am no longer here, there will be certain things in place that will be substantial enough to outlast me physically being here – whether it’s changing the mindset of those coming behind me or putting in appropriate control measures to help the university improve as a whole. 

Where is your Zen zone? When do you feel most at peace?

In my recliner at home with a good fiction book. I like to read for fun and for pleasure. Or a good movie, but definitely in my recliner.

There are some core values that set the foundation for how you lead, what are they?

Trust, reliability, integrity, accountability, transparency, and a spirit of excellence are Finance and Administration’s customer service traits. It’s our platform, our foundation that everything circles around.

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