Saluki Pride: For Gail Odaniell, organization is key

After working in the restaurant business, Gail Odaniell, administrative assistant in the Office of Information Technology, was ready for a new challenge. Try overseeing everything relating to human resources, payroll and fringe benefits for more than 100 full-time employees. Yet even during the pandemic when Odaniell has worked remotely, “she has been self-motivated, organized and efficient” with all of her job duties, according to Laurie Holley, OIT senior business manager.

Get to know Gail Odaniell

Name: Gail Odaniell

Department/title: Office of Information Technology / administrative assistant

Years at SIU Carbondale: 7.5

Give us the elevator pitch for your job.

I handle human resources, payroll, fringe benefits, purchasing and accounting services for the Office of Information Technology.

What is the favorite part of your job?

As hiring manager, I enjoy meeting new student workers, graduate assistants and employees. I’m often the first contact someone has with the department after the interview process. I try to make them feel welcome and assure them that they can always contact me anytime they might have questions regarding their employment. (Or, if they want to go out for lunch.) 

Why did you choose SIU?

The better question might be “Why did SIU choose me?” After working many years in the restaurant business, I was ready for a new career and new challenge. I came to this job with a few skills and an eagerness to learn. Luckily for me, I work with wonderful people who are generous with their time, patience, and knowledge.  Rarely a day goes by that I don’t learn something new in my job.  

Are you a collector? What do you collect, and how did you get started?

I like anything with a past and especially if it has a story behind it. Furniture, dishes, Christmas ornaments, pottery, old photos. The list goes on and on.  I always say my house is like a bird’s nest. I make my home out of things other people throw away. 

What is your favorite book that you remember from when you were a child?

The first book I remember reading, that had a real impact on me, was “To Kill A Mockingbird.” I was probably around Jem’s Finch’s age when I first read it. It was the first time a book had taken me outside myself and made me see things from another person’s point of view. It remains my favorite book to this day. I re-read it every few years to remind myself that it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.  

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