Leaning against a filing cabinet near her desk, Lola Martin has a hand-drawn sign that reads “Lola Martin is a Rock Star!”
The sign was a gift from grateful Nicholas School of the Environment colleagues for her work coordinating logistics for the 2017 graduate and undergraduate commencement ceremonies and the receptions that followed.
Now Martin, a development projects coordinator for the Nicholas School’s Office of Development and Alumni Relations, will soon be able to add another title to her bio when she takes the field as the 2018 Honorary Employee Captain for Duke’s September 22 home football contest with North Carolina Central, part of the annual Employee Kickoff Celebration.
“It’s very much appreciated,” Martin said of the honor. “When I’m on the clock, I come to work and treat it like my second family. When you’re working with family, you want to give it your all.”
Martin, who was also nominated last year, was chosen from a strong field of nominees for this year’s honor. Employees who nominated colleagues this year are encouraged to try again next year.
The Honorary Employee Captains have been a part of the Employee Kickoff Celebration since 2012. The captains are selected for their willingness to go above and beyond in the workplace and for embracing Duke’s Guiding Principles of trustworthiness, respect, diversity, learning and teamwork.
As honorary employee captain, Martin will be able to attend the weekly press conference with head coach David Cutcliffe, run onto Brooks Field at Wallace Wade Stadium with the football team prior to kickoff, watch pregame warmups from the field and participate in the pregame coin toss.
Martin was nominated by Kevin McCarthy, associate dean of development and alumni relations for the Nicholas School of the Environment.
“Lola exemplifies the Duke ideal of service before self,” McCarthy wrote in his nomination. “She is always the first one to volunteer to take on a new task, look for ways to do things better or anticipate problems, and is the first one to say ‘thank you’ to team members for doing a good job.”
Martin’s Duke career, which began in 2007, has taken her from a program manager position at the Fuqua School of Business to similar roles with the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the Duke University School of Nursing. She joined the staff of the Nicholas School for the Environment in 2015.
In her role, Martin showcases her versatility by helping coordinate large school events, foster communication with donors and school leaders, and troubleshoot issues that occasionally arise with development projects.
“I’m always about the team,” Martin said. “I don’t think anything functions without working as a team. I have to say, throughout my Duke career, this is one of the best teams I’ve worked on because we know each other’s strengths and we play off of each other’s weaknesses, so whatever the challenge is, we can meet high expectations.”
Previous Honorary Captains
2017: Adam Tomasiello, Undergraduate Admissions
2016: Dink Suddaby, Graduate Liberal Studies
2015: Keith Lawrence, News and Communications
2014: Anthony Galanos, Palliative Care
2013: John Caccavale, Economics
2012: Malinda Whitson, University Development