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Wilder School Spotlight

Meet Tina Braden

By Pamela Stallsmith

If you work at the Wilder School, you know Tina Braden.

Braden, the Wilder School’s personnel administrator and building manager, handles everything from payroll to preparing a new employee to start work to overseeing the maintenance of the school’s seven buildings.

“What do I not do?” she laughed.

What I like about working at the Wilder School is I am always dabbling in a little bit of everything.

– Tina Braden

Braden joined VCU more than 17 years ago, starting as an office assistant in the Survey and Evaluation Research Laboratory (SERL). She is often a potential employee’s first contact.

“We take a person from the beginning of the employment process and guide him or her through it, from receiving the application to the criminal background check to preparing the contract,” she said.

Braden enjoys her job, which allows her to meet a lot of people.

“It’s challenging and it’s always changing,” she said. “There are a lot of policies and procedures for me to keep up with. What I like about working at the Wilder School is I am always dabbling in a little bit of everything.”

Relationships are important, she believes.

“I want to make sure that people have a good experience when they come here. I want to help people. If I see someone in the hall, I’ll ask if they need help,” she said. “I’m the person most people come to or people say, ‘Go see Tina.’ “

Braden has worked also with student workers over the years, enjoying imparting “teachable moments” and helping them make the most of their jobs. “People need experience, and we’re willing to give our students that opportunity. And I usually learn something from them!”

She was born and raised in Chesterfield County. She graduated from Virginia State University with a degree in health education and a concentration in community health. For 12 years she worked for the Minority Health Consortium, going into the community and promoting nutrition, fitness, and HIV and AIDS awareness.

Braden is often the first person at the Wilder School on weekdays, arriving between 6 and 7 a.m. to get a jump on the day.

“I don’t like stuff lingering—I like to get all the things on my list done.”

She prides herself on being prepared for the unexpected.

“I’m not one to start working on something two days before it’s due. I like to have plenty of time. And I always have a Plan B—and a Plan C, D, E and F.”