Chancellor Howard Gillman of UC Irvine recently presented Iain Grainger, Director of Communication for both UCI Media Services and the Office of the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning, with the “Excellence in Leadership” award at its 2016 Staff Assembly Excellence in Leadership Award Program.

Supervisors were nominated by their direct reports, recognizing the UCI leaders who inspire employees to focus their individual talents on the goals of the organization and to contribute at the highest level.

Grainger was recognized for the qualities of his integrity, compassion, and desire to help his team pursue their own personal and professional goals.

During his 15 year professional career at UC Irvine, Grainger has expanded from his current role as Director of UCI Media Services, and has recently been promoted to take on additional duties as Director of Communications for the newly formed Office of the Vice Provost of Teaching and Learning. As such, Grainger oversees Communications for the Division of Undergraduate Education, Division of Teaching and Learning, and UCI Summer Session. In all of these these capacities that he is managing, Grainger has proven himself to be an effective leader with a unique style of employee engagement.

“There were so many great leaders nominated, I really didn’t expect to win,” Grainger said after receiving the award in front of an audience of more than 800 fellow UCI employees. “I am very honored and humbled by the recognition, and so thankful to work with a team of incredible individuals focused on contributing to our mission.”

The nomination included numerous examples of why his team felt that Grainger was well deserving of the award of Excellence in Leadership.

“In the recent past there was a transition from a previous office space and Iain facilitated it in such a manner that allowed for one on one meetings that created a safe environment where I felt that he genuinely wanted to learn about my professional goals and personal goals.”

“Iain basically built the Media Services from nothing. Talk about trust and integrity, he used to cover media for the whole campus lugging heavy camera equipment without a cart! He gained a reputation as very being reliable and trustworthy. He continues to hold to this level of integrity. Knowing that he has “walked the walk,” makes me respect him that much more.”

“If there’s one thing that I love about Iain, it is his humor. Meetings will always start with some sort of lighthearted joke or funny story. When he talks, he talks with us, not to us or at us. From a team perspective, I know that this makes us feel more cohesive because of the environment he has created is fun and has a lighthearted nature. I can speak for myself and others when I say that it makes us work harder because we appreciate this positive work environment.”

These accounts are only a handful of examples that speak to the degree with which Grainger embodies integrity, compassion, and the willingness to give his professional staff the room to grow and learn, both in their current capacities and in their future pursuits. His expansive responsibilities have not prohibited him from being an active and present leader in the departments that he oversees. He has gone on instead, to provide exemplary leadership for these departments and continues to maintain and build valuable relationships with all who have the opportunity to work with him.

“This award has made me realize that my leadership is not about me, it is about the teams of individuals that I am honored to work with. I am inspired by those who lead me; Michael Dennin, Ramona Agrela, and Dr. Parham, and look to them as examples.” Commented Grainger. “I have learned that as leaders, it is our job to help elevate and echo the chancellor’s message of inclusion, diversity, and service. For me the real prize of good leadership is engaged employees.”

In addition to cheers and words of congratulations from colleagues, students, and staff, Grainger received $1,000 cash and a distinctive, personalized memento.

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