Gail Newlen joined the University Instructors, Inc (UI) team in February of 2002 as part of the accounting and payroll team. She was just finishing maternity leave with her youngest son, now a junior in high school, and just as she has watched him grow and mature, Gail says she has been honored to watch UI do the same for the past seventeen years. “In some ways, it has been like watching two ‘children’ grow while celebrating their achievements along the way,” she explains.
Gail became involved with UI when the company was simply providing one-on-one tutoring. UI matched K-12 students in need of tutoring with college students that wanted to tutor. Since these tutors were all independent contractors, Gail’s initial responsibilities were to simply bill clients and pay the tutors. Since then, UI has grown exponentially, and Gail’s responsibilities have grown alongside it. As UI’s very first partnership in Virginia with Richmond Public Schools started to evolve, one-on-one tutoring was deemphasized and partnerships with entire school districts became the focus. The tutors became UI employees, and UI expanded their services into schools nationwide.
As Gail continues through her career with UI, she gives two reasons why she enjoys the role she provides to the team. “For one, when you sign a person’s paycheck, there is a different level of interaction,” Gail reflects. “When you can help them with questions about their pay, they are relieved and appreciative.”
She shared a story that she believes brings this reasoning full circle. One day, her son was sitting in class when his teacher asked if Gail had ever worked in Richmond. After saying no, his teacher went on to say that she had previously worked for a tutoring company and Gail’s signature looked familiar. Once finding out that UI was the company she worked for, he informed his teacher that the signature looks familiar because his mom signed her paychecks. As big as the world is that we live in, Gail believes that these “small world” connections are what keep people linked together.
Secondly, Gail enjoys listening to the stories that are shared back from the students. Although she is not necessarily on the front lines, helping a student learn the parts of a sentence or how to do fractions, what she does allows others to do just that.
“As a mother, I know the importance of one-on-one interaction, and it saddens me that many of the kids our company works with do not have this at home,” Gail states. “It makes me feel proud to be part of a company that can do this in some small way to make a difference in the life of the children we work with.”
While UI developed, there was also the chance to watch herself grow from a young employee to an employee that is teaching and giving direction. Through the years, Gail’s mentor and supervisor, Marty Huebschman, helped prepare her for her current role as the Director of Accounting & Finance. “I am still here doing what I love, I am a valued member of the team, and my abilities have worth,” says Gail.