June 5, 2017

The Women of the Business Office

By Sabrina Malekzadah


From processing payroll for all School of Cinematic Arts employees, professors and student workers, to handling the Dean’s accounts and those of student media makers, the women of the business office serve every member of the SCA community. Reba Molock, Cookie Clayton, Brenda Williamson, Karen Rios, Carolyn Tanner, and Veronica Villanueva are the friendly faces you may have encountered while doing business with SCA

Brenda Williamson and Reba Molock have served the SCA community for 40 years, watching SCA evolve and grow. Molock shared that  “[SCA] used to be in a little run down bungalow that was tearing apart. I saw that school be demolished and then they made the second school and then I saw that school demolished and then came to this school.” Molock works closely with SCA students and the finances for their productions specifically the 480 and 547 courses, the advanced filmmaking classes. “I do different functions” Molock explained, “but the one I enjoy the most is working with the students.” The students in these classes, she said, have dreams of being discovered by industry bigwigs and are always trying to squeeze the most out of their budgets. Inevitably, that sometimes means she has to keep them on the straight and narrow, reminding them there are rules. “The students, they know everything and they are making the best films for Spielberg and Lucas and they want exceptions to the rule,” Molock joked. The business office receives funding from the School and then disperses the funds to the students. “Fictitiously they get X amount of dollars you know as a budget to utilize on their film and they need to spend it on the film, not on any other reason.” 

Cookie Clayton also interacts with students on a day to day basis by processing payroll for student workers, “We process late checks, we make sure that their work study is set up and their work study funds are going to the correct account.” Despite the challenges, the women all said their favorite part of their job is interacting with the students, “It’s a fun job, and the kids make it a lot of fun,” said Clayton.

On the other end of the spectrum, Brenda Williamson works with the central accounts of the school, specifically the Dean’s accounts. Williamson explained that she has to keep track of all the fundraising SCA Dean Elizabeth Daley does “for the building endowments and everything to keep the school going.” Similarly Carolyn Tanner works with contracts and grants for SCA. She reflected on her time at SCA and how much the school has grown, “When I first arrived, working for contracts and grants, we only had 1 or 2 or 3 at the most. But that has grown tremendously.” The School now has dozens of current research grants and Tanner also has to keep track of funding for the School’s special and international programs.

The newer members of the business office include Veronica Villanueva and Karen Rios. After working in the School of Pharmacy, Villanueva now focuses on payroll for part-time faculty at SCA. Rios is the HR manager, “I serve the general staff and the faculty population,” says Rios. “I enter them into the contract system. I also work on policies and best practices for contracts for the staff population both full time and part-time.”

SCA has grown immensely over the years and the women of the business office continue to keep every aspect of the SCA community evolving and thriving.