myHR: News from Penn's Division of Human Resources

myHR Archives

myHR: April 5, 2017

Team Building Makes Tina Skov Cowan a Model Supervisor


What made Tina Skov Cowan successful as a supervisor and in her fundraising work for Penn Libraries is her ability to connect with people. 

As the Director of Advancement for Penn Libraries, Tina went above and beyond in her role, making her a 2017 Model Supervisor award winner.

“It’s rare that staff have the opportunity to recognize colleagues or their supervisors directly, but knowing Tina’s work and how much I admire her, it was an easy decision to nominate her as a Model Supervisor,” says Matthew Pilecki, Senior Associate Director of Development for Penn Libraries.

According to Matthew, Tina’s great interpersonal skills helped make the development team at Penn Libraries so effective. “She’s dynamic and empathetic. She always wants to understand someone fully, whether that’s a staff member, a donor, or someone on the street,” says Matthew.

Tina has supported her staff to improve personally and professionally. “She started every staff meeting by sincerely asking how we were doing outside of work,” says Matthew.

Matthew shared that when he started with Penn Libraries, he had no previous front-line fundraising experience. Observing her has helped him develop skills necessary for fundraising – from planning meetings and events to navigating tricky situations that arise when working with donors. Tina is known to lead her team by example, and her staff have taken notice. “Whenever my colleagues and I approach a work question,” Matthew says, “we think, what would Tina do?

While Tina is exceptionally supportive of her staff, she also is keen to offer valuable feedback. “She is not shy at all to tell us when she thinks we can do things better. When she thinks we should go in a different direction, she ask why we started in that direction and follows up with additional questions,” says Matthew.

Continual improvement is a large part of the success Penn Libraries has achieved over the last several years. At the culmination of the Making History campaign in 2013, the Libraries exceeded its $47 million fundraising goal by over $16 million. Today, the Libraries circulates over 10 million items each year and hosts the world’s largest collection of digitized, open-access manuscripts.

“These accomplishments would have been impossible without the gifts Tina brought in that supported our collection development and digitization initiatives,” says Matthew.

Tina has recently transitioned to a new role at Penn as the Senior Managing Director of International Development. Although she is greatly missed at Penn Libraries, Matthew says she left a strong team who continue to do the important fundraising so integral to the Libraries’ work.

Tina and other Models of Excellence nominees received awards from President Amy Gutmann in honor of their contributions at a ceremony in Irvine Auditorium on March 28.

To learn more about the Model Supervisor award and the other Penn staff recognized, visit the Models of Excellence page.

Your Total Rewards in Focus


Penn supports you in being your best at work and home through an array of award-winning benefits, services, and programs. In addition to your base pay, this package includes retirement and tuition benefits, healthcare and other insurance coverage, and other compensation. Together, this makes up your total compensation and reflects Penn’s total investment in you.

How does this investment add up for you? Look for your personalized Total Compensation Summary for the 2016 calendar year arriving at your home soon. You will also be able to download a version from the secure Total Compensation Summary website.

The Total Compensation Summary is also a tool to identify other programs and benefits that can help you as your goals change over time. Penn encourages you to make the most of the available retirement savings plans, award-winning work-life programs, wellness services, and professional development opportunities. Don’t miss the list of cultural activities and special discounts available to members of the Penn community.

Visit the U@Penn Portal at to access your 2016 Total Compensation Summary.

Communicate Upward to Get Results


Effective communication with your manager is essential to getting your best ideas up the ladder. This communication depends on a positive working relationship with your manager. In Communicating Upward on April 11, 9am-12pm, participants will learn about different communication styles that can help build stronger relationships with supervisors and add value to an organization.

Participants will learn how to use communication to boost productivity and efficiency, use listening and questioning effectively, and even how to disagree with a manager in ways that lead to agreeable solutions. The workshop will use learning exercises such as role plays, case scenarios, discussions and more to build these skills.

Effective communication skills are applicable in all work relationships for staff at every level, in face-to-face communication and in written form. Register now for Communicating Upward on April 11, 9am-12pm.

Healthy Meals: Asparagus with Tomato and Feta


This seasonal side dish will add flavor and color to any meal.

Find the recipe here or send us your healthy recipes and tips.  

April is Financial Literacy Month


Improve your financial wellness with easy-to-follow steps you can start any time. Visit for more information. 


Did You Know? Penn’s 30 x 30 Challenge

Take Penn's annual 30x30 Challenge by spending at least 30 minutes outdoors each day during April. Log your activity for the HealthTrails Challenge to earn Be in the Know points!