Texas Tech University

Rawls Employee Leads Texas Tech's Annual Charitable Campaign

Staci Semrad

Jessica Carrillo, Texas Tech SECC Coordinator

Carrillo coordinates the university's participation in the annual Texas State Employee Charitable Campaign (SECC).

A natural planner and organizer with a big heart for those in need, Jessica Carrillo stepped gladly up to the plate when her charitable leadership was requested by Texas Tech University President Lawrence Schovanec.

An alumna and staff member of the Jerry S. Rawls College of Business, Carrillo was asked two years ago by the president's office to accept his appointment of her to coordinate the university's participation in the annual Texas State Employee Charitable Campaign (SECC).

"I'm always one who is up for the challenge, so I said yes," said Carrillo, who for many years worked in the president's office and served as an SECC leader at the departmental level.

Through the SECC, state employees may donate with monthly payroll deductions to their choice of more than 1,300 qualified charities that help people and animals in need. The campaign recurs every fall. This year, it kicked off the first week of September with a goal of $441,949 and will run through the end of October.

As the university-wide coordinator, Carrillo leads over 150 department coordinators who do fundraising each fall to reach the university's goal. She starts preparing for the campaign in January by reviewing how the previous year's campaign went and what improvements should be made. She then planned and scheduled training sessions for SECC coordinators at the departmental level, arranged bus tours for those coordinators to visit some of the local charitable agencies approved for the SECC, and planned the SECC kick-off event held the first week of September.

"There are so many things that have happened in my life that make me want to give back to the community, and this role allows me to do that," said Carrillo, who holds a Bachelor of Science in University Studies and an MBA from Texas Tech.

Carrillo's responsibilities as coordinator are on top of her full-time job at Rawls College, where she joined the staff in 2015 and was recently promoted to the position of director of professional programs in the Graduate and Professional Programs Office. She also chairs the South Plains local employee committee, which assists the state policy committee with evaluating applications from organizations that seek to participate in the state employee charitable campaign in the Lubbock area. Additionally, she is a cabinet member of the Lubbock Area United Way Annual Campaign.

Wearing these different hats has required excellent time management and impeccable planning and organizational skills – talents Carrillo honed as the president's executive assistant while working on her degrees. She took care of the president's calendar, made his travel arrangements, reconciled his executive credit card, ensured he responded to all emails and other communiques, managed his football and basketball suites, and more.

"So if I could balance all of that, this is a piece of cake," she said of her SECC leadership role. "The only stress I have with this one is making sure that the university meets its goal."

To meet that goal, she gives departmental SECC coordinators ideas for how to inspire giving from employees, especially when they may be far removed from and unaware of the desperate situations of those in need.

"I know this year's campaign is going to be successful," Carrillo said. "We have some great coordinators who are working hard, so I have no doubt we'll meet our goal this year."

Though her role as university coordinator of SECC requires a significant time commitment outside of her regular work hours, it is well worth the extra effort, Carrillo said.

"My biggest reward is meeting our goal and seeing what happens with money we raised, like visiting the Boys and Girls Club and knowing that the monetary gifts from our employees helped those children be there after school and get adequate care and supervision," she said. "There are so many great agencies like that."

The campaign runs through the end of October, although pledge forms will be accepted through November 27. To give, visit the Texas Tech SECC website, look for the "Give Today" headline and click the "Online Form" link.