June 15, 2024

Paula Zero: Executive Suite

As first-year students settle into their fresh UMW lives, Paula Zero is doing the same. Just this past summer she was named executive office manager for President Troy D. Paino.

In her dozen years at Mary Washington, Zero has done everything from running the cash register in the bookstore to coordinating special events for the Office of Admissions. But her current post puts her right in the thick of things.

This week she takes her new role with a new president into a new academic year. But, really, Paula … no pressure.


Q: Is it scary to work in the president’s office?

No, it’s an honor. The experience, knowledge and support of the staff makes working in the office anything but scary. And I appreciate the wonderful opportunity for personal and professional growth.

Q: Managing the office of a university president is a multifaceted job. How do you prioritize?

Ongoing communication with staff is important. Deadlines certainly help, too!

Q: What are your three top tips for keeping it together under pressure?

Focus on the big picture; keep a “what’s next” calendar; make sure your workspace is organized.

Q: In your new role, what have you learned about President Paino?

I already knew he was exceptionally intelligent and compassionate … and he has a terrific sense of humor!

Q: What one word would you use to describe him?



  1. Gayle Mitchell says

    I can’t imagine a better or more competent person than Paula to fill that office! Congratulations!