Staff Spotlight: For Jaye Efland, Duke Is All in the Family

For the past 38 years, Duke Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences has been Jaye Efland’s professional home. She started out in 1986 as a data technician (now called “clinical research specialist”) and was promoted after about nine years to a project coordinator (now called “clinical research coordinator”), a role she held for 15 years before transitioning to the administrative side of research grants.

As a grants and contracts manager, a position she’s held for 14 years, Jaye helps investigators through the administrative steps of sponsored research, including both pre- and post-award activities. She also helps department members process transactions through Buy@Duke (Duke’s primary system of purchasing goods and services) and Concur (Duke’s system for processing corporate card charges and reimbursements for out of pocket expenses).

She recently shared some reflections about her time at Duke.

What changes have you observed at Duke since you started working in Duke Psychiatry?

Growth—not just in size but in their mission to their staff and the community (both locally and internationally). 

Duke continues to be a leader in health care and research by recruiting faculty who are leaders in their field. Internationally, they have established the Duke-NUS partnership. By establishing additional sites for services to include areas outside of Durham, they have extended their footprint and made it more convenient for patients to seek necessary medical care. They have formed partnerships with and provided funds to various organizations to strengthen their bond with the community they serve.

What’s your professional superpower?

Multi-tasking, flexibility and fire-fighting. Multi-tasking is an important part of any job. However, given the deadline-driven nature of grants management, it is an especially important skillset to have as it often can be a juggling act to make sure nothing is dropped and everything is moving forward. 

And you know what they say about best laid plans … being flexible to rework your plan for the day to address other tasks or put out the proverbial fire as they arise—all these have served me well during my career at Duke.

What brought you to Duke … and what keeps you here?

Family brought me to Duke. The people have kept me at Duke. I have had many family members who have worked at Duke in some capacity. In addition to my mom (30 years), the others that come immediately to mind include four of six siblings, two aunts, and multiple cousins and nieces. It was a no brainer to work for Duke. 

I have stayed at Duke because of the many people I’ve met and worked for/with over the years. I’ve been very lucky to be part of multiple teams that included great supervisors and co-workers. Being able to be part of a great team that feels like family goes a long way in keeping you motivated and less stressed.

What’s one thing you’ve learned through your work in Duke Psychiatry?

It’s not always about the amount of money you make—you need to see the big picture. For my first 24 years at Duke, I was a data technician/project coordinator. Quite a few people told me that I could make more money if I found a job at one of the companies in RTP. My first question to them would always be, “Who would I be working for/with?”

The people you surround yourself with are just as important at work as they are for your personal life. I’ve stayed in touch with a lot of people I’ve met during my term at Duke.   

What advice would you give to new Duke employees?

First, pay yourself by taking advantage of and contributing to Duke’s retirement plan. 

Second, Duke offers many training resources. You might start out with something simple like taking an online course to increase your knowledge of a particular aspect of your job. Later, you may decide to take advantage of the employee tuition assistance program to earn a degree. 

Third, Duke has an extensive list of perks for Duke employees that include discounts for something as small as going to a local restaurant to a larger purchase like buying a car. 

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

I like spending time with my three dogs, reading a book that makes me laugh (even better if I can be floating in a pool or sitting seaside), doing jigsaw puzzles, going to Disney, and volunteering at home Duke basketball games with my fellow Durham Civitan Club members.

Jaye is notably open, honest, and straightforward. She is one of the most generous people I know—always thinking about others. Her extensive Buy@Duke and Concur knowledge, along with her dogged determination to unravel complex invoicing and procurement issues, makes her an invaluable team member. We are so lucky to have her on our team!
Rebecca Hausmann, CRA, Senior Grants & Contracts Manager

This article is part of a series of spotlights on Duke Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences staff members who have worked at Duke for 30+ years, developed in honor of Duke's Centennial celebration