Staff Spotlight: Roberta Demery Smiles through it All

Roberta Demery, an administrative assistant in the Division of Behavioral Medicine & Neurosciences, works to ensure that lab personnel using the Buy@Duke purchasing system complete their purchase requisitions accurately. She also processes p-card transactions for several faculty members.

Roberta has worked in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences for six years, but her Duke University School of Medicine career goes back to 1987, when she started as an administrative assistant in the Department of Pediatrics’ Division of Pediatric Cardiology. Although she hadn’t planned to continue working there long-term, she enjoyed the role so much that she stayed for eight years (more on that below!). 

Roberta has spent the bulk of her time at Duke in the Department of Neurology, working from 1995 to 2018 as an administrative assistant, before transitioning to the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences in 2018. All told, her Duke career has spanned nearly four decades.

She recently shared some reflections about her time at Duke.

What do you enjoy most about working in Duke Psychiatry?  

I love the way the leadership team is concerned and advocates for staff’s mental well-being by incorporating team building events with other staff and themselves to get away from work every once in a while.

What has your favorite role been at Duke, and why?  

Working in Peds Cardiology and having interactions with kids and their families. Even though working around sick children can be draining, over the years I worked there, I got attached to a pre-teen family and had the privilege of seeing her blossom and eventually no health problems into adulthood.  

What’s your professional superpower?  

I feel that my superpower is that I love helping people and I am able to adapt to changes. Last but not least, I do my best to smile through it ALL!

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

I first came to Duke to get medical terminology training/experience to work at another company, but I ending up staying, because in Peds Cardiology, faculty were so compassionate towards the patients and that impressed me tremendously.   

What advice would you give to new Duke employees?  

Don’t take everything personally and always ask questions when you don’t understand what is expected of you.

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

I have a big family so I love hanging out with them all the time.  Also, we have a two-year-old rescue Pitbull, Copper, who keeps us on our toes. 

“Roberta brings a vibrant energy to the workplace with her infectious sense of humor. Her deep knowledge and no-nonsense approach ensure that tasks are tackled efficiently and effectively. Frankly, I don’t know what I would do without her!”
Cortnee Pierce, Division Administrator, Division of Behavioral Medicine & Neurosciences

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