“I like the atmosphere of a campus. You can work at something you believe in. In industry, you don’t often get that chance.”
Ellen Bennett didn’t start working in the business world until she was 50 years old and her youngest child was in grade school. Her first job was on a college campus and she found she loved all the cultural opportunities and classes available. “But then the California climate called,” she says, “and we got out of the dead of winter in New Jersey.”
Working in the SMC offices, Ellen continued taking one class each semester toward her degree. It took her 10 years but on her graduation day in 1982 she recalls SMC President Richard Moore’s surprise when she walked up to get her A.A. diploma in Business.
Since 1976, Ellen Bennett has served the SMC faculty and staff in the Employee Benefits office. “In my job,” she explains, “you have to want to help employees. We offer some excellent benefit plans. But employees need to sense your willingness to help and feel confident in you to assist them.” Adds Ellen, “I’m also responsible for all of the funds for these programs, which is millions of dollars.”
She’s particularly proud of her part in getting SMC’s Wellness Center—a state-of-the-art employee health club—to open its doors last year. Her care and concern for people’s health also extends to Santa Monica’s homeless population. “I go to a homeless shelter one night week,” says Ellen, “and help prepare supper.”
Read more stories from present and past years in the
SMC Student Spotlight Archive.