Tara MacCrone receives Sharon A. Ling Award of Excellence for Outstanding Achievement

Tara MacCrone, Manager for the Research Office at Western Engineering, has been honoured with the 2023 Sharon A. Ling Award of Excellence for Outstanding Achievement by a Staff Member.

This prestigious award is presented annually to a Western Engineering employee in recognition of their exceptional long-term contributions supporting the academic, research, innovation, public service or administrative missions of the Faculty of Engineering.

tara-ins-m"I am proud to be a member of Western Engineering and honoured to be recognized with this award,” shared MacCrone. “It was wonderful to read the nomination package and know my work is making a difference. I appreciate the time people took out of their busy schedules to write letters of support. I would especially like to thank professor Abdallah Shami for nominating me."

MacCrone's role as Manager within the Faculty of Engineering Research Office has been pivotal in advancing the research mission. Her expertise in grant writing and securing funds has significantly enhanced the faculty's capacity to attract substantial funding, facilitating cutting-edge research and innovation. "Tara's strategic approach and deep understanding of the research funding landscape have not only bolstered our faculty's research portfolio but have also contributed to our reputation as a leader in engineering research," said Abdallah Shami, a Western Engineering professor.

MacCrone's leadership skills are exemplary and deeply impactful. She exemplifies proactive leadership, handling necessary tasks thoughtfully and carefully. "Tara's ability to identify and address issues constructively fosters an environment where continuous improvement is the norm," said Shami. "Her strategic thinking and kindness greatly enhance the success of faculty members applying for substantial research grants."

During Shami's tenure as acting associate dean of research, he witnessed MacCrone's remarkable initiative and leadership firsthand. One notable instance was her successful application for a competitive internship program through the Black Leadership University Experience (BLUE) program. "Her deep commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion within our faculty, along with her exceptional mentoring abilities, truly stand out," added Shami.

MacCrone's remarkable skills as a team player are also noteworthy. She collaborates effectively with over 120 faculty members, Dean's Office staff, central Research Office staff, funding agencies and external partners. Despite a high-pressure environment, she remains a model of calmness and support. Her colleagues contend that her collegial attitude and steadfast commitment exemplify her extraordinary interpersonal skills and resilience.

Miriam Capretz, associate dean of research in Engineering and MacCrone's current leader, speaks highly of her. “Tara is very organized; she can handle many parallel activities and deadlines in a much-planned manner. In all my interactions with Tara, I can positively attest to her outstanding abilities, expertise and dedication, going above and beyond, to assist the Western Engineering community.”

"Tara’s commitment to the Faculty is evidenced by her active roles on various committees, including the Faculty Council and the Social & Wellness Committee," noted a faculty member. "She has played a pivotal role in fostering a positive culture within our Faculty."

MacCrone attributes her motivation and support throughout her journey to the collaborative spirit among colleagues. "Over the years, I have learned a lot from colleagues, witnessing strong leadership from various areas across the Faculty and across campus,” she said.

She added: “There’s a collaborative spirit amongst Faculty Research Offices and Western Research and we can rely on each other when we may not have all the answers. I have also been fortunate to work for leaders who value my opinion. I am grateful to the many team members who have supported me since joining Engineering in 2015. Our Research team in Engineering has grown over the years and I am thankful for the hard work they do to advance the strategic priorities of the Faculty."

Staff at Western Research echo these sentiments, highlighting MacCrone’s commitment to the Faculty and the University through her thorough processes to ensure applications are vetted and in good shape ahead of the Western Research review. "I appreciate her collegiality and open communication, which makes for a strong team dynamic across university departments as we support outgoing applications together. It is a credit to Tara’s leadership that one can rely on the Engineering research office," said a staff member.

Another colleague added, "Her exceptional interpersonal skills and adeptness in professional communication have been instrumental in fostering effective collaboration at all levels. She is one of the most dedicated, collaborative and knowledgeable colleagues I have had the pleasure of working with in my career and is highly respected by my team and Western Research. Her positive attitude and willingness to be a team player benefit our staff, researchers and Western."

MacCrone's dedication and competence are echoed in testimonials from distinguished colleagues. A leading researcher in Western Engineering praised her ability to understand research proposals and provide insightful comments that significantly improve the quality of grants. “Tara is a leader…[who] picks up tasks when she sees they need doing, often quietly. She calls out problems politely when she sees them, makes those around her better and she can think strategically. All of these traits greatly improve the culture and relationships at Western Engineering.”

Another faculty member admired her ability to foster a positive and collaborative work environment, inspiring her team to reach their full potential. She is dedicated to her team’s well-being and accomplishment.

When asked for advice for others aspiring to achieve similar recognition, MacCrone emphasized the importance of focusing on what is within one's control. "We can’t address everything, but we can make a positive difference,” she said. “Commit to continuous learning, lead by example, be accountable, and ask for help when needed.”

“You don’t have to have all the answers; teamwork makes things more manageable,” she concluded. 

Tara MacCrone is an exceptionally dedicated and skilled professional whose contributions have significantly enhanced the Faculty of Engineering. Her remarkable dedication and competence make her a deserving recipient of the Sharon A. Ling Award of Excellence for Outstanding Achievement by a Staff Member.