Staff Spotlight – Dana Lipnickas

Staff Spotlight–Dana Lipnickas

A seven-year Yale veteran, Dana Lipnickas started her career at Yale as a website manager in Finance. One of her first projects was working on the team tasked with the transformation and consolidation of forty-seven administrative Yale websites into a single community-focused web presence—It’s Your Yale— was the ultimate collaborative effort. In 2016, the new site was launched, and for their efforts, Dana and the team were presented with the Linda Lorimer Award for Distinguished Service. Later that year, Dana accepted a position in ITS working on the User Experience team.

Last fall, Dana jumped into a temporary role as COVID-19 Program Manager as part of an unexpected stretch assignment. Dana supports the Operating Policy Group, Operations Implementation Task Force, and the Health and Safety Leaders. These groups meet and make informed decisions about how to guide university operations from a health and safety perspective during the pandemic and as the Yale Community returns to campus.

“Lisa Sawin shaped this role, I shadowed her for a few weeks and saw it as the opportunity of a lifetime. It’s fascinating to see how Yale is managing the COVID-19 pandemic from a health and safety perspective. Also, I get to see how they are shaping policy from the ground up,” said Dana.

Dana is the primary liaison between these working groups who meet regularly to discuss anything from campus event size limits to testing compliance or disseminating information. Throughout this evolving process, she provides a framework of structure and support, while keeping leaders apprised of what is happening within the other committees.

“It’s fascinating to watch everyone within these groups weigh in and discuss how these policies may affect their departments. It allows me to have a 360-degree view of how the university works and what people do. I’m grateful for the opportunity,” said Dana.

Before Yale, Dana worked for CNN Business in their newsroom as a design manager overseeing a design team. Originally from Long Island, New York, Dana attended the Rhode Island School of Design, receiving a B.A. in Fine Arts and Graphic Design.

She met us via Zoom recently, sharing some fun facts and family memories.

What was your first job out of college?

I worked for a small startup web design company in New York City. I found out about the job through an internship I’d done. I wore many hats, and the experience I gained there was invaluable because I saw how the whole company ran.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

It was from my dad; he’d always say, “there is always time to panic, so try not to think about the future, but try to stay in the moment.” I try to remember that when I need to stay focused.

What advice would you give someone wanting a job in IT?

I would encourage individuals to seek out information, including an interview in an area that interests them. Ask a manager if you can shadow someone in their group to see if you like the work and get to know the team. For individuals coming right out of school, definitely try a few different internships and mix it up. I interned each summer, checking out various industries to see if they were a good fit. Also, you can include that work experience on your resume.

Favorite family memory

A few years ago, my family when went to Washington, D.C. When you walk around, you feel the weight of what is being done there. Also, most of the museums and monuments are free to visit. There is so much to do, and the food is excellent. Everyone we came across was there to learn about our country’s history. We loved it.

Fun facts about you

In my early 20s, I was a pastry cook for a few restaurants in Brooklyn and New York City. I met my husband at one of the restaurants where he was working as a sous chef!

At CNN Business, many guests came to the newsroom, including the late Anthony Bourdain, whose show I loved. We also got to meet the actor and television personality Mr. T. He came in wearing his signature layers of gold necklaces and was so lovely to everyone posing for photos.