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Mix and mingle at UCOP’s Friday Breakfasts

The monthly Friday Breakfasts are a happy tradition at UCOP. They pull folks out of their offices and cubicles for a few moments each month to catch up with colleagues as well as representatives from senior management and UCOP’s affinity groups.

Their success can be attributed to the huge team effort that goes into each event, from the cafes that provide the food, to the UCOP staff who organize them and the appreciative employees who partake.

“The TGIF breakfasts are a real highlight every month and serve as a huge morale-booster,” says MESA Communications Director Teri Lee, who frequents the Kaiser event. “Thank you, thank you, thank you!”

The breakfasts take place on the first and second Fridays of each month, respectively, at both Franklin and Kaiser. (But note that November’s Kaiser breakfast takes place Nov. 18 due to Veteran’s Day on Nov 11.)

Eden Café, the small café in the Franklin lobby, provides Franklin’s fare, while Kaiser’s supplier is the nearby Big Apple Café. Behind the scenes, Building Services Specialist Loreaner Lopez coordinates the ordering, table setup and serving, which means her start time is 6 a.m. at least two days a month.

“People are very gracious, and we get a lot of good feedback,” Lopez says. “We really want people to enjoy themselves and are always open to new ideas about how to improve.”

At Kaiser, for example, the breakfast location was recently changed from 612 to 605 to accommodate more people. A modest menu of bagels and fruit has expanded over time to include hot items like oatmeal and the ever-popular breakfast burritos.

The tradition began back in 2005, when budget cuts, a systemwide reorganization and layoffs were taking a toll on morale at UCOP. It was just the beginning of what UCOP Facilities Asset Director Michael Keleman calls “the tough times.”

“We were looking for a way to do something for people who are here, to say ‘thank you’ and show appreciation for making things happen,” Keleman says. “It was our dream that people would stick for a little while—not just take their food but sit down for 15 or 20 minutes and share the conversation.”

In attendance at this month’s breakfasts will be Senior Management Group reps Charles Robinson, VP and General Counsel of the Regents, and Peter Taylor, Chief Financial Officer (Franklin) and Bruce Darling, VP of Laboratory Management (Kaiser). The Crafts Group will be tabling at Franklin to share information about their group, and ECAS staff will be promoting Fraud Awareness Week.

If you have ideas for how to improve the breakfasts, send them to Building Services at

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