Spotlight on... Anita Treso

Anita Treso
Anita Treso
This week we meet Anita Treso, Operations Manager at the Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction. Anita chats with us about her involvement in The Bartlett Net-Zero Advisory Group, her favourite way to spend a day in Vienna, and publishing her first novel.

What is your role and what does it involve? 

I’m Operations Manager at The Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction , which is part of The Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment.  My role involves delivering a range of services to our key stakeholders including Finance, Human Resources, Facilities, Space Management and IT. Working within a department that focuses on construction, I like to use the analogy that the Operations team is the foundation of the department, as we support all the teaching, research and enterprise activities that take place. Specifically, my role entails managing an amazing team of administrators to provide the support the department needs.  

But I also like to fix things, so if I feel something doesn’t work, I will seek out the relevant contact and work with them to fix the issue. For example, I worked with the Procurement Team and our caterers to produce a separate gluten-free menu. This means we can now see what is available before we order and provide a better service across UCL, not just within our department.  

I’m also part of a number of groups and forums, including The Bartlett Net-Zero Advisory Group (NZAG) , the Bartlett Faculty Finance Forum, which I set up with our Finance Team and manage, BEAMS HR Network and several working groups that have had a direct impact on how UCL works.  

How long have you been at UCL and what was your previous role? 

I’ve been at UCL for almost five years now! How time flies. I started as a School Administrator and have progressed to Operations Manager. I’m very lucky to work with such inspirational and supportive colleagues. They make the department a great place to work.  

My previous role was Donations and Finance Manager at the London School of Economics (LSE), which was very intense, but also very rewarding working with some impressive donors and even more impressive students who were recipients of some of the scholarships LSE awarded. I have also worked as Publishing Editor at SAGE Publications, managing a suite of engineering and material science journals. I was the first on my team to publish a brand-new Open Access journal from concept and design to online publication. The Journal of Rehabilitation and Assistive Technologies Engineering is still one of my greatest achievements.  

I have also worked in the charity sector and accountancy.  

What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of? 

I’m most proud of how my team have taken on changes and challenges over the last three years, growing into a professional and multi-functional team. They each have their individual ways of working, but are working together as a team, understanding the department’s priorities, and supporting each other to get things done. They have risen to a number of challenges and always with a smile. So, while not an individual achievement or initiative, it is what I am most proud of during my time here at UCL. 

Tell us about a project you are working on now which is top of your to-do list 

I have a long to-do list! My priority now is to start preparing for year-end. Having a finance background means I enjoy this part of my role. I have set up a Teams sub-channel and, using Teams Planner, I map out all the individual tasks and deadlines and allocate them to the relevant team members. Everyone involved can see the tasks, so if someone is off sick, one of us can pick it up. It is easy to use, provides task reminders and we can easily share relevant information without drowning in emails. It has made year-end a relatively easy process.  

What is your favourite album, film and novel? 

Album: Corpse Flower by Mike Patton and Jean-Claude Vannier. Dark, moody and stylish, the songs are all different in style and performance. I am also a huge Puccini opera fan! 

Film: European films mainly - but if pressed for one film, L’appartement directed by Gilles Mimouni. Twists and bends without you realising you are being taken on a journey. Beautiful acting and wonderful scene shots.  

Novel: What an impossible question! The Good Soldier Svejk by Jaroslav Ha¨ek. Set during WW1, it is the story of Svejk’s adventures as he tries to do his duty despite the machinations of the Austro-Hungarian empire. I have several editions and language editions and even a small Svejk doll! This is the book I have returned to countless times to make me laugh and realise that things don’t really change in the world. It is how we deal with challenges that sets us apart. Svejk is no hero, but he has a way of winning those small battles. 

What is your favourite joke (pre-watershed)? 

Any joke that makes my son-in-law laugh - which isn’t difficult. A classic Ronnie Corbett joke:  

"A juggernaut of onions has shed its load all’over the M1. Motorists are advised to find a hard shoulder to cry on." 

Who would be your dream dinner guests? 

Emile Zola, Simone de Beauvoir, Mike Patton and Mary Wollstonecraft - these are people I would love to have a discussion with over good food and wine.  

If I had to choose who was going to cook the dinner, it would be a difficult decision between The Swedish Chef (Muppets) or Keith Floyd - plenty of chaos and entertainment!  

What advice would you give your younger self? 

Keep going. Things WILL get better.  

What would it surprise people to know about you?

I’ve recently published my first novel, Ideality , under a pen name. People always ask, ’where do you find the time’’ If there is something you want to do in life, you will always find the time. Just be kind to yourself and only measure your successes against yourself.  

What is your favourite place?   

Vienna, Austria. I have family there and love the city! So much history and culture and great food. The Schönbrunn Palace is so beautiful and grand. The culinary offerings are heavenly and it’s just a place you can spend all day in. Then you have the Danube River running through the city and you can travel by boat to other cities. I usually take the boat to Bratislava, Slovakia, and then the train to Kosice to visit family there as well. And then it’s back to Vienna for a few more days at the Belvedere Museum and Hundertwasser House for tea and cake.  
  • University College London, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT (0) 20 7679 2000