25-Year Profile: Teresa Mills

Photo: Teresa Mills
Teresa Mills

When Teresa Mills walked through the door wearing a Sacramento State ASK ME button, it was clearly a case of truth in advertising. Currently associate project director of the CMS Project, Teresa has held a number of jobs at Sacramento State and carries with her a wealth of knowledge about the development of systems on campus.

A graduate of UC Davis with a degree in Spanish, Mills thought of becoming a teacher, but instead began her career at the Fresno State University library. She arrived at Sac State in 1978 when her husband, who was working for the California Department of Fish and Game, was transferred to Sacramento. Her first job was in accounts payable. “Everything was done by hand in that office,” Mills explained, “and it was very time consuming. All of our claim schedules submitted to the State Controller’s office were typed with carbon copies, and they had to be perfect.”

It wasn’t long before Mills had the opportunity to move to a new position in what was then called Data Control. She is quick to thank her former supervisor, Jon Self, for this opportunity and said that once she got a taste of systems, she was hooked. However, in the late 70s, data entry was still done with keypunch machines and, much like in accounts payable, there was no margin for error. “I’d get a call in the middle of the night saying something wasn’t working. Often it was just a comma or period that was out of place.”

From there, Mills moved to her first supervisory position in accounts receivable, then back to data control, where she trained campus department staff, and was able to use the teaching skills she put aside years ago. She went on to manage the accounts payable and payroll offices. “I was always looking for opportunities to learn, and I’ve been fortunate to be able to fulfill this need in various capacities on campus.”

When the position of associate project director of the CMS Project arose, Mills knew that it was a culmination of all of the on-the-job skills she has mastered. Since July 2005, she has helped to implement CMS throughout the campus.

“One of the things I’ve liked best about Sacramento State is definitely the people. And I’ve been lucky to have had two great mentors – Jon Self and Carolyn Pittman – who always encouraged me to advance into new areas.”

In addition to the pride she takes in her work, Mills is the proud mother of two daughters, Jennifer, a 1999 Sac State graduate, who is now a dentist in Salem, Oregon, and Nellie, a teacher in the San Juan Unified School District. She is also the grandmother of one year-old Katie.

In her free time, Mills loves to read, travel with her husband Terry (who is now retired), and – not so surprising for someone who enjoys mastering new systems – play Nintendo. “I love Zelda!”