Front and Center: Tommeka MasonPublished on Monday, July 3, 2023By: Ruth CumminsTommeka Mason doesn’t always spend her days in the same chair, or at the same desk, in the Office of the Vice Chancellor.You might see her in the reception area, answering phones and covering for a coworker during the lunch hour. She might be organizing the calendar of Dr. Alan Jones, associate vice chancellor for clinical affairs.She might be arranging breakfast for medical students who meet with Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs Dr. LouAnn Woodward, who also is dean of the School of Medicine. And, she might be selecting treats for the weekly Cookie Friday.“I help out in any way I can, wherever I’m needed,” said Mason, whose primary role is executive assistant to Jones.In the Office of the Vice Chancellor for about two years, Mason makes sure Jones’ calendar is organized and accurate. “I assist with getting Dr. Jones to and from his meetings, and to the right location,” she said. “We have to get the executives in and out of meetings on time so that they can get to their next meeting.”Glenn“Tommeka is someone I rely on heavily in the Office of the Vice Chancellor,” said her supervisor, Rebecca Glenn, manager of executive support. “She helps me problem solve quickly and efficiently, and she always has a smile on her face.“Tommeka is special in the fact that she can make lemonade out of lemons, which is truly appreciated,” Glenn said. “She is able to successfully network with staff across campus and with off-campus stakeholders.”The best part of her job, Mason said, is “getting to interact with everyone we see. We laugh and talk to try to make the very best of each workday.”A Gluckstadt resident and Jackson native, Mason is married to Bruce Kitchens. They have a 10-year-old daughter, Tailyn, and son Christian, 16.The family’s Friday nights in the fall are reserved for Christian, who plays football for Germantown High, and Saturday mornings are reserved for Tailyn’s Girl Scout meetings. “We try to travel at least twice a year, and this year, we’re planning to go to Disney,” Mason said.Mason is the reigning Mrs. Mississippi Plus America.Mason has another passion in addition to her career and family. She was recently crowned Mrs. Mississippi Plus America and will represent her state in July at the national competition in Houston.Following a group opening number, “we will have an interview portion, which counts for the majority of your points, an evening gown competition and pant wear competition,” Mason said.She chooses to be part of the pageant world for a specific reason. “As a plus-sized woman, this exemplifies that just because you are plus sized doesn’t mean you’re not beautiful,” Mason said.“I encourage plus-sized women to be celebrated and to appreciate their bodies.”That’s one more thing that makes Mason a joy to have as a coworker, Glenn said.“Tommeka’s skill set serves her well in her role, and I look forward to working with her for a very long time,” Glenn said.Read more Front and Center stories online. Do you know a student, staff, volunteer or faculty member at the University of Mississippi Medical Center whose story would make an interesting feature or deserves to be recognized? Think about someone with outstanding job commitment, fascinating hobby or amazing accomplishment.To nominate someone to be considered for a Front and Center feature, just complete and submit this short form. If that person is picked for a feature, a member of the Communications and Marketing staff will contact him or her to learn more about his or her personal story.