COSMOS just hired a new grant manager Fadime Ledford! We spoke to Fadime to know her aspirations and goals from her role, what she brings to it, and what attracted her to COSMOS. 

What is your name, and what role do you play at COSMOS?

I am Fadime Ledford. I am Grant Manager at the COSMOS Research Center at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. I help with many aspects of the center, such as helping Dr. Agarwal with the budget, balancing, planning, purchasing, travels, and tracking of expenses. In short, I help ensure that all the grants’ requirements are met and comply with all federal, state, and institution policies and procedures.

Can you share a bit about your professional background and experience?

Prior to joining, I served as an Audit Coordinator at the Arkansas Department of the Inspector General, Office of Medicaid Inspector General. With over 7 years of experience there, I was highly skilled and knowledgeable in federal- and state-funded projects, financial and Medicaid audits and investigations, and day-to-day processes like data analytics, statistical modeling, research, and policy writing. We conducted the formal review process to prevent fraud and abuse in a provider’s submitted Medicaid claims, establishing the evidence for whether potentially fraudulent activities, discrepancies, and other improper payments had occurred. Basically, I used to dig into the large and very complex details; I conducted quality assurance reviews on the reports that had been done by other staff and suggested necessary revisions. I also had extensive work experience in payroll, budgeting, purchasing and procurement, accounting, finance, and tax credits and refunds.

Were there specific aspects of our company culture or mission that resonated with you?

COSMOS’ values resonate with me because it aims to foster such a great community commitment and study environment. I value its culture and dedication to improving students’ lives and enhancing the Arkansas community.

Are there any specific skills or experiences you’re looking to gain here?

Prior to my hiring, I had been actively seeking a new position to advance my career in grant management. I saw many of the skills posted for this position overlapped with what I’d done previously, such as dealing with large, complex federal- and state-funded financial reports or conducting audits and investigations. Because of this, I’m confident I can step into this role and contribute immediately, while also finding new opportunities for challenge and growth. I believe this position can provide the growth opportunity that I had been hoping to gain, and I’m confident I will pick up valuable knowledge while working here.

Is there anything that stood out to you during your onboarding process?

Yes, absolutely! I’ve felt a great sense of belonging in my new role, and, during the onboarding, learned very clearly the expectations of the COSMOS research center and the larger UA Little Rock ecosystem. I have been impressed by how welcoming, friendly, professional, and supportive Dr. Agarwal, and others at COSMOS have been. It has made me feel like I am part of the team right away, and I feel I fit in well with the culture here at UA Little Rock. I am confident that working at UA Little Rock and COSMOS has been the right decision for me.

How do you see yourself growing professionally within COSMOS?

My long-term goal is to become a subject matter expert in grant management. I commit myself to continuous learning, development, and expansion of my knowledge and horizons. I believe that my goals align with COSMOS’ values and mission, and that I will be a valuable asset to the team and to its success. As a Grant Manager, I enjoy challenging work; I want to provide dedicated, professional, and high-quality services through my excellent team-building and leadership skills.

Based on your experience, what advice would you give to someone starting a new role at COSMOS?

Work hard. Watch and learn to walk before you run, and stay humble. Listen more than you talk, and don’t be afraid to ask questions or to get help from the people that can help advance your career. But do your own due diligence, to find out the answers on your own, too. Raise the bar on your perception of what you can get accomplished. Think long-term about what you want to do, and set goals for yourself. Most importantly, I always advise people to make a thorough plan of their work, and to work on that plan continuously.