Get to Know Maryam Schellstede

Each month, Get to Know… will feature two members of UT System Administration’s talented staff as they offer insights into their lives in and out of the office. Each new edition will be published here.

Maryam Schellstede, COO of University Lands, unwinds by playing Mah Jongg.

Maryam Schellstede

Chief Operating Officer
University Lands

What are your primary job responsibilities?

In my current role of COO, I work with the CEO and executive leadership team at University Lands to develop and assess the overall strategic direction required to steward and maximize the value generated from the Permanent University Fund (PUF) Lands. I oversee teams that manage internal operations at University Lands, as well as a wide range of complex commercial and business critical processes, including Natural Resource Development, Business Solutions and IT Services, Marketing and Communications, and Finance and Accounting.

What do you most enjoy about your job?

Everyday there are new and different challenges. I thrive on problem-solving and finding the best solutions to achieve our goals and keep things running smoothly. Beyond that, I really enjoy working closely with our teams. It has been rewarding to work collaboratively to see our strategies come to life and make a real impact on the organization's success. Our mission at University Lands is meaningful and our work impacts generations of Texas students, so its fulfilling to achieve our goals and deliver value to the PUF and Available University Fund (AUF).

What do you do to disconnect or de-stress?

I find connecting with loved ones is essential for my well-being, whether it is a quick call or doing something fun together or spending time with my family. I love playing Mah Jong socially and have taught family and friends to play. Ultimately, I think disconnecting and de-stressing is about giving myself permission to prioritize my well-being. Even when I don't have a lot of time to myself, I have simple and quick rituals that help me relax and reset. For example, I play The New York Times Games (Connections, The Mini Crossword, Wordle) every day. Creative outlets like baking and watercolor painting also help me relax.

Who is currently playing on your Spotify playlist?

I've been enjoying the Beta version of DJ on Spotify, which pulls from your most played songs and adds in songs it thinks you'll like. Lately the mix is country (I really like Kacey Musgraves and Dolly Parton) and soulful Pop (Benson Boone, Teddy Swims).