Director, Human Resources and Inclusion
Kelley Benson is the Director of Human Resources & Inclusion at Innovation Works (IW). In her role as an Inclusion Strategist Kelley works closely with the President and CEO to ensure that IW is maintaining its commitment to diversity in its programs. In her role as Director of Human Resources Kelley oversees key C-Level talent acquisition initiatives in addition to managing employee relations for Innovation Works employees. Kelley also advises and educates Innovation Works’ portfolio companies in Human Resource best practices. Kelley is also a key collaborator on the new workforce development grant to assist entrepreneurs in several Pennsylvania counties deeply impacted by declining coal jobs.
With more than 10 years of human resources experience in both the private and non-profit sector, Kelley brings a wealth of diversified experience. Prior to talking on the role with IW, Kelley was the Director of Human Resources for the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority. Previously, she was Regional Human Resource Manager at K&L Gates Pittsburgh, Harrisburg and Chicago offices. Kelley also managed the Employee Relations Department at Highmark Health Pittsburgh office as well as managed the Camp Hill office for a period of time. Kelley also held a number of roles while working at United Way of Allegheny County for over 10 years.
Kelley received her B.S. in Business and M.B.A. from Point Park University.
My role in HR development is extremely important because Innovation Works (IW) recognizes that any value added to an employee is value added to IW and our affiliated organizations. I find that most employees are eager for the opportunities to develop their skills and add value to their companies. The effectiveness of human resource management is crucial to business success as is diversity and inclusion. Many studies confirm that a more diverse workforce performs better financially, although it is not enough to be diverse. An organization has to be prepared to receive those who are diverse. In other words, be inclusive. I often say, “Diversity is the mix and Inclusion is getting the mix to work well together.”
I’m passionate about encouraging people in developing their career and personal goals. This passion began long before I became a human resource professional. Family, friends and coworkers frequently seek my advice when confronted with difficult situations. I believe this is because I can see things farsighted (big picture), fair (able to see both sides of a situation) and frank in my assessment.
I am no stranger to hard work and doing what it takes to get the job done with excellence. I worked full-time and raised two children with my husband while obtaining my MBA. Looking back I wonder how I did it! I knew early on that I wanted to work in human resources. Now that I am working in what I believe is my life’s purpose I am committed to paying it forward by helping employees and entrepreneurs meet their goals.