Vice President, Human Resources & Inclusion
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
What makes you the best person for your role?
I am uniquely suited for my role due to my extensive and diverse experience across various industries. Contrary to the common misconception that lacking startup experience may hinder success in working with the startup community, I believe my background brings a valuable perspective to the table. I’ve encountered the sentiment that founders appreciate individuals with industry-specific expertise, and my rich history in human resources spanning legal, insurance, governmental agencies, utility, engineering, medical, and more, showcases the transferability and universal applicability of HR skills.
In the contemporary job market, fostering a strong organizational culture is crucial for talent retention, especially when startups are competing against well-established entities for the best professionals. Cultivating innovative hiring techniques becomes imperative, and my broad experience equips me with the versatility needed to navigate diverse cultures and lay a solid foundation for building a robust organizational culture in any industry.
In addition, compliance with employment laws is a non-negotiable aspect for all businesses, startups included. Any unintentional violations can lead to unforeseen legal expenses, potentially crippling a startup. I recognize the importance of guiding startups through these legal intricacies, ensuring they remain compliant and avoid potential pitfalls.
What is your favorite thing about working with startups?
Startups operate at a rapid pace, often requiring quick pivots. I appreciate the resilience and courage demonstrated by founders and co-founders, and I am ready to contribute to their success by providing valuable HR resources. Assisting startups in defining their culture is foundational to supporting their mission and values, and I am enthusiastic about taking on this challenge. I am eager to contribute my skills and experience to the dynamic and innovative world of startups, where I can play a pivotal role in shaping and sustaining their success.
What do you love about living and working in Pittsburgh?
It’s the only city I know. I’ve lived and worked here all my life. I love the fact you can attend functions and always find someone you know or knows others in your circle. Unlike many, I love the bike lanes as I am an avid biker.
Where can we find you outside of work?
Outside of work you can find me biking through our city and walking through our local parks to clear my mind. That’s where I find my Zen!
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.