Where did you grow up and how would you describe yourself as a child?
I grew up in Massachusetts, then moved to Vermont when I was 11 years old. I am told I was a shy but determined, inquisitive, and well behaved child. I remembering wanting to be involved in things and make a difference and help others. I believed this desire to help sparked my interest in HR.
What did you study in college and what was your first job out of school?
In college, I remained undecided until late into my sophomore year when I finally declared business management my major. Due to an internship in Human Resources the summer before I also committed to doing a minor in “Human Relations and Work”. My first job out of college was a Human Resources Representative/Executive Assistant at Dartmouth College working directly for our CHRO and supporting her calendar and pet project initiatives.
Can you share the details on your career path and what were the critical moments that got you to where you are today?
After leaving Dartmouth I moved to Boston and worked in HR at Harvard University. While at Harvard I held two distinct generalist positions which gave me wonderful opportunities to learn from many different people and on many topics. After 6 years, I wanted to try something new and seized a risky but great opportunity to join a startup called HealthEdge. It was here that I experienced tremendous career growth due to the opportunity to build out the department from scratch. The most critical moment in my career was when I requested time with our new CEO at HealthEdge and was able to lift the HR function from compliance/ perfunctory to strategic. By the end of that meeting, we made a commitment to build a company and focus our leadership around being an employer of choice. I am still at HealthEdge learning and growing as we take on the new exciting challenge of being PE-backed and acquiring companies ourselves.
What is your current role and responsibilities?
I am the VP of People and Culture at HealthEdge. I am surrounded by an amazing team of HR and TA professionals. Overall we drive the organizations focus on employee engagement and ensure our practices support our goal of being an employer of choice. I personally partner across the organization doing strategic workforce planning, nurturing our organization's talent, helping build resilient and high performing teams, and M&A.
Looking back, is this where you thought you’d be professionally? Was it always your goal to be in this position?
Yes, I think so. As a kid, I knew I wanted to end up doing something where I could help people. Today I spend a lot of time trying to build strong teams and solve the puzzle of how best to motivate and engage our people to take on our newest challenges. I find this work very gratifying.
For people who are looking to be in a similar position, what advice would you give to others in terms of helping them achieve their career goals?
Join SHRM, and NEHRA, learn about employment law and listen to your instincts. I am also a big believer in learning more about your weaknesses and how to build upon your strengths. When you get an opportunity to build a team around you hire people that inspire you and that you can learn from (not just lead).
What are the most important skills that you need to do your job well?
Empathy, Courage, Business Acumen, Resilience
What do you find most interesting/rewarding about your work? What’s most challenging?
My favorite thing, or the thing I find most interesting about my work is interviewing candidates for open positions, I love unlocking what makes them tick and identifying not just how their skills match the open position but also who they are and what their style is. One of the most challenging opportunities I face is supporting and coaching teams through change. While change is constant it can still be very hard to work through and it is important to go slow and listen.
What is your proudest professional accomplishment?
My proudest professional accomplishment had been building the HealthEdge Human Resources function, from a box of loose leaf papers on my first day to a robust and engaged team that is recognized by its peers and external organizations as being innovative, supportive, thoughtful, and inquisitive about being an employer of choice.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Getting outside – hiking, boating, playing with my kids
Listening to podcasts, audible, or TedTalks – I am a nerd. I also enjoy keeping my sourdough alive and baking for my friends and family.
How do you manage stress?
When I am passionate about something I dive in and can easily lose track of time. Time eludes me and being overcommitted is typically the cause of my stress. To manage that stress I make lists and just start. I value productivity and so the momentum from starting typically gets me out of the stress funk. It is also really helpful to remind myself of all the great people around me (my family or team at work) that are ready to help.
How many cups of coffee do you have in a day?
0 before kids – as many as I need now
What's one of your favorite places in the Boston area?
My favorite spot in Boston is the North End. The pasta, the desserts, the culture, and celebrations!
Any book or podcast recommendations?
My favorite business book is “Go Giver” by John David Mann & Bob Burg
My favorite podcasts right now are “Unlocking Us” with Brene Brown AND Adam Grants “Worklife”.
What advice do you have for recent college graduates?
Be patient with your career. Focus on being really good at the job you are in. When you have your work well managed and all is going well ask your boss what you can do to help take something off his/her plate- this will give you insight into what might be next and position you well for advancement.