Lead(H)er: Kyle Polischuk, Vice President of People at MOO banner image

Lead(H)er: Kyle Polischuk, Vice President of People at MOO

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In Kyle Polischuk’s world, it’s all about connections. She’s the Vice President of People at MOO, where she forges connections between the fundamentals of high-quality human resources and the dazzle of business strategy to give the company what it needs to succeed from a talent and organizational standpoint.

While she doesn’t have her hands directly in MOO’s product operations or other areas of business that other people might find more appealing, Polischuk knows that the connections she creates in HR are instrumental to that product’s eventual success.

“I don’t believe HR can be of value in an organization unless you understand the business,” she said. “For me, that means helping business leaders figure out the puzzle of, how do we take what the business wants to do and tie that to your people initiatives?”

Polischuk says she fell into HR. An art history major, she began her post-college career in General Electric’s learning and development department, which was part of the company’s HR program. There, she was surrounded by mentors who took an interest in her career. When one suggested that she would be a great match for a new role in HR, Polischuk jumped at the chance to do something different and learn something new.

Polischuk has continued to hold HR roles since then, primarily at women’s apparel companies like Appleseeds, Orchard Brands, and Talbot’s. She’s been responsible for contributing to a major culture shift and acted as the first Head of Human Resources at Orchard Brands while creating and delivering on other aspects of HR strategy throughout.

The move to MOO represents a change in both industry and company size for Polischuk, who considers herself a continual learner and enthusiastically welcomes the chance to dive into an unfamiliar space.

“My motto is, ‘Learn something new today,’” Polischuk said. “Try and look for something every day. I know it might sound silly, but to me, it’s just part of who I am.”

MOO is at a unique stage of development, having grown from a startup to an organization with more than 550 people. It’s a well-established business, but it still has plenty of what Polischuk calls white space for growth and development. This allows her and her team to make an impact with their initiatives.

“You can be part of creating what the next evolution is, and you can get your hands in a lot of different pieces because your role isn’t necessarily as focused,” she said.

As she learns more about her new company, Polischuk is also relying on her previous experience to guide her. While her work at larger companies might not translate directly to the fast-paced tech world, Polischuk said that she’s learned transferrable skills and won some hard-earned knowledge that is readily applicable to her new role.

Looking forward, Polischuk plans to help MOO reach its business goals by creating the same strong connections between people and strategy that she’s built in the past.

“There’s tremendous potential for the business, but there’s also great potential for the people team and the impact we can make,” she said. “My objective is to be part of that positive momentum.”

Quick Q(uestions) & A(dvice)

What do you like to do in your free time?

I have three kids, so any moment I can, I like to be with them. Cooking is my passion, and I also like to exercise. My goal is to run a half marathon.

How do you handle stress?

I have learned that self-care is super, super important. It’s about making sure you find time to do what you need so that you show up the best you can be, whether it’s at work or at home. For me, that means running. I love to run, and it’s a great way to get myself back to a better place.

How many cups of coffee do you drink in a day?

Well, that depends, how big is a cup? My coffee mug is a big one. It’s probably more than one cup, so I would say at least four to six.

What’s one of your favorite places in the Boston area?

Duxbury Beach, where I live. It’s one of my favorite places to be.

What do you consider one of your greatest accomplishments?

Half of my time at one of the companies where I worked was a really turbulent time. The company went through some big things. In partnership with the CEO and the HR team, we were actually able to shift the culture and the trust that people had in the organization to make it successful. It’s probably a moment that will always stand out. To be able to be part of something that was literally in its darkest moment and see it come out the other side, and to actually shift culture, was an amazing thing to be a part of.  

Is this where you saw yourself 10 years ago?

I never thought I would be a leader like I have been, or an executive. I just didn’t see it. It’s not because I doubted myself -- I just didn’t consider it. The first time I stepped into a head of HR role, it honestly came about because of things that people saw in me. I’m very honest about that. I don’t forget how I got my big break. It was because I had amazing mentors and peers around me. If someone had told me that I would sit on the executive committee and set a strategy for the company, I would have been like, “WHAT?” But I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I love it. I work hard every day, and I don’t take it for granted.

What’s your advice for recent college graduates?

Talk to people. Really take the opportunity to talk to people and ask questions, even if it’s someone in a field that you might not be remotely interested in. You still might take away something that can be helpful. Be curious, and talk to people, and leverage them for introductions. Don’t be afraid to ask, because there are so many people out there that value networking and are open to talking to folks.

Samantha Costanzo Carleton is a Contributor to VentureFizz. You can follow her on Twitter @smcstnz.

Images courtesy of Kyle Polischuk

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