Where did you grow up and how would you describe yourself as a child?
I grew up in Pembroke, MA with my parents and four brothers (3 older, 1 younger). I would describe myself as a child as being extroverted, athletic, loud, tomboy who loved animals and wanted to be a vet someday.
What did you study in college and what was your first job out of school?
I studied Communications in college, in both undergrad and graduate. My first real job out of college was working at a Private Investigative firm. It was fun for a short while as the majority of my responsibilities were going into client restaurants and rating the bartender and wait staff. I did get to go undercover for an owner of a small business who hired me to act as a new employee of hers in order to keep tabs on all her workers and inform her if anyone was stealing (which they were and I was able to prove that). The pay and hours were terrible, so I quickly moved on to land my first HR gig.
Can you share the details on your career path and what were the critical moments that got you to where you are today?
Early in my career I had worked at three consecutive tech firms in an HR business partner capacity. I loved being a generalist as my job exposed me to so much variety which is why I never took a specialist role (compensation, benefits, TA, L&D). I do honestly think this is one of the reasons I was offered leadership roles earlier in my career than even I expected. I could swim in many HR ponds, some deeper than others, but I could swim in them all so companies that hired me got a lot of bang for the buck.
What is your current role and responsibilities?
As CPO I am responsible for recruiting, retaining and developing employees across the company at every level and profession, and cultivating a culture where everyone can thrive.
Looking back, is this where you thought you’d be professionally? Was it always your goal to be in this position?
Yes, I always knew I wanted to lead an HR team. I have always been driven to learn and do as much as I can as quickly as I can.
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?
Find your voice! Ask tons of questions. Be humble, kind and brave. Don’t be afraid of going the extra mile (you actually have to if you want to get to the top). Don’t be scared of working long hours or of failure. To fail is just the first attempt in learning. Learn from everything you do and apply it. Some of my best lessons in life have been derived from my failures.
What are the most important skills that you need to do your job well?
Emotional intelligence! The ability to connect emotionally with employees.
What do you find most interesting/rewarding about your work? What’s most challenging?
What gets me out of bed every morning is the idea that I am helping employees. To see an employee progress in their career and to have had something to do with that, well that is the best part of my job bar none.
The most challenging times in my job is when a restructuring or downsizing needs to occur and good employees are impacted. That has never been easy and never gets easier.
What is your proudest professional accomplishment?
That would have to be my time at dataxu where I was hired as VP, promoted to SVP and eventually CPO. I’m not someone who has ever been into my title, but I had worked as a VP for 10+ years at that point so “chief” was a nice upgrade and made me feel like I had truly made it.
What’s next for you and your career?
I would like to see my current company, PatientPing, grow and dominate the health care e-notification business and eventually have a successful and fruitful exit.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Spending time with my family traveling to new and fun destinations (husband and two teenagers), riding my horse, and hanging out with my girlfriends.
How do you manage stress?
Sometimes better than others! I try and stay very in touch with my stress level and things that help me do that are working out 4-5 times per week and to focus on my breathing (even if for only 5 minutes per day).
How many cups of coffee do you have in a day?
What's one of your favorite places in the Boston area?
I love all parts of Boston. It is such a beautiful and historic city with so much to offer.
Any book or podcast recommendations?
I am a huge fan of Katie Couric’s for so many reasons. I view her as a pioneer in breaking the glass ceiling and she has had a profound impact on colon cancer early detection which is a disease I suffered from and she strikes me as someone full of energy and optimism. If I could pick one celebrity, dead or alive, to have lunch with, it would be Katie Couric. So, my book recommendation is “The Best Advice I Ever Got” by Katie Couric. It’s a great read and a book to go back to from time to time as it can help you maintain perspective and it is full of wonderful and relatable hard-won insights from leaders and visionaries, who tell you how to take chances, follow your passion, cope with criticism and commit to something greater than yourself.
What advice do you have for recent college graduates?
Work hard, be humble, and be patient. There is a ton of benefit to what I call “time in role,” building a solid foundation for which you can grow your career. Focus first on gaining the right amount of experience and knowledge. Focus second on getting to the next level. In my experience many times this is backward for people meaning they push hard to get to the next level but then don’t thrive when they get there as they haven’t put effort into building their solid foundation.