“To any entrepreneur: if you want to do it, do it now. If you don’t, you’re going to regret it.” – Catherine Cook, co-founder of MyYearbook.
In a recent blog post, I wrote about the power of the Street Level Influencer. I argue that some of the most impactful people in our lives are right in front of us! We just need to remember to tap into those around us for their wisdom and influence.
So, I wanted to put the spotlight on some HR pros in my network who have provided me with life giving energy recently! My next few blog posts will be a series where I get to share stories of some amazing invididuals that you should connect with!
So far in the series, I have introduced you to:
I continue this series by introducing you to Rachel Palmer.
I first met Rachel at the Illinois Fox Valley Chapter of SHRM about six or seven months ago. I was quickly drawn to her stoic, quietly confident personality. It was her first meeting at the local SHRM Chapter, and she wanted to work the room introducing herself.
Instead, Rachel and I spent 20 minutes talking and conversing! I almost felt bad taking up her entire networking time, but our conversation was so interesting and meaningful, we just had to keep conversing!
She had just started her new adventure as an HR Consultant. She called her venture Koru HR Consulting, LLC. I was so intrigued by her motivations and how that translated into the designs of her company. How driven and passionate she was came out in how she spoke – her tone, her mannerisms – it all screamed “I’m a confident HR professional, and I will help you succeed!”
As I recently accepted a new position, I sadly needed to resign my work with IL Fox Valley SHRM. The last event I attended featured Erich Kurschat, who presented his excellent “Network Like an Introvert,” which was sort of apropos for me as I was leaving. Rachel stopped me to have another conversation. We talked more about how lucky we were to have connected. I let her know that I was watching her business with interest, and couldn’t wait to see where she went!
I asked Rachel some questions, and this is what she had to say!
- Where do you currently work and what is your role?
I’m currently self-employed as a Human Resources Consultant for my own business, Koru HR. Prior to launching my own entrepreneurial endeavor, I was an HR manager and business partner in the health and nutrition industry.
- What do you like about HR that keeps you in the profession?
I’m not sure if I chose HR or HR chose me. My father has always been an incredible mentor, and I knew I wanted to gain that same experience and knowledge working in a business environment. Human Resources is a profession that provides me with the opportunity to understand and engage people across an entire organization thus providing me with the experience I desired. HR gives me with a deeper understanding of business dynamics, and the work itself is so varied. I couldn’t imagine doing anything other than what I do now.
- What was your biggest HR success? Why was it important to you?
I was responsible for a recently acquired human nutrition division, which was comprised of five different manufacturing facilities. One of the locations in the division was experiencing over 75% turnover annually across their entire facility. Within the first year, we cut the turnover rate in half and by the end of year two, we had achieved a 14% turnover rate. Even though I took the leap to start my own business, I still think the impact that we made on the turnover rate was the most significant success I recall. We were able to re-engage employees by establishing values, implementing standards, taking a collaborative approach to the creation of processes, and inviting fun into the workplace.
- What was your biggest HR failure? What did it teach you?
In a position earlier on in my career, I worked on a cross-functional team project to revamp the onboarding experience. The goal of the project was to develop a process that would work for both the corporate and manufacturing teams so that each employee would have the same experience, regardless of where they were based. Because the population I supported was based at the Corporate office and were primarily professional level, I was very focused on what worked for my population and less about what worked for the manufacturing population. The feedback I received from my manager at the time was that, at times, I was unwilling to see a different perspective. That was hard feedback to hear! I learned that it’s critical to not make assumptions, to look at things from multiple perspectives, and to always keep the end goal ahead of your personal goals.
- Who’s one person in your network that readers should know about?
People need to know about Terrance Wallace from Chicago, IL. Terrance founded the InZone Project; a project designed to provide structure, support and education to underprivileged children and young adults. Terrance started his initiative in New Zealand where he purchased housing in districts with the highest quality education. He subsequently took guardianship of over 50 minority children from outside of the district and gave them the opportunity to attend the top schools in the country. Terrance has since returned to Chicago and is doing the same good work in Chicago, IL, and in Gary, IN. Terrance and his team enable children and young adults to take advantage of educational opportunities not offered to them by the inner-city schools. He is an absolute inspiration.
- How can people connect with you?
- What’s one thing you think the world should know about you – personal or professional? Have fun with this one!
One thing that the world should know about me is that I am from a multicultural background. My father is from Birmingham, England and my mother is from a small forestry village outside of Rotorua, New Zealand (hence the affinity for the work done by Terrance Wallace). Although I was born and raised in Wisconsin, I still have some English and Kiwi tendencies such as Marmite and watercress sandwiches, English breakfast tea, and traditional Maori music. I’m very proud of my rare heritage and it has shaped me in so many ways.
Message from Paul: Thank you for reading! Thoughts, views and opinions on this site are solely my own and do not represent those of my employer or any other entity with which I have been, am now, or will be affiliated.