The “Human” Focus of Human Resources

A resounding thought you may hear from most Human Resources professionals is that they never imagined they’d end up in this line of work. But oddly enough, my first-ever job was in HR and I could immediately see myself in this career from the get-go—I must be an anomaly! To have the ability to participate and work with every area of a business, advocate for employees and the company, and help contribute to the growth of individuals and organizations as a whole, are but a few reasons why I knew I had to follow this path.

I discovered this interest in HR at the ripe age of 19 and I’ve never looked back. Over the years, I worked my way into management and leadership roles and have touched all aspects of HR within various business industries. I attribute this versatility to my interest in the how and why of business functions and with a focus on helping people beyond just the HR fundamentals. My undergraduate program was in Communications and I’m closing in on the completion of my Master’s in Business Administration. Having this education to run parallel with my HR work experience has helped me thrive in the roles I’ve taken and led me to Televerde.

I learned of Televerde from the former HR leader who was part of a local human resources professional group, and I was immediately intrigued. How could I not be? Since 1994, Televerde has been empowering the lives of incarcerated women. They do this by providing sales training, education and career opportunity to women both while in prison and after release. Today, 70% of our workforce are inmates at the Department of Corrections in Arizona and Indiana. What’s more, through this business model, we’ve generated $8B in revenue for some of the most recognizable brands in the world (e.g., Microsoft, Dell, SAP, Adobe, etc.).

This is a company that’s been combining purpose and profit long before consumers started to mandate it. And they attached themselves to one of the most stigmatized groups in this country. I was so impressed that when the company began scouting for a new head of HR, my hand went straight up!

I came to Televerde with two goals: 1) to grow the company; 2) to bring purpose to the purpose.

Televerde’s vision of growth is similar to what I experienced at Tuft & Needle. As a start-up we had to assess, solve, execute, repeat, and we had to do it with speed. And although Televerde has been around for over 25 years, there’s work to be done to reach our goal of changing 10,000 more lives over the next 10 years. We must be nimble and move quickly. It was refreshing to see that I was joining a like-minded team of leaders as well. And with our values aligned, we’re heading in the right direction for the company to grow alongside our customers.

The second goal I listed is quite simple: I aim to contribute to Televerde’s purpose with the purpose of HR. My role is to support the people of Televerde. By putting people first, employees are more engaged and involved, which leads to happy customers. We can then reach and exceed the goals we set for ourselves and for the company. People are the root of the business decisions we make. And we look for the right people to put in the right seat who will do the right thing. Our people are central to our purpose and we couldn’t have the business, social and economic impact we have without them. I like to say, “the only difference between businesses is the people in them.”

My overarching goals obviously come with sub-goals that must be done—improving systems and technology, managing our global cultures, and rebuilding a more solid foundation are just a few of my favorite things. The to-do list remains long, as it should. A company’s work is never done. But joining the “Televerde family” at this point of its journey has ignited within me something more than doing an HR job: I can bring a level of expertise to the table in which the heart of the company beats with purpose because of the humans that hold it in their hands.

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