WHAT I DO NOW: I am currently a Human Resource Business Partner for Bridgestone Americas.
MY JOB CONSISTS OF: As the Human Resource Business Partner for Southern California, I support all Bridgestone operations within the Southern California area including consumer and commercial retail, manufacturing, logistics, sales, and support functions. I am responsible for the development and implementation of processes and systems to ensure compliance with federal, state, and local laws and regulations, coupled with ongoing training and on-site coaching of BSA teammates. I also support local management in the implementation of the Integrated Talent Management System (ITMS), along with providing advance employee relations training, coaching and counseling, in order to support a high performance and dynamic culture. I also provide consulting services to leadership on both strategic initiatives and tactical issues. Last but not least, a big portion of my job includes providing Workforce Management and Human Capital Planning support to ensure that BSA businesses in California have the right talent at the right time.
PATH TO MY CURRENT CAREER POSITION: I started my career in the workforce when I was fifteen years old. I went to Pizza Hut where my mom worked as a server and spoke to her Area General Manager. I gave her my resume and told her I would like to work at Pizza Hut. She told me because of my age I wouldn't be able to work. Nonetheless, she did tell me to come back when I was sixteen and she would guarantee me a position. On my sixteenth birthday I went to Pizza Hut and started working. I stayed there for two years, left and came back as a Shift Supervisor. This is when my passion for management begin to blossom. I worked as a Shift Supervisor for one year and was hired as a Supervisor for CVS/Pharmacy. In a twelve- month span, I was promoted three times. By age twenty, I had gained the title of Assistant Store Manager. One day after my twenty-first birthday I was promoted to General Store Manager. During my role as G.M., I was exposed to the ups and the downs of management. I was still going to school full-time which made it a bit of a struggle. When I graduated from LSUS, I knew I wanted to go into management, but I also had a passion for HR. I reached out to Venezuela Williams and she had an opening in the Monroe, Louisiana Lowes Home Improvement. With my experience in retail, I was perfect for the position. I gained the position of Human Resource Manager in Monroe, LA, and drove an hour and thirty minutes from Shreveport to Monroe for an entire year until I relocated to Seattle, WA. Still with Lowes, I worked for seven more months and reached my five years of experience in HR/Management. Then I began to market myself to the manufacturing industry. During this search I interviewed with several companies which espoused several different sets of values. I was able to find a company whose morals and values aligned with mine, and I began my career as an HR Manager for Weyerhaeuser Company. After spending six months at the corporate office in Federal Way, Washington, I was asked to transfer to Emerson, Arkansas. During the time I was in Arkansas, I helped provide HR support to Colorado, California, Alabama, and Washington. After six months in Arkansas I was promoted and relocated to Morgantown, West Virginia. During my time in West Virginia, I was responsible for providing HR support to one of the largest manufacturing locations in our business. After six months in West Virginia, my spouse was offered a promotion in Los Angeles, CA. After the acceptance of the offer, we relocated to West Hollywood, CA, and I started my career with Bridgestone Americas, LLC as the Human Resource Business Partner Southern California.
HOW I GOT TO LSUS: I became a student at LSUS as part of a deal I made with my mom. I am originally from Benton Harbor, Michigan. My mom moved my brothers and me back and forth from Michigan about six times. Most students want to go away for college because they have been in their home towns their entire lives. However, since no place really felt like home to me, "getting away" really didn't matter much. My original school of choice was Northwestern. Nonetheless, my mom asked me not to move away from Shreveport and told me if I would spend one year at LSUS, I could move away my second year if I still wanted to. I spent that one year at LSUS and the rest is history!
FOND MEMORIES OF LSUS: Some of my best memories of LSUS always involve finals week. It didn't matter whether you knew everybody or you knew nobody, the students at LSUS stuck together during finals week. Some of my best memories include students I didn't know who were willing to let me borrow their books, help me with my notes, or even spend extra time after school studying - just to ensure I would be okay going into my final. That changed everything for me. After experiencing this kind of support, I would be willing to go the extra mile for anyone at my school. Those moments really impacted my life.
LSUS FACULTY WHO HELPED ME: Wow. This is really emotional for me. I am so thankful for the community of LSUS, I don't even know where to start, in regard to the faculty who helped me. I met Dr. Vince Marsala, Chancellor Emeritus, before I was a student at LSUS. He welcomed me to campus with open arms. Wayne Hogue advised me academically from the summer of 2007 until my very last semester. Dr. Felice Williams, Ms. Jackie Reed, Dr. Amy Wren, Dr. Linn, Dr. Mary Lois White and Dr. Paul Sisson are just a few of the faculty and staff at LSUS who played a part in my success. There are a lot of institutions out there that preach about the open door policy, but the faculty at LSUS, from the Chancellor down to the professors, lived by that policy for me.
HOW LSUS HELPED ME SUCCEED: LSUS showed me that despite where you come from, or what you have, you can still have an impact in the world. LSUS has shown me that it's not the smartest people who get the big jobs, or who you know, that land you six figures a year. It's perseverance. It's getting up every time someone tries to push you down. I worked 40-50 hours a week and took an average of 15 hours a semester while in school. Instead of my advisor telling me I couldn't do it, he said since you're doing it, here's some advice. I took full advantage of this and that is part of the reason why I was so successful.
ADVICE TO COLLEGE-BOUND STUDENTS: A valuable piece of advice I have for college-bound students is networking. It is just as powerful while you're in school as it is when you're out of school.
ADVICE TO SOMEONE WHO WANTS TO ENTER MY FIELD: Don't be afraid to fail or mess up. Perseverance, above all, is the key to success. When people told me no, I said yes. I said yes by showing commitment, pride and having a positive attitude. I said yes by trying again and again and again. I said yes by being patient and willing to work hard, and most of all, sticking with whatever I started and not giving up.
TIPS ON CHOOSING A MAJOR OR CAREER: Mr. Jim Elrod (President & CEO, Willis Knighton Health System) told me, "If you do what you love to do, you will never have to 'work' another day of your life." So, my advice would be, do what makes you happy! If you're worried about the financial aspect of it, I believe that will come in due time.
MY TOUGHEST PROFESSIONAL CHALLENGE: Any time you leave one industry and go to another, it's very challenging in the beginning. You have to constantly remember to give yourself breaks, and understand that you're not going to transition knowing everything about the business. Patience has been key during these times in my life.
MY TOUGHEST PERSONAL CHALLENGE: My toughest personal challenge was my last semester in school. I wanted to graduate, so I took 21 hours at BPCC and LSUS. And, I was still working more than 40 hours a week. I look back on that time in my life and can't even begin to imagine what I was thinking! I'm a fighter and I'm very hard on myself. I am constantly pushing the envelope personally and professionally.
Successes (honors, awards, etc.) in my life:
National Member of SHRM
Won Second Place at LSUS Second Student Research Forum
LSUS LEAD Award
I'VE LEARNED THIS FROM LIFE: You can go anywhere in the world, personally or professionally, if you believe you can. Nobody needs to believe in you - but you!
WHAT I'D BE DOING IF I HAD ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD: If I had all the time in the world I would do what's dear to me - mentoring high school seniors and undergraduate students.