When I went to college, I told the career counselor I wanted to major in Speech Communication and in Studio Art. I was promptly told, "You can't do that. Communication goes with Business and Art goes with Theatre." I then made it clear to her that I was both an extrovert AND an introvert and those two majors combined were who I am. And because I was paying for school - I intended to get what I wanted regardless of what she thought I should do. Four years later, I left college having conferred those two degrees.
Then, in my late twenties, I inherited a business. Overnight, I became the chief operations officer of a privately owned franchise of a national company, co-owned by my fiancé and his dad. They had been business partners until the father was incapacitated from a terminal illness which created an urgent need for me to step in and run the business.
When the family asked for my help, I was working full-time in marketing communication applying my two college degrees and my interests in psychology, communication and media. And although the abrupt work and life change was completely against my will; today, I believe it was divine intervention to put me on my true career path.
Over the next four years, I 'earned' a blood, sweat and tears version of a business degree while figuring out how to best operate a business. Because the one person who could teach me the business was in a coma, I tapped into my talents of learning and resourcefulness to study all the aspects of company operations: logistics, customer service, finance, legal, human resources, sales, marketing, etc. and apply that knowledge to help the business thrive and scale.
While I learned the ins and outs of business management, I also learned very acutely that company’s are about PEOPLE. The core of business is HUMAN BEHAVIOR in relation to direction, tasks and money. Simply put, the right human talents aligned with good leadership and supported by sound organizational systems make a company profitable - or not. Therefore, if you want to make money in business - you have to be open to learning and appreciating people and understanding human behavior.
When we sold the business after successfully increasing profits 200% year-over-year, I had the option to get back on my original career path or to focus on what I’d learned in business. It was then that I made a conscious decision to go into Human Resources. I chose to work in the area of the business where I could use my business acumen, work experience and education to directly influence:
- the way talent was attracted, hired and deployed,
- how managers and leaders were trained to enable their people to be productive and engaged in their careers and,
- ultimately help them all align their responsibilities to the company's business strategy in order to enable it to be profitable.
So, that’s what I did. And I have been helping talented people ever since.
“The reality of life is that your perceptions – right or wrong – influence everything else you do. When you get a proper perspective of your perceptions, you may be surprised how many other things fall into place.”
- Dr Roger W Birkman