From Lawyer to Employee Advocate.

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mission

It is often said that it’s not where you start, but where you finish that counts. I believe the entire journey is what’s important.

People often ask me why I decided to become an employee loyalty advocate. It started from a deeply personal place filled with pain.

I am the product of an interracial and interfaith family. My mother is white and Jewish and my father is African American and a non-practicing Christian. You can see my mother and I above in one of the very few baby photos I still possess.

I am sharing it with you.

When my mother and father were married, it was barely legal for them to do so. Then, they had me.

My mother’s family was not very happy about their union.

In fact, I spent the majority of my childhood smiling on the outside and feeling left out and not heard on the inside. I was never allowed to attend family gatherings like weddings for fear that others might find out.

No one asked me what I wanted. My opinion didn’t count. I felt trapped in a life where I did not feel important to my entire family.

Many employees feel the same way

Fast forward 15 years, and I went to law school. It was there that my desire to advocate became stronger. Regardless, I decided that I did not want to spend the rest of my working life in courtrooms, law libraries or writing briefs.

I felt called to work more closely with people.

I spent most of my working life as a leader of teams and a voice for external customers. Then, about 4 years ago, I went to work for an organization that was going through a merger of five companies.

The culture began to take a deep dive. No one seemed to pay attention to the impact the merger had on the people. I was concerned. I took note.

I decided to go to the head of human resources and mention my concern. She agreed and said, “You can lead that effort!”

I thought, “Okay, I am leading customer experience and now I will lead employee engagement.”

It made sense though. I have always been the manager who recognized not only my team, but all team members. I had high reviews from my people on surveys and other managers’ team members often relied on me to make sense of their manager’s behavior.

So, I plowed forward with forming an employee engagement council. It went very well, but the merger did not.

Hundreds were laid off. I was one of them.

Honestly, the experience was wonderful. This is also where I discovered my personal mission of helping organizational leaders understand what it takes to create more loyal and engaged employees.

That little girl whom did not have a voice and felt helpless is now working to ensure that employees have a voice.

The exciting part is that I can now influence those who have the power to take action.

That’s my journey. I would be honored to hear yours as well. Let’s walk together.

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Thank you for reading my personal story. I hope you choose to stay on this journey with me. Maybe, we can learn and grow from one another.

If you want others to learn from my story, please do Share it. Add your voice to the conversation by responding in the comments or send me a direct message with your story.

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Cheers to Loyalty!

2 Responses

  1. Karena Schellpeper
    | Reply

    I love your mission and calling, Heather! It’s wonderful to see you use your gifts in an area that can have such an impact for individuals and organizations. (For the record, I loved working with you way back when!)

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