Author: Wendy Berry

It’s Been 4 Months

It’s been four months since I’ve hit the publish button here. There are at least half a dozen posts sitting in draft status and approximately 45,338 ideas floating around in my head. Not an exaggeration.

In those last four months, a lot has happened. A lot, a lot. You get bullet points, because despite what some may choose to believe it hasn’t all been shared via social media and isn’t always covered in rainbow tinted glitter. But it’s real life and I’m all about real life.

  • I dove head first into a grassroots groundswell of activism led by an amazing group of intelligent and passionate women driven towards change in our community. I’ve never felt so empowered. I also announced my intent to run for West St. Paul City Council. (You can watch the video clip here and visit my campaign site here.) I didn’t know one of the perks of being a local politician would be getting to know so many amazing people and building true friendships with them.
  • I didn’t get to go to #SHRM18. It was ultimately my decision, but looking back, definitely one I regret even though it seemed like the right choice at the time.
  • We went to Des Moines to see Hamilton. It was life changing and I don’t care how cliche that sounds. I want to see it over and over.
  • My wife got pneumonia and was out of work for three weeks. The whole family passed around mystery viruses for a good week during that time.
  • My grandma was given a month to live. We drove to Missouri to see her while she was still well enough to see us and we could still talk. It was a beautiful visit. She died less than a week after we got back. We went back for her funeral. She was 92, but when you lose one of the most amazing pillars of your life, it doesn’t matter how old she is. I think of her daily and I always will.
  • Won my primary election. In a big way. On to the general election in November!
  • Accepted a job offer. It was easy to accept. I had a really positive feeling about it during the whole interview process and can’t wait to start in a few weeks.

And that’s my last four months in a nutshell. Is it all HR related? Nope. But it’s human related and that’s what matters to me.

My Five Year Woriversary

Five years (and one day) ago, I walked into the doors of a medium-sized credit union as the newest person of their HR team. And, oooh, boy. What. A. Ride.

I wasn’t looking for work when I applied to work where I’m at right now. I had s job. It paid the bills. I was good at it. It was comfortable. And part of that job was finding people to do customer service people for the call centers of that medium-sized credit union.

They were so obsessive about what they wanted in candidates and it was killing me. The candidates needed to really get what it meant to go above and beyond with customers and how to really get to know them, but it was totally cool if they didn’t have any experience.

The whole role, I kept hearing about the “culture” at this credit union and I had no idea what that meant because where I was working didn’t know what that really meant either. And whether it was fate or luck or pure randomness, one night I got an Indeed alert that they’d posted a job in their HR department. I thought about it for 12 seconds, updates my severely neglected resume, and applied.

I got a call on my birthday to schedule a phone interview and that whole culture thing started making itself incredibly evident during the entire interview process and I REALLY WANTED TO WORK THERE!

And here I am five years later.

I’ve learned a lot. My leader asked last Friday about some of my best moments here. At the very top of the list was being on stage in front of the entire (now large-sized) company when someone from my team got to announce that we were rolling out a six week paid parental leave. And it’s also anytime a leader calls me ready to offer a job to someone I’ve told them they’re gonna love or another leader wants to tell me that they’ve been working with one of their employees on something and they can see it start to click. Those are the best. Those are my jam. Those are why I <3 HR so much.

This company, the people I work with and the people that lead me have been incredible guides for the past five years in my growth every day, both professionally and personally. I feel like I got a pretty good deal with this job!

Here’s to five more!

This is 40.

I actually don’t care that it’s 40. It could be 372 and the only thing I’d care about was the fact that I was catching up to Methuselah as the oldest person EVER, if we’re pretending that story is exactly accurate.

My birthday was this past weekend. I’ve always been super nerdy about knowing who I share a birthday with for some reason. Probably in case we ever ran into each other on March 18th and wanted to have celebratory beers. Seems logical to me. This year, I looked again to see if there was anyone super exciting to add to my bday bud list and actually realized these folks have some great reminders for me.

Lady Gaga: “Don’t you ever let a soul in the world tell you that you can’t be exactly who you are.” And “You have to be unique, and different, and shine in your own way.”

Queen Latifah: “You almost have to step outside yourself and look at you as if you were someone else you really care about and really want to protect. Would you let someone take advantage of that person? Would you let someone use that person you really care about? Or would you speak up for them? If it was someone else you care about, you’d say something. I know you would.” (from her book Put on Your Crown.)

Grover Cleveland: “A cause worth fighting for is worth fighting for to the end.” and his supposed last words of “I have tried so hard to do the right.” (Not gonna lie. I don’t even think about Grover Cleveland and Googled the crap out of this one, but the guy had some quotes that really hit home!)

Kat Cole: I’ll wait right now while you do your research on who she is and then follow her on Twitter. While you’re doing that, I’m going to try to decide which of her ONE MILLION awesome quotes I want to leave you with.

These are two of my favorites: “Focus on things that are small enough to change, but big enough to matter” and “Have empathy, gratitude and respect for every position in the company”. There’s one more quote that has been stuck in my head almost every day since I listened to her speak for the second time at the 2017 SHRM Conference, but it’s actually a quote from her mom: “Don’t forget where you came from, but don’t you dare let it solely define you.”

Here’s to 40 and here’s to being 100% authentic to myself, not giving up the fight for what’s right for myself and those around me and continuing to learn more and move forward every single day.