Meet Rhonda

Chief Empowerment Officer

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Where are you from and where do you currently reside?

 

I’m originally from an hour south of Pittsburgh, but resided the last 12 years an hour north of the Pittsburgh area. Western Pennsylvania has always been my home with the exception of spending my high school summers in California and then college in Virginia.  The more I travel and the older I become, the more I realize how beautiful Pennsylvania is.  I enjoy hiking on the many local trails nearby and exploring state parks with my little Yorkshire Terrier, Bubbles. 

 

 

What college/university did you attend?

My educational background consists of bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD degrees all of which have focused on the area of Human Resources Management and Organizational Management. HR became my career interest after working for Sony in Mt. Pleasant, PA (a long time ago, in my early 20s) which had an amazing HR staff/department and over 3,000 employees. I did not realize it at the time, but quickly learned how Sony was ahead of its time with employee benefits and sustainability practices. Once I started my career in HR, this background provided me with a better understanding of how to treat employees, sustain professional relationships, and provide employees a service. As an HR professional, I continuously asked myself, “How am I serving and helping my employees?” As a recruiter, I served the local community by helping community members acquire a meaningful job. As a trainer, I served the employees to further develop and advance their career. As a benefits manager, I helped employees acquire good benefits and provided education on the their benefits such, as 401K, health insurance, and other supplemental insurances. No matter the HR function, it was all about helping and developing others. I want to continue serving and helping by consulting businesses to be better, to learn, grow and develop the best they can for a better and more positive culture.

 

 

How did you get your start in your career? 

 

I’ve been a professor at Slippery Rock University (SRU) for over 10 years. Not only do I get to teach and share my HR knowledge and experience with my students, but the research in particular is the important component which is helpful as an HR consultant. I’ve also had the opportunity to present my work at national and international conferences to learn, grow, and develop myself as much as possible. I will always enjoy being a lifelong learner and to be curious to learn about new and different topics. In addition, I’ve had the opportunity to take students all over the world each year for a study abroad international travel program and have traveled to Italy, England, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Greece, China, and Costa Rica. 

 

One of the most rewarding motivators in teaching in higher education is a chance to teach future managers and HR managers and to be a positive role model. For example, I’m the faculty advisor for our campus’s professional business fraternity, Alpha Kappa Psi (AKPsi). Students join the fraternity as first-year students and sophomores, and by the time they graduate, they are ready to be leaders. They experience what it takes to be a successful, career-minded professional. Although I am happy and excited for them, it’s like birds leaving the nest when they graduate, and I love getting to see them not only fly but soar.

 

Another wonderful experience and opportunity while working at SRU which helped develop my consulting skills was volunteering/working at SRUs department of Sustainable Enterprise Accelerator (SEA), which helps local community members and students to start their own businesses or current businesses who need help getting to the next level. I still help and consult the SEA with my HR KSAs and enjoy working on projects/events as well.

 

Do you have any passions/interests outside of work?

 

 

When I’m not working, some of my interests include traveling (international and domestic) all over the world—wherever the opportunity may take me, I’m always up for an adventure and to explore new and different things. I love taking my Yorkie, Bubbles, on adventures as well. Bubbles loves camping and the great outdoors, especially hiking. My friends and I enjoy live music and concerts. One of my favorite hobbies/passions is photography. I’ve been inspired to take photos when traveling ever since I was 17 when I spent over a month in Hawaii. I cannot wait to go back there one day. My other outdoor activities are kayaking and stand up paddle boarding. 

 

What inspired you to help create TCC?

 

 

I’m thankful for my now TCC business partner, Cindy LaCom, who reached out to me since I taught HR courses to see if I was interested in being an HR consult.  How ironic is that? I feel as though I’ve come full circle in my HR career as an HR professional, HR professor, and now HR consultant. It has been a dream of mine to be an HR consultant since starting my HR career. This is probably one of the most empowering things I have done thus far and I am excited to be a part of TCC.