Interview with Monica Miller
Senior Human Resource Manager
GC Graduation Year
Why or how did you choose your field? Were there specific experiences that influenced you?
I did an internship in the human resource department at Mennonite Mutual Aid (now Everence) my senior year at Goshen. At that time I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my business administration degree, but I really enjoyed the HR management course I was taking and my boyfriend at the time (husband now) said that my personality would suit this type of career. After the internship I realized how much I enjoyed working at MMA and decided that HR was for me. The August after I graduated, I was hired on as the HR Assistant for MMA.
What’s exciting about your job or field?
I just love how my job is constantly changing. I started working for Yell Adworks (then Pindar Set) as a temporary HR Manager in 2004 with only one year of experience after Goshen. I didn’t meet my manager or anyone in HR for the first four weeks, which forced me to really dig into what was in front of me and find out “what this job was about.” Looking back now I realize what a risk that was for the company to hire someone with such little experience and how grateful I am of the opportunity. I worked hard, proved myself, and have spent the last seven years growing in my position. I can now say that I’ve recruited and hired 80 employees in three months, conducted all HR functions for up to 160 employees, created global employment policies, passed the Senior Professional of Human Resource Exam (SPHR), and managed projects that have an impact on employees and the company’s bottom line. The global aspect is something new and exciting for me. Each day is different and presents new challenges.
What has been a challenge in your career journey?
It may sound funny, but the biggest challenge for me is people and the immense personality differences. The workplace is full of people with different personalities; the way one person works is not the same as how others work. I have taken the approach of learning how others work best and trying to adapt my work style to their’s in order to maximize the end result for the company (and, in the end, the business relationship with that person).
Looking back, would you do anything differently?
I honestly feel that the path I’ve taken is the one that I was meant to take and would not change anything. I have been blessed with many opportunities that have opened new and challenging doors.
How did your liberal arts education assist you in your journey?
The biggest thing I took from both Hesston College and Goshen College was the ability to think critically. This has paid off over and over again as I try to decipher employment investigations, listen to managers’ challenges and help them to find potential solutions, and in everything that I do at a much smaller and day to day scale. I have learned to take what is in front of me and start asking a lot of questions from all different perspectives, keeping an open mind as to what the end result could be. This has really helped in getting to the root of a situation.
What advice would you give to a young person just starting out?
My advice is this: learn how to learn. I learned this at both colleges and it has paid off over and over again as I take on new challenges at work. I honestly don’t remember much from the day to day coursework I did in college, or the business fundamentals that were core to the teachings (ask me the five P’s of Marketing, and I could probably give you three and Google the rest), but what I do remember is the process by which I had to learn each element from my classes, how to organize myself, and how to take the information in front of me, digest it, learn from it, and use it.