My Buddy… My Buddy…

Or should I say, My Buddies?

I decided to take part in the Fisher Connections program that was set up over the summer.  The purpose of the program is to match up incoming students who might be moving from other parts of the state, country or even world, with students who are already here.  These current students can then help with living arrangements, furniture shopping, tips on where to eat and live, etc.

My Fisher Connections buddy is Leanne Tromp, a very cool fellow blogger here.  Even though I wasn’t able to help out much with the above-mentioned, I think it still helps to have someone to connect with and I was able to tell Leanne about some of the classes she would be taking this quarter as well as the professors and where to get books and such.

I’m also a member of the GHRA and their buddy program that matches up first years with second years.  I was really lucky to get not one, but TWO GHRA buddies, both of whom are very cool.

Laura just moved back from DC, my hometown, and so were able to immediately bond over that.  Laura also worked in the hotel industry, which I always thought sounded fun.

I also got matched up with Anja, an international student from China.  I had the chance to hang out with Anja at the GHRA mixer and also at the GHRA Buddy Dinner.  (See Amber Stephen’s blog post about the event here.)  It’s always fun and interesting to meet someone from your own culture and talk about the similarities and differences based on where our families are from and where we grew up.  I even got over my shyness of speaking Chinese to native speakers because of their tendency to make fun of my Taiwanese pronunciations and my American accent.  Thankfully, Anja kept the fun-poking to a minimum!

Over the course of the next few weeks as the quarter comes to an end, I plan on having lunch with each of them just to catch up and see how their first quarters went.  I remember what a whirlwind my first full quarter here was and having a little reinforcement and debriefing would have been a big help to me.

I’ve already scheduled a lunch with Laura, and don’t worry Anja and Leanne, your invites are coming soon!

You can see Leanne and Laura in the photo below.  Not sure where Anja was, but I was behind the camera!

GHRA Buddy Dinner at the Buckeye Hall of Fame Grill

Buddy Dinner

We’ve officially turned the page to November and half the quarter is over. As always, I’m left wondering where it went…and where my blog entries went too! For any future students, know that autumn quarter (next year – autumn semester) is not only the longest, but it is also filled with welcome-back activities, football games, fall festivals, group meetings and all the intricacies of grad school.

On October 22 the Graduate Human Resources Association hosted its first Buddy Dinner of the year at the Buckeye Hall of Fame Grill. About 40 of us gathered to meet, eat and relax before a frazzling week of midterms. It was also our first chance to meet our “buddies.” Each year, GHRA first-year students have the option of pairing up with a second-year buddy. I’m not part of the match-making process, but it seems that we are paired up based on common interests, backgrounds, etc.

Unfortunately, my buddy never materialized last year. I think she was too busy to be a buddy, which is understandable. This year I vowed to be a better buddy to a first-year student.

As everyone settled into the restaurant we moved around to sit near our buddies and learn more about them. I was happy to be paired with Mary, a nontraditional first-year student who works full time. I suspect we were paired because of Mary’s nontraditional status and our mutual backgrounds from farming communities. Although I was not raised on a farm, as Mary was, we always had farm animals. I’m not sure another person at the dinner could have named a hog breed, much less had the same (Duroc) growing up! It’s going to be a good match, I think.

The GHRA is busy planning other events for this quarter, including a round table discussion, service events and plenty of social activities. Behind the scenes, buddies will be emailing or getting together to discuss favorite professors and exam expectations. It’s part of that flurry of fall-quarter activity that makes the return to classes just a little bit sweeter.

HR Summit Success

On April 15th, the Graduate Human Resources Association hosted the First Annual HR Summit: “Fast Forward: The Trends That Will Change the Way You Do Business.” While there have been many GHRA events I wish I could have attended, this summit was one not to miss.

The summit, held at the Fawcett Center, featured local HR professionals including Brian Worth, SVP of HR at Cardinal Health, Candice Barnhardt, VP, Chief Diversity Officer at Nationwide Insurance, and Patti Cotter, VP of HR at Nationwide Insurance. Steve Russell, CPO and SVP of McDonalds also kept the audience’s attention with an interesting discussion of diversity in the workplace.

To aid with our mingling and networking, each participant was assigned to a table. I was able to talk with second-year MLHR students that I had never met, an MBA student and a local HR professional. We were also provided a surprisingly tasty buffet lunch, which was a nice change-up from our usual pizza fair at special events.

As the speakers presented their topics and we worked together on a mini group project, I was struck by the overlap of the presented information with our classroom materials. Not only have we been learning about key HR topics, but professionals in the “real world” were validating this information. This was amazing to feel the classroom converging with professional HR.

Although many MLHR students attended the first summit, I can only imagine that it will grow in interest with each year. As one of my classmates put it: I’m trying to get my money’s worth while I’m here. Combining the classroom experience with learning from professionals is one of the reasons that makes Fisher a great place to be. Those free meals don’t hurt either!

Graduate HR Association elections – cast your votes!

Here at FCOB it’s that wonderful time of year where student organizations elect next year’s executive boards and choose who will take the reins from those of us that are graduating in June. As VP of GHRA it’s been very challenging, yet very rewarding to be involved in planning programs for our members to take part in this past year. Although this statement is guaranteed to sound like it’s dripping with EZ cheese, I’ll say it anyway- being on a student organization’s executive board is certain to provide you with a wealth of personal growth and development opportunities. I strongly encourage every student to think about running for an executive position with any of Fisher’s student organizations.

There are two fantastic first-year MLHR students who are duking it out to fill my position next year and I am cheering both of them on! Easy now, ladies- being on an FCOB executive board isn’t just an amped up version of high school student council. For those unfamiliar with GHRA or this position, here’s a run down of what the VP of a student organization does:

Vice President (VP of External Relations)

  • Oversee execution of mentoring program by:

o   Maintaining a working relationship with the designated HRACO liaison

o   Ensuring the completion of HRACO mentee application forms

o   Training all potential mentees regarding program expectations

o   Coordinating the mentor/mentee matching process

o   Collecting and reviewing mentor and mentee Mentoring Agreement forms

o   Hosting  networking events for mentors and mentees on or off campus

o   Facilitating completion of end-of-year mentoring program evaluations

  • Assist President in regular duties and responsibilities (e.g. acquisition of speakers and planning of summit) that contribute to execution of organizational goals
  • Act as point of contact for incoming students/prospective members
  • Review and revise GHRA bylaws as needed to reflect new organizational goals and changes in operations
  • Oversee completion of annual SHRM Merit Award application by:

o   Creating an ad-hoc committee to assist with the application process if necessary

o   Working with GHRA committees to identify and plan events that fulfill award requirements

This has been an exciting year for GHRA and the new executive board will certainly have the talent and the passion that makes GHRA the premier student organization for all Fisher graduate students with an interest in Human Resources.

Election candidates will be making their pitches to GHRA members and promoting their candidacy during our meeting on April 11th at 5pm. Here’s to an evening of munching on delicious Adriatico’s pizza (this one’s for you, Eric Dosch)  and hearing an array of interesting and diverse candidate platforms! Stay tuned for election results.

Check out GHRA’s mind-blowing, amazing, winning website here:

Oh how I will miss scarfing down Adriatico's pizza at GHRA meetings!

My Mentor and Me

Last quarter I wrote a little bit about the mentorship program through GHRA. Through the Human Resources Association of Central Ohio, members of Fisher’s GHRA are matched to mentors in the human resources field. I was very excited about meeting my mentor last quarter and finding out about the “real world” of HR.

Since our match up, my mentor, Heather, and I have met about once a month. She is a graduate of Ohio State with an undergraduate degree in human resources. She has worked for a credit union since her internship about seven years ago, and really loves her work.

One thing I really appreciate about Heather is her willingness to freely give of her time. I email her with questions and advice frequently, and she is always quick to respond with support or knowledge that goes above and beyond the call of duty. She has also been proactive at arranging meetings for us and bringing learning materials to our get-togethers.

At our last meeting, over dinner at the Northstar Cafe, we went through the hiring process used by Heather’s office. Then she gave me a mock interview. I’m sure more than a few people were giving us the side-eye as I answered her questions as if we were undergoing a real interview. Afterward she provided me with valuable feedback that I can use as I continue my search for a summer internship. Where else can you get constructive feedback straight from a professional in the field?

We’re meeting again next month to talk about family medical leave, legal guidelines and weeding through resumes. That may not sound like great conversation starter, but for someone who is trying to learn about the field, this is a great glimpse into the world of work. But it’s not all business. We even manage to squeeze in a little water-cooler chat while we’re at it.

Mentor Match Up

After a longer than anticipated wait, most of us who applied for mentor matches through HRACO (Human Resources Association of Central Ohio) received our matches this week. Other applicants will receive their matches soon, too, as HRACO continues to best pair mentors with students.

I am very excited about the chance to get to know my mentor. Like internships, there is so much to be learned from professionals in the field. While we’ll all develop different relationships with our mentors, it’s recommended that we meet once a month.

I don’t hold any illusions that my mentor will set me up in the perfect job opportunity. But I can only imagine there will be countless ways she can help me with professional development: resume critique, career advice, local HR climate overview, what NOT to do, etc.

I also hope that she enjoys the mentor match as well, and looks forward to guiding a newbie through the woods.  For my part, I’ll try not to ask way too many questions and pester her too much about the profession. As the year progresses, I plan to make updates about the mentorship program. In the meantime, here’s to the future!

Service Projects

During my undergrad, I was a member of a National Honorary Band Service Sorority, Tau Beta Sigma – shout out to all of my Chi sisters. Our main focus was the Ohio State Marching Band and the School of Music while also helping music programs around the greater Columbus Area. I’ve had an interest in service projects since middle school, so I found this to be a good opportunity to get involved in a more unique way. Since becoming an Alumni, I’ve needed a new outlet, so I joined the GHRA and signed up to be on the Service Committee. Last night was our first service committee meeting. Our three chairs started talking to us about a potential service project which involved a somewhat sponsorship by General Mills in order to make Thanksgiving Baskets for the single parent students living in Buckeye Village. Great Idea!! The problem is that we don’t know how to get people involved and actually want to help. There’s so little time between now and Thanksgiving – three weeks or so – that we don’t have time to set up a full blown fundraiser or really market the activity. We’re working with a few other groups, I won’t mention them until it’s all set in stone, but we need some ideas on how to pull this off. Would it be easier to ask for money? To sell something – bake sale style or something else simple? Or to ask for donations such as food, materials to make the baskets, etc?

Does anyone have any ideas? The details are still being worked out, but any ideas in the meantime would be greatly appreciated!