Q&A with GLC HR Director Timothy McKenna

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We asked GLC's new HR Director Timothy McKenna a few questions. Get to know him and read his story:

1.    Where did you grow up? 

"I grew up in the southern tier of upstate NY in a small town near Ithaca. I played soccer and basketball, but not always very well (especially basketball). I went to school at the University at Buffalo initially as an aerospace and mechanical engineering student, but finished with business administration with a concentration in HR."

2.    What led you to working in HR? 

"When I was in my early university years I realized that I was unenthusiastic about the engineering career path (and the work itself). During breaks I was working several different jobs that were extremely satisfying as they included lots of customer service and dealing with people’s livelihoods. When I entered the UB School of Management, the HR track was the obvious and best fit for me (although it made me the black sheep in a family full of CPAs)." 

3.    What’s your favorite thing about working in HR?

I enjoy the fact that there is rarely any organization that can’t point to its people as the primary reason for success, and when it comes to HR management or organizational development, people are the linchpin. There is rarely a formula or a one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to working with people, and that means you have to be creative in balancing the advocacy of employees, and driving the goals of the business. 

4.    Any funny or interesting stories you’d like to share?

"As you may know, HR is sworn to secrecy in order to protect the confidentiality of the employees we support. 

However, there is a story that I like to share with managers and supervisors who are hiring/recruiting for the first time (or even for the 100th time). One of my first full time HR jobs eventually led me to supervise the recruiting function for a home-care agency. One of my recruiters resigned (she had started working for a competing agency while on a leave of absence), and I needed to find her replacement. I hired a new recruiter that showed all the signs of being great, and I was very excited because this was my first-ever hire for a member of my own team. I eventually left that organization to move out west (Seattle, WA), and I learned to my dismay that 3-4 weeks after I had left, the Department of Health had conducted a sting operation on the agency’s recruiting compliance, and this new hire of mine had in fact accepted bribes to defraud medical training documents. 

I have been a recruiter for many years in various capacities, and I tell my story to help managers and supervisors who may not have the confidence in their hiring selection abilities. We all will make mistakes and sometimes make the wrong choice (though it never feels like the wrong choice at the time). It’s the people who accept a failure, learn from it and grow beyond that failure to be confident and bold in their decisions who will be successful going forward. " 

5.    What do you hope to bring to GLC from your experience?

"I hope to learn first. I cannot be effective in driving positive changes without first understand where we at GLC have come from, and what drives decisions. I am a fan of the phrase that we have two ears and one mouth, and they should be used in proportion.

As I learn about the legacy of GLC, I hope to find ways that I can help improve processes, clarify communication or expectations, and let the available technology do the heavy lifting for employees, managers, and administration. I am always open to new suggestions and would encourage everyone to share their thoughts with me. I cannot promise immediate action on every suggestion, but I do want to hear from the people who have been doing this work at an exceptional level because you all know what is needed or wanted. "