Melissa Chadwick, Baker Tilly
IB’s Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet Dane County’s professionals. This week features Melissa Chadwick, human resources manager, Baker Tilly.
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1. What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job and why?
There is always so much to do and it’s all important. Keeping up with changing trends in the human resources world is challenging. This includes advancements in benefits and the Affordable Care Act, performance review best practices, big data for retention and recruitment, engagement surveys, and implementing changes from results. Add on the basics of keeping the business running and responding to urgent requests that come up on a daily basis, and it’s nearly impossible to stay ahead. However, the people I work with make it all very rewarding. Baker Tilly is a growing accounting and advisory firm with more than 2,700 employees today. My HR team is fantastic and the specialized professionals I work with in the consulting practice are phenomenal — I couldn’t ask for a better group to support from an HR standpoint. The leaders of Baker Tilly fully support HR as a valued business advisor, which empowers our team to be able to move the HR function forward and continue to be an employer of choice.
2. Who do you look up to or admire in business and why?
Michael Koval, chief of police for the Madison Police Department. Chief Koval has handled numerous high profile situations very well, while being front and center in the media and publicly criticized on a regular basis. My older brother serves as a chief of police for a town in northern Wisconsin and I know the struggles that our first responders face on a daily basis. Communicating difficult and challenging news, leading teams in tumultuous times, and having to make decisions in a split second that can impact not only their own but also another person’s life — for the rest of their life — is a highly admirable and difficult role to be in day in and day out.
3. What has been the high point of your career so far?
Being nominated and serving as the Greater Madison Area Society for Human Resource Management (GMA SHRM) president has definitely been a high point. SHRM has been a part of my life since graduating from UW–Platteville. Upon moving back to Madison I joined the local SHRM chapter and have been involved with the organization ever since, first as a volunteer and then on the Board of Directors. As of July I’ve taken on the role of president. Serving on the board has allowed me to give back to the community and profession, and we are focusing our efforts on diversity and inclusion. Each year we host a Job Bootcamp, which provides mock interviews, roundtable discussions, and career coaching advice to underprivileged individuals. Last year the event received local news coverage and was nominated for an award through National SHRM. I have been fortunate to have great support to be involved with the association and it has helped me immensely in my role as an HR manager.
4. Thinking back on your career, what advice would you give your 21-year-old self?
We’re not saving lives, people! This is a quote I’ve heard often and repeat often. We can get so caught up in our work and wanting to get 372 projects done in one year, or just get everything done on our to-do list before leaving for the day. We often have such high expectations for our employees and ourselves that we forget we’re not saving lives (in HR at least!) and should keep everything in perspective. While what we do is important to the success of the company — and we do have project deadlines, milestones to meet, and need to ensure employees are getting the care and teaching that they need — at the end of the day we need to remind ourselves that the work will still be here tomorrow and we need to go home and recharge.