Meet the Buffalo #HRCommunity! COVID-19 has no doubt been a challenging time for most HR professionals to navigate. I am so grateful to the amazing HR Community for showing up for each other and offering information and support. You all are the best! I want to introduce my network to some of my connections who ROCK and who are ROCKS for their organizations! Stay tuned for multiple posts in this series – all from HR pros practicing in different industries. If there’s anything I can help you with, please send me a message on LinkedIn or through the contact me area here on my blog.
Meet Collin! We’re on the board together of BNHRA and both have a passion for helping college students and young professionals find their way in the world of work. We’ve partnered to provide multiple presentations and resume review sessions for local students which has been really rewarding. Collin has the best positive energy and always gets the room to laugh! Read on to learn more about Collin!
My name is Collin Gehl. I am the College Relations Director of the Buffalo Niagara Human Resources Association (BNHRA) and have worked in HR for 4 years. I have over 15 years of experience in the non-profit arena and have worked in the Education, Fundraising/Development, Retail Management and Project Management fields.
Describe your current position and in what industry do you work?
I am the Talent Acquisition & Development Manager for Child & Family Services of Erie County and Say Yes Buffalo. In this role, I oversee all aspects of Recruitment and Retention within the agency. Also, in collaboration with the Chief Human Resources Officer, I develop and deliver agency training. Lastly, I provide onsite HR assistance to Say Yes Buffalo 3 days per week, which includes all aspects of Human Resources (employee relations, staff training, policies/procedure, and additional HR Counsel), as well as serving on the Say Yes Senior Management Team.
How has COVID-19 impacted you the most?
Nearly all of our services are now being delivered virtually. We do have Essential Services including our Children’s Residential facilities, our domestic violence shelter (Haven House), as well as Preventive Services work, which are being delivered in-person, but the remainder of our work (Mental Health Counseling, EAP Services, Mediation Services, and other social services) are being delivered virtually. All of our Say Yes work, specifically those around education are also being done remotely. Say Yes Community Schools recently successfully hosted its first Virtual Saturday Academy. In addition, all of our administrative workers are also working for home, which means our Human Resources department of 6 is providing support for our agency from different places.
What’s 1 thing you wished someone outside of HR understood about your job during this time?
I wish that individuals outside of Human Resources understood that our department is doing everything in its power to support the staff. We are learning to work remotely during a very challenging time. Services such as Recruitment and Orientation delivery may be delayed because of logistics, but it will get done. I am fortunate that most of the people that work for our agency have been extremely supportive and patient with our entire team. Lastly, we don’t always have the answers right away because the laws and policies are changing sometimes on a daily or hourly basis. We are doing our best to keep our staff informed.
What are you doing to practice self-care?
I work out A LOT. This is how I practiced self-care prior to the COVID-19 crisis. My job is very busy and can sometimes be very stressful. I find that working out provides me with clarity and sometimes the answers to things that are weighing on me. I have solved many problems while working out because an outside-the-box idea came to me at that time. With the gyms being closed, I am working out at home, but am also running outside (when the weather permits). It has truly kept me sane during this very challenging time.
What has been your favorite part of your HR career?
I LOVE helping people find their career paths. In my roles as both the College Director of BNHRA and in my Talent Acquisition Manager role with Child & Family Services, I have had numerous conversations with job seekers who are looking for career advice. It warms my heart when I recognize a candidate would be a great fit for Human Resources and I am able to convince them to try that field. HR is changing immensely because of the evolving workforce and we need professionals that can be effective to meet these needs.
What is a word of advice or encouragement you’d give to other HR pros?
Hang in there. This is an unprecedented time in our country’s history and we are all doing the best that we can. HR is being leaned on in a way that many of never had to deal with before, but if we are kind, understanding, and transparent, our staff will be appreciative of us and our role. For the HR professionals who have lost their jobs during this time, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your networks. If you haven’t used LinkedIn until now, develop a LinkedIn page, contact those in the HR field (like me and Claire), and also use the BNHRA as a resource. HR professionals must support each other!
What can the HR community do to support/help you right now?
The HR Community needs to check in with each other. Often, HR pros are handling numerous requests, policy changes, and other challenges throughout the day. We are sometimes carrying a lot of stress, but don’t have anyone checking in on us. We need to be there for one another. Since this COVID-19 crisis began, I have had several of my HR colleagues contact me to see how I’ve been doing. It’s been nice and I think as an industry we need to do more of that, even during non-crisis times.
Share something fun about yourself
I am an alumnus of Leadership Buffalo, as I was part of the inaugural class of Rising Leaders in 2003. In addition, I am on the Tapestry Charter School Board and the chair of their HR/Teacher Experience committee. I am a huge music fan, with my favorite genres being R&B and pop. Lastly, my favorite movies are Clue, Purple Rain and Psycho (the original), while my favorite TV shows are The Simpsons,The Golden Girls and Scooby-Doo. I am not sure what that says about me (: