Get to Know Michelle B. Downing

What are your current job responsibilities?

I provide Tuition Reimbursement Assistance for the employees of my company, with over 8000 employees, we currently have 400 participants currently in the program, but the list continues to grow. In addition, I serve as administrator of our employee recognition program, helping to provide our employees with well-deserved awards for their dedication and commitment to the company. I also provide other administrative duties which include all full areas of staffing and recruiting.

Why did you choose HR as your field?

I choose HR because of the different levels of interaction I have developed with people. I realized that out of all the areas of HR in which you could offer support, recruiting was my nitch. I enjoy being able to match the right people into the right roles. My goal really was to meet the business needs that companies require and that is being able to employ, train and retain the right people for the right roles. Being the people person that I am, HR was very easy for me. Five years + later, I am still excited about my decision to become a part of the HR family.

In your current job, what gives you the greatest sense of reward and accomplishment?

Knowing that I am making a difference in someone else’s life. I not only act as an educator in my dual roles, but, I help prepare people for greatness. Knowing that I have at least reached one person today that means a lot.

What is your greatest personal or professional accomplishment?

When participants in the Tuition Reimbursement Assistance Program call or email me to tell me they completed their degree program and to thank me for providing quality customer service to them while in the program and also helping them to reach their educational goals through the company’s tuition reimbursement assistance program.

What words of wisdom would you offer to someone entering the HR field?

Take your time; learn as much as you can possible learn. If you don’t have passion for what you do, then you have nothing. Believe in what you are doing, otherwise why would anyone else.

What have you found most valuable about being a member of PSHRM?

PSHRM not only cares about its members but they are educators as well. PSHRM opens doors for many professional people looking to enhance their careers. PSHRM has helped me to take advantage of professional development opportunities such a being a member of the Marketing and Communications Committee which helps support various organizations with initiatives and other marketing and communications needs. PSHRM is all about helping to make a difference in the lives of others.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I enjoy reading and just relaxing. I am actively involved with my job and I also have several outside activities in which I participate in, so when I have the opportunity of just relaxing and doing nothing, I do take full advantage of that.

If given an opportunity to do something really extraordinary or adventurous, what would it be and why?

One day I would like to write my own autobiography. I would like to share stories of my life which include being a single parent, raising a young African American male in the City of Philadelphia, and just sharing some of the struggles we both overcame. I am sure with a little research and the right resources on how to go about it; I could make this dream become a reality.

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