Get to Know Shakema T. Appleton

Why did you choose HR as your field?

Being in HR means you have the responsibility to influence various areas of the organization. HR professionals are the ultimate problem solvers. I enjoy using data to analyze situations and provide solutions. As a diversity professional, I enjoy and take great pride in being a voice for diverse professionals through my commitment to improving the climate of diverse individuals.

What is your current job or role?

In my role as a diversity analyst, I am responsible for tracking all diversity metrics – analyzing and generalizing data to show trends and impact across the firm; helping to enhance diversity and inclusion education efforts such as the development and facilitation of training/workshops, tools and resources; and researching, benchmarking, developing and executing the ERG strategy through project plans, communications, stakeholder engagement, timelines and milestones.

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

My greatest sense of reward and accomplishment is speaking with my fellow coworkers and hearing their experiences. Just knowing they trust me enough to share their experiences is me is humbling.

What is your greatest personal or professional accomplishment?

My greatest professional accomplishment is the recognition I have been receiving from my peers. It is not like anything I have ever experienced in my professional career and I am so grateful.

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

Always do what’s right, even if it isn’t the most popular path. Continue educating yourself throughout your career, regardless of how much experience and certifications you achieve. Be authentic – people recognize and feel when you’re comfortable in your skin.

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

Philly SHRM has given me the opportunity to meet like-minded individuals in the profession in this area. When I first moved to Philadelphia five years ago, I didn’t know anyone and had no family here. It was a Philly SHRM Board Member who introduced me to the chapter and at the time the VP of HR at my current company was the chapter President. I have gained so many valuable relationships over these past five years just from that one introduction. The community has been generous and inviting.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Napping, television, and music! I enjoy binge-watching re-runs of all types of comedy shows, watching the Investigation Discovery channel and learning to play new musical instruments (or brushing up on the ones I already am familiar with playing). Also, I make it my point to practice some form of self-care at least once a day (meditation, watching a comedy or speaking on the phone with family and friends).

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

I actually wouldn’t even be in HR. I would be a band director and own a performing arts studio. While I wouldn’t be in HR/Diversity I would be living by the same values which include teaching music to young people in underrepresented neighborhoods. Understanding what is was like to come from a neighborhood in NY that didn’t have a reputation for ‘good’, it is very important for me to provide opportunities for those who wouldn’t normally be granted the same advantages as their non-diverse counterparts.

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