Get to Know Shrina Patel

Why did you choose HR as your field?

I didn’t originally plan to pursue HR as a career. In college, I was studying and training to become a clinical neuropsychologist. In my last year, I realized it was not the right work environment for me, and instead, I worked for a branch of the FBI, with the aim of becoming an intelligence analyst. However, I wanted more skill development and to be competitive in the overall talent market, sooner rather than later. So after a lot of networking and on-the-job experience, I realized HR consulting can be a career path for me: it is a challenging, innovative, and dynamic field, ripe with opportunities for soft and hard-skill development related to human behavior.

What is your current job or role?

Currently, I analyze data and provide insights on HR Operations in North and South Americas at Merck, for process/policy improvements (think data on HR transactions, for inquiries on HR policies/practices). Prior to that, I had a similar role at Comcast, conducting HR analytics for employees of 6 frontline business lines, and worked as a total rewards and DEI consultant at Korn Ferry.

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

I feel accomplished when I am able to resolve stakeholder needs, and they are appreciative. Identifying, working on, addressing my stakeholders’ needs, and ultimately improving employee experience provides purpose in the work I do.

What is your greatest personal or professional accomplishment?

For professional, it’s pivoting from a career in government to HR. It was one of the most challenging experiences, during a low point in my life. There can be a lot of uncertainty and doubt when you attempt to make such a radical change. For 6 months, I networked with various HR consultants, alumni of my university; researched and applied to multiple jobs, each with a different resume; and prepared for and did interviews, as I continued to work full-time. Finally, I got my break with Korn Ferry, as an Analyst in the Total Rewards consulting practice.

For personal, it’s making 9 trays of pavbhaji (Indian spiced vegetable stew, eaten with bread) with my dormitory, the International Residential College, at the University of Virginia, back when I was still green in cooking. 8/9 trays of edible food is a huge accomplishment! Teamwork makes the dreamwork.

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

The following words of wisdom go hand in hand:

Be curious: to learning more, about ideas, people, and tools. Connect with people; ask questions. Continue to upskill, to remain competitive and knowledgeable of your area of interest.

Chase opportunity: take advantage of opportunities that come your way; create your own opportunities if they don’t. Be open to change at times – I think there’s always something valuable you can learn from any experience.

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

Philly SHRM offers multiple opportunities for networking and learning & development – I think they’re the biggest value proposition of joining Philly SHRM. Through Philly SHRM, I have learned more about the field of HR and what other companies do, outside my HR analytics bubble, and made connections within the local Philly community.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

In my free time, I like to cook different ethnic cuisines, especially Indian, often trying out new concoctions and upskilling; travel and explore; watch or read adventure and fantasy genres; and improve my knowledge/skills in HR analytics. I also like to try my hand at gardening, but frankly, I have a pretty lousy success rate.

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

I’d like to do a tour of the national parks, starting with Glacier National Park in Montana, and watch the aurora borealis. Being in nature is very relaxing for me and a great way for me to level set and stay mindful of my surroundings. The world is a big place and home to many than just me.

A whimsical dream of mine is to be involved in a vegetarian/vegan restaurant, as cooking and trying new things is a passion!

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