Success Story

Kathy

After 16 years of teaching math and French to high school students, Kathy decided it was time for a fresh start. She was intrigued by the work she did championing employee benefits as a Union Rep for her school district, and so she was pursuing her Master’s Degree in HR Administration at Southern New Hampshire University. “I sort of treated the first class as exploratory; is this something I can see myself doing?” Kathy shares. “Then I really enjoyed it.” After the 2022-2023 school year ended, she allowed herself July and part of August to rest before starting a career in the human resources field.

However, by the time September approached, Kathy hadn’t secured a new job. She began second guessing her decision to leave education, as her friends and former colleagues were back in the classroom, and former students had reached out and told Kathy they missed her. “I was truly freaking out, thinking I should just scramble and find a teaching job,” she recalls. Then Kathy attended a Manchester HR Association meeting, where she met Regional Director Jessica LaPaglia and Senior Staffing Manager Alie Wood from Leddy Group’s Bedford, NH office. Kathy contacted Jessica the following day, and Jessica introduced Kathy to Amber Payne, Regional Director of Leddy Group’s HR & Accounting division.

Amber was exactly who Kathy needed to help her find a new position and allay her career change fears. “Within two conversations with Amber, she told me she could definitely see me as an HR professional,” says Kathy. “It was great to have that vote of confidence from someone who has met a lot of HR people.” Amber says, “We interviewed right away, and I had an interim HR Assistant role with our client Radiation Safety & Control Services, Inc. (RSCS),” a well-established Seabrook, NH company that provides innovative and cost-effective solutions for the licensing, use, and disposition of radioactive materials and radiation generating equipment. Amber told Kathy she would be a great fit at the company, and helped her polish up her resume and prepare for the interview at RSCS. Kathy was offered the position, and was relieved and amazed at the quick turnaround with Amber’s support: “Within a week and a half, I went from ‘I don’t know what I’m doing with my life’ to ‘I have a job!’”

Even though the role was interim, Kathy jumped right in with ownership. She began taking tasks off of her busy colleagues’ hands and eagerly assumed additional responsibilities offered by her boss, Director of Human Resources Raelene Ouellette. Kathy’s energetic, can-do nature was a welcome addition to the small team of HR professionals at RSCS. She says, “Raelene was very clear, from about the second week, that she really wanted to keep me. It just seemed like a really good fit.” Kathy learned and grew quickly in her role, crediting Raelene for emphasizing mentorship and career development opportunities for her team. “She really prioritizes us all learning – herself included – as much as we can so we can do the best we can for the business.”

Kathy’s skills from teaching have served her well in her new position. As a teacher, she’d stand in the doorway of the classroom and greet students with a smile. Now, she extends that warm welcome while onboarding employees, albeit over the phone and via email. “I like being a sort of ambassador of the company to the newer employees,” she says. When assisting with performance evaluations, she really enjoys coaching newer managers in best practices and helping them word their employee reviews with intention, much like how she helped students improve their use of language in her French classes.

One of her favorite parts of the role is not benefits administration, as she expected, but rather ensuring compliance with legal regulations and company policies. Kathy is in charge of posting labor laws in the numerous states in which RSCS does business, and she stays on top of new and potential changes to state laws so policies can be adjusted appropriately. She describes compliance as the “behind-the-scenes cogs and machinery that moves everything” and helps to run the organization. “It’s just really fascinating to me. I look at it like a lesson plan, that all these different policies and practices have to come together to make the product. That’s the part I didn’t think I’d enjoy, and I love it.”

The role at RSCS was only supposed to last for about two months, but Kathy was such an asset to the team that she was offered a permanent position! Amber says, “Kathy excelled in the position with her great attention to detail, learning quickly and building great relationships. She quickly became a valued, ‘right hand’ person to Raelene.” Amber is thrilled that Kathy made such a wonderful start to her HR career. Kathy is excited to grow professionally at RSCS, and owes a debt of gratitude to Amber for being by her side and encouraging her as she adjusted to the career change.

In fact, Kathy appreciates Amber’s support so much that she has shared her contact information with several others seeking to break into the industry, because working with Amber simplified the process exponentially. Kathy says, “I had expected to have to temp at three or four places before I even found what part of HR I wanted to go into, or to find a company I wanted to even work for.” Plus, with Leddy Group’s support, Kathy avoided having to deal with outdated job listings and dubious algorithms of some online job search websites. Instead, she says, Amber offered Kathy a curated experience that zeroed in on a great new career: “It’s like instead of online dating, you go to a matchmaker. Amber was my matchmaker.”