Spotlight On…

unnamed-2Alumnus Leander LeSure

Leander LeSure, ’95 MA-IR, has recently accepted the position of Chief Human Resources Officer of Getty Images, effective December 12. Below, LeSure shares his reflections on the program.

What’s your favorite part about working in the HR field?
The field of HR has been repositioned as a true business partner. For the most part, we (HR) should not worry about getting a ‘seat at the table’ — the opportunity is what you now do that you are at the table. So the opportunity to enable and drive impactful business value is ours.

What was your favorite part of the MA-HRIR program? Did you think the program prepared you well for the ‘real world’?
My favorite part of the MA-HRIR program is the people — staff and classmates — and the challenging / focused curriculum. The program provided an excellent foundation for working in the ‘real world.’ But in addition to the classwork, it is also important to extend yourself and acquire external work experiences while in school (e.g., internships) to test, challenge and evolve your learnings from the MA-HRIR program.

What’s a hobby or something fun you like to do when you’re not working?
When I am not working, I really enjoy playing golf with friends and my partner.

Do you have any advice for current students?
My advice for current students is to enjoy your time in the program, build long-lasting relationships with staff and your classmates, and push yourself to give back to the program once you have landed your first job and throughout your career. My experience at the University of Minnesota was life-changing and I continue to benefit from the program today.

unnamedAssistant Professor Elizabeth Campbell

On faculty at the Carlson School since 2014, Assistant Professor Elizabeth Campbell answers a few questions about her teaching and research.

What are you teaching this semester?
This semester I teach a graduate-level (MBA & Masters of HRIR) class on Leadership & Personal Development. It’s one of my favorite classes to teach. The content of the course affords me greater opportunity to get to know students personally and help them as they chart their own personal and professional growth and goals.

Do you have any advice for current students?
One of the most important lessons that I’ve learned over the past decade is the value of asking great questions. If you really think about it, this skill transcends social situations. I think we’re socialized to feel the need to come up with answers. Answers are certainly valuable but some of the best colleagues, students, and thinkers I have ever met are those that also ask exceptionally insightful questions that propel the quality of the conversation and/or project forward.

What are you currently reading?
Great question. The reading queue in my bag right now includes:
-A few of my former students’ resumes for review
-Invisible Influence: The Hidden Forces that Shape Behavior by Jonah Berger (coincidentally, this is also a shameless plug since Jonah is a friend of mine)
-Two Awesome Hours: Strategies For Peak Productivity by Josh Davis
-Four Journals of Applied Psychology articles #unabashednerdship

Is there any little-known fact about you that people might be surprised about?
I live 20% of the year in Bethesda, Maryland. I much prefer driving a manual transmission. I also (try to) maintain a regular running practice. This year, I have at least one half marathon every month.

img_0424Second Year Student Zakiah Hakami

Second year student Zakiah Hakami shares how she chose to move across the world, from Saudi Arabia to Minnesota, to earn her master’s in HRIR.

Why did you choose to attend the Carlson School’s MA-HRIR program?
The Carlson School’s MA-HRIR program is considered to be one of the most well-known programs in the nation. Sharing the same platform with individuals from diverse backgrounds and gaining knowledge from world-renowned distinguished faculty members in this school has been exhilarating. Joining the Carlson School’s MA-HRIR program helps me to enrich my knowledge by studying contemporary human resources practices and various functions of business and human resources management that span behavioral, social, and management sciences and understanding the underlying academic theories that are necessary for success in the human resources field. Living in the Twin Cities has allowed me to network with HR professionals and to open tremendous opportunities for me to gain professional experiences.

Where did you go for your undergraduate degree, and what was your major?
I received my bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a specialization in Human Resources Management and Development from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. My graduation project included the investigation to find the correlation between employee motivation and job satisfaction in various sectors and professions. During my studies, I participated in several group projects and assignments that helped me develop strong interpersonal and team working skills. In addition, I completed several certification courses in strategic planning, leadership skills, social work, total quality management, and communication skills. Such programs helped me diversify my background and network with like-minded professionals of different disciplines.

Do you have any work experience?
Before I started the MA-HRIR program, I worked as an executive secretary for the managing director and at the same time as a staffing coordinator at the HR department during 2013-2014 in Steel Products Factories, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Although I had numerous challenges as the only woman in both sister companies at the beginning, I had no problem completing all my duties. My responsibilities included helping in reviewing and screening job candidates, assisting in developing and conducting orientation and training sessions, utilizing various staffing and HR management software applications, and generating appraisal and employee performance reports to senior management. This role exposed me to a variety of areas in Human Resources Management and motivated me to advance further. Furthermore, last year I worked as an HR Assistant at Boynton Health Services at the University of Minnesota. I provided critical support to the HR department and employees regarding human resources activities by administering tests, scheduling appointments, conducting orientation, and maintaining records and information.

What do you like to do in your free time?
In my free time, I like volunteering and currently I have been volunteering as a programming member at the Minnesota Organization Development Network for a little over a year. I organize MODN events and conferences at the Carlson School. Also, I volunteer as a Graduate Business Career Center student liaison at the GBCC here at the Carlson School to serve as a link between the GBCC and MA-HRIR students. Besides volunteering, I love writing poems in Arabic and English, dancing Egyptian belly dance style, hanging out with friends, enjoying nature, attending different events on campus, reading books, and taking an outrageous number of selfies!

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