Janet Salopek, President of Salopek & Associates, with original members of Salopek’s consulting team in 2006,
the year Janet started the business, which has grown to a team of 15 consultants across Canada today.
For as long as I can remember I have always said and completely believed that as long as I had a Plan I was good – actually golden! Even during the toughest days when I wondered whether my career choices where the brightest I held comfort in the Plan. I remember clearly 11 years ago when I sat at my computer after months of contemplating my future and banged out the mission, vision, values and business plan for Salopek & Associates. Once I had the Plan my journey began and although I often stopped along the way to contemplate potential road blocks I always believed in the Plan and never turned back. I trusted myself and those that I on-boarded to help which included family, friends and business associates. I feel truly proud that during my journey someone taught me the power of planning, committing, and believing in yourself and those that you personally select to guide you. It was the Plan and the people I associated with that allowed me to journey as a professional and live my passion of Human Resources, Board Governance and Strategy.
Just this month I was told by my team that I had been nominated for the HRIA Distinguished Career Award. I was humbled and honoured! The finalist for this award will be selected next week at the HRIA conference but regardless of the results I feel like a winner! To the person that nominated me – thank you! You have validated what I have often wondered – was I just lucky in my career or was there a plan? I wasn’t lucky – my journey was intentional and I’m proud of those that helped me map it out!
My career began like most HR Professionals – a generalist role where I did everything from recruit, administer benefits, consult on legislation and lots of filing in the personnel documents. I’m aging myself – it was back in the day when HR was Personnel! I had great mentors who encouraged me to always stretch myself; to step outside my comfort zone to take on additional responsibilities; and to risk being told – you’re not experienced enough! I would soon gain the experience and my business partners would become my advocates as I took on more responsibility and accepted interim positions where money definitely wasn’t the only motivator! I loved it though – I realized in my chosen career I was having an impact on an organization’s most important resource – their people. I also loved the fact that I could work through others – it was the coaching and the transfer of knowledge to the managers that allowed them to be most effective. Realizing that you have taught others the skills they need to be effective managers and leaders is the ultimate reward – the impact is considerably more significant!
The journey as a professional who understood HR but also business required me to return to school and to continually learn from others that I worked with – those on my team and the Boards that I sat on. I obtained by designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD.D). The learning curve was steep as I learned about Governance, Financial Statements, Risk Management and the importance of Strategy. My teachers were the instructors in the classroom; my classmates consisting of CEO’s, COO’s, Presidents and other professionals like myself who had a keen desire to learn and understand business. Challenging and passing the ICD.D exam allowed me to add letters after my name (my credentials) but more importantly obtain a seat on Non-Profit Boards in the City where I gave back with my HR, Governance and Strategic expertise but also grew in leaps and bounds as a business professional. It was through my volunteer Board positions that I was allowed to passionately work at a level that I didn’t always get a chance to do in the corporate world.
My journey as an HR and business professional was planned and mapped. My journey is my passion – often I don’t consider it work. Years after I retire I will continue to volunteer and stay involved in the business I love – people! I wish all the nominees for HRIA Awards the best of luck next week as they head to the conference but I am certain you are feeling much the same as I am – the honour of being nominated!