Introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us who you are and what you are currently focused on.
I’m Lia! I’ve found my career calling in Human Resources, and I’m excited to join the Seattle chapter leadership team with Ellevate as co-President in 2024. I grew up in California but have made Seattle my home over the last three years and it suits me wonderfully. I find joy in making people’s lives easier, accessibility, compliance, snow-capped mountains, grey sweaters, thriller novels, snickerdoodles, and pop punk music. I’m also a lifetime Girl Scout and former pub trivia host.
Tell us about your favorite Ellevate Network memory or success story. Why are you a member?
Ellevate has given me an incredible community. I joined a virtual Ellevate event hosted by the Seattle chapter just before I moved to Washington at the beginning of 2021 (mid-pandemic!), and the members were all immediately more welcoming than I could have imagined. Not only did they greet me warmly, but several of them even set up individual calls to get to know me more and give me tips on places to check out in my new neighborhood. By the time I attended my first in-person Seattle Ellevate event in 2022, I felt like I already had friends and connections in the group!
How would you define your professional mission?
In a word: accessibility! On one level, I got into HR because I want to make the workplace more inclusive for everyone, and especially for disabled workers who are often forgotten. But accessibility can (and should) go beyond that! I want to make sure company policies are written in plain language and everyone can understand them without needing an advanced degree in corporate legalese. I want documentation to become the standard operating procedure for teams to collaborate better. I want everyone to have the same opportunities for advancement, regardless of whether they work in an office 5 days a week or remote from home thousands of miles from the office. It’s my mission to make all of those things the norm.
What is one of your most memorable career accomplishments?
In 2020, I was invited to join a panel event hosted by the San Francisco Public Library to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). During the panel, I discussed how much the ADA has accomplished, and also shared many of its shortcomings and common misconceptions about it along with 4 other BIPOC disabled activists. All panelists also wrote personal essays about the law. I’m still very proud of the work I did in preparation for that event.
What project have you worked on that you’re most proud of? Why?
I joined a startup that had never had an HR department. I built everything from scratch, including creating the entire onboarding process for both new hires and for backend support teams (IT and hiring managers). Years later, I’m still proud that so many new hire cohorts made a point of telling me how smooth and comfortable their first week felt!
We’d love to hear more about your career path. What led you to where you are today?
I spent a lot of time after college figuring out what I liked and what I was good at. I fell into my first few jobs: customer support at a software startup, event coordination with a bank, then a data analyst at that same bank. The more I learned about HR, though, the more I felt like I needed to try that. I took a lot of what I had learned in those unrelated jobs – a service mindset and communication skills, project management, analytics and comfort with making data tell a story – and made an intentional pivot in 2016.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
The moment an employee tells me, “thank you, you made that whole process so simple.” Whether it’s walking them through a complex government form they need to submit before they take parental leave, explaining the differences between medical benefits plans, or showing them where to find the resources they need – I just love knowing I’ve helped people.
What is your morning ritual?
The first thing I do when I get out of bed is drink 8oz of water and do 30 seconds of stretching. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but it’s enough to get my blood moving and gently wake me up! Before I get out of bed, though, I usually do the daily Wordle on my phone.
What would you say your personal superpower is?
Snail mail! I love to write thank you cards, birthday cards, holiday cards, or just-because cards. I also think I’m really good at finding the perfect gifts for people. I once visited a friend who was dreaming of joyful dishware, then later found a cute set of plates in an orange wedge design a few months later and shipped it to her as a surprise, along with some cookies I baked. I’ll take any excuse to put some joy in the mail.
What is the best career advice you ever received?
My father-in-law likes to say that once you’ve made a decision (choosing between two job offers, for example), focus forward instead of looking in the rearview. When you reach a crossroads, it’s a better use of energy to think about what you can do next rather than wishing or wondering what might have been if you had made a different decision way back in the past.
Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.
Director of People Operations
I love Human Resources, and I got here intentionally. Before, I worked as an event planner and later as a data analyst. My priority is accessibility for all, in physical spaces, in education, and in growth opportunities. Continue Reading