Introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us who you are and what you are currently focused on.
My name is Jennine Leale. I am a Human Resources Consultant by profession and have been in the Human Resources field since 1989. I have worked in large and small corporations and have done project work throughout my corporate career. In 1998 I took a career detour by taking on only HR project work that I could do after working hours at home and left the corporate arena to raise my children. I came back full force about 7 years ago. I had a difficult time finding a full or part time position equal to my experience. In fact I was told I had too much experience. As a consultant, I had the ideal amount of experience and wasn't as expensive. I worked for two different Consulting firms and realized I was probably better suited to speak to potential customers as I was the HR professional and not a professional salesperson. I started acquiring clients of my own and by mid 2013, was entirely self employed and started to build the organization HRPRO Consulting Services LLC,
How would you define your professional mission?
My professional mission is to provide resources to help businesses grow, be managed as best as possible, create a productive and satisfying work environment while limiting their employer liability risk as much as possible.
What qualities does it take for someone to be successful in your line of work?
It should go without saying that first and foremost one must know her profession and be as much of an expert in that profession as possible. It also takes the ability to know what your limits are and to know who will know what you don't and where to find the answers. These go hand in hand with being flexible, making customer service a priority, following through, attention to detail, not to make promises you can't keep, being genuinely interested in the success of your clients, empathy and the ability to keep a straight face when you hear the most ridiculous things.
What are some career challenges on your radar?
My biggest challenge is educating business owners on why Human Resources is so important, how it can help them grow and protect their business. I often find people in all walks of life, business owners and those from a corporate environment as well who have no idea what HR does or is aside from Recruiting or Benefits
What project have you worked on that you’re most proud of? Why?
When I work closely with business owners and senior management on a retainer or management basis, I have had the opportunity to implement programs that have lead to great strides in growth both financially and in employment to help them realize their dreams for their organization and themselves.
We’d love to hear more about your career path. What led you to where you are today?
I came upon my Human Resources career by accident. I had moved out of my parent's house, gave up my car to live in the city and was working in a Marketing agency for 3 years when they decided to move the company to upstate NY where there was no public transportation. Not happy with that career choice as every successful woman in Marketing and Advertising that I met was divorced or never married, didn't see their kids if they had them and always had a bottle of antacid on their desk. So when they moved I started working for a temp agency and planned to finish my degree at night. In the early 80s an Associates was enough to get a good job and all my parents were willing to pay for. I actually earned more per hour with my computer skills as they were very rare in those days and was pretty happy moving from one company to the next learning about different industries and not getting mixed up in politics. After the first semester started I was offered to come on full time at a temp job I was working. It included medical benefits and living on my own, it was becoming important to me. I was hired to assist the HR Manager and they were not concerned with my lack of experience in the field. The company was indirectly owned by the Italian government and HR was not something they even cared about. They did care enough however to make sure I was trained as the HR Manager gave her notice before I even was offered the job. They thought she would stay if she had help but she found another job and decided not to stick around to train me. 10 years later I finished my degree and was expertly trained by employment lawyers, insurance brokers, payroll professionals, accountants, actuaries and the Society of Human Resources Management. Working in that organization and a few other foreign owned US corporations, I was able to explain complex legal requirements, risk management and a myriad of things specific to employment in NY, NYC and the USA to those who never experienced them directly.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Making a difference. Every time I show a business owner how they can improve relationships with employees, training, save them money they didn't know was being wasted, succeed in organizational development and create a better work environment I am rewarded.
Is work-life balance a problem for you? What is one no-fail tactic you use to create balance?
It is a problem. As a business owner and consultant if I don't work I don't get paid. I have to remind myself that I can say no or reschedule a client if something important comes up that requires my presence for my family. The only tactic I do have is to make sure I plan my time well and leave some room to take care of myself. If I don't I am no good to anyone.
What is one piece of advice you’d offer working moms?
Making a career and earning a living are very important, especially when your income supports people dependent on you. However, careers can be made and re-made throughout your working life time but your children will only be young once. As humans I believe it is our responsibility to nurture life and create good citizens to continue civilization in the best way we can. Whether you choose to be a mom or it was forced upon you, it is THE most important responsibility in my view. A good friend of mine once reminded me, no one ever has a great worker, manager etc. on their grave stone. All moms are great if they give the best of themselves to their children.
Tell us about your favorite Ellevate Network memory or success story. Why are you a member?
I am relatively a new member and have only participated in very few of the offerings available. I did utilize the opportunity to write a few articles that I thought would help members in their own small business development from a Human Resources perspective. I was surprised to learn of the opportunity to have these articles submitted to Forbes and The Huffington Post. I feel very successful that the two I submitted were picked up and published. I became a member to increase my network and find like minded women that may provide me with guidance, a sounding board or a sisterhood that I wasn't accessing in other networks.