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Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Corporate Growth Consultants: Susan Stockton

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In college, Susan Stockton studied accounting, finance, and math, convinced she would work in the accounting field. Once she graduated, she landed a job as a financial analyst in the healthcare industry. However, ''after several years of pro-forma statements and other financials, I became disenchanted with the lack of variety of the work,'' says Stockton. ''Basically, I was doing the same work every day. The only thing that changed was the numbers. Boring.''

So, she switched industries and moved into the technology field. From working with overseas companies to discovering that "HR is HR regardless of the industry," Stockton stayed in the technology industry, and for more than seven years, worked for a start-up tech company that was rapidly expanding globally. And there, she discovered her gift for HR.

"One day, my CFO came into my office and said he was terminating the entire HR department," she says. "He asked me to step in to temporarily head up the department and just 'keep the wheels on the bus' until he could plan his next steps...I was horrified!"

However, pushing her fears aside, she agreed. Stockton reviewed current HR issues, applied her financial background, and soon saw "a number of things [becoming] clear. The compensation plan wasn't working; recruiting was in disarray, and turnover was at an all time high; immigration was months behind in proper filings; and benefits were costing twice what other similar health companies were paying.

"I identified a number of key areas to optimize and improve for the employees as well as the bottom line," she continues. "I presented my finding and ideas to the C-suite [the group of 'chief officers'] who [were] stunned by the information and readily agreed to implement immediate changes."

Three months in and Stockton was thriving in her new role. "I was actually enjoying the variety and found that with my finance knowledge, things seem to come fairly easily. I also enjoyed the personal touch of actually being able to get out of the finance office and get to know others within the organization."

Soon, she was hiring her own staff and attending HR seminars. She had not only impressed her CFO, but the company as well.

"Everyone seemed pleased with the turn-around and the impact the programs were having on employees as well as the bottom line," says Stockton. Then, the news came. The CFO wanted Stockton to become their director of human resources.

"After some hesitation and wondering if I had been set up, I agreed and I have been in HR ever since. [It] was a great way to marry my financial talents with my people and communication skills. I have to give credit to that CFO for recognizing my potential to make a greater commitment to the organization than that of financial analyst."

Today, Stockton is the senior vice president and managing director of Corporate Growth Consultants, a businesses she established and partners.

"In my role, I work directly with the C-suite and board of directors at small to medium-size companies experiencing significant change, such as rapid growth, merger and acquisitions, and turn-a-round situations. I help companies achieve maximum efficiencies and profitability by developing HR and management programs that realign the workforce to meet the new objectives and goals of the company.

Q. What do you like to do outside of HR? Any odd hobbies/interests? Are you married? Do you have children? Can you explain a little about your personal life outside of work?
A. When I'm not working in HR, I enjoy being in the great outdoors. I love hiking, biking, and the peace of fishing. I also enjoy reading science-fiction novels. Duane and I have a ranch in southern Oklahoma that provides a lot of outdoor activity, and we spend as much time there as we can. The ranch has mountain lions, coyotes, black bears, and wild hogs roaming the woods and canyons. It's a small piece of heaven on Earth and a wonderful change from the concrete jungle of Dallas.

I don't have any children, but I have a nephew that's been my hiking buddy since he was able to walk. We share a lot of great times together.

I also volunteer with the Ani Yv Wi Ya American Indian Outreach Society of Oklahoma. This is a program that teaches American Indian history and culture with a focus on keeping the stories, language, and ceremonies alive. I also volunteer with the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) conducting education programs, writing HR White Papers and working with their White Paper review board. I also work with the Human Resources Certification Institute where I write exam questions for the Global Human Resource Professional certification exam. I work with the Menttium organization where I provide mentoring to up-and-coming business professional women seeking to move beyond the mid-management level.

I keep a busy schedule and struggle to find enough time for me and eat that apple each day.

Q. What CD is in your CD player right now?
A. Brule (contemporary American Indian music),Elton John, and Journey.

Q. What is the last magazine you read?
A. Forbes.

Q. What is your favorite TV show?
A. Histories Mysteries on the History Channel.

Q. Who is your role model?
A. My mother.

"I [also] spend time doing business development and speaking engagements to universities and business groups" she adds. Stockton's desire is for universities to create formal and consistent college level education in the HR field. Most people working in HR today, she explains, fell into it by accident.

But Stockton's experience doesn't end there. Much of her expertise lies in the global environment arena.

"I thoroughly enjoy working in a global environment, particularly in companies going through unprecedented growth or change. The challenge of building scalable programs that cross country borders is a lot of work, but also a lot of fun...Particularly, I enjoy developing organizational growth programs for leadership training, communication programs, and performance initiatives as these programs have the largest impact on the organization."

However, Stockton sees room for change in the HR industry, particularly in "getting the CEO to put a professional business person in charge of HR.

"Many times in small to mid-size companies, executives promote their administrative assistants to head up the HR department as a reward for all their assistant has done for them. But this doesn't make sense. Would you put your assistant in charge of accounting, sales, or marketing? No. So, why put your assistant in charge of your most important asset — your people?"

But despite the challenges, Stockton remains positive. And why shouldn't she? She has penned numerous articles; co-authored a book; and become certified as a Global Professional in Human Resources, an International Compensation Professional, and a Certified DDI Targeted Instructor. Stockton retains a character of integrity by never having compromised her ethics or beliefs, and has had the privilege of being influenced by her mother.

"She always said don't be afraid to be unique, take on large challenges, do what's right, work to your strengths, make time for yourself, and eat an apple every day. She firmly believed that a person's only limited by the lack of their dreams," says Stockton. "So, in honor of her memory, I try to dream big and live life to the fullest."

On the net:Global Professional in Human Resources

Director of Human Resources

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 business development  communication  mergers  certification programs  accounting  personal life  compensation  business groups  management  healthcare industry

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