The Path to HR Impact
Maine Great Leader Programs at the HR Convention

There are many ways to drive your HR career in a purposeful direction. And, there’s no single path that in and of itself measures success. You may want to make a difference as a relationship specialist; serving as the bridge between management needs and employee concerns and desires. You may be the numbers cruncher who sees magic in employing HR data with integrity. You may aspire to leadership within your organization, impacting workplace culture, organizational values, and results.

It’s this latter path that led us to create the Maine Great Leader series in 2016. With the help of our friends at ProSearch and Live and Work in Maine, we position two breakfast sessions each year focused on the relationship between HR and other organizational leaders. The talks demonstrate the evolving role of human resources in Maine, an evolution towards respect and consequence.

In 2020, we’ll feature two such discussions. They involve the stories of two iconic Maine organizations from the perspective of the CEO/CHRO connection. On Wednesday, May 13, Maine Veterans’ Homes CHRO Ken Hann and CEO Kelley Cash. On Thursday, May 14, Stonewall Kitchen’s CHRO Sharon DeCato and CEO John Stiker.

Why Maine Veterans’ Homes? This is an organization with vision, mission, and purpose. Its vision connects the dots between being a provider of choice, an employer of choice, and an advocate for our veterans. With six locations, Maine Veterans’ Homes is uniquely positioned as an independent, non-profit in the veterans’ care space. I can attest to the grace and dignity of the care provided at the Bangor home, as my father spent his last, happy days there. They are on another creative adventure, with construction underway of a “small home” design for their Augusta home. All of this mandates a strong HR function, and Ken and Kelley will discuss the strategic platform and progressive HR practices that serve as the backdrop.

Why Stonewall Kitchen?  Stonewall Kitchen began as a passionate home kitchen and farmers’ market business in 1991. It has since grown into an international purveyor of food and kitchen products.  A few years ago, the company was purchased in a private equity transaction, and fortunately for us Mainers, that had only an enhancing effect. CHRO Sharon DeCato told me that the company, which is headquartered in York, Maine, has “stayed true to its roots, maintaining a unique culture. The key has been great leaders – people who are creative and innovative while maintaining their down to earth and caring side.” That’s why we are delighted to welcome her and John to the Maine Great Leader stage. I guess we better have some good preserves on the breakfast table that morning!

Stay tuned next month, when we’ll talk about the Convention’s role in social responsibility and employee-driven philanthropy.

Bud Bernstein
Curator for the Maine HR Convention
Strategic HR U.S.