Senior Director of Human Resource Information Systems Kristin Richmond “makes molehills out of mountains…of paper.” She supervises the area that is responsible for HR systems strategy, implementation and maintenance, in addition to the function that maintains data related to Elgin Community College employees—Human Resource Information Systems. With a focus on ease of use, robust system functionality and providing useful and accurate HR data to employees who need it and the agencies that require it, she partners with college personnel to make their jobs easier and more impactful.
“HR Information Systems is here to automate and optimize HR processes through the use of technology,” said Richmond, when asked to describe her department. “Even with 15 interfacing systems and 350 reports that support HR processes, there is still so much to do.”
For someone whose role at ECC relies heavily on technology, you may be surprised to learn that Richmond lived in a Mennonite common-purse community during high school. “There was a lot of togetherness, manual labor and living simply,” she said. “And…a whole lot of adult supervision during my teenage years.”
Pictured above in Padmasana, or Lotus pose, Richmond has been a devoted yogi for five years. She uses her weekly yoga practice as a way to reset and find balance. “Through yoga, I gained strength and flexibility much more quickly than I could have imagined,” she said. “I had a fantastic instructor who really pushed me. It still brings a smile to my face remembering her comment to me following my first attempt at Chaturanga Dandasana—‘I didn’t say flop to the ground.’ And, I like that it continues to challenge me on many dimensions.”
We caught up with Richmond to learn more about her life and her work at ECC. Here is what she had to say.
What year did you start at ECC?
What is your greatest accomplishment since you’ve been here?
Having been here so long, I’ve had a part in implementing almost every HR system and report in use today. Aside from my “system babies,” I am most pleased to have had a part in bringing together a high quality team that is poised to take things to the next level with the upcoming implementation of a new talent management system.
What would you do if you were ECC president for a day?
I like to be where the action is. To supplement the information I receive from my existing forms of interaction, I might pilot a system to take employees’ “pulse” in the form of a one-question survey designed to measure current levels of energy (drive/motivation), along with an opportunity to gather comments. This could expose barriers employees face in reaching their goals. Regularly collecting and sharing this data could help drive more communication between managers and employees as well as inter-departmentally.
What’s on your “bucket list?”
Living abroad, perhaps through volunteering for the Peace Corps. I think it would also be fun to take dance or vegetarian cooking classes.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work (i.e. hobbies/interests)?
I’m a mother of two rambunctious boys with a demanding full-time job. Mostly I enjoy fulfilling these responsibilities in the presence of people I love and admire. But I do try to slip away to do yoga or boot camp-style classes on a somewhat regular basis. I enjoy cooking when not rushed. I live for the occasional jammie dance party at home with the kiddos or a night out with my hubby or the girls.
Where was the best place you’ve traveled to?
My best travel experiences have been to Latin America. In college, I stayed with a family in the Dominican Republic for a month through a university program. My family regularly gathered with other family members to play music and dance, and they were so talented! I loved the energy, camaraderie and seeing the whole family living it up together. That’s where I learned the basics of salsa and I’ve loved it ever since. Ten years later, my husband and I went to Guatemala for three weeks where we spent the mornings in private Spanish tutoring and the afternoons doing amazing outings such as climbing the active Santa Maria volcano. That’s where I earned the unfortunate nickname “erosion girl” as I slid down on my bottom most of the way (in the rain) due to being terrified of heights. (Going up was so easy.)
What would be your “theme song?”
I would like it to be “15 More Minutes” by Peter Mayer—if only I still had it in me! Although I like all types of music, anything with a good dance beat is sure to make me happy.
What was your favorite class in school?
That’s a toss-up between sociology or music appreciation at Manchester University. Dr. Pettit (sociology) was a very gifted and entertaining lecturer and while I’ve forgotten the name of my music professor, I will never forget his doggedness in getting us to say the names of composers with the correct pronunciation (“Can you say Bach?” Nope, you can’t) or his exams which consisted of listening to random snippets of music and discerning the composer, among other things.
What was your first job out of school?
Case manager in a vocational rehabilitation program for severely mentally ill (primarily schizophrenic) clients in Chicago.
What quote best describes your philosophy?
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” — Helen Keller
Complete this sentence: “I enjoy working at ECC because…”
I have a fun job that makes use of my skills and allows me ample opportunity to partner with great people all while contributing to a worthwhile organization—what more could a person ask for? Oh, and I love system go-live days…