Hired as a consultant for Elgin Community College's Human Resources Department in November 2016, ECC could have been just another client for Mary Quinn. Instead, ECC became her permanent work home.
“The personality and style of the people at ECC made it an easy choice for me to apply,” said Quinn, who was later hired in May 2017 as the college's managing director of employee and labor relations.
Quinn's job, in her own words, “is to remove the roadblocks,” as she helps supervisors eliminate the barriers, conflicts and pressures that could distract employees from great performance. It is something she has done in her 20-plus years in consulting-which has included employee-labor relations management; contract negotiations; teaching and training; and human resources policies and procedures.
“This is a superb group of hard-working and smart individuals who are committed to the mission of ECC,” Quinn said of the college's employees. “What I want to do is to facilitate a smoother process for them.”
We caught up with Quinn to ask her some questions about her life and her work at ECC. Here are her answers.
Tell us about your first ECC experience.
From the beginning of my time with ECC, I felt a connection with the college. I felt like the skills that I wanted to focus on were skills that seemed to match the needs that ECC had-skills like conflict resolution, employee-labor relations, supervisor training, and communication skills.
Though my background is as a human resources generalist and all of the other components of human resources are vital to an organization, it is employee-labor relations that excites me the most.
What is your greatest accomplishment since you've been here?
I think that I am beginning to help supervisors see that there can be value in strengthening the feedback loop with employees by utilizing performance appraisals and tying it all to the college's mission-but I cannot count it as a true accomplishment yet. It is more like an accomplishment in progress. I will keep you posted!
What's on your “bucket list?”
To have the ability and resources to landscape every inch of my seven-acre property by creating walking paths, restoring native plants, conducting regularly-controlled burns, and installing new hardscapes. I am quite good with major landscaping power equipment!
What's one fact we should know about you?
I love human resources. I truly believe that human resources, when done well, is an invaluable asset for organizational excellence. Convincing others of this perspective is my personal mission.
What's something about your job that others should know?
I am relentless!
What was your favorite class in school?
In college, I spent a year in Cork, Ireland and took a class in archaeology. The class got to help excavate Newgrange, a Stone Age burial site similar to Stonehenge in England.
What was your first job out of school?
High school Spanish teacher at Nordonia High School in Ohio.
Complete this sentence: “I enjoy working at ECC because…”
This is a great place, has wonderful people, and has a great mission!