When you ask someone what their passion is, and their response is “HR,” you know your workplace is in good hands. ECC is in good hands with Chief Human Resources Officer Anthony Ray. He is especially committed to emphasizing the ‘human’ aspect of HR and positioning ECC to be an employer of choice in our community.
Ray started at ECC last fall, and he’s already made changes to help bring HR into the light, so to speak. Establishing a Human Resource Outreach Committee was one of his first steps, and each month, various HR team members eagerly await questions from faculty and staff outside the cafeteria. And Ray walks his talk, as you can usually find him staffing the table or engaging with employees in the halls of the college.
Aside from HR, you might be surprised to find out another of Ray’s passions is dance. He moonlights as a dance instructor, teaching “Chicago Style Stepping.” Hopefully his moves will be on display at the next employee talent show!
Learn more about Ray and his dedication to service excellence below:
In your words, what do you do at ECC?
I am responsible for leading all the functional areas of Human Resources. I serve as a member of the President’s Cabinet and advise the President on all HR related matters. I am also a member of several committees.
What is your greatest accomplishment since you’ve been here?
Improving the outreach and accessibility of Human Resources. Our job is to serve the employee base. As a matter of fact, our slogan is “the people serving our people.” So, bringing an attitude of service excellence.
What other job/role would you like to try out for a day at ECC?
I am right where I need to be. The best thing I can do for ECC is to make it the “employer of choice” for community colleges in Illinois. I can do that by pursuing the HR strategies that are legal, fiscally responsible, and employee friendly.
What’s on your “bucket list?”
I want to do a tour of the Middle East that includes Rome, Jerusalem, and Egypt. When TWA was still in business, it offered a tour like that. I have wanted to take that tour since I read about it back in 1994.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work (i.e., hobbies/interests)?
I teach dancing lessons on the weekends. My wife and I love to dance. I teach a dance that is called “Chicago Style Stepping." It was born on the south and west sides of Chicago and is now all over the country and even internationally in Germany and China. The dance is very similar to ballroom dancing with an urban flair—almost like Swing or the Carolina Two-Step.
Where was the best place you’ve traveled to? Or, where would you like to visit?
The best places I have visited are Montego Bay, Jamaica, and Cancun, Mexico. I would love to go to Egypt and South Africa.
What’s one fact we should know about you?
I was an adult student who went to school full-time while raising my boys and working full-time. I went back to school at age 30 and got my masters at 36. Most importantly, Triton College, a fellow community college, put me on this road towards working in the community college system.
What’s something about your job that others should know?
75% of ECC’s budget is spent on salary and benefits. That’s our area of expertise. We want to make sure that we manage those resources well.
What was your favorite class in school (could be elementary, high school or college)?
History of Rome. I didn’t realize how parallel the history of Rome and America was until then.
What was your first job out of school?
I was already working full-time when I graduated!
What quote best describes your philosophy?
“The people serving our people.” My HR team are the experts in our area. We want to use that expertise to serve our colleagues.
Complete this sentence: “I enjoy working at ECC because … “
I like the people I work with, and I like working for Dr. Sam—he is a very easy person to work for. He is clear about his direction and always accessible. The members of the Cabinet are all extremely smart and dedicated to the college. The HR team is a highly-skilled group. In fact, all of the people I have met—union leadership, faculty, staff, and administration—have been wonderful to work with.