Okay, so I never dreamed I would be blogging as a Human Resources Professional, yet here I am.
My name is Kirsten ten Brink and I am the newly hired Employee Services Director of the largest YMCA in the United States, located in Lebanon, OH. I am a 46 year old, former commercial real estate agent who found myself in Cincinnati against my will (born and raised in the mid-Atlantic) when my husband was transferred here seven years ago to run the Kroger account for his company.
I have to admit, I hated it here at first. What I have come to realize, however, is that Cincinnati, like so many other places in the universe, has plenty of bright spots if you really take a good look around. Other than dismal winters, this city has much to offer: friendly people, relatively reasonable cost of living (except for high taxes! who knew), a very cool downtown that is growing and changing every year, avid and devoted sports fans who love their teams (despite annual disappointment at play-off time), and amazing arts scene and a long list of other items I won’t bore you with.
When I got to Cincinnati, I took some time off but then fell into an opportunity to work in Human Resources for a day care provider who had recently been audited by the DOL and realized they needed someone to keep tabs on the ever changing landscape of employment law. Surprisingly, HR was a good fit for me – blending my interest in politics as it pertains to the law, as well as my previous experience writing lease language (which translated to policy handbooks!). I was that person who went in to work on the first day and googled “What is Human Resources.” I have been figuring it out since then. Social media led me to gurus like Jennifer McClure, Chris Dunn, Steve Browne, Suzanne Lucas and many others who educated me over the course of time with THEIR blogs and showed me that just because you are a Human Resources practitioner you don’t have to be Toby from “The Office.” HR can be fun and rewarding, and can have an impact in many positive ways.
Earlier this year, a friend let me know that a position had come open at the Countryside YMCA. For the first time in six years, I considered leaving my previous place of employment. I love the community-based focus of the Y’s mission and the fact that the people here actually make a difference in other people’s lives on a daily basis. I submitted my information, and VOILA, here I am. It is my turn to make a difference for the employees in this organization, and it made sense to start a blog that focuses on the Bright Spots. Someone needs to remind them how fantastic they actually are.
Bright Spots has kind of become a theme for me. When I look back on my family life and career, there have been many times it has been easy to get bogged down in negativity and the day-to-day feeling that I am a hamster on a treadmill. But there has also been a lot of greatness, a lot of times I’ve laughed until my abs hurt, been places I never thought I’d see and met people I’d never expect to meet. So, moving forward, I am determined to stay focused on the bright spots both at home and at work. This blog will focus on the bright spots at the Countryside YMCA – the daily interactions our staff have with community that make a difference. They rock. Can’t wait to share.