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  • Breanna Stephens

Have We Met?

Some of you reading this are dear family and friends, and I can't express how grateful I am for all of your support.


Some of you, I can't wait to meet. Either way, whichever side of the camp you're in, I wanted to talk about the "why" behind starting my own HR Consulting business.


Rewind to a little over 10 years ago - I was attending Linn Benton Community College, at 19 years old, trying to figure out what I was going to do "when I grow up" (By the way, has anyone reached that status yet?). I applied for an HR Assistant position with Pacific Cast Technologies in Albany. For some reason, these crazy people took a chance on a young girl with ZERO experience. It was like drinking through a firehose. I learned so much over the next 5 years, and had some super cool opportunities, like traveling to Pittsburgh for business trips, going to Santa Barbara and helping out with some college presentations, and getting to become so involved in our local community doing hiring campaigns and speaking at the local colleges. I got to implement multiple HR Information Systems/Applicant Tracking Systems. I got involved in workplace investigations. Built full onboarding systems. And had years of hiring over 100 people per year. Fun fact - I hired over 32 people in ONE MONTH. That was nuts.


I started to get restless and decided to try something new. I started working for Oregon State University's HR Department, serving the colleges of Business and Engineering. Because of my experience working in the private sector and the professionalism that COB and COE desired, I felt like I fit right in. I loved the clients I was serving. The biggest problem was that I felt like the amount of people interaction decreased so substantially, that I was starving for that interaction. I went from knowing 600 people by name, and being able to walk down and talk to them about their lives and families, to having a core group of about 12 people that I was able to talk to (not see) on a daily basis. That was hard.


We had our first baby, Emma, who is now almost 2 years old, during my time at OSU. Boy, did that change EVERYTHING. I had always been the person who thought I would go back after 3 months, put the kid in daycare, and move on. I mean, work needed me, right? That little baby knocked me flat on my butt. And OSU was extremely generous in their leave policies. I was able to take 2 months off completely, and then come back to work part time and remotely for almost 8 whole months. I dreaded going back, and I knew the call was coming. My boss called me and said "Breanna, I know this is hard. But you have to come back. Either that or you have to figure something else out". So, I figured something else out.


I started working for another small startup company, fully remotely, doing customer service. That quickly evolved into HR work, since that was my background. It was great, until it wasn't, and they told me that I couldn't have my baby at home with me while I worked. She was a distraction, "and I was putting her health and safety at risk". What? Nobody cared about Emma's health and safety more than I did. I quickly realized that the culture was not a fit for my personal values, even though I was doing the job (plus another whole HR role) with no complaints. OSU graciously took me back and let me work a part-time schedule.


From there, the position that I had held YEARS before at PCT reopened, and they took me back! And even allowed me to work remotely a few days per week. That was neat. Until COVID hit, and I was part of a big layoff that occurred. Which just propelled me into a dream that I had for years of starting my own HR Consulting business.


I refuse to believe that women only have two choices. To either give up their career and be a stay-at-home mom, or drop their kids at daycare every morning and go to a job, living for the weekend. Society tells us one thing, and I'm determined to prove it wrong. And to prove to Emma that she can have whatever life she wants, as long as she works for it. Along with the other little human we're growing, who will be joining us early next year.


So, whether we have or haven't met, I'd love to make you a cup of coffee, and hear your story.


Til then,

Breanna


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