A Day in the Life
The Broad Residency Class of 2014-2016
Senior Director, Human Resources
Since Mondays tend to be my most chaotic day, I try to get up earlier and spend some time reflecting on what I want to accomplish for the week. Once I’ve made notes in my Evernote journal, I grab my dog, Aiden, and we hit the pavement for our morning walk. On the way back to my place, I pick-up my Monday Starbucks to drink on the drive in.
I arrive at our national office and kick off the day with an extended human resources team meeting. While our meetings are typically an hour every Monday, this meeting is the second part of a team off-site I hosted one week ago. I host off-sites quarterly so that the team has time to reflect on how we are doing with our strategic initiatives. In today’s meeting, we spend our time discussing our key learnings from school start-up and what we would like to do differently this year. We build an action plan, taking into consideration key timelines that typically come up throughout the year.
Our team meeting ends just in time to join Rocketeer Roundup, a bi-weekly update meeting for all national office team members, better known as the network support team or NeST. Our strategy team presents their plans for building out our knowledge management tools to help staff get the information they need quickly. I make a quick note to schedule coffee with the team to find out how human resources information can be a part of this initiative.
I sneak out five minutes early to join the reporting system meeting. Both human resources and recruitment teams have rolled out new information systems, and we are now trying to figure out how we report on the key employee analytics with the reporting system team. It seems like there are some solutions to building robust reporting tools but it will take some time to figure out.
I leave the reporting systems meeting early to join my weekly status call with a consultant we’ve been working with over the last six months. This is a talent-ready project to provide a talent management framework and tools to our NeST team. Our first leadership lab for NeST managers is coming up next week, so we spend time going through the agenda and the learning objectives for the lab.
As my call ends, I quickly drive to the senior leadership meeting in San Jose. I hoped to grab lunch but instead spend my drive responding to two principals who have urgent employee relations questions. One of the questions involves possibly creating a new position, so we discuss the potential job responsibilities and agree to connect the next day once the principal has finished drafting the job description.
Since the topic I am joining for the senior leadership team is now scheduled to start later, I dash downstairs to grab a sandwich to eat during the session.
I join the discussion on school leadership talent. We review current school leader performance and discuss development plans for our rising stars. The meeting gives me a better sense of how I can provide additional leadership coaching and support.
I drive to one of our schools to observe an internal principal candidate in her leadership meeting. Part of the interview process is to identify key leadership strengths and areas of opportunity that a candidate will bring to lead a school. We are utilizing the leadership meeting to dig into these.
I chat with a colleague on the way to our cars about the internal principal candidates we have observed so far and the school talent review from earlier this afternoon.
I arrive home and take Aiden for a walk. I typically go to spin tonight. But since I worked late, this will have to serve as the daily burn.
I debrief my day through some quick reflection notes in my Evernote journal while watching reruns.
Thursday is always a lighter day for me in terms of both meetings and workload, so I like to schedule time to work out in the morning before the workday begins. Today, I decide to check out a Pure Barre class on the way in, which is hard but energizes me for the day.
After a 45-minute commute, I meet our CEO in the San Jose regional office for a bi-weekly check-in meeting. I provide him with updates on organizational culture and what we should be keeping a pulse on as a team. These are always great. An hour never seems to be quite enough time!
Right after meeting with our CEO, I jump on a call with my team to participate in a human resources information system work session. We rolled out a new system earlier this year. To help ensure both implementation and user adoption are successful, we hold a weekly team meeting to discuss the use of different components of the system and how we train staff to use them. These sessions are separate from our weekly HR team meeting, which helps us focus on the system in a more intentional way.
After the work session ends, I spend the next couple of hours reviewing our new mission control web pages, which are human resources pages developed on our intranet system. The new pages allow both managers and non-managers to have more access to HR resources. I usually try to create these work blocks a few times a week to be able to tackle larger projects that would be impossible to dig into during my typical days of meetings.
After finishing my review and grabbing a quick lunch, I’m off to a meeting with our finance team and 403(b) provider to review the performance of our portfolio. We need to continue educating staff about the importance of starting a retirement account now and discuss strategies for doing so.
After a two-hour meeting and catching up on emails, I end the day with a weekly status meeting with one of my direct reports. In these meetings, we discuss progress on short-term and long-term priorities as well as ways I can continue to support her development as a manager. I always look forward to these meetings and prioritize them on my calendar.
Today was a lighter day, which doesn’t happen often. So I decide to beat some traffic and head home early. This will give me a chance to grab dinner, walk the dog and get ready for the next episode of my favorite TV show.
I start the day with a quick walk with my dog and a review of my calendar. I notice that I have a meeting at 7:30 a.m., but it’s a call. I will take this in the car to maximize my time and get to the office earlier.
This morning’s call is with a school principal regarding an employee relations matter that needs to be addressed right away. I try to build this flexibility into my schedule, especially in the mornings, because I know it’s tough for our principals to take calls during the middle of the school day.
Right after my call ends, I jump on the phone with my executive coach for our monthly check-in meeting. As a part of the Residency, I have access to a coach. I have requested mine early to work on some specific development areas that I have identified as hurdles for me. It is a great call and I walk away with concrete action steps to take prior to our next call.
I head to the Starbucks near our office to have my monthly status meeting with our director of recruitment. We spend our time discussing more efficient ways to improve the offer-letter generation process and hiring manager training.
As I head back to the office, I take a quick call with our HRIS system partner, who requested time to get feedback on how the system is working. I am excited to wrap up this call because I have a work block in my schedule to catch up on emails and do long-term planning, during which I reflect on what my team has accomplished over the last six months and what’s coming up for us in the next six months.
After a productive planning session that included a working lunch, I join the quarterly meeting of a charter school “people strategy” group. This meeting was developed by a group of human resources leaders, including myself, to share best practices and norm how we approach critical priorities in our work. These meetings are also great times to leverage thought partners on new ideas.
I sit down with our finance team to review my department’s actuals versus planned expenditures in the budget. One major flag is the additional money being spent on the HRIS system. We discuss how we might plan better for these unforeseen costs that can arise with system implementation.
I end the day on a call on the way to my dance class. This time, I am connecting with a teacher who has a human resources issue. I spend some time listening to her concerns, making a mental note to schedule a follow-up call with her principal sometime tomorrow.
This week has been pretty hectic. I just moved, and I am getting my first real taste of the extended commute. It takes me an additional 45 minutes this morning to reach our San Jose regional office. Once there, my day kicks off immediately with meetings as I conduct an in-person exit interview with a staff member. I have found that these face-to-face meetings are a great way to assess the overall organizational climate and obtain concrete feedback.
The next four hours are spent with our functional leadership group discussing key organizational initiatives. The FLG comes together on a quarterly basis as thought partners on initiatives that impact teams across Rocketship. This quarter’s topics are effective school start-up and key organizational updates. I also get a chance to check in quickly with other department leaders on a few pending items during breaks.
The talent, recruitment and human resources teams meet to continue talking about a school partnership model to improve customer service and increase collaboration between schools and our teams. The model includes representatives from each team who would become the partner team for a specific school throughout the year. A member of my team leads this discussion, and I take a few notes regarding her facilitation style so I can offer coaching to help her continue to develop this skill.
I have a quick call with our finance and Tennessee regional teams to discuss new legislation that will impact what benefits are offered in our Tennessee schools. As we dive in, I realize that there is a lot more nuance to this legislation that will impact our teams. I recommend we use this time to discuss high-level impact and schedule an immediate follow-up session to dig into the specific steps all teams need to take. I put a reminder in my Evernote to-do list to set up a longer discussion around this topic. The Tennessee call ends a few minutes early, so I have an opportunity to step outside and grab some fresh air.
Our weekly business team meeting runs for a little over an hour this week. Our chief budget officer schedules these meetings so all operational business teams can connect on high-priority items that may impact our work streams. Our controller and I both flag the new legislation in Tennessee and the team discusses the impact for other business departments, including legal and operations. Based on this conversation, it seems like I have added a new initiative to my plate to close out the year. It’s not ideal, but it needs to be addressed immediately.
After catching up on email I missed during the day, I run out to get to my dance class. I am preparing for a performance. While taking classes during the week is not ideal, they have been helpful because I must prioritize getting key work completed before my evening begins.
Exhausted from the day of commuting, meetings and dance, I finally get home and decide not to do a debrief of the day in my journal tonight. Instead, I opt for turning on a TV show and closing out my night on the couch.