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Alumni Snapshot – Jason Stobba

CoBE Alumni Remember and Reflect

Name: Jason Stobba

Current Employer and Position: Regional Human Resources Manager for Brady Corporation

Graduation Year and Major: 1999 BBA in Human Resources

 

Why did you choose to attend UW-Whitewater?

The strength of the College of Business and Economics was a key part of my decision.  When I selected UW-Whitewater, it was mainly based on the accounting program, because I began school heading in that direction.  The size of the university was also a draw for me, not only with regard to total enrollment and class size, but also the geographic size and location of the campus.  I liked the intimate feeling of Whitewater and the surrounding community.

 

Where there any professors or courses that particularly inspired you? Why?

During my sophomore year, I decided not to continue as an accounting major and began searching for something different in the business school.  By coincidence, there were topics covered in my Business Communication and Organizational Behavior classes during which the respective professors said that the HR majors would dive into more detail on these topics in the HR program.  It was because of those professors and their ability to make connections across the business curriculum that I looked into the HR profession and ultimately chose that path.

I also found inspiration from the Seminar in Human Resources class that Dr. Jon Werner taught in my last semester.  He structured this capstone class with an emphasis on discussing relevant business issues and solutions as HR professionals.  It was really energizing as a preview of the business world.

 

Did you participate in extra-curricular activities? If so, what did you learn from participating in these activities that has been useful in your career?

My involvement in Whitewater Student Government was a great experience.  I developed critical thinking skills and learned how to form my own opinion and influence others.  I also had opportunities to interact with senior members of the university administration.  Talking to senior leaders can be intimidating, and doing this early on gave me confidence to deal with people at all levels.

 

What do you enjoy most about your current position?

I like learning about the different parts of the business and helping leaders accomplish their goals.  Despite the current economic climate, there is still a war to find and hire top talent, and my overall job is to help attract, motivate, and retain those employees.  A business can have all the best processes and technology, but I think the right people give a company its competitive advantage.  It is people who create those processes, use the technology, and create and execute business plans.  It’s exciting to be a part of that.

 

What is your proudest professional accomplishment?

I’m proud of the way I’ve been able to use technology to improve HR process and provide data and analytics to business leaders.  I was part of a team that rolled out a global HR Information System (HRIS).  It was a large project to put 25+ countries, each with their own way of collecting and managing HR data, on the same platform.  I learned about international HR, change management, and business norms in other countries.  I later used that system to roll out our first globally-coordinated merit planning process.  We can now execute this process in about half the time, and the system provides insight to ensure that we’re rewarding the most talented employees within the organization.

 

What do you feel is your greatest professional strength?

I take pride in being a quick learner.  A great way to gain credibility is to learn what your customers are trying to accomplish and help them find a solution.  I’ve found that it is important to speak the language of each of the departments you support: sales, marketing, R&D, operations, finance, etc.

 

What are the three key skills or qualities you look for in recent grads wishing to join your company?

Communication:  I assess a candidate’s ability to listen, understand, and respond clearly when we’re talking.  Social media has changed a lot of the ways people interact, but there remains a core need for face-to-face interaction.

Teamwork: All of those group projects really do set you up for the team-based projects you’ll face in the workplace.  It helps you deal with a wide range of capabilities, motivation, and ideas.

Ability to learn: After listening to candidates share a story about one of their experiences, I enjoy hearing about what they learned from that experience and how they’ve applied that knowledge.  I think there is a difference between someone with 20 years of experience and someone with one year of experience they repeated 20 times.  I look examples of the ability to learn and grow, which enables a person to adapt to ever-changing needs.

 

Based on what you know now, what advice would you give to your college-age self if you could go back in time?

Always view your experiences through a wide-angle lens.  Focusing on the individual classes in your major or minor is good, but look for ways to link your classes together.  Think about how a concept you learned in Business Communication relates to Compensation.  How does Finance link to Recruiting and Selection?  How does Marketing relate to Operations Management?  I think the most successful people are able to link concepts, explain that linkage, and inspire others to solve problems.

About Jolene Check

Marketing Specialist for the College of Business and Economics.
This entry was posted in Alumni Voice, Career, Human Resources and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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