Garcia Receives 2019 Meisinger Fellowship

By SHRM Online staff November 18, 2019
Garcia Receives 2019 Meisinger Fellowship

​Nicole Garcia receives the 2019 Susan R. Meisinger Fellowship for Graduate Study in HR from Mike Aitken, senior vice president of membership for SHRM.

Nicole Garcia, SHRM-CP, of Los Angeles, is the winner of the 2019 Susan R. Meisinger Fellowship for Graduate Study in HR

The award was created in 2009 to help develop the next generation of HR leaders. It provides funding for first-time master's degree students in HR. The fellowship provides the recipient up to $10,000, which is renewable for one additional year for a total of up to $20,000.

[SHRM members-only resource: SHRM's Volunteer Resource Center]

Garcia, an HR generalist for Russ, August & Kabat law firm in Los Angeles, is pursuing a master's degree in human resource management from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. She holds an undergraduate degree in business administration and leadership from Concordia University in Irvine, Calif.

She said she was motivated to pursue her master's degree after earning her Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) certification.

"While studying, I was exposed to informational tools and strategies that fueled my passion for the industry," she said in her fellowship application. "I wanted to learn more, and specifically about the unique opportunities available in the HR field today as people continue to adjust the way they work and learn."

As a mentor at A Place Called Home, a Hispanic-focused community outreach program, she said she wanted to demonstrate to women and minorities "that through hard work and education, the impossible becomes possible."

She became interested in an HR career when she worked at Cigna helping HR managers ensure employees were eligible for benefits when they were on short-term disability.

Garcia said she was struck by the dedication the HR professionals showed to make sure their employees understood the policy around short-term disability claims, were paid on time and had a positive experience with the claim-management process.

"This showed me that HR truly cared about their employees and was helping them understand a complicated process."

Her career goals include serving as a chief HR officer of a global organization and using that position to develop her own talent-management system, diversity and inclusion initiatives, and strategies to provide workers with greater autonomy.

"HR has an opportunity to be at the forefront of change," she said in her application, "and can make an impact on how organizations navigate the complexities that are sure to follow."

The SHRM Foundation funds the fellowship that is named in honor of Meisinger, who served as SHRM's president and CEO from March 2002 until her retirement in July 2008. The winner was announced Nov. 16 at the 2019 SHRM Volunteer Leaders' Business Meeting at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Washington, D.C.



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