30 Under 30: Rena Suhwail

Meet the Millennials who are leading HR into the future.

By Christina Folz Nov 23, 2016
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Rena SuhwailRena Suhwail knew she wanted to study business in college, but she wasn’t sure which area to focus on. Noticing her knack for people, one of her sorority sisters suggested HR. “At the time, I was working at a restaurant as a trainer, and as I started to take the courses, I thought ‘Oh my goodness, this is where I belong! This is the right path for me!’ ” 

Her enthusiasm and determination are evident in her accomplishments at Asurint, a background screening company with nearly 200 employees. Suhwail, 25, began there as an HR intern in 2012 and was quickly promoted to HR representative and then HR generalist. 

Within her first year, she suggested that the company move to a new model for time off to provide flexibility and build trust. “I noticed that bigger-name, innovative organizations had unlimited time off. I loved that idea and kept pushing for it,” she says. 

She got the go-ahead to convene a cross-departmental task force to assess the issue and gain buy-in. And in January 2016, she rolled out Asurint’s new “open time off” policy, which lets people take off as much time as they need, for planned and unplanned reasons, as long as they meet performance expectations. So far, employees’ time off is tracking similarly to how it has in the past. The difference? “People don’t stress about it as much,” Suhwail says. 

Biggest challenge of moving to open time off

“The pain point was with more-seasoned employees because these individuals had never had this kind of setup. They had to adjust to the reality that someone who had been there for seven years would have the same opportunity as someone who walked on the job today.”

Bright future

“My immediate goal is to get certified—to get my brain back into the groove of studying. Then I want to be a manager and a director and one day to retire from the corporate world and become a professor who teaches innovative HR practices.”

Why HR?

“I love talking to employees and helping them. When people are grateful and happy, I’m happy. I went to school for this, I’m doing this, and I’m truly happy.” 

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