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Starting an HR department from scratch is something many young HR professionals aspire to do … someday. For Sherrie Brown, SHRM-CP, human resource manager for the Office of the Missouri State Auditor in Jefferson City, that day has already come: She accomplished that feat just three years after earning her master’s degree in HR development from Xavier University in Cincinnati.
The 28-year-old worked full time in the admissions office at Xavier during her two-year weekend degree program, where she focused on recruiting high school students to attend the university. Soon after, she was applying those skills to attract candidates for a local employment agency, a position she parlayed into a job with Missouri’s Department of Economic Development.
It wasn’t long before the opportunity Brown hoped for emerged. The Office of the Missouri State Auditor, which houses 115 employees, had an HR function run by the auditor’s chief of staff. Following a change in administration in late 2015, the new chief realized the job required a full-time focus, and Brown leaped at the chance to fill the position. Within six months, she had created a formal onboarding process, implemented an employee appraisal system, updated the office’s HR policies and compliance procedures, and recruited the largest class of new hires in more than 10 years, all while earning her SHRM-CP certification.
"Working in public service teaches you servant leadership, where you can focus more on people than on profits," she says.
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