Jessica Mangona: HR Newcomer Seeks Strategic Planning

By Kathy Gurchiek Jun 14, 2016
Jessica Mangona For Jessica Mangona, who began her HR career just over a year ago, concurrent sessions that focus on conflict resolution and implementing strategic plans will take priority at the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) 2016 Annual Conference & Exposition.

Mangona is one of seven recipients of the 2016 SHRM Foundation Annual Conference & Exposition Scholarships. The nearly $2,500 scholarships give HR professionals who might otherwise be unable to attend because of a lack of financial support the opportunity to experience Annual Conference. Each scholarship comes with full-conference registration, four nights’ housing at a conference hotel and a $500 travel stipend. 

Five scholarships are awarded to SHRM members from each of five regions of the U.S., one is awarded to a SHRM student member and one to a veteran who is a SHRM member. 

Mangona is the recipient from the Pacific West region of the United States. This is the first career-related conference of any kind she has attended.

She handles human resources and recruiting for Einstein Industries in San Diego. Prior to that, she worked in sales for Trans-Border Global Freight Systems in western New York. Her sales career also included serving as assistant vice president and project manager for First American Finance in Rochester, N.Y., and handling sales for Morgan Services in Rochester. In 2012, she achieved “Top 10” status in sales nationwide for Morgan and was its No. 1 sales representative in the Rochester/Buffalo region that year.

Her husband’s job relocated them to California in 2015; that move prompted Mangona to reflect on her career.

“I decided that while sales has been a great career for me, I [could] put all of my skills to better use,” she said. Serving as an internal recruiter for Einstein “was the perfect transition from a sales role, because it was very performance- and metric-driven, but allowed me to help grow a single company and focus my efforts there instead of spreading myself across numerous clients,” she explained.

When the company’s HR director of 10 years resigned last October, Mangona stepped into the HR role she holds today.

“HR is an environment that is always changing and requires you to stay informed, use critical thinking, and problem-resolution skills,” she said. “While sales has its own group of challenges, I feel that an HR position keeps me pushing forward and challenges me in a way sales never did.”

Among her accomplishments in HR is a companywide school supply drive she initiated and organized on behalf of San Diego County’s annual “Drive for Success” program, which assists homeless students in that area.

Lynn Rodrigues mentored Mangona when Rodrigues was Einstein’s senior director of HR. She noted Mangona’s passion for HR. 

“She has gone above and beyond her normal duties as recruiter to learn on her own about employment law and best practices in several areas, particularly employee engagement and retention,” Rodrigues wrote in a letter of support included in the scholarship application. Mangona, she said, is “someone who can develop her career in human resources, ultimately becoming a culture and change leader.”

Kathy Gurchiek is the associate editor of HR News. Follow her @SHRMwriter.

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