This week has been absolutely devastating for Houston, TX. Hurricane Harvey has affected over 100,000 homes and cost the lives of at least 30 Texans, maybe more. Our team at NextOp, Inc. that consists of veterans from the Army, Marines Corps, and Navy acted quickly. Everyone was prepared and ready by Thursday night for Harvey. We made sure that everyone in our team understood that while physical resources can be replaced, our people cannot. During the storm, our message to them was simple: Stay Alert, Stay Safe and Stay Connected. With the many resources, there were no reasons why anyone would have taken unnecessary risks or not stay connected.
Fortunately, only a few members of our team were impacted by the flooding, but our team of veterans could not and would not stay home while our community suffered. In the aftermath of the storm, NextOp’s leadership decided to split the team in to two. One team would keep NextOp operational while the other team would help Houston rebuild. The NextOp Talent Acquisition team lead by me, has been working very long hours to keep our nonprofit veteran recruiting firm actively engaged with our veterans and our corporate partners. We have set up Storm Harvey focused messages to our stakeholders on our website and our social media platforms. We wanted to make sure that all of our stakeholders know that NextOp is resilient, strong, and committed to help Houston rebuild.
The NextOp Disaster Relief Team lead by John Boerstler, NextOp’s Executive director, with several of our staff and veteran alumni is collaborating with other organizations such as Combined Arms to help the Houston Community. The last couple of days they have focused their efforts on removing furniture, drywall, and flooring for our neighbors.
What I have learned during this crisis is that there is no one perfect way to handle a crisis. Every organization naturally reacts based on their company culture. Consequently, every organization must prepare differently. The emergency plan must align with their company culture and vision. It is the company culture and vision that are responsible for driving their employee’s actions. We acted naturally based on NextOp’s core values of commitment, integrity, and advocacy. These are the values that unites all of us each and every day.
Finally, I am very thankful to SHRM and my #HRTribe for keeping me in their thoughts and prayers. Your support has really driven me to stay committed, connected and courageous in all things Human Resources related. So thank you!
Cecilia A. Clark (Cici) is a business-oriented talent management leader with almost a decade of experience in human resources management, with experience in talent acquisition, retention, workforce performance, employee relations, and employee engagement.
To Cecilia, every employee has the potential to overcome challenges and become an ideal employee, and she is driven to create strategic solutions to help current and potential employees thrive while meeting corporate goals. Cecilia thrives by developing key relationships with senior leaders to provide innovative HR solutions including coaching and mentoring programs, affinity groups, apprenticeship programs and ATS implementation to drive talent acquisition, employee engagement, retention, employee relations and leadership training. She is also known by employees at her plant as a very passionate lady who drives everyone towards achieving Schwan’s desired state. She has led many New Employee Onboarding classes and has taught over 150 new employees what it means to be an impactful and productive employee.
Currently, Cecilia is a Sr. HR Generalist for Schwan’s. She is working at one of their food manufacturing companies supporting two plants in Houston, TX. In addition, Cecilia has held several HR positions including Talent Acquisition Manager with NextOp, Inc., Talent Acquisition Consultant with Voyig, LCC and Human Resources Manager with the US Army.
Cecilia is a native Galvestonian and proud Texan with a strong military background. She enlisted in the United States Army in April 2005 and served multiple enlistments with both active and reserve components, including a year-long deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. During her time in the service, Cecilia worked as a Bell 407 helicopter mechanic before transitioning to a role in human resources. After serving more than 10 years and earning the rank of Staff Sergeant, Cecilia left active-duty in 2015.
As an enthusiastic member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), Cecilia volunteers her time with her local HR Houston chapter where she currently serves as a member of the Conference Symposium Committee and the Veteran HR Affinity group. Recently, Cecilia was a guest panelist for Source Houston, a local conference focusing on the best sourcing techniques and made guest appearances at HR focused podcasts like CAVNESSHR. In addition, Cecilia was a 2017 SHRM Foundation scholarship winner to attend SHRM’s Annual Conference & Exposition in June 2017, where she spoke during the Foundation’s luncheon about her service and passion for veteran hiring. She was also chosen to join the SHRM blogger team for the SHRM18 conference. Her latest speaking engagement was during a veteran program hosted by the Louisville SHRM chapter.
Cecilia is a strong advocate, mentor, and supporter of transitioning service members and veterans. She has mentored more than 340 veterans to help each find their passion and pursue the right careers based on their military and civilian background. As a volunteer, Cecilia has served on many committees and groups focused on veteran hiring and empowerment, including: the Women Veterans Empowerment Expo, U.S. Congressman Brian Babin’s Advisory Council, Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership, Lone Star Veterans Association, Greater Houston Partnership Upskill Houston, and Hiring Red, White, and You.
Cecilia has a Masters in Business Administration with a concentration in Human Resources Management and Business Development from the University of Houston-Downtown and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting, from the University of Phoenix.
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