From Atlanta to Cathy, “Thank You!”

Posted on December 3, 2013

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Missildine_Cathy_WebAtlanta employers are indebted to Cathy Missildine. For the past year Cathy has served as the President of the 2,500 member SHRM-Atlanta—one of the largest city chapters of the Society of Human Resource Management.

The role of President of SHRM-Atlanta is a volunteer position. But it’s not one of those roles where you simply enjoy the title, the prestige and the new line item on a resume. It’s a role defined each year by its occupant and, if undertaken with passion, can consume your time and zap your energy. Cathy began her one-year term with a passion.   And, now, as her arm is outstretched to pass along the baton, we can say Cathy Missildine never wavered in her passion. Cathy made a difference.

Working for a Better Atlanta

Cathy’s vision dovetailed with the Board of Director’s Vision of “Working for a Better Atlanta.” Relentlessly, Cathy drew the focus of the leadership team to elevating the role of HR. She was committed to transforming the perception of HR from a separate entity in the organization to viable, visible business leadership. To this end, Cathy set her heart on SHRM-Atlanta providing strategic programming that would educate, train and develop business leaders within HR–leaders with acute business acumen. To make this happen, Cathy knew improvement was needed in several significant measurable areas.

Dogs Bark

Metrics are to Cathy what a bark is to a dog. She lives by numbers. She believes they tell a story which must be exhumed and proclaimed.  As with most non-profit organizations, numbers matter. Membership. Satisfaction. Retention. Margin. They all are the essentials in the storyline of successful organizations. Understanding how to obtain and use metrics has given her success as owner of Intellectual Capital Consulting where she links organizational strategy to all facets of the business—including HR. Cathy didn’t leave this understanding of metrics behind when she hoisted the president’s tiara upon her head last December. Yet, there is more to Cathy’s leadership than numbers.

Leadership

While a focus on results is an important trait of great leaders, there must be more.  As a volunteer serving on Cathy’s team I have had the privilege of seeing her passion up-close. I have appreciated how straightforward she can be in communicating her perspective, never guilty of failing to put her ideas on the table. She has been persistent in displaying a positive attitude and has instilled confidence in her leadership and the direction of the association—her enthusiastic hope is contagious. She has repeatedly sought feedback and input from team members. Understanding the unique challenges of leading a team of volunteers, she evidenced patience. Knowing the value of a committed team, she has gone above and beyond to express appreciation to dedicated volunteers. She has been a leader who…led.

The context of her year at the helm cannot be overlooked. Cathy took the reins of SHRM-Atlanta just as Atlanta was beginning to reclaim economic stability after several years of economic struggles. Previous SHRM-Atlanta presidents masterfully led through a period of economic uncertainty, layoffs and reduced budgets for HR professionals. HR leaders were consumed with downsizing, struggling to maintain operations with smaller departments and they were prevented from spending the time and money to engage in education, associations and networking. The economy had taken its toll on organizations, and SHRM-Atlanta was not exempt from the battle.

GrowthChartAs the city and region continued to bounce back, SHRM-Atlanta was poised to be the backbone of business and organizational growth. With Cathy’s leadership SHRM-Atlanta aided Atlanta in the recovery. As companies began to grow again, SHRM-Atlanta members learned best practices in talent acquisition. They saved their organizations millions of dollars by implementing policies and procedures meant to ward off lawsuits. They discovered creative ways to engage employees who were burdened with doing more with less. They found tools to navigate healthcare reform. They improved their communication skills and learned how to more effectively demonstrate the all-encompassing influence HR has in the organization. Atlanta is growing stronger because SHRM-Atlanta is growing stronger. SHRM-Atlanta is growing stronger because of Cathy’s able leadership.

While there is evidence of goals being met, Cathy faced a challenge very few of her predecessors in SHRM-Atlanta ever faced. For years, the association management team carrying out the day-to-day operations had provided stable leadership. Early in 2013 the top two association leaders, including a beloved COO, transitioned out of SHRM-Atlanta. Cathy’s leadership shined bright as she navigated the transition and kept the team of volunteers on task. As the year ends there is once again a seamless flow of communication and support between the association management team, the Board of Directors and the host of volunteers.

With Increasing Speed

As a result of Cathy’s leadership, the “numbers” have begun an upward march. Did they reach the pinnacle of her dreams? Probably not as by her own admission, she is “VERY goal oriented and task driven.” Yet, because of her lofty goals the tracks have been laid and SHRM-Atlanta is moving upward and forward with increasing speed. The charts are looking good once again.

THANK YOU

To Cathy, we say “THANK YOU.” We counted (pun intended) on you and you delivered. We know that it is not just we in SHRM-Atlanta, but all of Atlanta, who should join in the ovation.  You have served us well and we know you will continue to stand with Teela as she carries the momentum into the new year.

Thank you Cathy.

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