Aaron Grady
Aaron Grady
New to HR, old to IT.

Focusing on Human Resources development after completing Butler's MBA Program in 2016. First HR employee at Bloomerang - creating and growing responsibilities of the department at all times. Excited to expand my skillset at every turn.

Also managing pretty much any function or question that doesn't have a specific department assigned to it including IT, Facilities, and Purchasing.

Bloomerang is awesome because we get to forward the missions of thousands of nonprofits on the daily. 

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Articles
3
Wed 19 August 2020
When I met with my mentor this month, we talked a lot about changing focus. We discussed our career aspirations, our current workload, and our personal endeavors as well. In each one, though, change was the major factor.

We discussed changing careers, both past and future planned shifts. Sometimes you change careers because you are tired of doing the same old thing and sometimes it’s because you have a passion for something new. Regardless of why you’re changing, you can always take skills from your past roles with you. No job is really a waste of time, as long as you learned something new or learned something about yourself. Sometimes it takes a change of scenery to see that though.

Change can also come in the form of quickly shifting focus during your day-to-day work. Some days, I find myself deep in the middle of a project and then a major HR issue comes up that I have to deal with on the spot. It can be jarring to have to switch back and forth between priorities quickly, but exercising that muscle is one of the most valuable things I’ve learned in my professional career. Both my mentor and I have recently had to deal with this often. It’s reassuring to understand that everyone has ongoing projects and sometimes you just have to stop and fight fires. If you take a moment to regroup and reassess your priorities after the urgent task is completed, you’ll be in much better shape to continue your project work.

Changing focus can sometimes seem like a waste of time or a failed effort as well. We recently discussed that, at times, we have projects that just get dropped altogether. When that happens, it can be pretty devastating when you’ve put notable effort into something and then it comes to nothing. At the very least, it’s annoying. Projects get laid by the wayside for many reasons - management changing priorities, personal priorities changing, environmental changes -  sometimes a project is just deemed infeasible or unviable after extensive research. There’s always something to be taken from a dropped project though. I always learn new skills, or sharpen old ones and that’s the main personal reason for most any project anyway. In addition to changing focus externally, focusing on lessons and skills learned is just as valuable as anything.
Wed 22 July 2020
In my discussion with my mentor this month, we talked about challenging ourselves and setting tangible goals. It’s common knowledge that the best way to succeed at anything is to set goals and objectives and measure yourself against them. It’s not always so easy to actually do it, or even remember that you should. It is very easy to get lost in the business of daily life and work and forget to set goals for yourself. It’s also easy to make excuses that allow you to put them off. 

For me personally, there’s a level of fear in setting goals as well. If I go through the process of setting a goal, then that means I could fail. If I don’t set any goals, I can never technically fail. That’s not really a useful way to accomplish anything though, which is why having a mentor is so helpful. Among many other things, a mentor can be an accountability partner. This partnership is a powerful tool for both creating and reaching goals, which is exactly what we talked about in our last meeting. 

My mentor and I helped each other create some goals for the next few months. My goals were created as a result of my most recent peer review. My self-ratings were pretty well in-line with those of my peers, however my own scores were slightly lower than my peers’. With some insight from Garrett Mintz of Ambition in Motion, we figured out that this means I’m likely able to ask a little more from my colleagues. My mentor and I took that idea and created a goal from it. My goal is to make at least three asks per week that I normally wouldn’t. This may seem simple, but it’s a confidence building exercise. It’s a stepping stone on my way to larger, greater goals as well. My mentor has his own goals too, and we’ll be checking in with each other weekly to see if we’ve followed through, that’s where the accountability comes in. I’m excited to get started and see where we go next!


Wed 10 June 2020
Ambition in Motion’s mentor program is different than anything I’ve ever heard of. When I think of a mentor, I think of someone who is older and wiser and honestly, really hard to find. AIM has flipped that on its head. They made everything super easy by matching me with someone via an assessment and algorithm. They also match you with peers that have a similar career orientation, which is way less intimidating than some kind of in-person process. It’s comforting to know that you and your mentor will automatically have some things in common, even before you get started. You also know that they’re eager to learn and grow as well. 
 
In our first meeting, we talked about our backgrounds and even though our roles are different, our paths were certainly not. My mentor has a degree in Music and I have one in IT, now we’re both in Human Resource and Training Roles. The stories of how we got there are long and varied, but now we enjoy what we do. We also both used to work in different roles at our current employers, which gives us a unique perspective on not only our current workforce, but also gives us more in common and builds trust.
 
Speaking of starting in different roles, even within our own companies, we were able to transition into new positions that aligned more with our passions. I started out as a Project Manager that helped with recruiting on the side and my mentor was a Financial Advisor that really mastered the process so well that they wanted him to train everyone else! Any chance to learn something new is a chance for growth and, if nothing else, a resume builder.
 
We also learned that it’s not so uncommon to have many extraneous roles and responsibilities in addition to our core job duties. I have lots of non-HR related responsibilities like IT Support and Facilities Management and my mentor is responsible for Social Media content as well. We could choose to see these as busy work or unnecessary tasks, but we’ve both chosen to frame them as opportunities. Never say no to an opportunity if you can manage it.


Building Mentor Connections Through Work Orientation

Kickstarting Mentorships For Fulfilling Careers