Media Release - For Immediate Release
Cool Job: HR in Toronto
10 September, 2012
|Mary Beth MacKenzie|
During the spring dinner at the World Trade and Convention Centre she was enthralled by the speech given by Irwin Simon, founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Hain Celestial Group Inc., a leader in natural and organic food, and personal care products.
“It was really inspiring to hear about his life and how he has made Hain Celestial what it is today,” she says.
After the dinner she and a few other students ended up sharing a table with him. She mentioned that she was a vegetarian and used a wide variety of his products. The conversation drifted from meat alternatives to dairy-free beverages and by the end of the evening she summoned up the courage to ask about internship opportunities he’d alluded to in his earlier speech.
A few days later she sent him an email telling how much she had enjoyed the Commerce Society dinner and that she was very interested in any internship opportunities. She attached her resume.
“I wouldn’t say I hounded them after that, but I mostly definitely expressed my interest and was persistent. I knew this was a company that had the same values and beliefs as I did and that I wanted to be a part of it.”
Before the end of term she had an offer to work in any of the Hain Celestial offices in New York, Toronto or Vancouver. She chose Toronto and spent the summer in the HR department working on projects that ranged from updating the employee handbooks to reviewing resumes and conducting 30 day discussions with the new employees.
“I’ve got a great mentor in Louise Ciardullo, the Senior Director of HR for the Canadian division, and with all the hands-on experience, a much better understanding of the field of HR.
She says the corporate culture is great, with an open door policy that gives any member of the staff access to the executive team at any point. She said work- life balance is very important at the company so there are flex hours as well as summer hours that mean employees can work an extra half hour Monday – Thursday and then get off at 2:30 on Fridays.
“As an added bonus, I get to try all the new dairy-free and vegetarian products,” she says with a laugh.
The company hired four interns in its Toronto office. She was the lone Saint Mary’s participant.
What advice does she have to offer others as a result of her experience?
“Say yes to every opportunity that comes your way. If I had not said yes to attending the Commerce Society Dinner I would not have made the connection with Irwin and most likely wouldn’t be in this position. I also believe in the importance of networking and the commerce society is a great way for students to get the opportunity to meet with lots of different business professionals and you never know what connections you may make. “