Teaching art was the dream but fresh out of college, Megan took jobs in customer service to gain work experience--and something clicked. Thirteen years later, she’s just been promoted to her organization’s HR manager.

Q. What brought you to UCR University Extension?

A. I have been with my current organization since 2015 and in 2018, I moved into a management role where I managed a team of 10-15 individuals. My focus was to develop internal policies and procedures for the department while also fulfilling other managerial duties and responsibilities.

In 2021, I was promoted to the role of HR Specialist. Though I only had managerial experience, I understood the demand for company-wide policies and procedures. Shortly after the transition, I enrolled in UCR University Extension’s Human Resources Management Professional Certificate program to gain the knowledge and tools required to implement a successful HR department.

Q. What were some of the unexpected hurdles in your journey?

A. I was not expecting Human Resources to be as broad as it is. I knew Human Resources was responsible for assisting in payroll, benefits, hiring, firing, and general coaching, but I did not anticipate all the smaller (but just as important) items that would occupy my time.

Q. What were some of the unexpected benefits?

A. Being in the industry while attending courses was more beneficial than I anticipated. I felt the coursework was directly in line with what I was experiencing firsthand. At times, I was reassured that I was doing the best job possible and making the right decisions based on the ideologies, statistics, and laws I learned throughout the program.

Q. What difference did your experience at UCR University Extension make to your life path and career goals?

A. After receiving the Human Resources Management Professional certificate, I was promoted to HR Manager and will soon be managing a team of my own. I am on my way to accomplishing the professional goals I set for myself years ago.

Q. What have been some of the most exciting or rewarding moments of your career so far?

A. I can honestly say that working with employees to make them feel heard, appreciated, and included is the most rewarding. One of my biggest goals as an HR Manager is to maintain morale throughout the organization and be a sounding board for all feedback. As I approach the end of my third year in the industry, I can confidently say that we are eliminating the stereotype that HR is a scary place.

Q. What has been the greatest challenge you have faced during your career?

A. Before I became an HR Specialist, my organization did not have a true HR department. Human Resources was managed by our Controller who was juggling his job duties along with HR responsibilities. I was soon faced with the challenge of building a functional HR department while gaining the trust of our employees.

Q. What professional and personal achievements are you most proud of, and why?

A. I am most proud of my continuous efforts to grow both personally and professionally. I was the first member of my family to graduate college and earn any degree. In 2008, I earned an Associate degree. In 2011, I earned a Bachelor’s, and in 2023, earned a Professional Certificate. My educational journey is still not over as I am currently looking into graduate programs to further my career.

Q. What career (or other) advice would you give to students or graduates looking to move into your industry?

A. Be patient, be open to change, and be willing to adapt. You will never face the same situation twice, regardless of your experience, and you may be the first to encounter a new situation entirely.

Q. In your life today, what makes you happy?

A. Being able to understand and incorporate a healthy work balance is very satisfying. As much as I love what I do, I also love spending quality time with friends, family, and my fur babies. I have learned to take advantage of the quiet moments in life and when I can, I explore new cities, go camping, and just enjoy the world around me.

Q. What are your hopes and aims for your future?

A. In the next couple of months, I aim to begin working towards a master’s degree in human resource leadership. I anticipate years of continuous growth and hope to continue moving into roles with more responsibility and independence as I run a successful HR department.

Megan summed up her journey from art to HR perfectly in her own words, “I guess the universe has a funny way of taking care of you. I am in a different industry but still teaching, mentoring, and making a difference.”

We are honored that you chose UCR University Extension to be part of your journey. Much more success to you, Megan!

HR Manager, CHRM
California Regional Multiple Listing Service
Chino Hills
A.A., Fine Arts, Mt. San Antonio College (2008)
B.A., Art History, UCLA (2011)
Graduate, UCR University Extension (2023)
Human Resources Management Professional Certificate Program