By Aila Boyd
Kathy Martin, the human resource director at Roanoke College, presented at the second session of Botetourt County Chamber of Commerce’s Emerging Leader Series on October 24 at the Botetourt YMCA.
Her presentation was titled “Human Resources Skills.”
“While good leadership is required for success, the ultimate prosperity of an organization is dependent on the people within,” she said.
She noted that emerging managers are oftentimes promoted because of their technical competency and not necessarily because of their people management capability. Because of that, human resources skills need to be learned and developed.
“There are a lot of federal laws that guide people management things that people are often unaware of. They think that they can just make a decision without referencing the policies and laws,” she said.
Participants learned how to have difficult conversations, ways to motivate employees, the importance of hiring the right people, and how to interview candidates.
“Over the course of the day, we engaged in discussions about personnel laws, management principles, emotional intelligence, best practices, and policy tips to help equip your people management toolbox,” she said. “We explored principles of developing a strong workforce, including employee interviewing and selection. We looked at ‘unfortunate hiring decisions’ and options for managing employees who have become toxic or simply don’t possess and can’t learn the skills needed for a job.”
Martin holds an undergraduate degree from Radford University and a graduate degree in human resource development from James Madison University.
In her role as human resource director at Roanoke College, Martin leads a team of human resource professionals and directs the day-to-day activities of the college’s human resources department. Additionally, she serves as a deputy Title IX coordinator.
She previously held similar roles at the Roanoke Higher Education Center and Roanoke City Public Schools. She has also worked in manufacturing, naval contracting, and radio broadcasting. “I think my experience in a broad base of industries has really helped me in my career as I have moved around and learned human resources,” she said.
This is the first year for the Emerging Leader Series, which is targeted at new managers and emerging/aspiring leaders. The third session, which will be on November 11, will be conducted by Virginia Western Community College’s Jennifer Havens. It is titled “Influence Without Authority.” The fourth session, which will be on December 12, will be conducted by Virginia Tech’s Scott Crawford. It is titled “Critical and Creative Thinking.”