As head of human resources at The Chazen Companies, the half-century-old, Poughkeepsie-based provider of engineering, land surveying, environmental, and landscape architecture services, Lauren Gillett has to juggle a lot more than interviews.
Whether she’s recruiting job applicants, coaching managers, administering employee-benefit programs, or on-boarding new hires in “boot camps,” her profession is all about human interaction — and the more face time, the better.
“Part of the appeal of HR is that there are many facets, so being agile and shifting gears frequently and smoothly definitely helps,” says Gillett, a 25-year Hudson Valley resident, mother of two, and a principal shareholder in the employee-owned company.
Gillett prides herself on being hands-on. “I know all of our employees, regardless of their office location, their department or their tenure.” That’s saying quite a bit, considering that the company employs upwards of 130 people. The Chazen Companies comprises a web of offices across New York State, as well as a Nashville branch; it also recently acquired Saratoga Safety, a health and safety/consulting firm.
Long before she earned her undergrad degree in sociology from Colgate University, followed by a master’s degree in human resources from the Cornell School of Industrial Labor Relations, Gillett entertained dreams of being a veterinarian. Today, she satisfies her animal-loving side by volunteering at a shelter and proudly describes herself as an “HR person with an abundance of rescued dogs.”