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With 20+ years of experience in business operations and 11 years leading Heartbeat’s Human Resources and Operations departments, Michelle is the fire that fuels Heartbeat’s most valuable asset: their human capital. An expert at attracting the most talented, challenge-hungry folks in the business, her ability to cultivate a welcoming work environment has been a key driver behind Heartbeat’s industry-leading employee satisfaction and retention rates.

Michelle’s creative approach to operations has been recognized throughout Heartbeat’s parent organization, @publicisgroupe, and her efforts in fostering Heartbeat’s wholly unique, people-first culture have drawn industry-wide acclaim, including the company’s recent Med Ad News Diversity & Inclusion Champion award, 4 straight “Best Place to Work” awards, and multiple write-ups in industry publications.

If that quest wasn’t enough, Michelle's team also spearheads every single cultural initiative that makes Heartbeat, well, Heartbeat—from Upbeat, our year-long take on the beloved camp color war, to Bodybeat, our focus on employee health and wellness. So when you inevitably flip through the photos on Heartbeat's social media pages, you can do so knowing that Michelle's team is behind every heartfelt and wacky moment.

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News flash: People don’t trust HR!

I recently told a leader of HR folks this, and they acted shocked and appalled—as if this idea was unheard-of.

It’s true, though, and hardly a guarded secret. How can we expect to be trusted if we act like corporate robots, constantly checking with legal before speaking honestly to people?

Thankfully, Heartbeat isn’t like this—but if my leadership ever told me I should put corporate legal jargon ahead of people’s trust, feelings and well-being, that would be the day I’d quit.

Fellow HR leaders, there are 3 things we need to do in order to gain the trust of the people we work for (and yes, we work for them, not the other way around).

1. Be a vulnerable human.
2. Be transparent.
3. Give a shit about the people under your care.

Do those things and watch people start to trust you. Watch people start to show up for you. Watch people give you their best damn work. Watch people have your back as you have theirs.

That’s it. Compassion and genuine connection build trust. It’s not rocket science!

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