The Higher Ed Workplace Blog

National Women’s History Month: Past and Present Higher Ed HR Trailblazers

National Women’s History Month celebrates the contributions and achievements women have made throughout U.S. history. CUPA-HR is fortunate to have had many smart and dedicated women serve on its national, regional and chapter boards and on various committees. In addition to providing leadership at work, they have volunteered their time and shared their know-how — lighting the way for other women in the field.

To celebrate the month, we’re spotlighting some of the many leaders who have transformed higher ed HR and CUPA-HR. Sure to inspire, these articles and podcast episodes offer unique perspectives of higher ed HR, career journeys, struggles, successes and everything in between.

Looking Back to Move Forward

Blazing a Trail: Women Who Paved the Way in Higher Ed HR, from a 2014 issue of Higher Ed HR Magazine, features five CUPA-HR leaders who began their higher ed HR careers in a very different era — when HR was still “personnel,” men dominated the profession and the nature of the work was strictly focused on policies and procedures. These women rose to leadership positions, not only in their departments, but across their institutions. Read about their challenges, their regrets, their successes and a few war stories to boot.

More Stories That Inspire

CUPA-HR Conversations: Higher Ed HR Turns 75 Podcast features higher ed HR leaders and past CUPA-HR national board chairs who have left their mark on both the association and the profession.

  • In Episode 2: Growing Through Change, Allison Vaillancourt reflects on some professional advice she received from a CUPA-HR peer that changed her entire approach to HR and helped advance her career and secure several leadership positions.
  • Lynn Bynum shares how CUPA-HR helped her make the transition from the corporate world to higher ed HR, and Lauren Turner offers insights into how HR can become a recognized leader within the institution and help others become better leaders in Episode 4: Model Behavior.
  • Jane Federowicz reflects on her unexpected path to HR, starting out as her institution’s accountant and ending up being asked to create an HR department, in Episode 6: When Opportunity Knocks.
  • In Episode 7: Lifelong Learning, Barbara Carroll dives into some experiences she never thought she would have as an HR leader, including serving on CUPA-HR’s Public Policy Committee and providing a higher ed perspective to a room full of senators and congressional representatives, and Linda Lulli discusses the importance of being a lifelong learner in the HR profession and how to be adaptable and resilient.

Time-Out With Tammi & Tyler is a podcast that explores how higher ed HR careers evolve by interviewing professionals at the top of their HR game, sharing advice they would give professionals climbing the higher ed HR ladder.

  • In Episode 1, Donna Popovich offers advice for early-career professionals.
  • Sheraine Gilliam walks through her story of persistence, networking and how to turn negative situations into opportunities for growth in Episode 3.
  • In Episode 5, Clarity White describes how her Wildfire program experience helped advance her HR career.

Related resources:

21-Day Challenge: Focus on Women (First two weeks of the challenge)