Wildfire Participant Jaylyn Corna Values Career Support She's Gained Through Program 
February 24, 2016

Over the past few weeks, we've been profiling this year's CUPA-HR Wildfire participants and hearing their stories firsthand. We hope you're enjoying getting to know this dynamic group, as we have over the past few months - we think they're destined for greatness, both in their careers and in CUPA-HR!

We've already met Sarah Deitz, Alisha Arnold and Bel Campos. Here, we'll meet Jaylyn Corna, as she tells us in her own words about her Wildfire journey.

I'm Wildfire Participant Jaylyn Corna, and I'm six weeks into my new role as human resources recruiter at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. I started my career in higher ed HR three years ago at Franklin University, a small, private institution in Columbus, Ohio, and I truly fell in love with higher ed as an industry and realized that I wanted to make a career in higher ed HR. While at Franklin, I was encouraged to apply for the Wildfire program, and after investigating what it entailed, I thought it sounded like the perfect opportunity to gain exposure to the many areas of HR that I hadn't yet had the chance to experience. I was honored to have been accepted, and began the year-long program on July 1.

From the moment I arrived at CUPA-HR's Association Leadership Program last July, it was pretty clear that I was being afforded the opportunity to be part of something incredibly special. Every CUPA-HR leader I met was accessible, welcoming and genuinely excited to share what CUPA-HR does and the role the association plays in helping them do their work every day. I learned about areas of HR that I previously had very little exposure to, and knew that I would be able to take all of this information back to my institution and hopefully use it to make a positive impact with my team.

The Wildfire program has truly been a full immersion into CUPA-HR  from attending conferences to the monthly "topic of interest" calls with higher ed HR leaders to the learning projects we're currently working on (and of course the relationships the six Wildfire participants have built with one other). But the component of this program that has surprised me the most is the knowledge and insight I have gained from my Wildfire "guide" Chris Byrd, treasurer on the CUPA-HR board of directors and chief HR officer at University of South Carolina. I'm not sure what I expected from this aspect of the program, but Chris has been so supportive of not only my Wildfire experience, but of my career as a whole.

As I mentioned before, I recently changed jobs, and Chris not only served as a sounding board when I first started thinking about making a move, but he also touched base with me through every step of my interview process. And it certainly helped that he was able to speak from the perspective of someone currently working for a large institution! I remember CUPA-HR President and CEO Andy Brantley saying at ALP last summer, "When you think you've reached the point in your career where you don't need to participate in CUPA-HR anymore, that's when it's most important to do so - so that you can give back and share the knowledge and insight you've gained throughout your higher ed HR journey." Chris truly epitomizes that statement, and I'm lucky to have benefited from it time and again.

It's hard to believe my Wildfire experience will be coming to an end in just a few short months. I have had opportunities and experiences that have opened my eyes to so many new things, and I know I have made connections that will last for years to come. I'm looking forward to continued involvement with CUPA-HR and being an ambassador for the Wildfire program, and I'm so excited for the group that gets to have this experience next!