Early-Career Higher Ed HR Pro Tapi Nhundu Credits Wildfire Program for an “Awakened Sense of Career Confidence”
March 21, 2018

Six early-career higher education human resources professionals have been immersed for the past several months in all that is CUPA-HR and the profession. From attending CUPA-HR conferences, meetings and other learning events to cultivating relationships with senior higher ed HR leaders and CUPA-HR volunteer leaders to experiencing a “day in the work life” of their mentors and more, the six individuals in CUPA-HR’s 2017-18 Wildfire program have had plenty of opportunities to learn, grow and connect. (If you’re not familiar with the Wildfire program, read all about it!).

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been profiling this year’s Wildfire participants and hearing their stories firsthand. We’ve already met Drexel King of Baylor University, Christine Roediger of Northland Pioneer College, Heather Butterfield from Viterbo University and Thuy Nguyen of  University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus. 

Here, we’ll hear from Tapiwanashe (Tapi) Nhundu, employment manager at Williams College in Massachusetts. 

I’ve worked in human resources in higher education for six years. Before I joined the HR team at Williams College, I served as an HR specialist at another liberal arts institution, where I worked on faculty searches and hiring. After joining the staff council at that institution, I was drawn to the staff side of the house, which led me to the job at Williams College. I quickly learned that staff recruitment is a completely different world than faculty recruitment! Thankfully, I was introduced to CUPA-HR, which has been an invaluable resource for helping me learn about many aspects of higher education staff employment, from recruitment and salary planning to retirement, compensation and more.

I’m very thankful to have been chosen for CUPA-HR’s Wildfire program. The program and the friends and contacts I’ve made because of it have awakened in me a sense of career confidence. I’ve made what are sure to be life-long connections with a diverse group of individuals who are as passionate as I am about the work we do in higher ed HR. One of the most memorable events of my Wildfire experience thus far was attending the annual conference last fall, where I had the opportunity to meet and connect with HR professionals in all different stages of their careers. I was amazed to find that any issue or challenge that came up in conversation or in a session, another individual had already encountered it and could provide guidance, advice and perspective.

Through the Wildfire program, I’ve been able to see firsthand the immense level of dedication CUPA-HR leaders have to the field, and in turn the level of intentional collaboration that CUPA-HR has with those it supports. CUPA-HR is not just an association; it truly strives to bring higher education HR to the next level. I am humbled by the opportunity to be involved in such a great organization, and am forever grateful for the support and encouragement I’ve received through the Wildfire program.