Isabel Marek graduated in 2017 with a double major in Strategic Communication and Business, with a concentration in Human Resources. After spending two summers interning with Liberty Mutual Insurance in their HR department, Isabel now works with them as an HR Development Program Associate in Boston, Massachusetts. Read about how her passions for HR and communication led her to where she is today:
Q: Why did you want to study both communication and business?
A: Going into college, I knew that I wanted to study business at Calvin. I had been a part of both the People to People Leadership Summit and the Young Women’s Business Institute at Calvin during high school, and both of those experiences led me to the business major. I chose to add Strategic Communication because I thought that the skills I could develop would complement my business career. I knew that the opportunity to develop speaking and writing skills would help make me a well-rounded candidate for whatever career I ended up pursuing. Now I use those skills every single day in my HR Development Program. I saw HR as a field where I could pair a lot of my interests and skills. It’s an opportunity to interact with other human beings, and not only interact with them, but support them in their careers. We all spend a lot of time in our lives at work, and the job of HR is essentially to give people the best possible experiences in the workplace and to create an environment in which people can thrive.
Q: What does your job as a HR Development Program Associate entail?
A: With this position, I am part of a 2 year rotational program. I’ll get to have 3 different rotations within HR, which gives me the opportunity to try out a couple different aspects of Human Resources. So far, I’ve been serving in an HR generalist role working as a talent delivery specialist. I help support the 7 corporate functions that Liberty has, and my team helps deliver HR policies and programs. We execute things like performance reviews and employee opinion surveys. A big part of my role is HR project management, and I typically have anywhere between 4 to 8 projects at a time.
Q: What would your advice be to Calvin students?
A: My advice would be not to sell yourself short. When I was first applying for an internship at Liberty Mutual, it felt like my chances of getting an internship at a Fortune 100 company were very slim, especially since I was coming from a small liberal arts college. But people would be shocked with how valuable a Calvin education really is. The experiences and opportunities from Calvin speak volumes in the workplace. Don’t ever sell yourself short because you went to a small liberal arts school – I ended up getting an internship and full-time job offer when I had been told that I had slim chances of getting it. If people at Calvin hadn’t believed in me and I hadn’t believed in myself, that wouldn’t have been possible. Calvin students can do big things!