Kickstarting a human resources career

California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) and the Human Resources Club hosted an exciting and informative event tackling empathy and human resources On April 8. The event featured special guest speaker Nancy Scholink. 

Scholink is the vice president of human resources and compliance at Flora California – a cannabis grower based in Greenfield. Scholink is recognized for her ability to remain positive in any situation, excelling at building consensus while knowing the importance of being open to new ideas. 

Scholink centered her presentation around those who are interested in developing a career in human resources. Answering the most common question of: “how do I get in the door?” there are many contributing factors to consider. Internships with different companies and networking with professionals builds your resume. Mastering interviews by learning from past opportunities, preparing and practicing what you are going to say and effective communication is key. All forms of communication – whether verbal, non-verbal or written – need to be clear while showing your personality, positive attitude and attention to detail. 

Scholink emphasized students should consider all opportunities, even one’s that weren’t previously on their radar. Flexibility and mobility in the profession will likely widen connections. If an individual only opens themself up to one area or field of the profession, they run the risk of missing other opportunities that could lead them to their ultimate career goal. By staying flexible in the professional world, one might even find themselves liking another aspect of human resources. 

Although staying flexible and building a resume are great ways to lead one to employment, doing so does not prevent challenges along one’s career. Scholink discussed the importance of having strong communication skills, as well as remembering to be empathetic and open-minded. She shared a personal experience, recalling back to when she was the head of human resources for a hospital. 

At the hospital, there was an employee engaging in inappropriate work behavior, coming off aggressive and harsh, and Scholink had an open and honest conversation with the employee in question. Despite knowing she would have to terminate the employee, her goal was to have a better outcome, allowing for an easy, positive transition for the person involved rather than embarrass her. 

Scholink’s goal was achieved a month later when she ran into the ex-employee while out to dinner. The person was able to have a positive and engaging encounter with Scholink, and thanked her for her professionalism. Without Scholink’s sense of empathy and understanding, the situation could have been much different.

Community involvement can help kickstart the key elements needed for a career. Scholink said one way to begin networking is by joining the Central Coast Human Resources Association. Members are able to gain valuable information through meetings, programs, newsletters, conferences, networking, exchange of information and resource sharing. 

The membership does include an annual fee, however, if students are able to obtain a membership at the discounted cost of $15. To fill out an application, head to

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