Richelle Gabbard calls herself a people person.
She considers herself an extravert. She loves to learn about people, and loves to help them solve their problems. And as a part of HDI’s HR team, those are good traits to have.
“When I’m around people and I get to talk to people and get to know them personally outside of their position…I get to know them for them,” she said. “For me, that’s important. I love that I get to do that.”
Gabbard is HDI’s Human Resources Payroll Assistant. That means that she helps ensure that everyone receives their paychecks in a timely and orderly manner. But that’s far from all she does.
“I am the go-to person for STEPS positions, temporary positions, student positions,” Gabbard said. “Any type of HR question, you can come to me. Any payroll question, you can come to me…I’m basically the person to go to other than Jessica [Whiting, HR Manager].”
Gabbard started working with UK through a STEPS position, which refers to a type of temporary position filled through the university’s staffing agency. Prior to that, she’d worked in management, a very different place from where she ended up. At the time, she’d been off work for eight months following the birth of her son.
“I wanted to find something that was more suited to his schedule. I wanted to not work weekends. That was a big thing for me,” Gabbard said. “I started shopping around on the jobs posting at UK. I ended up landing a position with STEPS.”
She started working in an accounting setting in the administrative team, starting part time at 10 hours a week. She steadily graduated to 20 hours a week, but then COVID hit.
“My position completely changed because I was doing filing. Obviously you can’t do filing from home,” she said. “That’s when Jessica started changing things…She became my supervisor and my position has done nothing but grow since then.”
Gabbard has liked the experience she’s had working at HDI. She feels like it’s a good, supportive workplace where people respect one another.
“I feel like we’re all connected. Nobody really feels higher than anybody else,” she said. “I feel like I can have a conversation with anyone here…I don’t feel like I’m a number.”
She also feels like HDI is a diverse workplace – something that is to its advantage.
“We have our own projects and our own needs, but I feel like it’s all one unit,” she said. “At the end of the day, we’re here for one mission.”
At home, Gabbard is working on finding balance in her life. With her son headed to preschool, she finds herself with a lot more free time and is using that time to discover new hobbies, find a balance in her life, let herself be introspective, and spend more time with her friends. And that’s a good life for her.
“I’m a minimalistic person. I don’t need a lot to make me happy. I definitely don’t think financial success is a motivating factor,” Gabbard said. “I would rather love what I do and not be a billionaire than have all the money in the world and be unhappy.”