#FWHR sat down with Meredith Stasko of BNSF Railway for November's Member Spotlight! Learn more about Meredith and involvement with FWHR over the last several years!
Q: Can you tell us more about your job role at BNSF Railway?
A: I am currently a Human Resources Manager at BNSF. I've been here almost a year and it's been an incredible journey so far. My role is very much a generalist role. I touch most areas of HR, which is what I like! There are some specialized departments within Human Resources, so if I don't know the answer to something or just want to learn more about it for my own development, there are plenty of SMEs to reach out to. My background is in hospitality so it's been challenging and rewarding to learn a new industry and a new HR team.
Q: What values and aspects of the company culture do you most appreciate?
A: I value the transparency of the company. Everything from compensation, to financials, to performance. We aren't afraid to say what we're doing really well, and we aren't afraid to communicate the areas where we need improvement. I also really like that the company encourages its employees to challenge the status quo. We don't want to remain stagnant. We want to continue to evolve and grow. Every idea may not be put into practice, but every idea is encouraged and listened to.
Q: How did you first get involved in Fort Worth HR?
A: I got involved with Fort Worth HR about four years ago when I first moved to Texas. I was interested in getting my PHR and came across the prep class that FWHR offered at TCU. I also wanted to get more involved in the local HR community and network with fellow DFW professionals.
Q: What do you enjoy the most about being a member of Fort Worth HR?
A: I enjoy the opportunity to meet other industry professionals and brainstorm best practices with them. Unfortunately, I haven't been as involved as I would've liked this past year since I was new to my role and a little further away from the monthly luncheons and PEG groups, but I've tried to stay engaged. I hope to be able to get more involved in 2020.
Q: When you recruit and train professionals for a career in HR, what lessons do you feel are most important to instill in a person?
A: My hope for all HR professionals is that we never lose sight of the 'human' in Human Resources. Yes, we want to be strategic partners in the organization and protect the company from risk, but at the end of the day, the employees are the company's most valuable asset. Our job in HR is to figure out how to engage, develop, and grow our employees while still meeting business objectives. It can often be a delicate balance, but one that needs to be met. Along the same lines, I try to instill the importance of maintaining the dignity of the person you're dealing with. It may be your most challenging employee that is being terminated due to their own decisions, but they're still losing their job and potentially the source of income for their entire family. Just another day in the office for us could also be the worst day in one of our employee's lives. I try to always keep that perspective. I think how we handle people at their worst speaks volumes about us and about our industry.
Q: Who is your hero?
A: My mother is the strongest woman I know. She grew up in the Army and married into the Army, so she's had to be adaptable her entire life. She was always so supportive of me and my three siblings growing up and would do anything she could for us. She always encouraged us to dream big and to chase those dreams. She is steadfast in her love for my dad and our family, and rarely ever complains. I've always said if I could be half the wife and mother that my mom is, I'd consider myself lucky.
Q: What hobbies or interests do you have outside of work?
A: Right now, my toddler takes up the vast majority of my time! And that's totally okay with me! It's simply the best to be able to experience things through his eyes and watch him learn new things daily. When I have more free time, I'd like to try to learn how to bake and get into photography.
Q: What's your favorite holiday, and why?
A: I love everything about Christmas! Celebrating the birth of Jesus, the decorations, the music, the smells, time with loved ones. Absolutely everything! It's the best time of the year.
Q: Speaking of holidays, what is your most and least favorite food at Thanksgiving?
A: Can I say everything? I love Thanksgiving food. My favorite would probably be the stuffing or pecan pie. I'm really not a fan of cranberries or cranberry sauce.
Q: What will you be most thankful for this Thanksgiving?
A: My growing family! I have been married to my incredible husband, John, for a little over two and a half years and we have the most amazing 15-month old son, Charlie. And we're also expecting new little one to join our family in April, 2020. We are so blessed and have lots to be thankful for.