Ten Questions with Debbie Trammell

Debbie Trammell1Tell me a little about yourself – your background and your education.

I have about 27 years human resource experience, working in various industries, and I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration.

How long have you worked for Aspire?

Well, I started here in January of 2007, so I have been here just over 7 years.

What positions have you held with Aspire?

I have always been the Senior Director of Human Resources at Aspire.

Describe your current position, including your responsibilities?

I direct all the human resource functions at Aspire, such as employee relations, recruitment and talent management, onboarding and orientation, payroll, benefits, workers’ compensation, and HR Compliance.  I have an incredible staff of six hard-working human resource professionals who manage these various functions and take care of the day-to-day tasks, and who keep me straight!

What does a typical day as [YOUR position] look like? 

I don’t know that we call any day “typical,” as that is what is exciting about working in human resources; there is always something challenging or unusual that pops up on almost any given day.  We have a lot of activity going on throughout the day in our department, but for me personally, I do a lot of management counseling related to various employee issues, attend scheduled meetings, answer a lot of employee inquiries, and provide a lot of direct feedback and guidance to my staff regarding issues they are dealing with in their daily functions.

What in your educational background and work experience prepared you for your current position?

I have a degree in Business Administration and this certainly helped me understand the administrative side of what I do and how this impacts the organization on a daily basis.  I have an extensive background in human resources prior to Aspire, working in a manufacturing environment for a short period of time, then moving on to a hospital setting for 12 years, followed by the banking/financial industry, and then to community mental health – a lot of human resources experience in multiple settings.

If you weren’t working in this field, what would you be doing?

Well, it is a toss-up between two very different avenues.  Being such a stickler for policy, consistency, fairness, and all things legal, I actually think I could have been a very good attorney….so if I had to change anything I would probably consider something in the field of law.  But, a very close second, and something that most people don’t know about me, is that I have always enjoyed creative writing, so I would love to write light-hearted books.  I love to laugh, tell stories, and most of all make others laugh.  If I were to turn back time and just throw it to the wind to chase a far-off fantasy on a whim, I think I would try my hand at being an author.  I think that would be the “dream” job.

What is it that drew you to the field of mental health?

As I mentioned, I have a human resources background in a hospital setting from the past and I really enjoyed this.  When I relocated to Indiana and began my job search here, I was drawn to this position since it was related to health care services. I am a very people-oriented individual, that’s why I chose a human resources career path, and this also made the mission of community mental health very appealing to me.

What impact do you feel your work has had on Aspire and its clients?

Well, I feel I have worked hard in building a responsive and quality HR Department here at Aspire.  Working through the merger and consolidating HR Systems, payroll/timekeeping systems, benefits, policies, staff, etc. was a challenge.  I strive to ensure fairness, consistency, and a valued workforce here at Aspire.  In HR, obviously we don’t have direct services with clients, but we do indirectly impact client care via avenues such as recruitment, onboarding, staff retention, etc.  I feel my work here in HR has helped Aspire fill the multiple needs across the agency by working to attract high quality, motivated/engaged staff to provide client services.

What things do you do to help you cope with the demands of your job?

I am a very family-oriented individual and enjoy spending most of my time in activities with my family.  Surprisingly, my husband and I adopted a son (first and only child) in just the last 3 years and this has brought a new sense of energy to our family.  We spend a lot of time at soccer games and I have really found a lot of pleasure and relaxation in this.  I now thrive in being a mom, which is a huge change for me at this stage of my life.  My mother also lives with me and I am her caretaker, so I spend a lot of time with her too.  My husband I have been together since our teen years and we still have a “date night” once a week, which I cherish.  I like to play games, enjoy family and friends, and travel when we can.  My husband and I are also avid “cruisers” and enjoy going on cruise vacations to get away from it all occasionally.  When I am really stressed, I will sometimes do silk floral arrangements.  It is a creative outlet for me that takes my mind off of everything else when I am “in the moment” with those stems!  I do all the floral arrangements for my church.

Debbie Trammell is the Senior Director of Human Resources at Aspire Indiana. While the beliefs and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of Ms. Trammell, you can learn more about Aspire Indiana at https://www.facebook.com/AspireIndiana.  You can also follow Ms. Trammell on Twitter @DebbieMTrammell.


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