University of Wisconsin–Madison

2019 HR Business Partner Awards Announcement

At our 4th annual HR@UW Conference on December 3, Chief Human Resources Officer Mark  Walters announced the nominees and winners of the 2019 HR Business Partner Awards.

As in prior years, the HR community—as well as managers and supervisors and Deans and Directors of colleges, schools and divisions—were invited to nominate HR professionals at UW–Madison who exemplify consultative partnership. 73% of the 2019 nominations were written by faculty and staff outside of HR—that is, the customers of HR.

The Rising Star Award recognizes campus HR professionals who are either newer to their career or who have new HR responsibilities, who demonstrate outstanding partnership behaviors—and have been in their role for at least one year.

The evaluators—Ann Bradshaw (2017 award winner), Julie Karpelenia (2018 award winner),  Adin Palau, Lynn Freeman, and Sarah Carroll—made a consensus-based decision based on testimony in the letters. They used a scoring matrix, matching testimony to 11 Rising Star award criteria across four categories:

  • Works to ensure the success of one’s organization at large
  • Demonstrates strategic thinking
  • Engages in process improvement
  • Demonstrates “partnership” attitudes

The nominees included:

  • Brandon Baumgard from College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
  • Chelsea Daley from the Wisconsin School of Business
  • Kimberly (“Kim”) McFarlane from the School of Medicine and Public Health

Kim McFarlaneKim McFarlane was chosen for the award.

Kim has been an HR Business Partner at the School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH) since February of 2018. Her nominators were from SMPH: HR Manager Kylee Zander;  Chief of Staff Allison Golden; Director of Talent Management Kristen Seguin; and Sarah Esmond and Laura Ladick, both of the UW Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (ICTR).

Here are some highlights from Kim’s nomination letters:

“In supporting [the Dean’s Office, the Institute for Clinical and Translational Research, and the Wisconsin Partnership Program], Kim has displayed a commitment to understanding each group’s core functions as well as how they all fit in to our School’s mission. [She] never fails to provide exceptional and timely consultation.”

“[Kim] is adept at explaining complex concepts so I understand what my options are and, if I cannot do something, why it would not be in my or the school’s best interest. [If] she needs to learn more about a given issue, she is proactive about doing that. She has excellent judgement.”

“Kim is always mindful of potential downstream impacts…when providing HR consultation to departments.”

“I am…impressed with Kim’s professionalism and ability to navigate business politics and be tactful in her approach when working with passionate individuals. She keeps a calm demeanor and is able to get to the root of the issue. She is observant and when she hears things that may be a ‘red flag’ or an issue from a school perspective, she brings those issues to leadership to ensure that everyone is one the same page.”

“Kim’s skillset in HR is very strong, but what I appreciate most about working with her is her ability to understand precisely what I need…. [She] is always willing to do the heavy lifting to reach a goal.”

“She brings a significant arsenal of experience, skills, and knowledge to situations and is endlessly patient as she works with us on individual personnel matters, as well as evolving HR practices and policies.”

“Kim has been instrumental in educating me so I can be a better manager and make informed decisions when it comes to HR practices.”

“Through all [the recent changes at SMPH], Kim has…remained a consummate team player. While she reports centrally…, she has always made me feel like…I am her only client.”

The Partner Model Award recognizes those who not only demonstrate outstanding partnership behaviors in HR at UW–Madison, but who also actively coach and develop others to be consultative partners—and have been in their role five years or more.

As with the first award, the evaluators made a consensus-based decision and used a scoring matrix, matching testimony in the letters received to 16 award criteria, including these additional items:

  • Works to realign HR with business needs to achieve the organization’s goals
  • Offers a coherent vision for any change
  • Actively coaches others to foster greater partnership behaviors across one’s unit
  • Devotes times to serving as an advisor to one’s organization in key functional areas
  • Demonstrates partnering skills that equal or exceed subject matter expertise.

The nominees included:

  • Dawn Bierman from Facilities Planning and Management
  • Kelsey Gordon from the WI State Lab of Hygiene
  • Patrick Hanson from the School of Medicine and Public Health
  • Brenda Krueger from University Housing
  • Kristine Schutte from the International Division
  • Meghna Shah from the Administrative Services Unit in OHR

Kristine SchutteKristine Schutte was chosen for the award.

Kristine has been an HR Assistant Advanced in the International Division since 2011. Her nominators were from the International Division’s Institute for Regional and International Studies (IRIS): Assistant Director for Awards Mark Lilleleht; Executive Director Anju Reejhsinghani; and Assistant Director for Students and Curriculum Csanád Siklós.

Here are some highlights from Kristine’s nomination letters:

“Kristine stepped into her role at the International Division in 2011, just as HRS was being rolled out. Since then, the Division itself has seen considerable change…. Throughout, Kristine has offered both support and guidance. She has been not only cooperative (and proactive) but genuinely collaborative.”

“When some of the [IRIS] centers…lost funding, [Kristine] worked hands-on with [divisional and center-level] leadership teams…to provide information on how retention and alternative funding might be accommodated and [to] support…people in jeopardy.”

“[Kristine] has helped all of our units understand how best to move center staff off grant funding and to more reliable funding streams, …providing greater certainty to individual positions [and] preserving a depth of institutional and area-specific knowledge that is absolutely critical to [our division’s] successful work….”

“[Kristine] is not just helping programs… but [is] helping us all better understand the process, possible stumbling blocks, ways to redress common issues, get out ahead of potential complaints and conflicts, and thus help us avoid mistakes and problems that might otherwise emerge later in the process.”

“Kristine has been especially critical [to] my ongoing efforts (supported by the Dean’s Office) to build a stronger climate of diversity, equity, and inclusion in IRIS.  [She] has alerted me to numerous resources on campus for promoting these values.

When speaking with her after each new challenge, I come away feeling empowered and validated, able to handle the next crisis just a little bit better than the last.

“Quite simply, I’m a better leader as a result of working alongside Kristine.”

“I work with Kristine on an almost daily basis. She is always exceedingly kind and helpful even when dealing with the most challenging issue. [Time] and again she has dealt adeptly with HR crises that could potentially bring our work to a halt.”

“She models an approach that has truly improved and enhanced our working environment.”

“It is no exaggeration to say that Kristine has been the single greatest influence within the International Division when it comes to providing a far more supportive, approachable, inclusive, and professional environment for us all.”

“I can’t imagine a better example of an outstanding {HR] partner than Kristine.”

Dean Guido Podesta of the international Division extended his regrets that he could not be at the conference in person to see Kristine accept this award.

Please join the HR Communities of Practice Office in celebrating both Kim McFarlane and Kristine Schutte as the winners of the 2019 Partner Awards.

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