Workplace MVP LIVE from SHRM 2022: Cathy Hood, The Arthritis Foundation
On this episode of Workplace MVP Live from SHRM 2022 in New Orleans, host Jamie Gassmann’s guest was Cathy Hood, VP of People Operations at The Arthritis Foundation. She and Jamie discussed Cathy’s career journey, the work of the Arthritis Foundation, their new initiatives, and much more.
This show was originally broadcast live from the 2022 SHRM Annual Conference held at the New Orleans Convention Center in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Cathy Hood, Vice President of People Operations, The Arthritis Foundation
Cathy Hood is Vice President of People Operations for The Arthritis Foundation and has been with the Foundation since 2017.
The Arthritis Foundation is boldly pursuing a cure for America’s #1 cause of disability while championing the fight to conquer arthritis with life-changing science, resources, advocacy, and community connections.
By advancing research, advocacy, and disease management support, the Arthritis Foundation helps you navigate the many challenges arthritis brings. You can easily make powerful connections that lead to real, meaningful change.
Live your best life with the help of a compassionate and caring community. Get empowering information and make meaningful connections. Online and in person (when it’s safe again), they are working together to promote life-changing resources and research, push for change and create community connections that welcome, inform and uplift. This is what makes their community of millions thrive — and why they are Champions of Yes.
About Workplace MVP
Every day, around the world, organizations of all sizes face disruptive events and situations. Within those workplaces are everyday heroes in human resources, risk management, security, business continuity, and the C-suite. They don’t call themselves heroes though. On the contrary, they simply show up every day, laboring for the well-being of employees in their care, readying the workplace for and planning responses to disruption. This show, Workplace MVP, confers on these heroes the designation they deserve, Workplace MVP (Most Valuable Professionals), and gives them the forum to tell their story. As you hear their experiences, you will learn first-hand, real-life approaches to readying the workplace, responses to crisis situations, and overcoming challenges of disruption. Visit our show archive here.
Workplace MVP Host Jamie Gassmann
In addition to serving as the host to the Workplace MVP podcast, Jamie Gassmann is the Director of Marketing at R3 Continuum (R3c). Collectively, she has more than fourteen years of marketing experience. Across her tenure, she has experience working in and with various industries including banking, real estate, retail, crisis management, insurance, business continuity, and more. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mass Communications with special interest in Advertising and Public Relations and a Master of Business Administration from Paseka School of Business, Minnesota State University.
R3 Continuum is a global leader in workplace behavioral health and security solutions. R3c helps ensure the psychological and physical safety of organizations and their people in today’s ever-changing and often unpredictable world. Through their continuum of tailored solutions, including evaluations, crisis response, executive optimization, protective services, and more, they help organizations maintain and cultivate a workplace of wellbeing so that their people can thrive. Learn more about R3c at www.r3c.com.
Intro: [00:00:02] Broadcasting live from SHRM 2022 at the New Orleans Convention Center, it’s time for Workplace MVP. Brought to you by R3 Continuum, a global leader in helping workplaces thrive during disruptive times. Now, here’s your host.
Jamie Gassmann: [00:00:19] Hi, everyone. You’re host, Jamie Gassmann here. And I am coming to you from the SHRM 2022 Exhibit Hall at R3 Continuum’s booth, and we’re here in New Orleans. But with me is Cathy Hood from the Arthritis Foundation. Hi, Cathy.
Cathy Hood: [00:00:34] Hi, Jamie. It’s great to be with you today.
Jamie Gassmann: [00:00:37] Oh, I’m so excited to have you on the show. Now, I understand you just recently got a title change. Is that like a promotion, kind of an upgrade?
Cathy Hood: [00:00:46] It is, additional responsibilities.
Jamie Gassmann: [00:00:49] Yeah. And we love that, right? That means you’re awesome at what you do. And you’ve been to SHRM many times it sounds like.
Cathy Hood: [00:00:56] I have.
Jamie Gassmann: [00:00:57] So, what keeps bringing you back to this conference?
Cathy Hood: [00:00:59] I love the SHRM Conference. I mean, the networking is amazing, getting to meet people across the country, hearing about what other people are doing. But, really, it’s the inspiration. I’ve been doing HR for a long time, and coming here and hearing the inspiring stories and just connecting with people and learning and growing in my profession is something that I look forward to every year.
Jamie Gassmann: [00:01:23] That’s amazing. Now, in talking about that career journey, share with us a little bit about your background. You know, what have you done in your career that has moved you to this VP of people operations?
Cathy Hood: [00:01:34] Sure. I’m happy to. So, I started out actually working for law firms and I was director of human resources for some large law firms, some international law firms, I loved that. But one of their biggest clients was a nonprofit, and so I moved to the nonprofit space. And, you know, I’ve worked in technology also, but mostly nonprofit throughout my career. And, honestly, it’s making a difference in the world.
Cathy Hood: [00:01:58] The Arthritis Foundation, I literally tell every single person that we hire, we are changing lives and that’s what we do. And so, it’s an amazing opportunity to be able to marry your profession, human resources, helping people, but then also changing the lives of people that are suffering from arthritis.
Jamie Gassmann: [00:02:16] Oh, I love that. Obviously, coming from a corporate kind of manufacturing background to this nonprofit, are there differences in the HR space that you’ve noticed or seen between those different roles?
Cathy Hood: [00:02:32] There are some differences, perhaps. But for the most part, you know, caring about people and making connections with people, loving people, supporting people, helping them grow in their careers, those are all the same things regardless of what industry you come from. People that are looking for safe space and opportunity to grow their careers and opportunity to learn and add skills to their resume. So, it’s really not that different from an HR perspective. We’re taking care of those basic needs, payroll, benefits, all of those things, and then also making sure people feel valued.
Cathy Hood: [00:03:08] And, now, just an amazing opportunity in the last few years, and so many organizations are focused on this, but the Arthritis Foundation is as well, and that is our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. And we are so excited about the work that we’re doing. Everyone in the organization is really excited about that.
Cathy Hood: [00:03:27] And, also, the pandemic was awful, but it brought us some opportunities. And those opportunities were to really get focused on our wellness programs and helping people. We have a program called Be Your Best You, and it really is about the whole person, and it’s about making sure that our staff know that they are cared about, we love them, we take care of them, we do some fun things, we have some cultural great things. So, that really is the same in all HR organizations.
Jamie Gassmann: [00:03:56] Yeah. No, that’s beautiful. I love that. Be Your Best You, I love that. I love taglines like that. Just like the good reminder of how do you make yourself better each day.
Cathy Hood: [00:04:06] Absolutely.
Jamie Gassmann: [00:04:07] That’s fantastic. So, here at the SHRM show, you mentioned diversity, equity, and inclusion. I know that’s a really big topic in HR, a very big focus in a lot of organizations. Is there something here at the SHRM show this year that got you really excited when you were preparing to come that you can’t wait to watch, or to check out, or see while you’re here?
Cathy Hood: [00:04:26] Well, I’m going to tell you something, I didn’t get to go to SHRM last year. But I did see a video of one of the sessions and it was about diversity, equity, and inclusion, about courageous conversations. And I thought, “You know what? I’ve got to get back.” Last year because of COVID, of course, we had layoffs, everything was down a little bit. But we’re thriving and we’re back now.
Cathy Hood: [00:04:48] And so, it was just a pleasure and a great opportunity to come back to the conference and really take advantage of those courses and diversity, equity, and inclusion, and some other things as well. I mean, all employee engagement, already, I’ve seen multiple vendors here today that are, you know, exciting things that I’m interested in adding. So, just a great opportunity.
Jamie Gassmann: [00:05:10] Well, it’s been an absolute pleasure to have you on our show. And congratulations again on your promotion. And, yeah, thank you again for stopping by. And we look forward to more chats and hearing, hopefully, from you later down the road how the show went for you.
Cathy Hood: [00:05:26] Thanks, Jamie. It was great to be with you today. Take care.
Jamie Gassmann: [00:05:28] You, too.
Outro: [00:05:33] Thank you for joining us on Workplace MVP. R3 Continuum is a proud sponsor of this show, and is delighted to celebrate most valuable professionals who work diligently to secure safe workplaces where employees can thrive.