As a 6-year-old girl living in New York City, all Colleen Morgan knew was church and family. Little did she, her sister or father know that what they knew as a family was going to change forever.
When a sudden brain aneurysm took the life of the girls’ hard-working mother, the family had to quickly adjust to life without the one they loved most.
A single father of two with his mother to help along the way, Colleen’s dad took to caring for her and her sister as his main priority. He kept his daughters honed in spiritually, never missing a morning in the pew on Sunday, and provided for them a childhood worth remembering. The family grew to include a stepmother who took in the two girls as her own, but their father never allowed them to forget the memories of their beloved mother.
To this day, Colleen sees her mother’s beautiful face and the outfits she’d make her and her sister wear to celebrations of all kinds. Her mother was a woman with a beautiful soul – a soul Colleen carries in her and embodies every day.
The move down South and across the world: Finding her passion
After graduating from high school, Colleen moved with her family to Greensboro, North Carolina and joined the military. Stationed in Germany and Fort Bragg, she built her life around a strong work ethic and committed herself to a lifetime of giving to others. Colleen cherishes her time in the military, but her strong family values outweighed her desire to stay in the service; she wanted to fulfill her desire to start a family of her own.
Colleen went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in business administration and management from Guilford College in 2014, followed by her master’s degree in human resources management and services from Capella University in 2018.
While she values her prior professional experiences, Colleen didn’t find her dream job until February 2021, when she came across Charles Aris Executive Search. After interviewing with Danielle Bowman, a Charles Aris vice president leading human capital and organizational development, she saw the stars align and knew she had found her professional home once more.
Charles Aris Executive Search and the human capital space
As someone who values people, Colleen wanted to be part of an organization that put others first. The firm’s 22 principles were the selling points which inspired her to become the company’s new human capital coordinator.
“My dream company has been one that has the same work ethic I have, a company where the folks at the top respect every position in the company” she said. “And what they bring to the table is what I sought after – I found that at Charles Aris.”
Colleen has worked in an array of environments but prefers a professional setting above all others.
“I want to be in a job where people are passionate about what they do,” she said. “They want to be there and they do a good job. Charles Aris employees strive to be the best and earn their seats every day. I’m ready to earn my seat right alongside them.”
When it comes to bringing her human capital expertise to Charles Aris, Colleen wants to ensure she takes everything that could qualify as human capital off the plates of her colleagues so they can do the jobs they were hired to do. In her eyes, a successful day in her role is being able to say she helped a team member with at least one thing they were needing guidance on – or simply being able to serve as a sounding board for their needs.
“Sometimes in the human capital space, people don’t really need you to act; sometimes they just need someone to listen to them,” she said. “By speaking to a situation out loud, they can come up with the fix on their own, and they’re excited they were able to come to you and talk out a means to a solution.”
The powerful work ethic instilled in Colleen by her family helps make her successful at what she does. Her father famously retired three separate times, finally throwing in the towel at age 80. He realized that being a bus driver was no longer in the cards for bones which could no longer handle cold winter mornings in the driver’s seat. Colleen carries that same drive and sensibility with her to guide others as well.
Her emphasis on family and the value she places on relationships definitively influences each decision she makes in her role as human capital coordinator. Her spiritual backing encourages her to support everyone.
“I grew up in a family where we just embraced everybody,” Colleen said. “I always keep that attitude in mind and translate those beliefs to the workplace. I want to make a difference in everyone’s life, no matter what path they chose to take that was different from mine.”
Where change is needed
The year 2020 held many turning points in the human capital world. As a professional in this space, Colleen wants to help make changes which she sees as necessary to building a thriving work environment for all.
“What I want and think we need to see in corporate America is diversity everywhere,” she said. “When you mesh together different people, different personalities, different ethnicities, different cultures and different socioeconomic backgrounds, you get a nice mix on a team that can produce phenomenal results.”
People don’t want to work on a team where there’s groupthink, Colleen added. She wants to help build a team that yields creativity and results.
“We can put initiatives in place and act on these things so that we can make a change,” she said. “I’m elated to see we’re having these conversations around the country. I think corporate America will be surprised to see the results when it hires the person who is best for the job, even if they aren’t who some are used to collaborating with in their workplace. I’m excited to be a part of this change that needs to be seen.”
What lies ahead
Time and time again, the COVID-19 pandemic has proven to Colleen that nothing should be taken for granted.
“Life is short and precious, and we should spend every waking moment with purpose,” she said.
Colleen can’t wait until the day she can spend quality in-person time with her husband, children and grandchildren. She’s eagerly awaiting the day her grandchildren will run up to her and give her a big hug, screaming “Mimi!” as they run down the driveway to greet her.
Until that day comes, she keeps herself grounded and remembers that in the meantime, she can be present for her personal and professional needs by doing what she does best: listening to and supporting others, even from afar.
“People are my strength and are the reason I am here doing what I love,” Colleen said. “As long as I keep that in mind, I’m well off to make a difference and help others reach their best.”
by Madison Nance
Marketing Associate at Charles Aris Executive Search