Talent Management
HR Professional
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By Chris Aitchison


HR consultant


When veteran lawyer Laura Williams founded Williams HR Law in January 2011, she focused on delivering labour and employment law services with an innovative spin. Williams, determined to carve a distinct niche in a highly-competitive field, dedicated her efforts to delivering strategic advice and representation designed to help employers proactively manage their everyday legal risks resulting from various HR issues within the workplace.


Along the way, it became increasingly clear to Williams that her clients were looking for something more – specifically, proactive and sustainable HR solutions that could help them solve their most challenging people-management issues. She set her sights on launching a sister company to fulfill that need.


Doing so meant finding the right director with the right skills, entrepreneurial spirit and innovative mind to ensure the company’s success. Enter Jodi Zigelstein, a prominent face in the Ontario HR scene who had previously worked with Williams at an HR consulting firm. Williams HR Consulting (WHRC, pronounced “Work”) opened for business in April 2013, and has since seen its client roster grow to 30 clients in just 18 months. HR Professional recently sat down with Zigelstein to discuss her HR career path as an HR consultant.


HR Professional: Why did you leave the corporate world to head an HR consultancy?
Jodi Zigelstein-Yip: I’ve been lucky to work with great corporations in the past as a generalist HR practitioner, but I find that HR consulting provides me with an opportunity to analyze clients’ HR needs and work with their executive and HR teams to help them overcome what can often seem like impossible obstacles to success. I thrive in the consulting world, as I am able to help organizations develop high-impact, innovative and proactive HR solutions that engage, motivate and develop talent – all with an eye to helping clients grow their business. Because this approach can include virtually any area of HR, I haven’t chosen to specialize, in the true sense of the word. Instead, I spend the bulk of my time in the areas I have extreme passion for – designing and facilitating the kind of leadership development experiences that help our clients unlock leaders’ potential.


HRP: What are your main areas of responsibility?
JZY: Because I head up the consulting side of our business, my main areas of responsibility range from leading my team at WHRC and meeting with potential clients to writing proposals, to doing the work and managing projects. That’s in addition to facilitating HR development experiences with our clients, presenting at association conferences, spearheading our ongoing marketing initiatives and running our Develop at WHRC series – a program designed to help HR practitioners hone and expand their capabilities in the HR space.


HRP: What does a typical day at work look like for you?
JZY: No two days are the same around here – we accept a huge variety of work.


HRP: What do you love about your job?
JZY: I’m able to work in an environment that I love, where I get to use my creative energies to help clients shape the future of their businesses in a proactive way. Our firm-wide culture is very entrepreneurial, meaning that Laura encourages us to bring ideas to the table, all while empowering us to problem-solve and take the necessary steps to deliver the very best HR consulting services to our clients. It may sound like a cliché, but everyone should be so lucky to work in an environment where you can laugh and have fun with your peers, all while delivering an exceptional client experience.


I also love the fact that I’m able to see immediate results when working with our clients. Helping executives and their HR teams overcome challenges and realize their potential is incredibly rewarding.


HRP: What skills do you possess that make you a great fit for your position?
JZY: I always joke that I’m not your typical HR professional. I’m really a business person with HR training, one who focuses on helping businesses achieve bottom-line success through the creation of innovative and sustainable HR solutions. That means I need to develop strategic partnerships with our clients, sometimes challenge their assumptions and persuade them to take what I believe is a more effective path. That may not always be a comfortable process, but my experience has shown that it’s often a necessary first step to help fuel an organization’s growth and development.


HRP: What are your ultimate career goals?
JZY: I’m living it each and every day. My ultimate career goals are really focused on building the Williams HR Consulting brand and creating a high-performance team of consultants who can continue to provide exceptional services and solutions to our clients. I don’t aspire to any specific title on my business card. As long as I’m able to use my creativity, experience and expertise to help our clients succeed, I’m happy.


I plan to be doing this until I’m 80 – okay, maybe 65!

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