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Human Resources Alumni Panel

On Wednesday April 21 the Management Department hosted a Human Resources Alumni Panel. The panel consisted of three Siena Alums, all of whom graduated in 2007. Perla Terrero, Gavin Flynn and Lindsey Speach presented their job history, starting from their graduation to where they are now, as well as helpful tips they learned along the way.

The first panelist to start the discussion was Perla Terrero, who majored in Marketing and Management. Shortly after graduation, Terrero was hired by Nestle as a Human Resources Generalist which prompted her move to Los Angeles. After eight years in Los Angeles, Nestle relocated her to Chicago, where she received her Masters in Industrial and Organizational Psychology at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology in 2013. For a brief period of time, Terrero worked in Switzerland as a Program Manager for Zone America’s Youth Initiative. She then joined Nespresso, an operating unit of the Nestle Group, in 2017. After eleven years at Nestle, she decided that it was time for a change and switched jobs. Perla Terrero is currently the Head of Talent Management at Mastercard in Purchase, New York. After relaying her job history, Terrero discussed Key HR Touchpoints. The touchpoints serve as a guideline for what to expect when working in Human Resources. The touchpoints include: Talent Acquisition (Recruiting), Leadership and Succession, Skills and Capabilities, Inclusion and Diversity, Organization and Culture, and Career Development and Mobility. 

The next panelist, Gavin Flynn, received his Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing and Management. He was also hired by Nestle following his graduation at Siena. For a majority of Flynn’s six year history at Nestle, he worked as a Human Resources Generalist. While his time at The Nestle Group started out in Los Angeles, he was later relocated to work in Illinois to provide human resources support to the Butterfinger facilities. Flynn was then moved to Arkansas, where he received his Masters in Business Administration. After around seven years at Nestle, similarly to Perla Terrero, Flynn made the decision to switch companies. He moved slightly out West to start his job at The WhiteWave Foods Company in Broomfield, Colorado. In his role as Human Resources Manager, Flynn co-led his department’s endeavor of acquiring the beverage brand SoDelicious in 2014. After three years with WhiteWave, Flynn was hired at Danone North America as the Senior Human Resources Manager. Flynn’s current position at Danone is the Director of Human Resources Technology and Efficiency.  

Lindsey Speach was the third and final panelist. Her path was slightly different, but just as interesting as Perla Terrero and Gavin Flynn’s. Speach received her degree in Marketing/Management with a minor in Sociology. Throughout her four years at Siena, Speach was an intern at Lavelle and Finn Attorneys at Law in Latham, New York. After her internship, Speach decided the law path was not for her, which prompted her journey into Human Resources. She worked in the recruiting department at KeyBank for two years. She then became a Human Resources Specialist at Albany Medical Center. Speach got her Masters Degree and Human Resources Certificate from Union College. Her area of employment where she obtained a majority of her experience was at SmartWatt, where she worked as the Vice President of Human Resources for nine years. During her time at SmartWatt, Speach helped the company grow from fifteen to three hundred employees, and she assisted in expanding the office locations from one to fifteen across the country. Similarly to Terrero and Flynn, Speach wanted to explore a new environment. She is currently working at Death Wish Coffee Company in Saratoga Springs, New York, as the Vice President of Talent and Culture. A fun fact about Lindsey Speach is that she was the first Human Resources personnel to be hired at Death Wish. 

All three of the panelists then presented their “lessons learned” from their work history. The rotation went back to Perla Terrero. Terrero’s most important lesson was to say yes more than you say no. If she had not accepted the job offers to relocate because it was scary, she would not have had such a thrilling experience working with Nestle. This led to Terrero’s next point, which was to embrace the fact that you won’t always have the answers and that change will be constant. It’s okay to not have everything planned out, as not everything should be. Terrero’s final points were to be authentic and trust your gut. Gavin Flynn had similar lessons that he learned along the way. His most important lesson was to keep it simple because the more you complicate something, the more difficult it is. Flynn also made it a point to let the audience know it is important to explore the unknown and be prepared for the unknown. Lindsey Speach then talked about her most valued lessons. The lesson Speach was most passionate about was making and keeping connections. She made many valuable points, which included to always ask questions, be humble, step out of your comfort zone and stand up for what is right. 

This event was incredibly thought out and gave Siena students an insider view on what to expect when entering the field of Human Resources. Not only did students receive excellent tips, but they were also able to see the wonderful accomplishments of Siena Alumni.