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  • Writer's pictureEbony Stonewall-James

What It's Like Working at Pinnacle HR Consulting, LLC, Part 2

I recently interviewed Marie D. Oliveria, SPHR, IPMA-SCP, Senior Human Resources Consultant, one of my colleagues at Pinnacle HR Consulting, LLC. My conversation with Marie is the second of blog articles that I am writing over the next few months about working at Pinnacle HR Consulting, LLC (“Pinnacle HR”). I will share my thoughts and experiences afterward. I hope you enjoy getting to know us and what we do at Pinnacle HR Consulting, LLC. Please listen in on my conversation with Marie.


Hi Marie, thanks so much for talking with me today.


How long have you been working at Pinnacle HR? Interestingly, you ask me this because I celebrated my 10th year with Pinnacle HR this year. In the past, I would move on when I’ve learned everything I could from an employer. Pinnacle HR is my longest-running employer, and that’s because each client is so different, and there are endless opportunities to gain experience and learn. For most of the time, while I was working at Pinnacle HR, I also worked a full-time job. During the pandemic, I decided that I was ready to transition and work only for Pinnacle HR. Since then, I haven’t looked back!


Tell me a little bit about your role and work. I am a Senior Human Resources Consultant. My job is to provide support to clients by developing, interpreting, and integrating effective human resources programs, practices, and processes into their human resources operations. Senior Human Resources Consultants at Pinnacle are naturally Generalists as we have experience dealing with all aspects of HR. Most importantly, we do our best to keep all our clients in compliance and help them apply best practices.


What was your background before joining Pinnacle HR? I was a loyal government employee for a very long time. I held various HR analyst and management positions with the City and County of San Francisco, the City of Alexandria, VA, the District of Columbia Government, and the Federal Government.

Please describe your recruitment, interview, and onboarding process. Was it complicated or seamless, too long, just right, etc.? I was onboarded when Pinnacle HR was a relatively new organization. I felt that the onboarding process was fast and efficient. I also thought that Kris was ahead of the time because even a decade ago, 95% of the onboarding process was done virtually.

Pinnacle HR has been a 100% remote work environment since 2011 and currently has employees in five states. Please share your thoughts about your introduction to our work environment. Once again, I think Kris was way ahead of her time by providing her employees with so much flexibility and control over their work lives and schedules back when employers couldn’t even wrap their heads around the concept of remote work. We were 100% remote at that! Personally, it was difficult for me to comprehend all this freedom because it wasn’t the norm. I can’t believe I struggled with the thought of having control over my work and life! Having been a career government employee in the past, I was only exposed to rigid work environments. Pinnacle HR is the opposite of what I have known about a working environment. It took a long time for me to get over the guilt of being able to have time for myself and my family. Kris always reminds me of why she created Pinnacle HR – so that she and other HR professionals could work in a flexible, stress-free environment without compromising their lives. She lives by her word.


How about working with our team? What has that been like for you? We are a no-drama team. Even if we have our own set of clients, there is still a lot of knowledge shared among us. I feel like I’ve known all my colleagues forever. We all have the same goals and want the best for our clients and each other. The happier we are, the better work we do. I never feel like I'm alone; there is always someone to turn to.


Since you’ve been on the team, please describe your training and any new skills and knowledge you’ve gained. I've taken several training courses throughout my tenure here at Pinnacle HR. EEOC Investigation Training was my favorite so far. I have been with the firm for a while, so it would be too much to list! Kris does various staff training throughout the year. She has so much knowledge that I feel like each meeting I have with her is also a one-on-one training session and a positive pep talk all at the same time! Additionally, once I started working with non-profits, I quickly realized that their language usage, ideologies, and priorities are different in comparison to the private sector and government. On-the-job training is also very important. Just by observing and asking the right questions, I’ve expanded my understanding of the non-profit world. I now see their world through a different lens and feel like my emotional intelligence has also been enhanced.


What about life/work balance; what do you enjoy doing when you’re away from work? And, yes, for our blog readers, we focus on life/work balance at Pinnacle HR, not work/life balance. I love traveling, learning about different cultures, and experiencing what the world has to offer. Pinnacle HR allows me to do just that! My guilty pleasure is K-pop, and I have been known to travel the world just to watch K-pop concerts. Furthermore, I am a military spouse. My family and I are constantly moving every few years. Pinnacle HR has provided me stability through my chaotic lifestyle! It helps me remain positive, knowing I have a job no matter where I may find myself next.


What changes would you like to see Pinnacle HR make? Pinnacle HR is already making the changes I wanted to see. Having Laura Jordan, Human Resources Generalist, and Ebony Stonewall-James, Administrative Assistant, join our team has assisted us greatly with our internal needs. They have made a great difference. With the right team in place, we feel even more supported. Also, each client has different needs and scenarios, so there could be a lot of gray areas in HR; however, with the creation of Standard Operating Procedures, those processes that can be standardized can now be memorialized to ensure as much consistency in our service delivery despite certain nuances.


What else would you like to add, Marie? I have never worked with such a positive, supportive, no-drama group of people in my entire life, and I really mean that. If there is anything that keeps me working and encouraged, it’s the people I work with, especially Kris. Many of us have never physically met each other, but it also feels like we have transcended that need to see each other in person since we are such a synergetic team.


Marie, thank you for spending time with me today and sharing.


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