Tuesday Transformation - Kira Bascombe
Who is Kira Bascombe?
I am an HR Professional and Entrepreneur. I currently serve as the Human Resources Generalist at Family Central Inc., a non-profit organization providing family strengthening, early learning initiatives, educational training and a food program to the counties of Broward, Miami-Dade, and West Palm Beach in the state of Florida. In my current role I utilize my experience in several aspects of Human Resources including: Recruitment, benefit administration, payroll, safety and employee relations to enhance the organization's efficiency and effectiveness in the non-profit sector.
I have two Masters Degrees, one in Applied Psychology and the other in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. I received my Bachelors in Psychology from Howard University where I attended from 2006 to 2010. My first Masters’ is in Applied Psychology from the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus. When I'm not volunteering, or working on my small business, I am traveling with my partner and enjoying the company of my dog, Blu.
What does a typical day for Kira look like?
No one day in Human Resources is the same as the next. My day can start with preparing for new hires, scheduling interviews, planning an employee engagement activity and end with an employee incident. There is never a dull moment in Human Resources and that keeps me passionate and dedicated to my job.
What was your first job?
My first job was right after I graduated high school. I was a cashier at a store called Party City. I worked during the summer leading up to my freshman year at Howard University in Washington, DC. I was so excited because my parents didn’t allow me to work while I was in high school. I learned a lot about my work ethic and my desire to help others in the short time working with Party City.
What area of Human Resources interest you the most and why?
When I first started in Human Resources I really enjoyed recruitment. Then, I soon realized that full cycle recruitment could be so time consuming that you may not necessarily appreciate or enjoy the other wonderful aspects of HR (hence the reason why being a Recruiter is a job within itself). As I gained more experience, I started to enjoy learning and development as well as employee and labor relations. I enjoy learning and development because I enjoy watching an employee progress in the organization. Hiring an employee and developing them into the star that you know they could be is a great feeling! Employee and Labor relations is always compelling because no two situations are the same, it requires critical thinking, knowledge of various laws, and considering the unique qualities of each person in the workplace.
Tell us about your transition from Barbados to the United States of America.
I left Barbados when I was a child and lived in Florida for many years. After I graduated with my undergraduate degree I migrated back to Barbados, with much opposition I might add. I was blessed to have interned with the Productivity Council for two summers prior to graduating with my bachelors (thanks primarily to Mr. Edward Bushell). Coming back to Barbados was different for me. I was excited to be home but it didn’t take me very long to understand that getting a job in Human Resources wouldn’t be easy and my American standards of work were not the same. I ended up getting an internship with the Human Resource Management Association of Barbados (HRMAB) when I was wrapping up my degree at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill. The opportunities at HRMAB opened the door for a job with the Ministry of Health. Unfortunately, after that contract ended, I moved back to Florida. The hardest adjustment I had to make in the workforce was the lack of opportunities, the pace of work and even some colleagues who seemingly treated me differently because I was coming back to work in Barbados. I never actually worked in HR in Barbados but had a few friends who worked in the field. I am still in contact with them now.
What advice would you give someone who is interested in pursuing a career similar to yours?
Don’t let anyone tell you there is a one-way street to a career in Human Resources. All of my degrees are in Psychology and I still have some issues with individuals grappling with my Industrial/Organizational degree. Everyone does not have to get an MBA in Human Resources Management to be successful in the field. I would also say that if you don’t genuinely have a passion for people, then Human Resources is not the job for you! You will experience the good, the bad, and the ugly of human beings in this role. Finally, read HR on Purpose by Steve Browne to get some insight on what it’s like to be an HR Professional.
Any advice for our readers who may be interested in pursuing employment in the USA?
HR isn’t the easiest field to break into. In order to work in the United States people want experience. I started off as an HR Administrator and worked my way up. Sometimes, that is the best route to take if you are having trouble getting a higher position. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date because employers actually ask for it and take a look at your profile. Create one if you don’t have one! Work towards acquiring an HR certification. I am actually studying for my certification now because many more employers are looking for those credentials. If you currently reside in Barbados, try to work in HR on the island (especially if you could get into a multinational organization like Deloitte or Pricewaterhouse Coopers, that would be even more beneficial!), try contacting HRMAB, network with other HR professionals to learn about their experiences and ask questions! Those who are completing their undergraduate degrees, consider pursuing a graduate degree in the United States because opportunities could open up once you are actually in the US.
What do you miss most about home?
I miss the feeling of home, seeing family and friends. Nothing compares to getting off the plane at GAIA and just inhaling the sweet smell of fresh air. I miss the days at the beach and of course the food! As I mentioned, the pace of work is different but if I could secure a great job in Barbados now, I would move back.