Southwestern is focused on providing equal opportunities all over the world for its diverse group of team members. SWFC’s global family is made up every background you can imagine, and takes pride in recognizing its diversity of team members for their outstanding achievements.
As we recently celebrated International Women’s Day, SWFC would like to congratulate Vice President of Human Resources Patty Hoppenstedt for being promoted to the Board of Directors for Southwestern Family of Companies.
Patty has been with the Southwestern Family of Companies for two years, with more than 20 years of experience in HR leadership and local government administration. Prior to SWFC, Patty served in human resources and city management for DentaQuest, Amedisys, the cities of DeKalb and Schaumburg, Illinois and Levy Security Corporation. She is a graduate of DeVry University and the University of Chicago, Illinois.
As part of her current role as VP of Human Resources Patty oversees the SWFC HR department and a variety of functions, including administration of the Mary Moore Foundation, talent acquisition and senior level recruiting, job description management, staffing plans, merit and incentive programs, employee agreements, severance processes, professional development, compliance with industry laws and regulations, and more.
Patty says one of the key accomplishments she is most proud of is the development of SWFC’s corporate HR department.
“When I started two years ago, we didn’t have a ‘full-service’ HR team, meaning HR was not a partner with the business leaders and employees for the entire employee life-cycle from ‘hire to retire,’” Patty says. “Now we have implemented full HR services from hiring employees to helping the offboard onto retirement.”
HR formerly only handled benefits administration, but there was no formal recruiting and onboarding procedures at the corporate level, she says. “HR has been very much welcomed by the business leaders, collaborating from an employee-resource perspective and how we can help the businesses thrive. We’ve accomplished so much.”
It’s great to be part of an organization that values HR and values people, she says.
“Part of our creed and mission is to invest in people, and you can’t do that without HR being arm-in-arm with the businesses. A full-service team brings so much to the family of companies as part of inspiring people to achieve their goals in life.”
She is particularly proud of the expansion of new hire orientation to a quarterly event and upcoming initiatives to implement a comprehensive performance management process.
“Something we are working on now is automating performance reviews and leveraging technology within ADP to have a comprehensive performance management program, as well as having an LMS within ADP to be able to provide employees with a training track to help them grow in their positions. We will be collaborating with key stakeholders to implement both of these initiatives to be in place within next year.”
Patty is also a new member of Chief, a nationwide network designed for the most powerful U.S women in executive leadership to strengthen their leadership, magnify their influence and raise up new leaders. Founded 2019, it has been recognized as one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies of 2021. Its membership includes 10,000 of the most senior executives in the United States.
“Women have always been powerful. We’re not waiting for a seat at the table anymore, we’re building our own,” Patty says. “Through its networking and support, we have access to speakers like Condoleezza Rice and Michelle Obama – successful women throughout all industries, mentoring Chief women on how to navigate the workforce,” she says.
“It was so refreshing to see that my peers at SWFC consist of very powerful, experienced, and knowledgeable women. It’s not lonely at the senior leadership level as a woman like it was in other companies. I’m thrilled to see women in senior leadership roles here that have usually been held for men.”
Southwestern Family of Companies consists of experienced female leaders such as Cindy Johnstone, Executive Vice President & Treasurer and Board of Directors member, Terri Rickard, President of Southwestern Travel, Madli Suitslepp, CFO of E1 Ventures, Emmie Brown, President of Southwestern Speakers and Senior Partner at Southwestern Consulting, Christina Reckard, Vice President of Marketing, Jennifer Wills, Controller for Southwestern Travel Group, Virgie Sandford, Senior District Sales Leader for Southwestern Advantage, and Cathy Moll, Partner and Manager of ThinkingAhead, to mention a few.
Diversity and inclusion in general is something Patty says they try to champion every day, as part of SWFC’s ongoing HR efforts.
“We’re very in tune to EDI initiatives (Equity, Diversity and Inclusion) and working with the businesses within the family of companies to make sure diversity is a priority in our hiring process.”
Southwestern Family of Companies would like to congratulate Patty and say thank you to the group of talented and powerful female leaders that help drive SWFC to success each and every day.