Maryann Joseph is a Generalist in our Human Resources department. With her bubbly personality and inquisitive nature, she gives us the lowdown on what it’s like to do HR at an accounting firm, and speaks on the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
Q: Why Fuller Landau?
I know this sounds cliché – especially coming from someone in HR – but it’s the people that make Fuller Landau such a special place. While going through the interview process, just under a year ago, and meeting some of the partners for the first time, I was really impressed by the way they carried themselves and how they interacted with me. I knew right away that Fuller Landau had the culture and environment I was looking for.
Q: What’s the most challenging part about your role?
Being a generalist means I do full-cycle HR. This includes recruitment and selection, onboarding, training and development, employee relations, performance management, compensation, and more. Professionals in HR are sometimes seen as workplace “police”, and it can be hard to develop work friendships when your colleagues are hesitant to be themselves in front of you. It takes time to earn trust when you’re in my position, and I’ve learned how to separate personal interactions from professional relationships. It’s an important distinction, and it allows me to be an active part of the team.
Q: Has your game plan always been a career in HR?
When I started university, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, and I changed my major every year. But, when I was in fourth year, I finally took some HR courses and I loved them. I am a naturally empathetic person, and HR felt like the right fit. I graduated with a double major in Psychology and Business, and went on to complete an HR certificate. My career in HR took off from there.
Q: What’s unique about doing HR for an accounting firm?
There’s a very unflattering stereotype about the personality of accountants, but I’ve found it to be far from true – at least, here at Fuller Landau! Everyone on the team is extremely easy-going and personable. They work very hard, but they also know how to let loose and have fun. Because the culture is so valued here, we do our best to maintain it. Finding candidates with the right “fit” is a huge priority. Technical proficiency is an absolute must-have, but if we don’t feel a candidate would share our level of commitment and motivation, they just won’t make the cut.
Q: Any memorable interview experiences that stand out in your mind?
I remember one candidate who completely blew me away – she was very young, looking for her first job out of school, and had never been on an interview before. She carried herself with grace, and was mature well beyond her years. She was the first and only candidate I ever offered a job to, right on the spot. It’s rare for someone at a junior level to be so confident and polished, but when you are, it shines through.
Q: Tell us about your involvement in Fuller Landau’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee.
I’m Chair of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee at Fuller Landau. Diversity in our workplace is a very important reality, and we want to provide awareness while celebrating our differences. For anyone who joins the team, there is an immediate sense of family and inclusivity. Fuller Landau has naturally created an environment that values and respects individuals for their differences, talents, skills and abilities, and our Committee helps us to showcase this. We launched our kick-off event back in January, where we featured the film He Named Me Malala, which chronicles the life of a young girl who stood up for girls’ rights to education. We also offer an ongoing “Did You Know” campaign to educate our staff about the history of cultural and diversity events. Future plans include partnering up with our Charity Committee to support diversity-related initiatives, speakers, and activities.
Q: Do you have any special hobbies or talents outside of the office?
I play in a soccer league year-round, and I love to dance. I danced competitively for almost 18 years, and I currently take adult classes in afro-fusion, hip hop and contemporary, as well as Pilates and yoga. My dance background came in handy at Fuller Landau when I prepared the choreography for our “Rookie Entertainment” this past winter. It’s an FL tradition that all new team members put on some type of group performance at the annual holiday party. Let’s just say that the moonwalk, vogue, and a little bit of kung-fu fighting may have been involved. It was a lot of fun, and I laugh just thinking about it.
Q: Last but not least, any insider tips for someone who wants to join the FL team?
My best advice is to be transparent and lay your cards on the table from the get-go. Come prepared to describe your “edge” – what differentiates you from everyone else. It also helps to show professional acumen, and the ability to connect and carry on a meaningful conversation. These things are key to successfully joining our Fuller Family!
Thanks for giving us a glimpse into the life of an HR professional at Fuller Landau, Maryann! We’ll be cheering you on for your next soccer match!
Interested in joining the Fuller Family? Learn more about how Experienced Professionals and Students/Recent Graduates can benefit from a career at Fuller Landau. Be sure to check out our Current Openings, and submit your application. We’re always looking for exceptional talent to join the team!