Thursday, January 18, 2018

Getting Down to Business with Stacy Johnston of Audacity HR

I met Stacy Johnston through the Twin Ports Social Media Breakfast, a local social media networking group organized by social media marketing consultant Molly Solberg several years ago. I was unaware of the name of her company, only that she was in the HR profession. At the November meeting I learned that the name of her company was Audacity HR, a name which really jumped for me because I had been reading a book about Muhammed Ali and just completed a chapter regarding the influence of wrestler Gorgeous George on his early career. (A week later I turned this notion of audacity into a blog post.)

The name of her company intrigued me enough to want to know more and I invited her to be share here about the human resources business in general and her own views specifically.

EN: What does the expression "Bold Solutions" mean when it comes to HR?

Stacy Johnston: Employees are the driving force behind organizational success. Savvy employers recognize this and foster an inclusive workplace culture where employees feel welcome and appreciated and have the opportunity to utilize their talents and skills. In organizations, as in life, there are struggles, complications and barriers to success. HR is in a unique position to be a problem solver and create solutions. HR decisions impact every facet of an employee's work experience, from how they are treated during the recruiting and hiring stage, to providing competitive compensation, to encouraging growth and development, providing ongoing coaching and performance feedback, to how employees are treated as they leave the organization.

EN: Where did the statement "There is no growth in the comfort zone and no comfort in the growth zone" (which appears on your website) come from? It is quite profound and has broad implications.

SJ: A close colleague, Joan Sargent (certified coach), would often recite this slogan. It really resonated with me.

One of the exciting things about working in HR is that it is constantly evolving. Laws change, technology morphs and best practices evolve. This is also one of the challenging aspects of HR, as the only constant is CHANGE! HR leaders are often in the position to stretch their comfort zone. This of course leads to personal, professional and organizational growth... but it can also be scary, humbling and intimidating.

EN: What do your ideal clients look like?

SJ: On the HR solutions side, I work with small organizations that don't have an internal HR department. They have employees, so it is important to have solid HR practices. I work with these organizations to create HR practices that are practical, scalable and reflect their core values, from employee handbooks to solutions-orientated procedures. On the HR Learning Lab side, I work with organizations and individuals to provide training on key HR topics: from recruiting, hiring and onboarding to nonharassment/nondiscrimination, constructive conflict resolution and much more! I also provide online training for busy professionals that are interested in building their HR skills but require schedule flexibility.

EN: What prompts a business to reach out to a firm like AudacityHR?

SJ: I enjoy working with organizations that are interested in creating a sustainable, competitive advantage by appreciating and utilizing the skills and talents of their employees. I also enjoy providing training and development opportunities, such as HR Bootcamp!

EN: Is there an association of HR professionals in Duluth as there is an "Ad Club" for example?

SJ: Yes! Duluth boasts an active SHRM (Society of Human Resource Management) chapter: the NHRA (Northland Human Resource Association), AND an active ATD (Association for Talent Development) chapter: Lake Superior ATD. I am a member of all four (SHRM, NHRA, ATD and Lake Superior ATD).

EN: What other affiliations do you have?

SJ: Professional License/Credentials include:
• State of Minnesota – License to Practice Law
• SHRM-CP – SHRM Certified Professional through Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)
• PHR – Professional in Human Resources through Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI)
• HR Generalist Certificate through University of Wisconsin Superior (UWS)
• IDI (Intercultural Development Inventory) Qualified Administrator through IDI, LLC
• RYT 200 – Registered Yoga Teacher through Yoga Alliance (YA)

I teach yoga classes and am passionate about health and wellness. I am also an adjunct instructor at the Labovitz School of Business and Economics (LSBE) at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD).

EN: How does Audacity promote its business?

SJ: Primary source is referrals. HR is incredibly important... but it can also feel very personal. Many organizations will reach out to a trusted colleague to make a referral, i.e. another business owner, Executive Director, etc. Therefore, much of my work is generated by referrals from existing clients and colleagues.

EN: Where did the name Audacity come from? Were you "audacious" growing up or did you adopt this as a life approach later?

SJ: The name is inspired by my experience working in HR and a reminder to be audacious and creative in the pursuit of excellence.

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To contact Stacy or learn more about Audacity HR
Check out our website:
Find us on Facebook:
Or send an email:

Thank you, Stacy, for sharing.

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