January 20, 2006  

Huser Wins 'Heart of HR' Award

Carmella Huser (HR)
(Photo by Doug Kreitz)

By Kelen Tuttle

Carmella Huser, Manager of Employee Relations and Training, has received the second annual Stanford 'Heart of HR' Award. The prize—a hefty red crystal in the shape of a heart—is awarded yearly at the University-wide Human Resources holiday party to the HR employee who exemplifies integrity, team work, compassion and collaboration while demonstrating significant contributions to HR.

 “We all know that Carmella meets all of these criteria, so it was very satisfying to have her get the award,” said Lee Lyon, Director of Human Resources.  “It’s flattering that Carmella has been recognized.”

Chosen from a pool of all Stanford HR staff, Huser said she was surprised and honored when she received the award.  “It was a very emotional moment because it never occurred to me that they might call my name,” she said. “It’s quite a moving tribute.”

In addition to her many accomplishments, the award specifically recognizes Huser’s unique approach to employee training.  Several years ago, she began educating personnel on legal issues in supervision by engaging them in mock trials that included issues such as sexual harassment, race and national origin discrimination and disability discrimination.  Huser and Susan Hoerger, Director of Employee and Labor Relations for Stanford, designed and presented the trials in a mock courtroom setting, complete with witnesses, judge and bailiff. 

“Everyone is a little baffled at the beginning, especially when the bailiff calls out ‘here ye, here ye, court is now in session.’  But the audience soon gets into it,” said Hoerger. 

Huser and Hoerger—both lawyers themselves—didn't have to stretch too far to play the roles of plaintiff's and defendant's attorneys and present evidence to ‘juries’ composed of program participants. After receiving jury instructions, the participants decided whether Stanford had violated any state or federal laws and, if so, awarded damages to the plaintiff.   

“We were real outrageous about presenting the case, and this turned out to be incredibly popular,” Huser said.  “It’s a fun and informative way to meet state training requirements.”

Since this initial trial, Huser and Hoerger expanded their teaching repertoire to include various other mandatory training topics.  When California mandated two hours of sexual harassment training for all supervisors, Huser and Hoerger modified the trial approach and presented it to over 2,000 supervisors on Stanford’s campus.

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Last update Thursday February 02, 2006 TIP