Excellence in HR Awards Honorees: Jessica Ann Ayers

Meet Jessica Ann Ayers, Director of HR at Sentry Data Systems

Jessica is from Homestead, Florida and graduated from UF and UCF where she received a Master’s of Science in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. Her drives for problem solving and elevating people effectiveness lead her to Human Resources, where she has gained over 10 years of operations and strategic leadership experience.

Favorite Quote: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” — Maya Angelou

Fun Fact: While fueling my creative side, I planned a wedding that was featured on the TLC show “Four Weddings.”

How do you unwind after a long day of work? After a long day’s work, I enjoy spending time outdoors with my children or going for an evening jog while listening to music.

What challenges have you faced in your career, and how did you overcome them? Like so many, my biggest career challenges have occurred this past year with COVID. Moving to an entirely remote operation almost overnight, assuaging employee concerns, monitoring health issues, understanding new employment laws, and planning a safe office re-opening while homeschooling two little ones was not in my plans for 2020! In such unprecedented times, my HR team leveraged our strengths to overcome these new trials and maintained an extremely engaged and productive workforce.

What has been the most monumental moment of your career thus far? As an individual contributor, I was often recognized for my strategic guidance, innovation, and knowledge of HR best practices, which led to the opportunity to direct the entire HR function and oversee the HR team. It’s a privilege to lead such a talented group and influence so many aspects of the organization.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten? You can’t control other people’s actions, but you can control your reaction to them. This advice has helped me to keep calm and composed during the most stressful and emotional moments.

What qualities make for an outstanding HR professional? Strong business acumen, emotional intelligence, and learning agility are essential qualities for successful HR professionals.

How have you adapted your HR skills to COVID? Leading an organization through COVID has been the greatest example of “knowing what to do when you don’t know what to do.” All HR professionals were in the same boat of having no previous knowledge or training regarding this type of situation, but knowing we had to collaborate, draw on our collective past experience and create new best practices was how we’d be successful in establishing a new normal workplace.

What are some misconceptions about HR and how do you combat them? Many people feel that working with HR can be punitive and our presence indicates that something negative is about to happen. At every opportunity, I partner with leaders and employees on the front end of potential issues so I can advise, mitigate risk and course correct as concerns begin to arise, rather than wait for the situation to go off the rails and unnecessarily escalate.

What do you like most about working in HR? I feel most fulfilled when I am teaching, coaching and mentoring my HR team, staff and leadership at all levels. I enjoy developing creative employer brand initiatives that elevate workplace cultures and ultimately customer satisfaction.

SFBW Staff
  • Linda Lipovetsky
    Posted at 19:19h, 09 March Reply

    Our favorite quote and best piece of advice are exactly the same! You’re awesome and so incredibly deserving of this recognition. Congrats!

  • Stuart Belden
    Posted at 19:43h, 09 March Reply

    Congratulations Jessica! Your nomination is a true honor to the hard work you’ve put into your career over the past decade.

  • Renee Natali
    Posted at 20:58h, 09 March Reply

    Excellent choice naming Jessica an honoree. She continuously provides sound advice in working with others and predicting what their needs in her calm soothing voice. Congratulations Jessica!

  • Justin Hernandez
    Posted at 04:49h, 10 March Reply

    Jessica is a very talented hard working caring person, who has a true passion for her work. She is also an amazing mother to her two children and is an inspiration to all. Its feels good to see someone recognized for all there hard work. I’m so proud of my sister!!! Congrats Jessica!!!

  • frank papandrea
    Posted at 00:18h, 11 March Reply


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