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Excellence in HR Awards Honorees: Natalia Velasco

Natalia Velasco is an experienced Human Resources professional, with a background in Finance and has over 20 years of experience in Finance and Human Resources. She currently serves as the Chief People Officer at Fluent Cannabis Care where she was responsible for building the HR department from the ground up. She has a successful track record in leading organizational change and business transformation.

Favorite Quote: “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: I love to sing karaoke and I am a dachshund lover.

How do you unwind after a long day of work? A nice long walk really helps me unwind.

What challenges have you faced in your career, and how did you overcome them? My biggest challenge in the medical cannabis industry is not having the resources available to the company and its employees due to the current industry status. Despite the circumstances, I succeeded by rolling up my sleeves, building strong teams, and staying passionate for people.

What has been the most monumental moment of your career thus far? Although I started my career in Finance, I was always passionate about HR, but I felt that it would be difficult to switch careers. I was given an unexpected opportunity that led me to the career change I was looking for and I have not looked back since. This forced me to challenge myself and led me to pursue my Human Resources certification from the University of Miami in order for me to become the best leader for the company and its employees.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten? “Always speak highly of your people.” One of my former bosses used to live by this. He would always give his employees the best introductions and make everyone feel influential and respected. I always connected with this. That is how I aspire to lead HR, to empower employees – make them feel supported, trusted, cared for, and in general, like we have your back.

What qualities make for an outstanding HR professional? I think to be successful in HR, you have to trust your instincts. It is essential to be a good listener, problem solver, flexible and empathetic; and to genuinely connect with people.

How have you adapted your HR skills to COVID? The biggest challenge we faced in HR, was making sure we were keeping our team members safe while keeping our doors open as an essential business. This meant we had to adapt quickly to ever changing guidelines and information and give our employees the flexibility they needed when it came to their health and families all while continuing to run the daily HR functions.

What are some misconceptions about HR and how do you combat them? Most employees assume HR is not friendly or relatable and is only looking out for the interest of the Company. The hard part is getting everyone to understand and trust that we are here to support them.

I try to lead by example and prove all those misconceptions wrong. I believe that getting more involved, venturing beyond your desk, and simply being a part of the team can help break down those walls so everyone can see we are here to help them improve and grow, and although yes, we have to protect the company, we can do both. When an employee succeeds so does the company.

What do you like most about working in HR? I love my job and everything I do—but the people I get to work with are what I love the most.

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Drew Limsky

Drew Limsky

Editor-in-Chief

BIOGRAPHY

Drew Limsky joined Lifestyle Media Group in August 2020 as Editor-in-Chief of South Florida Business & Wealth. His first issue of SFBW, October 2020, heralded a reimagined structure, with new content categories and a slew of fresh visual themes. “As sort of a cross between Forbes and Robb Report, with a dash of GQ and Vogue,” Limsky says, “SFBW reflects South Florida’s increasingly sophisticated and dynamic business and cultural landscape.”

Limsky, an avid traveler, swimmer and film buff who holds a law degree and Ph.D. from New York University, likes to say, “I’m a doctor, but I can’t operate—except on your brand.” He wrote his dissertation on the nonfiction work of Joan Didion. Prior to that, Limsky received his B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Emory University and earned his M.A. in literature at American University in connection with a Masters Scholar Award fellowship.

Limsky came to SFBW at the apex of a storied career in journalism and publishing that includes six previous lead editorial roles, including for some of the world’s best-known brands. He served as global editor-in-chief of Lexus magazine, founding editor-in-chief of custom lifestyle magazines for Cadillac and Holland America Line, and was the founding editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida. He also was the executive editor for B2B magazines for Acura and Honda Financial Services, and he served as travel editor for Conde Nast. Magazines under Limsky’s editorship have garnered more than 75 industry awards.

He has also written for many of the country’s top newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, USA Today, Worth, Robb Report, Afar, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal, Ritz-Carlton, Elite Traveler, Florida Design, Metropolis and Architectural Digest Mexico. His other clients have included Four Seasons, Acqualina Resort & Residences, Yahoo!, American Airlines, Wynn, Douglas Elliman and Corcoran. As an adjunct assistant professor, Limsky has taught journalism, film and creative writing at the City University of New York, Pace University, American University and other colleges.