Excellence in HR Awards Honorees: Victoria Tuffy

Impactful human resources leader with a comprehensive background in all facets of the HR profession and experience across multiple industries. Currently Head of HR for Piper Aircraft located in Vero Beach. Trusted advisor and key business partner who possesses a high level of analytical and solution-oriented skills. Draws on stellar relationship management expertise while working collaboratively across the organization to align the HR strategy with the business strategy.

Favorite Quote: One of my favorite quotes is: “When you were made a leader, you weren’t given a crown, you were given the responsibility to bring out the best in others.” — Jack Welch

Fun Fact: I am a huge ice hockey fan. My team is the Pittsburgh Penguins!

How do you unwind after a long day of work? Most recently, I have been running. I just completed my first 5K and am training for a 10K. I find running clears my head and energizes me.

What challenges have you faced in your career, and how did you overcome them? As a working mother, the main challenges throughout my career have been ensuring I make time for my family. I have two children in college now. When they were younger, it was difficult because I didn’t feel like I was involved enough with school activities. At one point, I was traveling 80% of the time and missing key events in their lives. I opted to take a new position with limited travel, so I could balance my career and still have quality time with my family.

What has been the most monumental moment of your career thus far? I’ve had many monumental moments, but I still think the most memorable was how I got my start in HR. My undergrad degree is in Psychology and I had been working for the county mental health system while going for my Master’s degree in HR. In order to get HR experience, I quit my job, so I could do an internship. It was a huge risk. When I started the internship, my boss quit and I ended up being the only HR person (as an Intern) at a distribution/assembly facility with 110 employees. It was initiation by fire. I learned so much through this internship and when it ended, they offered me a full-time position as HR Supervisor for the facility. Thus, the risk paid off and my career in Human Resources began.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten? The best advice I’ve ever received is to listen more than you speak.

What qualities make for an outstanding HR professional? There are many qualities that make an outstanding HR professional. The ones that stand out to me are: empathy, integrity, resilience, collaborative skills, consulting agility and business acumen.

How have you adapted your HR skills to COVID? Yes. I believe HR has received a promotion due to COVID. Nobody was prepared for this Global Pandemic and HR became front and center. I’ve definitely become more empathic, more resilient, more communicative and more transparent.

What are some misconceptions about HR and how do you combat them? There are many misconceptions about HR. One is that HR folks can’t be strategic. That it is an administrative, personnel function. I combat this misconception by saying that HR is a strategic function when effectively managed and utilized. To ensure this happens, it is critical for HR professionals to understand the business and how the company makes money, and be able to develop business cases in support of HR strategies. When HR delivers results, that misconception disappears.

What do you like most about working in HR? What I like most about working in HR, is the diversity of work and the ability to make a strategic impact. I also love to help employees reach their full potential. HR is never boring and always challenging.

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