A Clark Leadership Interview: Kellie Boysen

“I’m in HR – nothing surprises me anymore.”

By Dr. Kristin Backstrom

At Clark Leadership, we love to share the wisdom and life experiences of others.  We had the pleasure of interviewing Kellie Boysen, Owner of Alternative HR.  She specializes in partnering with small businesses to fulfill their HR responsibilities.

What did you learn from your worst job?

There is a lesson in everything.  I recall one position that was extremely challenging and the lesson I took away from that experience was that even when things are challenging or don’t go smoothly, or there is someone you can’t seem to get along with, you can learn something.  At a minimum, you learn what you do want in life, and who you do want to work with and for.

What so far do you consider your greatest achievement?

My daughter.  She’s 6 and is one of the kindest human beings I’ve ever come across in my life.  Every day, I share with her the message to be kind and she takes that message to heart.  It’s remarkable to me … it’s more important to her to be kind than to be smart, funny, or pretty – she truly lives that.

When you look at changes in business in the last 10 years, what do you notice and what has meant the most to you and your success?

When I first started in HR, and in terms of employment law, it seemed as if there was rarely a change. In the last 10 years, it’s been almost a full-time job for my company just to keep up with the changes in the legal environment.  We have had to really invest energy and focus to keep on top of legal changes, and as a result, this is now an important service we offer to our clients.  They do not have enough time in the day to run their businesses and manage legal matters as related to HR, so I’m delighted we have the expertise to offer them that peace of mind.

Tell me about a time you had to re-think your initial position and had to change your mind.  

I started in this business to help people – my goal has always been to help everyone that I can.  But sometimes, there are clients that are just not a good fit.  And, like every other business owner, I have had to be really clear about where we offer value and discover if that matches with what a potential client might need.  So, while it’s been infrequent, there have been times where I’ve wanted to help out someone, and within a few weeks learned it wasn’t a good fit.  Then, I’ve had to terminate our relationship.  Over the years, my instincts have helped me find and keep the clients that are aligned with the values and services we offer.  I can thank my peers in my Clark Leadership group for helping me navigate those challenges and take my business to the next level by staying focused on growth strategies that make sense for my company.

What is the hardest change you’ve had to make in your career?

All my life I’ve been a workaholic.  I was always so willing to jump into anything, that some people used to say that I was a professional volunteer who did HR on the side!  The hardest thing has been going from a Type A workaholic to someone who, as a single mom, needs to take care of my daughter and raise her with intention.  While I still struggle to say ‘no’, and I’m not great at it, I work every day to keep my priorities in order.

What is your motto for how you work?

“I’m in HR – nothing surprises me anymore.”

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