The Secret to Success: Live in the Moment and Never Stop Learning
We’re shining the Support Centre spotlight on Barb Wilser, Regional Human Resources Business Partner. Barb discusses with us the importance of living in the moment, learning more than you teach, and seizing all of life’s experiences.
Tell me about your background – how long have you been with dentalcorp and what were you doing before you joined?
I joined dentalcorp almost 3.5 years ago as a Regional Human Resources Business Partner in Western Canada and am based out of Alberta. Prior to dentalcorp I was a Regional Human Resources Manager with Sears Canada where I met some incredible people that I am still connected to and can truly say that I learned so much personally and professionally during that journey. I also gained experience in a Publishing house after attending Grant MacEwan University for the 2-year Photojournalism program. I later went back to attend the 2-year Business Management program, and pursued certifications in Human Resources and Change Management.
Have you always wanted to be in Human Resources? What did you want to be when you were a kid?
I had no idea that I would end up pursuing a career in Human Resources when I was younger - through a number of opportunities that arose over the years, amazing people who mentored me and some courses I took while enrolled in Business Management, I caught the ‘HR bug’ and have been passionate about it ever since – I find working with people to be incredibly rewarding. When I was a kid, I had big dreams and aspirations to be the first female Prime Minister of Canada and a published author – I had a passion for reading and writing short stories – which later led me to taking the Photojournalism program when I graduated High School.
Can you tell me a bit about your role on your team? What does a typical day look like?
In my role as Regional Human Resources Business Partner, I support a number of practices in Western Canada. At different points throughout my time at dentalcorp, I have supported practices in all 4 Provinces in the West, but currently am supporting practices in Region 2 (Northern AB, Northern BC and Okanagan) and Region 3 (Southern AB). There are no typical days in Human Resources, we are generalists who provide support on many different levels – each day brings unique opportunities and challenges. I work closely with the Director, Operations in each of my regions as well as with Practice Managers, Partners and other team members. It’s a team effort to support the many aspects of HR, including Employee Relations, Engagement, Health & Safety, Leadership Coaching & Development, Succession Planning, Performance Management, Documentation, navigating Employment Standards, Human Rights legislation and more! I also work with other teams within the Support Centre including Talent, Payroll, Compensation & Benefits, DCI and Compliance.
Tell me something funny that’s happened to you.
During my first week in the Support Centre I met up with someone who was supposed to onboard me. They later told me that they thought I was there to onboard them. We did our best to talk generally about our roles – we were both very new. They will know who I am referring to when they read this!
Tell me about an experience you’ve had that’s really left an impact.
The two greatest impacts would be losing my dad and father-in-law within a year of each other after both fought long battles with cancer; and the birth of my two kids. Both my dad and father-in-law had adventurous spirits and often looked at the world from different viewpoints – I will always cherish the moments we had together as well as the conversations and experiences that we shared. Since then, I try to live in each moment and have learned to value experiences over material things. When I became a mom it challenged me and helped me grow in ways I couldn’t have imagined. My kids (who are 8 and 12 years old) are amazing people who I both teach and learn from every day. I love to see the world through their eyes, watch them grow and have life experiences.
Tell me something about yourself that your co-workers would never guess?
I was born in London, ON and spent some of my formative years in my family’s restaurant which may have somewhat contributed to the huge foodie I am today. I love to cook and challenged myself to an all-day master cooking class a couple of years ago which was an amazing experience. I am also a big wine lover who transformed a closet in my house over the past year to hold my ever-growing collection of wine, mostly from the Okanagan region. My husband is from Germany and my 2 kids attend German immersion school, so I have been challenging myself to speak, read and write in German over the past 13 years – I still would not profess to be fluent, however Ich kann einfache Gespräche führen (I can have simple conversations!).
What are your aspirations for personal and professional growth?
On a personal level I aspire to continue travelling, which is also a great passion of mine. There are so many incredible places in the world to experience and I still have many points on the map I want to get to including Japan, Indonesia and Italy. On a professional level I want to keep growing within dentalcorp while continuing to pursue expanding my skills and knowledge through as many learning opportunities on the side as possible, as I truly believe learning is a lifelong journey.
What advice do you have for new team members joining dentalcorp’s Support Centre?
If you are a new team member, I encourage you to reach out to other Support Centre team members (especially outside of your department) to build relationships as well as understand their role within the organization and how we can all work together to achieve success. Share knowledge and ask questions as much as possible, tap into learning through DCI and if you don’t usually work out in the field, seek out opportunities to visit dental practices in your area so you can better understand what makes them successful, what their growth opportunities are and how you can best support. Make sure you have a good understanding of the dentalcorp Mission and Values and whether you are interacting with practices or other Support Centre team members, try to always take a friendly, collaborative and solution-based approach.