Employee Spotlight: Michelle
July 26, 2016
I know you’re keeping with a theme here, but you’re venturing into Dad Joke territory. You know this, right?
Patriot Team Spotlight is a chance for us to do a close-up on the talented and fascinating individuals who make up our Patriot Software team.
Today we’re talking to Michelle Grandison who is one of Patriot’s Human Resource experts, is a Kent State graduate (Go Flashes!), and lives in Dover. Michelle is married to a superhero, has a super dog, loves a good book and catching Pokemon, and works hard to make sure Patriot employees have a great work-life integration.
Spotlight on Michelle
Hello, Dirk. Look, I’ve read some of your other employee spotlight stuff, and those interviews are really good. I’m not going to be that good. Seriously. I’m not that interesting.
Is that so? Tell me, Michelle, what makes you so uninteresting?
Oh, I see what you’re doing here. Putting your little spin on things. Well, Mr. Hayhurst, for starters, I’m nerdy. Really nerdy. Always have been. In fact, when I was in the sixth grade, riding the bus, I kept to myself and read old Detective & Action Comics. THAT is how nerdy I am.
Wait. You’re telling me that when you were a kid, you had access to Golden Era Superman comics?
Yes. I am a Golden Age girl. Of course, I was reading them back when it was uncool—before every summer was stuffed with superhero movies. Now all the hipsters are doing it … reading their Golden Era comics, sipping their lattes, wearing their neck scarves. Not me! I did it when it was still totally uncool.
So, just to clarify, you’re telling me that you have a retirement account fully funded with Golden Era comics?
Actually, just to un-clarify, my husband and I may have a safe deposit box full of mint condition Golden Era comics that will someday be our retirement fund.
Wow. That’s the most interesting uninteresting thing I’ve ever heard!
Hmmm … Maybe it is.
Well, I have to ask, especially since the new “Batman v Superman” movie just came out. Who wins in a fight? Supe, or The Bat?
Superman. No question. Superman. You can’t beat The Man of Steel. I mean, you tell me, how would you beat him?
Uh, kryptonite, obviously.
Yeah? *Psssht.* But beyond that, 1 on 1, no items— It’s the Kryptonian.
But [spoiler alert!] there is no recorded version of this fight in which Superman wins. Batman always wins. You’ve clearly read the comic, so you should know this.
Well, that sounds like revisionist history. What about the 2005 Lex Luthor run (“Man of Steel” #1 – 5)? Or, more recently, “Justice League Origin from the New 52”? Listen, I’m not saying it’s not a good fight, but in my real life, Superman would win.
I’d like to point out that you’re taking a fictional reality and layering it with your own fictional reality, to create a reality where Superman can win a fight he’s rarely won.
… You’re a Batman fan, aren’t you?
Uh … I can neither confirm nor deny that.
I thought so.
Enough about me. Tell me about your own personal Man of Steel. How did you and your husband meet?
We met in high school! Total high school sweethearts. I was a freshman, and he was a senior. We went to college together, we read comics together, we play videogames together. We even have a super dog together. He’s great—he’s my Clark Kent.
What do you and your super family do for fun?
We’re big gamers. Video games, cards games, board games. We just built a custom gaming rig and, honestly, I think when it’s going to make us one of the few people in the country with a rig powerful enough to run the “Oculus Rift.”
We used to be part of a Pokemon league when we were in college together. I’m not talking about your amateur Pokemon players. We were the real deal. Hardcore. We met weekly, and always EV-trained our Pokes.
I got into gaming young. I got hooked on “Pokemon Red.” I rocked that on my little black and white Game Boy. I love tactical games. I plowed through the Pokemons, “Final Fantasy Tactics,” “Ogre Battle,” and worked my way up to “Mass Effect”—which is one of our favorite games.
We also read a lot, I mean, ravenously. Our bookshelves are double stuffed. You have to pull out the first row of books to get to the second row.
How does Patriot Software help you play the role of Superwoman?
I know you’re keeping with a theme here, but now you’re venturing into Dad Joke territory. You know this, right?
Yes, sadly. But you’re the Uber Nerd who just said “train our Pokes” so I don’t want to hear it.
To answer your question, in a lot of companies, the HR department is the department that doesn’t exist unless something goes wrong. But here at Patriot, we get to play a more proactive role.
I came from an HR role in a manufacturing company. It was really difficult to show the value of HR there because the upper management would hear “HR” and think “Ugh. The rule police are here to tell me ‘no’ and rain on my parade.” Here, however—especially because we’re pushing so hard to hire new talent—HR can show just how strategic it can be.
We have a very unique culture, even among software companies. So, as we grow, someone needs to keep tabs on how our hiring is shaping our culture in the present as well as the future.
In order to make sure we can keep up with all the changes happening here, we’re encouraged to go out and get more training, and the company provides funds for us to grow and learn. I’m doing an HR specialty course right now, and Patriot is paying for that. I have to pay for the certification test, but when I pass it, they’ll reimburse me. Every department here has a budget they can use to help their employees learn and improve.
Our ultimate goal is to help people be the best they can be, even if that means they’re not going to be here their entire careers. We care about development.
How have you been able to make an impact here?
I started here in September, right after my wedding. So I’ve been here for around eight months, and they’ve been big months for me.
I think that’s what is great about this company: the speed at which a new person can contribute. I’ve been a part of the benefits package negotiation process, which affects every one of our employees. I’ve also been a part of our hiring process. I was able to help redesign our performance evals—streamlining the process and establishing merit-based rewards. Really exciting stuff that affects everyone here. You can’t do that at just any company.
Currently, I’m working on systems that allow us to track and measure, which is important as we grow. It’s great to have a hands-on role in all of this. It really makes me feel like I own a portion of the company.
That’s awesome. If I have a question about the benefits, should I come see you?
Absolutely. My door is always open, and I’m happy to help out any way I can.
Thanks, Michelle, this has been a great, and very interesting, interview.