Everything I Know about HR, I Learned from FAME!

If you know anything about me, you know that I love God, I love dance and I love being a mommy!

But, let’s just talk about “dance” today, shall we?

To some, the dance connection may be obvious; to others not so much….so let me break it down for you.

Growing up, I think I watched every (and I mean every) episode of Fame that aired.  I would put on my leg warmers and grab my yard stick (I’ll explain in a minute), get in front of the television and anxiously await the start of the show. The music came on and I would go to work…..turning, kicking and leaping all around the living room! Just before my favorite part came on, I sat on the edge of the couch, grabbed my yard stick and began tapping it against the floor for added emphasis, and with a stern voice I said,

“You’ve got big dreams? You want fame? Well, fame costs.  And right here is where you start paying … in sweat.”

As much as l loved dance, it wasn’t the dancers I looked up to on the show; it was Lydia Grant (Debbie Allen) — a woman that commanded respect and the best out of each of her students. She was demanding when she needed to be and gentle when it was called for. She was the sassy, no nonsense, firecracker who wouldn’t accept excuses from anyone, especially when she recognized potential. Whether it was a performance critique, counseling a student through a personal issue or standing up to the “the powers that be”, she played the role…HER role; never altering who she was. Regardless of the situation, she kept it real at all times and made no apologies about it!  There is a quote that reminds me of her…

“It’s a rare person who can take care of hearts

while also taking care of business” (Unknown)

HR is no piece of cake! Among other things, we communicate information that affects people’s lives… for the better or worse.  As with most jobs, when you walk through the door, the stage goes dark and the spotlight comes on…..

AND 5-6-7-8…JAZZ HANDS !!!

 It doesn’t matter what was going on in your life prior to entering that door….. the curtains just came up and the show must go on.  I pull out my imaginary “Debbie Allen stick” and my work day begins. Whether it’s dealing with performance issues, interviewing, planning lay-offs or helping someone with a personal issue, I have to be able to keep it real and handle business while taking care of hearts.

What I learned from Debbie Allen as Lydia Grant:

  • You have to change hats for the role you’re required to play at any given time, without altering who you are
  • Recognize that your “power” doesn’t lie in your title as a leader, but in your ability to effectively handle “hearts” with care
  • When all else fails….pull out your “stick”!





Today’s post was written by Yolanda Stevens. She is the Sr. Human Resources Consultant for the Orlando Sentinel/Tribune Company. Yolanda is a well-rounded senior human resources professional with over 8 years of experience in full-cycle recruiting, employee relations, information management, worker’s compensation and strategic planning with an additional 8 years of sales management and client relations. Connect with her on Twitter and Linked In and chat with her weekly as one of the moderators for the Hire Friday Chat


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