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Monthly Member Spotlight: An Interview with Denise Bassett

Friday, June 7, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Emma Pautler
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Introducing the Delaware SHRM Monthly Member Spotlight! Each month we’ll showcase a member who’s making waves in the HR field. Get to know your colleagues at Delaware SHRM and take pride in associating with some of the top professionals in the region!



Monthly Member Spotlight: An Interview with Denise Bassett

In March 2018, Denise joined the Board of DE SHRM as Treasurer and in February 2019, she accepted the part-time role of Chapter Administrator.  In her corporate life, most recently she was the Benefits, Compensation and Retirement Manager at UGI Utilities, Inc. in Reading, PA for 11 years.  In May 2017, she decided to resign her position and take some time off before looking for a position locally in the Wilmington, DE area. 

Denise’s original business focus was in the field of accounting.  In New Hampshire, she worked for an electric utility and then a natural gas utility.   Upon moving to Delaware, she initially specialized in HRIS for a time before moving into a Human Resources Manager role at a unionized chemical manufacturing facility owned by ICI Americas.  She also worked as a Human Resources Manager at Dade Behring and then at a unionized battery manufacturing plant for Johnson Controls. 

Denise is originally from New Hampshire where she earned her bachelor’s degree in accounting from New Hampshire College (now Southern NH University).  She moved to Delaware in 1996 and subsequently earned an MBA with a concentration in Human Resources from Goldey Beacom College.  She holds both PHR and SHRM-CP certifications. 


How did you make the career move into HR?  
My original business focus was in accounting.  In New Hampshire, I worked for a natural gas utility in its accounting department. I was responsible for the financial duties associated with one of 3 small subsidiary companies.  When they merged the 3 companies, they hired an external HR Manager to create an HR department.  She posted a position for an HR Assistant. Since the merger of the companies diminished my accounting duties quite a bit, I decided to apply for the position thinking it was unlikely I would get the job.   Fortunately, the HR Manager didn’t enjoy “numbers” but knew how important they were in various aspects of HR such as budgeting, benefits and pensions.  Imagine my surprise when she selected me!

If you could live (and work) anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I’ve travelled quite a bit in the U.S. with some travel to Europe, mostly for personal vacation but also for business reasons.  My preference is to stay on the east coast.  Having moved from New England to the mid-Atlantic, has certainly made me more appreciative of New Hampshire where I grew up.

What is a current issue you are passionate about?
I’m passionate about providing affordable, understandable heath care benefits for everyone. My extensive experience in benefits gives me more expertise than most and navigating healthcare is still a challenge.  Based on personal experience, the Marketplace in Delaware doesn’t provide good options and the cost is extremely high.  I would like the opportunity to assist in moving the country to a better solution. 

What advice would you give to a new college graduate?
The path to your career sometimes takes twists and turns   Be open to areas that you may not have considered and take a chance.  HR was never on my agenda; however, I have found it to be a very rewarding career and my accounting background has been very beneficial.  Find a mentor either by working for a company with a mentoring program or exploring relationships with people you admire and who are wiling to share their career experiences with you.  
Anything else you'd like to share with us? 
I’ve been a member of the Delaware Chapter of SHRM for more than 20 years and I’m pleased to be able to contribute in my role on the Board as Treasurer.  When I was approached about taking on the part-time Chapter Administration role, given there was very little guidance and training, it was a bit of a challenge; however, now that I’ve been in the role for 4 months, things are coming together!   In my personal life, I’m a member of the Wilmington Ski Club and participate as a Council member.  I enjoy  downhill skiing, biking, traveling, reading and as a native New Englander cheer for the New England Patriots.   


Be sure to say hello to Denise when you see her at one of our monthly meetings! Do you have a member in mind that you feel is doing notable work in HR? Nominate him/her to be next month's featured member. Nominate here!

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