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Monthly Member Spotlight: An Interview with Safiya Edwards

Thursday, May 28, 2020   (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 Safiya Edwards, SHRM-SCP, SPHR, MBA, MPH

Safiya is a Human Resources Business Partner and Operations Leader with P&L experience at premier talent mobility and healthcare firms (Aetna, CIGNA, and a Blues organization, Consortium Health Plans). Her independent practice, Sterling Consulting Group, leverages her 17 years with LHH as well as partnerships with a number of other organizations (CCI, SamNova, and Higbee Associates) to provide an array of HR solutions to organizations and individuals. Her projects include HR programs and audits, total rewards analyses, career transition programs, and executive coaching. Safiya previously served as a Trustee on the Personnel Committee for her church and taught business courses to undergraduate women in Saudi Arabia through an extension program for the University of New Haven. Responding to the COVID19 crisis has enabled her to blend her HR expertise with her credentials in business and healthcare. Safiya is an active networker and, in addition to SHRM, is a member of other organizations such as PSPS, Beacon, and PACDA. She is a Founding Board member for the Yale School of Management’s Philly chapter, President of the Friends of PA 771 (Coatesville AFJROTC), and is a Board member of the Coatesville Community Education Foundation.  

What’s the best piece of advice you received along the way as you were building your career in HR?
As trite as it sounds, at the end of the day our profession is about people. Of course, you need to be a lifelong learner who is analytical, tech-savvy, and strategic, but if you are not focused on internal and external relationship building and partnerships, you will not be successful. The delicate balance between business goals and the impact on individuals and communities has to be at the center of all we do. A big part of this is having emotional intelligence and stability as well as being a transparent communicator.

What advice would you give to a new college graduate?
Remember to be adaptable and resilient! Circumstances, organizations, and managers all change, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. The ability to take risks and positively embrace change will serve you well, both professionally and personally. I also think that being a conscientious individual, with integrity and personal accountability, is a good foundation for career success.
If you could live (and work) anywhere in the world, where would you go? (Please share why). 

If you could live (and work) anywhere in the world, where would you go? (Please share why).
I’ve spent my entire life moving around – first due to my father’s work (first military, then with a company that transferred him a lot) and then in response to my own professional life. I truly believe you can be happy wherever you find yourself. I’ve often said that the Greater Philadelphia area) is very special – you have easy access to the beach, the mountains, and the “cradle of liberty” attractions, along with cities up and down the seaboard from NYC to DC. I’m very happy right now in North Wilmington because of the proximity to my children and grandchildren, but I know that I could find something to enjoy about anywhere I end up.

Outside of your work in HR, what wakes you up in the morning?
Professionally, I love networking and connecting people who can benefit from knowing each other. Outside of work, my hobbies, include genealogy research and a big vegetable and herb garden. Of course, I’m also nuts about my pets.

What is a current issue you are passionate about? What are you doing to help? 
I have three issues that I am particularly passionate about: the climate crisis, education, and criminal justice. I am conscientious about my environmental impact and think strategically about daily decisions to reduce my carbon and plastic footprint. I’m very committed to educational causes and participate in initiatives to enhance the quality of public education. Lastly, there has been so much in the news about racial inequities – I participate in campaigns to pursue criminal justice reform and improved awareness. As HR professionals, our commitment to DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) is absolutely vital.

What made you join SHRM? What keeps you coming back?
I joined SHRM for the networking! I love the fact that the Delaware chapter has such robust offerings for professional development – it is one of the strongest chapters in the Philly area! I keep coming back for the content AND the people. I credit this chapter with catalyzing my pursuit of certification and felt such a sense of accomplishment after earning my SHRM-SCP and SPHR designations in February.

Anything else you'd like to share with us? 
I’d invite anyone reading this to join my LinkedIn network (with a customized invite, of course). I’m an open networker and if I can help you connect with someone in a mutually beneficial way, I’m always happy to do so. 


Be sure to say hello to Safiya 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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