Kacey Shepherd-Way, transaction specialist, HR Employee Services, was recently interviewed for the Staff Spotlight section of Inside HR&A.
How long have you worked at Yale?
I have been in my current role for about a year and a half. I started in HR in 2013 as a temporary employee and then left for grad school. Once I completed my master’s in public relations at Quinnipiac, I returned to Yale and officially became a full time, permanent employee in April of 2017.
Tell me about your current role at the University
I am part of Employee Service Center (ESC). Our department, HR Transactions, is considered the second tier of the ESC, meaning we receive inquiries and requests that the main (1st tier) ESC is unable to answer or help with. Once inquiries are escalated to us, we triage appropriately.
I primarily focus on employment verifications, including retiree verifications and employment history, I-9 tracking, Yale Child Scholarship award processing, and processing PTO adjustments.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
The people I work with! I work with a tremendous group of people—not just my immediate team, but the entire floor. It is great to be surrounded by knowledgeable people who know about the job and Yale. They have so many collective years of experience, they have all the answers. It is great to know that there is always someone that I can go to for answers. It just makes the job so much easier. That is my favorite part about coming to work—having confidence that the people around me know their stuff!
What are some challenges in the workplace and how do you overcome them?
I think the biggest challenge of working in the HR Transaction Center is that we are a catch-all for all types of inquiries and we don’t always have the answers or know who should have the answers. Trying to figure out who it needs to go to, which specific team or department is definitely challenging and it takes quite a few years of on the job to figure out how to triage correctly.
What are some of the most unusual requests?
Recently, a gentleman who was writing a biography on a Yale faculty member requested information and date verification on his work here from 1949 to 1960. I only have access to data that goes back to 1976. I had to dig a bit and call the med school to see if they had the requested information.
Are there any memories that come to mind from your time at Yale that you’d like to share?
When I was a temp during the launch of Workday HCM and was part of the Workday hotline team. For 10 weeks, I sat in a conference room from 8:30 a.m. -5:00 p.m. with a computer and three phones. There were three of us in the room at a time to answer phone calls and emails non-stop. At the time it was very daunting and intense but now, looking back, it was such a pivotal moment for Yale and I learned so much from it. I’m so happy that I was a part of that.
Tell me about some of your interests and hobbies outside of work
I am a cycling instructor at SHiFT cycling in New Haven. I have recruited some of my colleagues to join my classes. If I’m not here or on the bike, I am at home with my dog, a mixed breed rescue named Jameson, and my husband Brandon.
How did you become involved with SHiFT cycling?
My mom is also an instructor. She’s been in the fitness industry for 25 years. I was a marathon runner and when I ended up with double stress fractures she suggested that I cross-train if I wanted to keep running. I hated everything else that I tried, but then I went spinning and fell in love. My mom encouraged me to teach so I got my certification. Now, four years later, I’m teaching three to five classes per week. I don’t run as much these days, I do probably one marathon a year.
What do you enjoy most about being a SHiFT instructor?
Definitely the people. I am a people person and my clientele are the best. It is like working out with my family. It’s also fun when my Yale colleagues come and join me, even though they give me a hard time when they’re sore the next day.
What would your advice be to anyone interested in beginning cycling or embarking on their fitness journey?
“Don’t be afraid” is what I tell everybody. Everyone is a beginner at some point. My dad always used to tell me, “there was a point in Wayne Gretzky’s life when he didn’t know how to skate.” Cycling is as hard or as easy as you want to make it. You have total control of the resistance and it’s all about building up to the next level. We have all levels of athletes in the room, from novice to pro-athlete.