Tiffany Cardwell is everywhere, all the time. Whether that’s exercising, working a full-time job in Human Resources, sitting on a board, playing volleyball or with her children at all of their activities, she’s doing it. You’ll notice Tiffany for her great smile and laugh and her ability to put everyone at ease around her. She’s magnetic, which is why she is so successful working with people.
What do you do for a living?
I work in the field of human resources and have been doing so for over 20 years. I have been fortunate to have been given the opportunity to work at several top Companies, including Trans Union LLC in Chicago (credit information and reporting), Humana Inc. (health insurance) Papa John’s International Inc. (food and beverage), and now Signature HealthCARE’s Rehab segment (rehabilitative care for residents and other individuals on an outpatient basis).
When did you discover that you had a talent for human resources?
At first I had thought about going to law school after graduating with a Bachelors Degree in English from Northwestern University in Chicago. After clerking for an attorney, as well as serving as the Office Administrator to about six businesses the summer after graduation, I realized that I really enjoyed working with various companies and the people within those industries. I then got my master’s degree from Loyola University in Chicago focusing on global human resource management. I took courses in compensation, benefits, employment law, ethics, OD and training, as well as global HR management, all very practical skills to prepare me for the business world. No matter what type of industry, human resources is a critical part of the business, and I’ve definitely seen the field grow more and more over the last ten years.
What is the biggest misnomer about your job or your role in a company?
A lot of people who are not familiar with Human Resources think only of this area of business as the policy police and the personnel department that hires and fires people.
I think of HR as a business partner and the company’s own internal consultant. Not only does the HR person make sure that talented individuals are recruited within the company, they also ensure that these individuals enjoy the work that they do, and that they feel rewarded for their accomplishments. In every company, there are definitely policies and procedures in place, but we are definitely not the policy police anymore.
It is really important for companies to give their employees a chance to improve. Life happens and people are human. It is so satisfying for me to see individuals with whom I’ve worked improve their performance, continue to have success, and move up within the company.
How do you balance your job and your personal life?
The work/life balance is always a challenge for working Moms. I love working, but I also make sure to take the time to spend with my family, enjoy some downtime for myself, as well as give back to the community through various boards.
I have a wonderful supportive husband, Shawn, who helps me balance all that we have to accomplish personally and professionally. Sometimes I just can’t believe that we’ve been married for 19 years! We have a joint family Google calendar which is a lifesaver to keep track of all of our family’s activities and events. Our iPhones are a must as well, ensuring that we send a quick text to each other if one of us can’t leave work as planned and need to make other arrangements for picking up the kids. We also have some terrific friends and family members who are always willing to pitch in when we need them. I feel like it really does take a village to do all that we need to do every day.
What is the biggest life lesson you have ever learned?
The biggest life lesson for me has been to never give up no matter what life challenges you encounter. I came from the Philippines when I was 8 ½ years old and did not speak a word of English. I still remember trying to understand what a locker was that very first day of school, as well as what my teachers were trying to communicate with me. I was the first person in my family to go to college here. I try to instill this in both of my kids, Ryan and Haley, to ensure that they realize how truly blessed we are.
Who is your mentor?
I would have to say that both of my parents are the best mentors I’ve ever had. I learned that hard work, determination and a strong faith will always carry you far. Both of my parents worked hard, but they always give back to the community, enjoy life, and love to travel.
My dad is always the life of the party and never fails to tell a joke. He is the reason I always keep a smile on my face each and every day. Dad has always been an avid learner and is always sharing new ideas and discovering new ways of doing things. I definitely received my love of reading from him, as well as my inquisitive nature.
My Mom has always been a strict disciplinarian who made sure we studied hard but also constantly showed us that she loved us. I remember Mom always helping out where she could in the community and always volunteering for worthy causes. Mom has definitely been a strong influence for my love of volunteering for various philanthropies in town. I now try to be that kind disciplinarian with my kids, but that’s never too easy when both are in the “tween” stage.
What is best advice you have received in business?
As I had mentioned, sometimes the HR field does not have the easiest work to accomplish. I think the best advice that I have received in business was from Mary Krupka, EVP of HR at Trans Union. Early on in my career, Mary had provided opportunities for me to take on challenging roles for the company and she always mentioned that no matter what level people were that I worked with, it is how I choose to work with them which matters most. I try to always keep her advice in perspective as I work with new leaders and team members within the company, and especially when it comes to those tough issues that need to be resolved immediately. Treat people with respect and they will do the same in the end.
If you were not in your current job, what would you secretly love to do?
I love to take photos and I love to travel. My friends tease me all of the time and always know—no matter where we are and no matter what we are doing–I will always have a camera with me. Secretly, I would love to work for National Geographic, Rolling Stone, Vogue, or People magazine. Can you just imagine the photos I could take with any one of these publications? It would be such an amazing experience!
What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
I think people would be surprised that I was a big athlete in high school and was an All Conference Volleyball, Basketball and Softball player. I was really quiet in school until I discovered sports. Time is so limited and the only sport I get to play now is sand volleyball at Baxter Jacks every Wednesday night—Go Game Changers!
What is your favorite place to go eat?
I am a huge foodie so it’s tough to pick just one place. My favorites in Louisville would have to be Seviche, Hammerheads, Basa, Holy Grale, Corbett’s, and the Wine Studio @ 610 Magnolia. I’m in a dinner club with a group of friends and we try to enjoy the latest restaurants in town every other month. We are so fortunate that Louisville has some of the best chefs!
Where do you like to shop?
I love consignment shopping and Louisville has some of the best shops. My favorites include Sassy Fox, Margaret’s, Judy’s and Sunny Daize. For shoes, Zappos outlet is a must. On-line, I love Rue La La, Shop It To Me and Gilt.com.
What is a treat or a luxury you do for yourself?
I try to take a few girls trips every year, which usually involves locations with spa service, excellent food and wine, shopping and plenty of sightseeing.
What is your weakness?
Any desserts or treats made with white chocolate.
What is your favorite thing to do in Louisville?
Louisville is such a fun city and I love being part of everything—from the Friday night trolley hops, attending a concert at the Yum! Center, enjoying a Bats game, indulging in a great dinner with my Dinner Club, volunteering for a Junior League event, monthly Euchre nights, Gamma Phi gatherings, or simply enjoying live music at the waterfront with venues such as Waterfront Wednesdays and the Forecastle Festival.
Three things you cannot live without (besides God, family and friends):
5 am Bootcamp at APT Fitness in St Matthews—I’ve been going for 3 years now and love the group I’m with.
King—our soft coated wheaten terrier who is the love of our lives.
Our cabin at Lake Cumberland—it’s our mini vacation every weekend that we can get away.
What are you reading right now?
I’m currently reading Serena by Ron Rash for my Book Club. I hear that it will soon be made into a movie starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper. I really enjoyed the chemistry between these two in Silver Linings Playbook, so I’m looking forward to seeing how they create the characters that are so vividly described in Serena.
What are three of your “favorite” things right now (can be anything).
Spending time with my CRHP (Christ Renews His Parish) Sisters at Holy Trinity
Friday night family movie nights
Saturday mornings at the St Matthews Farmer’s Market
Thank you to Tiffany Cardwell for a great, fun and funny photo shoot. Always great to laugh at work and Tiffany shows us how!
Another thank you to the Best of the Best, Adele Reding Photography, for these stunning pictures. Visit Adele’s website here. adeleredingphotography.com