Lambton College grad making name for herself in local HR circles

There may not be a lot of people familiar with the name Melissa Gare.

That’s likely to change soon.

The 29-year-old Sarnia resident is quickly building a reputation in local industry circles for her skills as a human resources business partner with Lanxess.

After graduating in 2006 from Lambton College’s Human Resources Management program Gare has excelled professionally.

Originally hired on a 10-month contract position, Gare quickly climbed the organizational ladder at the local industrial facility. She was named the 2011 Carswell HR Rising Star, presented to an individual whose early success indicates future leadership potential. In addition, Gare teaches part-time at Lambton College and is pursuing her Masters in industrial relations at Queen’s University.

“Lately my focus has been labour relations and our unionized workforce,” she says, having successfully assisted in the negotiation of a pair of collective agreements in the past year.

A firm believer in lifelong learning, she expects to complete her Masters in 2012, while continuing to work full-time.

Her skills are so respected that she was selected as the Canadian lead for the implementation of an international Human Resources Information System program that would serve more than 15,000 employees in 30 countries.

“The one thing about human resources is you’ll never be bored,” she says.

She says she “stumbled” upon her human resources career after realizing there was little opportunity for the career progression she was hoping for.

“I’m very pleased with my career choice” Gare says, crediting Lambton’s strong industry partnerships and cooperative opportunities with helping to get her foot in the door at Lanxess.

The college’s industry-led advisory panel helps shape and evolve the curriculum, while also ensuring students can enter the workforce immediately upon graduation.

Admission to the one-year college program requires applicants possess either a college diploma or university degree, or have three years of related work experience.

Graduates of the program are prepared for a variety of career positions, including recruiters, compensation analysts, pension and benefits assistants, health and safety assistants, employment equity officers, training and development assistants, labour relations assistants and other positions in human resources management.

“The college had already fostered a relationship with industry and with the practical experience I received it allowed me to step right into my career. It was because of Lambton College that I was hired at Lanxess,” Gare says.

“Lambton is great at facilitating relationships.”

She has received continued support from instructors and college administration and has a direct line of support in her function as one of the instructors for the college’s human resources program.

In 2008, she was also presented with the Ross A. Hennigar Memorial Award for successfully completing the Human Resources Professional Association’s National Knowledge Exam and for her dedicated volunteer work.

She was also was on the Dean’s Honour List at Lambton and won the Dean’s Award for the highest GPA in her program.

Gare has excelled at every career challenge in her path.

Still she remains humble, crediting her college instructors, Lanxess managers and her peers in helping her achieve her goals.

“I am very lucky to be able to say that I love what I’m doing.”

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