Charlene Wrona | Bringing top talent to the Cumming School of Medicine

On her way to get coffee in the morning, Human Resources (HR) advisor Charlene Wrona often sees the many familiar faces whom once walked into her office as a new employee of the University of Calgary.

Author

Pauline Zulueta, Cumming School of Medicine

On her way to get coffee in the morning, Human Resources (HR) advisor Charlene Wrona often sees the many familiar faces whom once walked into her office as a new employee of the University of Calgary.

Specializing in talent acquisition for the Cumming School of Medicine (CSM), Charlene is involved in conducting job interviews, generating offer letters for successful applicants and providing support for hiring managers.

For 20 years, Charlene has been involved in numerous projects that have allowed to her to work in many parts of the medical school. After working as an administrative assistant for Drs. Russell Hull and Graham Pineo, Charlene applied for a position at the front desk of HR (formally known as Support Services) and was soon promoted to HR assistant/coordinator.

In 2012, Charlene was handpicked to participate in the IS2 project, an initiative to transition UCalgary from paper-based timesheets and forms to an online reporting system. A year later, she moved into her current role as a talent acquisition advisor and recruiter.

“When I first started in Human Resources 10 years ago, all my colleagues and coworkers often referred to themselves as the dinosaurs of medicine. Now that they’ve all retired, I’ve taken on the legacy of being the dinosaur in medicine,” she says with a laugh.

Throughout her time at the university, Charlene says she’s seen the medical school grow from a few hundred employees to thousands of employees with an ever-expanding campus.

“We didn’t have the Health Research Innovation Centre (HRIC) or the Teaching, Research and Wellness (TRW) Building back then, so I’ve seen those be built and occupied,” she says. “I remember when the Heritage Medical Research Building (HMRB) atrium used to leak all the time. We used to have buckets everywhere!”

After five years or so, Charlene says her plan is to retire and travel around the world with her husband Gene. They hope to spend the spring and summer seasons golfing and camping in Sylvan Lake and taking trips to warm destinations during the winters.

“Our very first plan when I retire is to drive to the other side of Canada and do that for three or four months,” she says. “We want to go back to Hawaii for our 25th anniversary and we also want to visit Australia.”

Already the avid traveler, Charlene says her most memorable trip was one she took with her family to Alaska two years ago.

“For my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary, my mom planned a cruise to Alaska for our whole family,” she says. “She booked and planned it all but she passed away just six months before we were supposed to go. We still went to honour her memory. That was the most special trip for us.”

Until her retirement, however, Charlene says she looks forward to seeing more continued growth at CSM and is excited to help bring top talent to the university.

“The research that’s happening here is just incredible and I’m extremely proud to have been part of the medical school for the last 20 years,” Charlene says. “I enjoy seeing our students and faculty members grow, knowing that their research is helping humankind.”

Tidbits from Charlene:

Favourite guilty pleasure food or drink: “I love Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Every year, I wait for October. I was so excited when they came out in September this year. I call them my ‘princess coffees.’”

Favourite ways to relax: “I like to relax at home and watch reality TV. I really enjoy Survivor and Big Brother.”

Where she would like to see CSM in 50 years: “I’d like to see the university continue to recruit that next generation of faculty members because it’s those people that have new ideas. I’d also like to see our current faculty members take those new faculty members under their wing and pass on their knowledge. I’d like to see the Cumming School of Medicine become the top research university.”