Building connections one customer at a time:
With a year and a half under her belt as part of the Purdue community, Katherine Prochno is already on target to make big things happen.
In a newly created role which she assumed in January of this year, Prochno is setting the stage for how such a position on campus will work and work well. As the HR Academic Consultant, Prochno serves the College of Liberal Arts, as well as provides employee relations support to the College of Education and the Krannert School of Management.
“I love that my role is new and unscripted,” Prochno said. “I am located within the College of Liberal Arts so I am able to experience the culture of the college, while I observe, assess, strategize and respond to their needs. I am an active participant working as part of the team and on behalf of Human Resources. It is a unique perspective.”
According to Prochno, to begin the day properly at home or at work, her day always starts with coffee. And people.
“Like most of us in HR, my work day consists of relationship building,” she said. “I focus on people and strategies that will encourage a positive work environment. I listen. I guide people through conflict or disappointment and I celebrate their success. It is a wonderful job.”
One difficult aspect of her job is ensuring there’s enough time to achieve consistent customer interaction.
“Though undaunted, I am challenged by trying to reach and make a genuine connection with as many faculty and staff as possible, so they will feel comfortable reaching out to me as needs arise,” she explained.
Once Prochno finishes up her day at Purdue, she heads home to her husband Walt and kids, Michael (age 10) and Emma (age 9) to catch up on their day. Spending time with her family is her favorite pastime, she said.
Beyond that she also enjoys pursuing peace and quiet, a good book and running. She’s completed two marathons (Chicago and New York City). She admires art and great design and any pursuit that allows her the opportunity to enjoy both, such as traveling to see and experience new things.
“I welcome the escape of a good movie or the occasional movie marathon, too,” she added. “I love a good story.”
Prochno also enjoys sports, which makes a college campus a great place to work.
“I am a sports fan and I am inspired by talent and the thrill of competition. I also appreciate the rhythm sports provides each season,” she said. “For example, nothing says spring like The Masters and the Kentucky Derby, making way for baseball in the summer, then college football as fall approaches and so on. I love it!”
As Prochno continues to embrace her new position and the types of things she is able to do, Human Resources and Employee Relations alike look forward to the new and exciting things that will be added to the campus community.
With that in mind, Prochno’s type of role on campus is being promoted to other colleges by Trent Klingerman, vice president for Human Resources and Pam Nesbitt, director, academic human resources.