Meet Kerry Robert, VP of People Operations at Velir

In Blog, Speakers by Felicia Jadczak

Kerry Robert is the VP of People Operations at Velir. She will be giving a talk titled “Leading during change… and other mistakes” at our April event at Salsify (tickets still available!).

Kerry grew up in the small mill town of Woonsocket, RI and started her career in a diner there washing dishes at age 12.  Earning the confidence to pour hot coffee as a waitress she learned everything necessary about working with clients through her diner experiences.  A graduate of George Washington with a BS in Psychology and of Northeastern University with a MS in Counseling Psychology along with many positions in various industries eventually led her back to people but in a corporate setting.  Kerry launched her HR career at Partners HealthCare in the Organization Development and Learning department where she developed leadership development programs, led diversity and inclusion efforts and coached leaders through countless interventions.  Most recently, she has been at Velir as the VP of People Operations overseeing the strategic talent practices of the organization.  She has two awesome kids, a witty husband, loves to cook, run and has an untidy house.

How (and when) did you get into your current field or company?
I have been working in Organization Development and Learning for eight years and have assumed responsibility of “back of the house” People Operations at Velir six months ago.  I come by way of an educational background in Counseling and Psychology which really informs my approach and the way I interact with people.    

What does a typical day look like for you?
A healthy balance of putting out fires and a concerted effort to make progress on annual goals.  I also try to talk to a few people everyday about something other than work.  

What is the favorite part of your day?
Honestly, it is the first thirty minutes at my desk.  I have survived the morning getting my kids out the door and the first thirty minutes is where I have caffeine and set my intentions – alone.

What excites you about working in your industry?
The demands, the questions and the pursuit to challenge the status quo.

What is the best piece of advice you have been given?

  • What got you here isn’t going to get you there.
  • Stop talking like Lois from the Family Guy.

What is your favorite part of being a woman in your industry?
I worked in a radically different industry prior to joining Velir and what I appreciate the most about technology is tolerance and a healthy amount of challenge.  I can be passionate at work which is really important to me.  

What other women inspire you?
Madeleine Albright,  Hillary Clinton, Billie Jean King and Rosa Parks. Also, my Mom inspires me. She is pretty badass.

What is something that most people don’t know about you?
I was a classical ballet dancer for 15 years of my life.  I got my first job at 12 years old (shh) washing dishes in a neighborhood diner and got paid $50 cash in an envelope for 9 hours of work.  

What do you geek out about?

  • Lifting heavy things
  • Paleoish easy recipes
  • Home improvement projects
  • Helping people solve problems
  • Travel

Interested in hearing more from Kerry directly? Sign up for our April networking event, hosted by Salsify!