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Music Education Major Now an HR Partner

By Selina Souza
April 2, 2008

Photo by Christina VanHorn, Human Resources

After two decades of working with the Ivy Leaguers at Dartmouth College in Hanover, Sari Bennett has returned to her alma mater as a human resource business partner for facilities operations and maintenance.

Sari started working at UNH in October 2007. After graduating from UNH in 1978 with a master’s degree in music education, she worked at Dartmouth and recently came back to Durham.

“I was a student here many years ago. When I moved back into the area I wanted to work here. And having worked at Dartmouth for twenty years, I found the higher education environment is a good fit for me,” she said.

Her responsibilities include employee relations, recruitment, retention and attrition management, diversity strategies, conflict resolution, performance management, change management, management development, and organizational development.

The facilities operations and maintenance departments Bennett serves include maintenance, housekeeping, grounds and event support and the lock shop. Her office is in the New England Center which brings her closer to the employees she serves.

“Good listening skills are important in my job, and the ability to work with a number of different communication styles. I help people find solutions to challenges, and strive to meet the underlying interests as well as the surface issue,” she said.

Bennett can relate to the people she is working with in her departments.

“Having grown up working in my parent’s hardware store, it’s fun to be around the trades-people,” Bennett said.

She says she feels lucky to work with such great people at UNH.; people she describes as being high integrity and high humanity.

“It is one thing to work hard and achieve business goals. It is another when an employer can achieve the goals and also invest and nurture the working life of employees,” she said. “That is what I find at UNH. From the day I started, everyone around me went out of their way to help me get to know this culture, the people, the resources available to me and how to use the infrastructure.”

Bennett loves learning from new people, and seeing how people connect while working together, saying she finds the best solutions often come from people sharing their ideas rather than trying to solve something in isolation.

Though Bennett now works in human resources, this was not always her plan.

“My degree from UNH was in music education but I took a detour from this career when I was at Dartmouth where I worked in human resources, danced in the Dartmouth Youth Ballet and taught ballet classes,” Bennett says.

She is now focusing on music once again and hopes to experience many of the music and dance eve nts offered at UNH. If you see her at the ballet, be sure to say hello.

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