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
“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.