The THRIVE! employee resource group offers Lunch Pairings, a great way to meet people across campus. I recently found myself randomly paired with Ten Gray, human resources consultant. I had already met Ten at my new employee orientation and again in the building where we both work. But the lunch pairing gave us a chance to really talk, and this time, we’d do it via Zoom since we are both working remotely as part of the University’s coronavirus response.
We found similarities — we are both married, with children, and my birthday is just two days after his daughter’s birthday, and we are both from the same city, Indianapolis.
There’s something special about talking to someone from your hometown, as we were able to talk about people, places and things with a shared familiarity. Our 30-minute call ended quickly and we scheduled another 30 minutes for the next week. This was now more than a pairing. It was an opportunity to have A Conversation with Ten Gray.
NDWorks: How did you get your name?
Ten Gray: It’s from a Bible verse, John 10:10.
NDW: Why was it important?
TG: It was a verse that my mother leaned on during some difficult times in her life.
NDW: Have you had to explain it to people?
TG: Yes, almost daily.
NDW: What have been some of the responses?
TG: Having to tell the story so many times over the years, what I would do sometimes in order to make it more interesting for me is I would make up stories about where the name comes from. In the end I would always tell the real story, but seeing the reactions to the made-up stories was always fun for me.
NDW: Have you/would you consider passing down your name?
TG: Umm, no, I wouldn’t do that to a kid!
NDW: What is a brief summary of your job responsibilities?
TG: Human resources consultants (HRCs) help departments identify the causes of organizational issues and work to develop solutions. We need to understand all operational facets of the departments we support, including strategic objectives, financial matters and personnel issues, in order to deliver the most effective solutions possible. Reorganizations, performance management, talent engagement, diversity and inclusion, and many others.
NDW: What is your favorite part of your job?
TG: Being a part of the solution to an issue. At its core, I see HR as a customer service function, with our customers being our campus partners. Our constituents come to us with issues, and my job and personal satisfaction comes if my counsel and guidance can result in a positive solution.
NDW: What is your favorite part of ND?
TG: Easily and by far it’s the people. Never have I worked with a more fantastic group of talented and caring people. A lot of organizations claim that their workplace culture is like a family, but in my experience, at ND it’s actually true.
New lunch pairings are coming soon. To find out how you can participate, contact Jessica Schiller at firstname.lastname@example.org