Friday Feature: Carol Smith Dixon

Guiding with grace
Carol's story

Your name: Carol Smith Dixon

Your role at Volunteers of America Michigan: Vice President of Human Resources which also includes responsibilities as legal liaison, insurance coordinator/facilitator, risk management and ministry. 

What brought you to this position? When I left the position of Director of HR at another human services agency 14 years ago, someone I knew who worked for Volunteers of America Michigan shared what a great agency this was and a little of its history and that piqued my interest.  There was no opening in the HR department (which is my bailiwick) but since I have previous housing experience, I applied for a Community Administrator position. My first 18 months was as Community Administrator at Coventry Place Apartments but when the HR position became available I applied, was interviewed and was promoted into the position.

What is your biggest takeaway from working with Volunteers of America Michigan? There is nothing like being part of an organization that 1) is dedicated to helping those in need 2) was specifically organized to accomplish those goals 3) has over a century of success in doing so and 4) being in a position to serve those who serve others.  This is an awesome and diverse organization that offers a multitude of services which I have seen grow exponentially over the years under the leadership of Alex Brodrick.  

What is your biggest challenge in this position? Ensuring that the agency and all of its employees stay ahead of and in compliance with regulatory issues (US Department of Labor, Fair Labor Standards Act, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, laws, rules, regulations, etc.).  The HR team is AWESOME and works diligently to ensure that happens – sometimes to the point where we are probably considered OCD – and I can’t deny that we are obsessive in guarding conformity to established regulations for operational governance. 

Where is your dream vacation spot? The Caribbean – Southern, Western, Eastern – haven’t seen an island I don’t like.  I also like to go to our ancestral home in Mecosta, Michigan. 

What is your favorite book? I really enjoyed “Interview With an Angel” by Stevan J. Thayer and Linda Sue Nathanson, PhD. I read it a long time ago but is was memorable, mainly because it added a dimension to my way of thinking

How do you spend your time outside of the office? For the most part, caring for my elderly mother; but I also love to cook for the family and spend time with them.