This month, we said a big thank you and good luck to Samantha Hagel—but not goodbye. After more than nine years with The Improve Group, including as our office manager, business manager, and most recently as our Chief Human Resources Officer, Samantha is moving to new adventures—including as a consultant to us as we launch several exciting new initiatives for our team.
I will miss working with Samantha immensely. Through her leadership, The Improve Group matured from a small, scrappy consulting company to an established firm. Some of the successes she helped us achieve are:
- Alignment of our values and financial systems. She helped us develop a budget and financial management system that truly valued excellence, collaboration, and joy—by investing in the learning and celebratory activities that support these values.
- Recognition as a wonderful, award-winning place to work. We attract talented staff, develop and retain them with the high quality of our work environment, and have earned multiple Best Places to Work awards!
- A more structured, safe workplace environment. She developed our employee policies for emergency preparedness and earned sick and safe time, modernized our PTO systems, and helped our employees focus on the great work they do, rather than the structures in which they do it.
- Championed diversity and inclusion at The Improve Group., Samantha helped us redesign our internship program to promote diverse voices in the field of evaluation, served on a Governor-appointed task force on diversity, and worked with Partnership Resources, Inc. to design an assisted employment program at The Improve Group.
Beyond what Samantha accomplished, though, I will miss Samantha’s presence. When she started with The Improve Group, there were just a handful of us, and we tended to be heads down in our work all the time. She was the first person who made it a point to say hi to everyone each day, check on how people were doing, and proactively reach out to help people who were facing challenges. She built relationships with everyone on our team – and if there was ever a sticky conversation, she would address the challenge head on, with honesty, thoughtfulness, and care. I learned a lot from her leadership style and personal manners. I’m grateful I’ll still get to see her regularly – and continue to learn from her – as our consultant and as my friend.