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Alumni Spotlight: Brooke McCourt, Staffing Coordinator - Wegmans Food Markets

Brooke McCourt is the Staffing Coordinator for Wegmans Food Markets’ Pennsylvania Division.  In her role, she oversees recruitment, staffing and workforce planning functions for 14 current locations and future sites within Pennsylvania.  She works in partnership with many talented HR and Store Operations individuals to make sure that Wegmans is hiring the best.  In addition, she is the Internship Coordinator for the Pennsylvania stores.  She is responsible for implementation of an internship program for college students interested in pursuing full-time store operations careers with Wegmans.

 Prior to this, Brooke was an Employee Representative.   She had the opportunity to manage in the Grand Opening process with regard to recruitment, staffing and training of all new employees for 2 new stores.  Once the store opened, Brooke oversaw human resource functions for the store location. She also had the opportunity to spend a year in Store Operations.  In this assignment, she had the chance to learn about the managing the operations of the Wegmans business.

 Brooke has worked for Wegmans for almost 12 years.  She is a 2001 graduate of Penn State University with a degree in Business Management and a 2006 graduate of Villanova University with a Master’s degree in Human Resource Development.  She received her PHR certification in 2006.

Q:        When did you graduate from the Human Resource Development Program at Villanova?

A:        2006

Q:        Did you take courses through the on-campus option or the on-line option?

A:        On Campus (I don’t know if Online courses were offered then)

Q:        What is your educational background and why did you choose Villanova’s HRD Program?

A:        Bachelor of Science in Management from Penn State University 2001.  I was working in Human Resources and wanted to pursue a Master’s Degree that pertained specifically to HR.  Villanova’s program offered the flexibility that I needed along with the ability to pursue my PHR

Q:        Are you currently employed?  If so, with what organization and in what role (title, duties, time in current role, etc)? 

A:        Yes.  I am the Staffing Coordinator for Wegmans Food Markets Pennsylvania Division.  In my role, I manage a team of 10 recruiters to hire the best for our 14 stores.  I work to establish internal and external sourcing, recruiting and hiring practices to fill part-time, full time, management, culinary, human resource, asset protection and pharmacy positions.  I also manage our store operations and pharmacy internship programs.  I’ve had the opportunity to be involved in many HR practices and each day is always a little different.

Q:        Before starting with your current employer, what was your professional background? 

A:        I started with Wegmans right out of college.  I graduated in August 2001 and started 2 days later.  I joined them as an Employee Representative (HR Generalist).  In this role, I had the opportunity to open 2 new stores (State College and Downingtown) and then continue to support the stores as an advocate to our employees after opening.  I transitioned from HR in March 2005 to work in Store Operations as a Manager.  I had a desire to better understand our business and by being a department manager I had the chance to experience what our employees and managers do all day.  In late 2005, I returned to HR in my current role.  At the time, only 1 other person in the company was in this role. Because it was a new role, I’ve had a lot of opportunity to influence my work and develop the role.  Now, each of our divisions have a Staffing Coordinator.

Q:        What aspect of the Villanova HRD Program did you find to be most beneficial? 

A:        There are so many things that I enjoyed about the program.  For me, I took a lot away from the 1-credit weekend electives.  It worked great for my schedule and introduced the right amount of information on a topic.  I enjoyed the ability to gain exposure to so many facets of HR through these short courses.

Q:        Was there any one course that stood out for you? 

A:        I feel that I was able to take something away from each course.  Forgive me for not remembering the exact names of them, but the Financial Management course was rewarding.  I am a believer that HR needs to be able to speak the language of the managers and our managers speak numbers.  I also enjoyed the Training Course taught by Dr. Andrulis.  Training is so important in my company and I was able to learn a lot from it.

Q:        Were there any experiences while you were enrolled in Villanova HRD program that you believe really helped jump-start your HR career? 

A:        I had already been working in HR prior to joining Villanova’s program.  But I do feel that it solidified that I was going to be in HR for the long haul.  It continued to grow my interest in the field and helped me bring knowledge back to my roles within Wegmans.

Q:        Why are you interested in the field of HR and how did that interest come about?

A:        I’ve always known that I wanted to be involved in business.  When I began taking courses in HR at Penn State; I had a professor that was so passionate about the field.  (Dr. Karen Jansen).  I think her enthusiasm sparked my interest.  I became heavily involved in the student chapter of SHRM on campus and on the HR Games team.  Our team worked closely with Dr. Jansen and our other advisor, Carolyn (Fisher) Bacon to prepare for the HR Games.  We won the North East regional games and were invited to compete at the national SHRM conference in San Francisco.   They were both great influences in my decision to pursue an HR career.

Q:        What are your long-term goals professionally and how are you working towards them?

A:        I am incredibly lucky to work for an amazing company.  After 12 years, I still love going to work every day.  My goal is to become an HR Manager.  I strive every day to learn something new, and challenge myself in my current role.   

Q:        What advice do you have for current HRD students? 

A:        Human Resources is an incredibly rewarding field.  There are so many elements that you can specialize in, but don’t limit yourself to one area.  Be open to trying and learning new aspects of HR—benefits, compensation, recruiting, employee relations…

Q:        Tell us about something new or exciting in your professional life.

A:        Our division is just starting the process of opening a new store in Montgomeryville (North Wales), PA.  It takes an incredible amount of work but we have an amazing HR team to support the store.   We have already collected over 4,000 applications for only 500 positions.  It will be an incredible challenge, but with each new store, we strive to get better and more efficient.

Q:        How about something new or exciting in your personal life?

A:        My family and I are preparing for a DisneyWorld vacation in less than 3 weeks.  My 3 year old daughter, Teaghan, will be making her 6th visit to a Disney Park. 

And one last question, any exciting plans for the summer? 

My summers are always jam packed.  Our internship program begins in late May.  For 12 weeks, I will be coordinating our intern events including our kick off teambuilding event, community service event, and our wrap up presentations.  It’s a huge undertaking, but so rewarding in the end! 

Thank you for taking the time to speak with us – take care and good luck with everything.

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