Todd Schoolman

Senior Director of Human Resources

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Todd’s HR focus reflects the relationship-building strategy of Hallmark Business Connections. His business background gives him insight into the demands our managers face: the challenges of finding that right employee, budget pressures, balance sheets. Blend that with people skills like interpersonal communication, employees’ need for challenging, meaningful work, developing potential and understanding team dynamics. His day-to-day can’t focus on abstract philosophy or theory. His solutions must be practical and actionable.

Todd is our watchdog, making sure we’re creating the kind of workplace culture we advocate for our clients. He is the bridge between our business and our people.

Todd enables best practices at Hallmark Business Connections—from how we build high-performance teams to how we handle clients’ assets.

What business accomplishment are you most proud of?
It’s hard to call any one thing an accomplishment because in my mind it’s never finished. There’s always evolution. You go through big highs, way lows, but you have to go through them to get to a better place.

Throughout my years at Hallmark Business Connections, I’ve worked to create a cohesive but diverse culture. Our company started by combining three Hallmark businesses: Hallmark Tributes, Hallmark Insights and Hallmark Business Expressions. Three different cities, different goals, different sets of insights. It was a challenging blend, but worked out fine.

Even now, people might assume our IT developers and creative writers and designers come from different worlds, but they really don’t. They just deploy their creativity in different ways. There’s as much elegance in a logical piece of code as there is in a great website design. Put the two groups together, and you get a passionate dynamic with a push and pull of thoughts and information.

When a co-worker tells me thanks for making things easier or smoothing out an issue, I feel really great.

What was the best advice you ever got about business?
When I first got into human resources, the head of the company said, “Look, you could very easily spend all your time on day-to-day legalities and nonperformers, but that’s not the payoff for the company. Put your efforts where you can enhance the success of the business.”

People always think HR spends its time dealing with negative issues, but that’s not the reality of all we do. Lots of my conversations are about setting up teams for success. Keeping my focus on the positive builds our business a lot faster than spending all my time on negatives. Minimize the bad; concentrate on the good.

Why are you passionate about your job at Hallmark?
This is the HR dream job. Imagine a workplace that has a well thought out way to say thanks to peers. And it’s a system that gets used all the time. We’ve got a culture of recognition going here, and it brings out everyone’s potential. That’s huge.

Plus, this is the best group of individuals I’ve ever worked with. Everyone is so passionate, intelligent, engaged. Driven, but not in the ugly, competitive way. The leadership team is collaborative and moving toward the same goal. Maybe it’s something in the Hallmark water, but it genuinely comes across every day.

What inspires you or gives you insight into industry trends?
Social media and blogs have opened up the HR discussion. It used to be an article took six months from writing to publish date. Now we’ve got real-time conversations and exposure to different thoughts and ideas. When you work at this level at this type of business, you want info now and a broader perspective.

What do you think is the biggest challenge for businesses today?
Businesses are swamped with initiatives they want to accomplish. They may be reluctant to bring on new talent, so there might be a project that’s not getting the attention it should. The danger is that a company can lose focus and fail to move ahead.

How do you balance out your work life?
I’m a home brewer. It gives my creativity free reign as I tweak recipes and pair the results with food. But it’s also a logical engineering process, blending biology and chemistry. My Scottish ale won awards in a few state fairs— it’s very clean, malty and slightly roasty. A favorite proverb of mine is “A fine beer may be judged for the most part, with only one sip, but it's better to be thoroughly sure.”

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