How does one find their calling? I might not be able to tell you what your calling is, but I can tell you how I found mine in hopes that it helps you find yours. Hello, my name is Melody Hollis and I am a Learning Manager here at HCSS. My journey has been a unique one, to say the least.
I was hired two weeks before graduating with my undergrad in Digital Media from the University of Houston – Go Coogs! When I graduated, I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do with my degree, but I knew I was good at and enjoyed interface design. When I started at HCSS, I was a Digital Marketing Specialist and worked in the Marketing department. HCSS was in the process of closing a pretty substantial deal with a large customer, Skanska. One of the concerns Skanska had was being able to implement and train thousands of employees through our traditional, in-person training methods. They told us that they would prefer to train only a handful of their employees. They planned to then create their own e-learning modules to put in their LMS (Learning Management System) to train the remainder of their employes.
This was the first time I had ever heard of an LMS. We realized that we too should have an LMS and that we should utilize it to train new and existing customers. The project was given to me because everyone else had too much on their plate and designing an interface like that was something I knew I could knock out of the park. My managers and I believed this would be a small side project. Little did we know, it would take off and become what it is today.
We started by offering a series of webinars covering specific features. We found that most of our users were accessing the recorded versions of these webinars rather than attending them live. I took that information and pushed for us to start creating “pre-recorded” content. The more I worked on the HCSS Academy, the more I fell in love with this new found passion for learning. In March of 2017, I was moved out of Marketing and started building out my team in the Support Department. I realized that I had the technical know how from my Digital Media degree, but I was missing instructional design experience. So, I started pursuing a MS in Instructional Design for Online Learning.
Through my classes I learned so much about the brain and how it reacts to learning. I found learning psychology fascinating! I soaked up as much as I could, as quickly as I could. Now, a little over a year and a half later, I have completed my Master’s, I am teaching classes at the University of Houston and I am the supervisor of two amazing employees – Chloe Lall and Elizabeth Martinez.
If it wasn’t for HCSS, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I wouldn’t know anything about instructional design or learning management systems. HCSS has helped me find my true passion, pay for my MS, gave me a boost in confidence and helped developed my leadership skills. I have been given the unique opportunity to shape what my career will look like. If it wasn’t for the ownership thinking, the ability to take risks, learn from my mistakes, and the support my managers and executives have given me, the HCSS Academy wouldn’t exist today.
When promoting HCSS as a “Best Place” to work, it is easy to talk about the awards, the benefits, the toys, slide, etc. But, what really makes HCSS one of a kind is the people and the opportunities you will come to know from working here. So, if I can give you one piece of advice for how to find your calling it would be this: Surround yourself with people who care about you and will build you up, never stop growing, and don’t be afraid to take risks. After all, “the best parts of life are right on the other side of fear” (Will Smith).
Credit: Photography by Melody Hollis