Lisa Kutas - First female Director of Human Resources, Diocese of Lansing
Q: How is your faith the foundation of your role as Director of Human Resources?
A: As the HR Director, I get to know a lot about the people I work with. Not just how they perform as employees, but I learn about them personally and the challenges they face in their lives. I pray for my co-workers daily, especially when I know they have a specific hardship in their lives. The one thing we all have in common is that everyone is carrying a cross; some are heavier than others, but each person has one. The crosses we carry influence the way we interact with others and perform in our jobs. The ability to incorporate prayer along with professional development in the workplace strengthens our work in bringing the Gospel to others.
Q: Is there a person who inspired you along the way?
A: So many people have inspired me along my career path; it’s difficult to choose just one. Early in my career in the banking industry, my boss Dale Kermode was an inspiration because he wanted to know about each person on his team, their strengths and talents and how best to maximize each individual for the greater good of our work as corporate trainers. Dale always looked for the best in people. He helped me develop that same desire as I work with people – to get to know each person individually and to uncover and develop each person’s strengths for their own benefit as well as for the goals of the organization.
Q: Tell us a defining moment in your ministry.
A: Shortly after I began working for the diocese several pastors made appointments to come and talk with me about various personnel issues they were dealing with in their parishes. While I never really considered “human resources” a ministry, I soon realized how much our pastors relied on my experience to help them navigate topics such as conflict resolution, employment law, payroll and benefits. When personnel matters are handled pastorally, a sound resolution comes to pass, which then gives pastors the ability to focus on furthering the mission in their parishes. Over the years I’ve come to appreciate how much pastors have to manage as both the CEO and spiritual shepherd of a parish. Priests need our prayers, and I pray for all of our priests by name regularly. I have such a deep respect and love for each of our priests and am honored to assist them in their ministry any way I can.
Q: What would you tell your younger self about not giving up on achieving your goals?
A: This is such an interesting question because when I was younger I was very focused on what I wanted to achieve and I always looked for opportunities that would lead to promotions. While this served me well in my career advancement and gaining a great deal of experience, the day I decided to pray about leaving a prominent position in the secular world to come serve Bishop Boyea was pivotal. It was the beginning of my understanding of discernment; I began to let go of what I wanted, and ask God what he wanted for me. I started to see how my skills and experiences could be used to further build his kingdom on earth. If I could tell my younger self anything it would be to learn to discern God’s desire for my life earlier than I did. Life is much more fulfilling when I’m doing my best to align my will to his.