Karen Totaro, general manager for Huntington Place/ASM Global, has announced that Nicole Johnson (pictured) will join as director of human resources for the Detroit venue. Johnson comes with a 15-year career in human resources in Fortune 200 companies across a range of industries.
“We are so excited to have Nicole join the team. She brings the skills and experience we know will take Huntington Place to the next level in human resource management,” said Totaro.
Johnson’s expertise in leading human resources change initiatives has been recognised in various industries including gaming and entertainment, labour relations, health and safety, coaching, benefits and leave administration, and workforce development.
Human Resources change initiatives are increasingly becoming top priority for convention centres and DEI and flexible work schedules have become a top priority.
Huntington Place was closed for business by the Michigan Governor in March of 2020 and reopened in March of 2021 as the event industry began to slowly return from Covid. During the shutdown, the centre furloughed 60% of staff. Of those that remained, remote work was established where possible. The centre shifted its focus to community support with a FEMA Field Hospital, drive-through Covid vaccination and testing centre, Food Rescue US distribution centre and partnered with the Detroit Pope Francis Center to provide day services to the city’s homeless.
The slow return to business and rehiring of essential staff created opportunities to implement new hiring strategies and workforce improvements.
“Diversity is our Superpower BUT Inclusion is really the Secret Sauce that takes us to the next level,” said Totaro.
Management adds that the need for a new hiring strategy became apparent during the “great resignation” and work-from-home habits developed during the Covid-19 outbreak. Emerging from Covid employees are more prone to set limits to their contributions at work such as work hours, scope of tasks and fairness on how their talent is utilised. Candidates are more often insisting on these working conditions before accepting jobs.
“I am honoured to join Huntington Place as the Director of Human Resources and look forward to working collaboratively to create an inclusive and empowering work environment where all Team Members feel like they belong,” said Johnson. “As we navigate the post-Covid hiring landscape, I am excited to implement new strategies and initiatives that prioritise diversity, equity, and inclusion, and at the same time foster exceptional guest experiences, thus driving the growth and success of the venue.”