Page has been the Director of People + Culture at HFA for the past six years. However, she began her career at HFA in the Accounting Department in 2011. Page holds dual degrees from California State University, Stanislaus, in Accounting and Human Resources. After moving into a position supporting the Human Resources team in 2013, Page found where her true passion lies, people, and has helped to steer and expand the HR department within HFA ever since. After determining that the term Human Resources didn't accurately relay the breadth of the people-first culture Page and other HFA senior leaders were promoting, the department was soon renamed People + Culture and continues under that moniker today.
"I've always been a people person. The first two decades of my career were in accounting—numbers. It's very black and white, right? One and one is always two. If you do the formula right, you get a consistent result every time. Right? It wasn't until I got the opportunity to go to the people side that I realized that is where my passion lies,” said Page.
She continued, “It's almost like something was unlocked, and I can't really describe it. But the feeling of fulfillment and excitement I get from working with people and seeing them have those aha moments. That's the best. It's challenging but also a lot of fun.”
The need for a Chief People Officer at HFA was grounded in the emphasis on and dedication to the Purpose, Vision, Values, and Culture Code that CEO Dave Wilgus and COO Ryan Ray have implemented in the last few years. Most obviously related to Page's line of work is the dedication to providing a work environment rooted in a "people-first culture of empowerment where talent thrives."
“Appointing Michelle to Chief People Officer exemplifies our dedication to the people-first culture that originates in our Code but extends far beyond the walls of HFA. A true people-first culture cannot stop with us; it must ultimately include our communities. It’s a mindset of caring for people, which we entrust to Michelle in her new role,” said Dave Wilgus, AIA, NCARB.
Page says she is excited about the future and can’t wait to begin laying the groundwork, starting with initiatives like succession planning, tapping into data integration [people analytics] and how that determines HFA’s short- and long-term goals, and finally, setting up leaders for success in the future.
“I've always had this goal of leaving something better when I walk away than it was when I first touched it. Regarding the notoriety, I don't get invested in having my name stamped on something. But if I know that when I walk away from this company and this position, leaders are more prepared and have a plan to develop the leaders that are coming up, and it sets us [HFA] up for that vigorous growth in the long term? That's what would be so fulfilling to me,” concludes Page.
About HFA Architecture + Engineering: HFA is a nationwide architecture and engineering firm with offices in Bentonville, AR, Fort Worth, TX, Franklin, MA, and Mexico City. With over 30 years of experience, HFA has become a trusted partner for diverse clients, providing comprehensive services that combine design innovation and project delivery excellence. The studio's portfolio includes commercial projects in retail, industrial, mixed-use/office, restaurants, hospitality and entertainment spaces. To learn more about HFA and their work, visit their website at https://www.hfa-ae.com/