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Tiffany Castagno | Pennsylvania | Own Your Values

Chief Executive Officer | Founder | Co-Author

I’ve always loved people, and was told just before entering HR that this was a reason I should turn to a different career because it would take much more than that. 14 years later, here I am. My journey into HR has been what I describe as a “Crooked Path”. It was not easy to gain experience and to land the first role in HR. Once I did, I often found that I wasn’t “fitting” in because my ideas were outside of the box and I’ve always believed in disrupting the Status Quo. Entering into HR for me was born from not having such great experiences as an employee at times.

I wanted to be able to better shape the Employment Experience and inspire Human Potential. That was becoming increasingly difficult for me to do at the scale of impact I was looking to make and working at one company. I allowed this to nag at me for over a decade until finally, after several years of working in Small, Mid-sized, and large organizations, For-Profit and Non-Profits, I decided to go a different direction once COVID hit.

What better time for more uncertainty than in uncertain times? I’ve never been averse to calculated risks though. CEPHR, LLC, a Values-Based HR Consultancy, was founded on May 11, 2020 and continues to rapidly grow to serve SMBs across the U.S. with building strong teams, Cultures, infrastructures, and Employer Brands. My Why is centered around the Human Experience at work and ensuring that all voices can be heard, celebrated, and elevated for our uniqueness in the workplace. For me, that includes supporting building Leadership Capabilities and Potential. Watching Human Potential rise and soar lights me up every day.

What were the biggest initial hurdles and how did you overcome them?

The hardest part was trying to convince people of my potential and capabilities while still going through my education as well as still being light on experience. It’s hard when no one gives you a chance to get said experience. I found that obtaining my HR experience really helped support my growth and learning, as well as some amazing Mentors, and joining a Board of Directors to gain Leadership experience as I was ready to grow further in my career. Confidence was definitely something I was lacking (even in my outspokenness) in the early days because although I have always been Values-Driven, my Values didn’t always align with the companies I’d joined nor the potential I had to do more and to climb the Corporate Ladder. I ultimately decided to forge my own path.

What books are you currently reading?

Way too many books read and unread on the shelves, but some of my professional favorites of late are: “The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety”, “Inclusify”, “It’s Not Them, It’s You: Why Employees Break Up With Their Managers and What to Do About It”, and “The Culture Book: When Culture Clicks”.

What advice would you give to an upcoming youth or talents locally and internationally?

Always do the right thing, own your Values, and believe in the Power of You. Sometimes others don’t see or accept the bright light that you have shining away in there, but it doesn’t mean it’s not there. It doesn’t mean that despite adversity or others doing the wrong thing, that you ca’t do the right thing. It doesn’t mean that you don’t deserve to let your bright light shine.

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