Local business owner Thom Baker seeks to leave Columbia a gift when he retires. Tucked away in his equipment-lain home office, Thom Baker of...
I lead and direct all of the City’s human resources and employee benefits programs. So that’s part compliance, part PR, part negotiator, part mediator, part enforcer, part consultant.
Forty-three. I came to Columbia to attend MU and left for only a couple of years before I came back to stay.
BA in English literature and a master’s in public administration, both from MU.
I served on the Job Point board for four years and saw lives changed every day by the work of the staff. Currently, I serve on the HR committee for the Boys and Girls Club.
Public service is an inherited family trait. Only four of my many working years have been outside government service. I worked in state government for higher education, the legislature, and economic development. I fell into a human resources role in state government and have stuck with HR work for 24 years. I have served the City of Columbia for almost 19 years total.
HR work is centered on people: putting people to work, helping employees learn and advance, solving problems to make things better, and ultimately serving our citizens and customers.
The work we do at the City is all about making this community better.
My biggest project right now is not at work — it’s doing things that will improve my odds of being around a long time. I learned to run, by which I mean jogging slowly, with a great group from work, and I completed a 5K last May. I’m going to do it again!
Anyone who runs for city council! It’s not the same as state or federal elected officials — your constituents are right next door.
If you screw up, admit it, figure out how to fix it, and move on. And if you’re in public service in Columbia, avoid having your name above the fold on the front page of any newspaper!
I love my job at the City. When I’m ready, I’d like a “retirement” job that’s meaningful.
Be an archaeologist. It’s history outside — what could be better? Or I’d do stand-up comedy, because you never know what employees will say or do that’s funny. Or I’d be a pirate. I really like pirates.
For public employers, retaining employees is becoming more and more difficult.
Thick skin is required. It’s impossible to make everyone happy in HR work. And you have to be a rule follower!
Honesty, even when it’s uncomfortable.
I overcommit — it’s hard for me to say no.
Read, run, and go to Mizzou football games.
Husband of almost 28 years, Kevin Buckler; son, Morgan, who is 20; two or three dogs, depending on where Morgan is; and one apparently bulimic cat.
The MKT Trail and the ARC are my sane spaces.
Establishing an “opportunities for excellence” fund in my mom’s name at the English department at MU.
Am legally named Margaret Grace — my southern mom called us by our first and middle names. What came out of my mouth instead was “Margrace.”