HR Professional Day – Katie, Darcie, Dale

On Human Resource Professional Day, we recognize some key members of our Rackson People and Culture team: Dale, Darcie, and Katie. In this interview, learn more about their journeys to joining Rackson’s People and Culture team and why they’re so passionate about Rackson’s culture.

Dale Personette – Talent Acquisition Business Partner

After working for 32 years in restaurant operations, I transitioned to Human Resources and now serve as a Talent Acquisition Business Partner. I started as a recruiting manager for an independent firm during the pandemic but soon realized I wanted to return to a more structured corporate environment. I was fortunate to be hired at Rackson, a company with over 1,500 employees and an exceptionally strong, positive culture that permeates all levels of the organization.

Our CEO, Chris Johnson, lives and breathes our company culture, focusing on people and ensuring all employees feel valued. I have worked for large companies before but never experienced such a robust culture. My experience in operations helps me understand how to engage with staff in the field and translate HR initiatives for them. I aim to communicate Rackson’s mission and values to all new hires and help them see both our big vision and potential for growth.

One of the most rewarding parts of my role is building relationships with employees at every level of the company. I identify most with the people and process aspects of HR. I love working for an organization oriented around structure and processes, and my operations background has shown me how to connect with people.

In the 2.5 years I have been with Rackson, the company has evolved dramatically. Our standards, processes, goals, and vision for the future have improved in amazing ways. My own journey has changed just as significantly – from starting in operations to now serving as an HR leader helping to advance a company with an exceptional culture and bright future. It has been a night and day transition and one for which I feel very grateful.

Darcie Velazquez – Director of People Operations and Compliance

From the beginning of my college education, I knew I wanted a career in business. I decided to focus on Human Resources because I recognized that people are the key to a company’s success, and I wanted to help create an environment where employees can do their best work.

Rackson’s “personality” and culture mesh perfectly with my own values. Company culture sets the tone for leaders and reveals the true heart of an organization. At Rackson, we walk the talk of operating a people-first company.

One of the first things that stood out to me at Rackson was the recognition employees give one another across the company. No matter how small, recognition and gratitude can have a huge impact. Culture and leadership start from the top, and our CEO Chris models this. He makes a point to connect with people at all levels of the company.

The opportunity to join Rackson and help strengthen its foundation was exactly what I had been looking for to flex my creative muscles and build something great. After 10 years in the nonprofit sector, finding a role and company culture so closely aligned with my values and priorities has been tremendously rewarding. I am excited to continue developing our people practices to support Rackson’s growth and vision for the future. Our potential is unlimited when we invest in our people, and that is what I find most inspiring and motivating in my work.

Katie Fionova – Vice President of People and Culture

My first exposure to human resources was during an internship in college at AOL, where I worked in their learning and development department. Though I wasn’t initially planning on a career in HR, that experience sparked my interest in the field, and the rest is history. After tackling roles of increasing responsibility at other multi-unit organizations in retail, hospitality, and fitness, I landed at Rackson in 2022.

Rackson’s “secret sauce” is our focus on people. Though we always have opportunities to improve, meaningful investments in our employee experience over the last year have set us up for continued success. I feel fortunate to work for an organization, and a CEO, walking the walk to put “People First.”

One highlight of my time at Rackson has been seeing the People and Culture team’s progress in developing policies, resources, and a culture of awareness around people management best practices. Employees at all levels now readily approach us with questions, and we have steadily increased the resources available to support them. The most important part of the journey for me has been instilling a service mindset to support our partners in operations. By focusing on understanding their needs and designing programs to address them, we’ve helped shift the perception of HR from a “gotcha” group to a strategic partner focused on elevating the organization.

This progress would not have been possible without the People and Culture team and their passion for the work. They are the heart of all we do, and I am grateful to work with a group of such dedicated professionals. I look forward to seeing how our team, and our organization, continue to grow as we stay true to the core of who we are – a values-led, people-centered organization. Go Team Rackson!