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UMD Alumna Tonya Tatro: Preparing Students for What's Next

UMD Alumna Tonya Tatro  
UMD Alumna Tonya Tatro successfully created and held a mentorship program for LSBE Human Resource students.  

Each fall, LSBE hosts their Passport to Professional Success Program events. The Passport program provides the “soft skills” necessary to succeed in today's working environment. These skills include leadership, written/verbal communication, problem solving, interpersonal skills, motivation, and creativity. One of the first events was the Distinguished Speaker Series: Professor for a Day (PFAD) held on October 2, 2013. Alumna Tonya Tatro hosted this event. Her presentation entitled Stand Out From the Crowd: Your Personal Brand explored the concept of personal branding through marketing of oneself to the public in order to create a solid foundation for your future.

Tatro is a 2003 LSBE graduate, with a degree in business administration (emphasis in human resources and minor in communication). She grew up in Holdingford, Minn., and has always had big dreams. “I always knew I wanted a career where I could help people. It would allow me to help find people meaningful work and to assist with their professional development.” She is currently employed as a manager at Experis Engineering in Minneapolis, Minn. Experis partners with local companies to identify engineering talent on a contract, contract to hire, direct, or on a project basis, all while assisting clients with customized workforce solutions. She is married with two daughters.

Tatro’s decision to attend UMD was simple. “I went on several college visits and during my tour at UMD, I felt right at home.” The LSBE program’s accreditation by the AACSB (The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) and small class sizes, creating hands-on learning, lured her in…besides the outdoor life and recreation Duluth offers.

Many people were memorable in influencing Tatro throughout her academic and working career, but she was also memorable to those who taught her. One such person was UMD Human Resources and Labor Relations Undergraduate Instructor James Laumeyer, who taught for thirty years. He stated, “As a professor, I have taught and seen thousands of students and I would put her in the top handful of students that showed an excellent grasp of Human Resource knowledge and leadership. Just one of those hall of fame students that you look back on… She was one of the best students I ever had.”

Laumeyer worked with Tatro many times throughout her career at UMD; from intern projects to teaching her human resources and labor relations lecture courses. He described Tatro as an exceptional and extremely knowledgeable student. Along with Laumeyer influencing Tatro, she also felt a great educational connection with Associate Professor Jannifer David who taught a few of Tatro’s human resource management courses from 2001–2003. Like Laumeyer, David raved about Tatro’s characteristics. “Tonya is a very enthusiastic and organized person with such a strong, positive energy force about her. She embraces everything with a huge desire to do well, along with being extremely tenacious. If she decides she wants to do something, she does it.” Laumeyer and David saw first hand how hard Tatro worked as a student to reach her goals. 

Tatro showed her leadership by participating actively as president in the student chapter of SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) and also was involved in the Student Health Advisory Committee; UMD’s President’s Council; S.E.R.V.E (Students Engagement in Rewarding Volunteer Experiences); Peer Education Program; Committee for Awards, Recognition, and Excellence; the AustraLearn study abroad program; and intramural sports. She worked hard on the SHRM program and was instrumental in getting the group moving forward for events throughout the school year.

Post-graduation, Tatro was offered a full time position with the ManpowerGroup, which stemmed from a networking connection made at a prior UMD SHRM event. Eleven years later she still is employed in their Experis division as a Manager of engineering. Since being employed there she was promoted from account executive to business development manager, which earned her the title of being #1 in North America in 2008 and 2009.

She stands by the idea that the connections she made at UMD led her to where she is today. “UMD created networking opportunities to lifetime friendships, mentors, and connections that I still have today. But most important, it led me to the successful career that offers professional fulfillment and growth opportunities.” She wanted to share her experiences at the PFAD event and prepare students for what’s next for them in the working world. “How you manage your college experience and utilize the resources available to you can transform who you are, where you go, and what you accomplish in this world.”

Tatro successfully created and held a mentorship program for LSBE Human Resource students last year. This mentoring program assists students in obtaining new skills, experiences, and viewpoints. By partnering students with mentors they will work together to find strategies that will help them develop skills to assist them in their future careers. She hopes to expand this program in the future to include all LSBE students through the LSBE Alumni group.

“UMD/Labovitz School of Business and Economics Alumni Group”
(Under groups on LinkedIn)
Twitter: @LabovitzSchool

Those Who Can, Duluth

Written by Kaitlyn Hukriede October 2013


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