LaTourette vows to build on existing department success
PSU recently hired Catherine LaTourette to be the new associate vice president for human resources. Some of LaTourette’s responsibilities will be hiring all new staff employees and overseeing the distribution of 3,900 checks each month.
In addition to working in the Human Resources Department 11-hour days five days a week, LaTourette raises two children. She admits her many responsibilities will demand a lot from her.
“As a working mother, my time is precious,” she said.
She is also volunteering her time with the Site Council of her 13-year-old son’s middle school, helping make decisions for the institution. Volunteering isn’t new to LaTourette.
“There is always something I’ve done on a volunteer basis,” she said. “It occurs to me that I am very fortunate in life, and I feel it’s important to give back.”
As if all her tasks weren’t enough, LaTourette also occasionally works out in the Stott Center. Eventually, she hopes to work out three times a week.
“I was known in my former company as someone who would get out at lunch to run everyday,” she said. “I’d run for 60 minutes three days a week, and I had a couple running buddies.”
Her rigorous workout routine helped her run her first marathon in 1993.
Having already spent 17 years in the Human Resources industry, LaTourette is accustomed to managing her time. But her organizational skills were obvious even before working in human resources. At 24 years old, LaTourette ran a $3 million budget for the Muscular Distrophy Association (MDA).
During that time, LaTourette said, she realized she enjoyed the tasks in the Human Resources Department.
“The hiring process is like being a matchmaker,” LaTourette said. “It’s tremendously gratifying to be part of helping people be successful, like being a percent and a coach and a matchmaker all in one.”
She especially likes the people-oriented tasks in Human Resources. “What clicked for me was training people in a professional manner, helping them match to jobs in which they thrive, doing performance reviews.”
Her dedication to working with people has been obvious at PSU as well. On her first day at PSU, she had all 22 of her coworkers sign up for a one-and-a-half hour meeting with her.
“(We discussed) the pros and cons of our work, of the HR department, how we can improve, what they would like me to do,” she said.
Working closely with people is part of LaTourette’s strategy for this year.
“The way I want to approach this year is to listen and meet people, and identify what the needs of the HR department are.”
Once she identifies the needs of the HR department, LaTourette has a goal to accomplish: “I want to build on the foundation on what’s been going on here, and build a very strong, world-class HR dept.”