Distinguished Professional, Administrative, and Technical (PAT) Staff Award

Elaine Doell, Director of Human Resources

John Anderson photo.

Elaine Doell didn’t consider a career in human resources until the end of her junior year in college. “My professor was so inspirational,” she recalls. “Taking that HR Management class made me realize the direction I wanted to go with my life.”

An unpaid internship at Bausch & Lomb’s human resources department made it official. “I did the internship and never looked back,” she says. “I was hooked, I loved it, and I’ve been in HR ever since.”

After college graduation, Doell moved from her home state of New York to New Hampshire, where she worked in HR for Hannaford Bros., a leading grocer serving customers throughout New England and New York. While there, she says, “I was exposed to nearly every facet of HR.”

She worked for Hannaford Bros. for seven years, continually taking on additional responsibilities, including serving as a district-wide training coordinator. Her next position was that of HR manager for Lakes Region Community Services, where she also worked for seven years.

In 2001, Doell discovered an advertisement for a human resources position at Plymouth State and was intrigued. “It looked like a perfect match for me,” she says. When she came to campus for her interview, she says, “There was an energy and vibrancy all around campus. I realized this was the kind of place that I wanted to be part of, and where I could make a contribution.”

Doell began her career at PSU in 2002, first serving as assistant director of human resources and then as interim director before being named director in 2012. As director, she is responsible for campus recruitment and retention, training and development, payroll, benefits, employee relations, classification and compensation, and compliance. She also works closely with colleagues throughout the University in developing short- and long-range human resource goals to advance PSU’s mission and measure results.

Since joining PSU, Doell has led the University through a significant change in its benefits offerings, designed an online discrimination and sexual harassment awareness training program, and dedicated herself to working with employees, supervisors, and management to ensure that PSU continues to be a great place to work. To be effective in her job, she must stay current on laws pertaining to family medical leave, worker’s compensation, employee rights, and more—a task that requires dedication and commitment to reading and research. “HR is ever-changing so there’s no resting on your laurels,” she says.

One of Doell’s goals in her work is to make people comfortable. To that end, it is common to find her walking the campus and visiting people in their offices. “People often equate going to HR to going to the principal’s office when they were in school,” she says. “I like to see people in their work environments. It puts them at ease, and it gives me a greater understanding of what they do for the organization.”

As if managing human resources at a 4,000-employee university wasn’t enough, Doell also makes time to serve PSU in ways beyond her job responsibilities. She’s been a member of the President’s Commission on Diversity for many years; she’s taken part in PSU’s Seniors day, where she reviews students’ résumés and gives them interviewing tips; she has been an invited guest speaker to classes; and she employs student workers in HR who do everything from answer phones and greet visitors to assist with redesigning the HR website.

While she may have her professor to thank for inspiring her to pursue a career in HR, Doell—a first-generation college student—credits the solid foundation that her parents provided for her growing up as essential to her success in her profession and in life. “My caring nature is from my mom, and my strong work ethic is from my dad,” says Doell. “They made me who I am today.”

Barbra Alan 

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