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Social Impact From a Human Resources Lens

Thelà Thatch (2017-18) is a human resources consultant who is using her expertise in a number of ways, from coaching other human resources consultants to serving as a local elected official to volunteering with various organizations and committees. As a FUSE fellow, she helped the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services and Office of Diversion and Reentry develop a plan to recruit, hire, and retain staff in support of the county’s efforts to expand services for people experiencing homelessness.

How did the FUSE fellowship impact you?

The fellowship took place during a major time of transition in my life. My dream role as chief diversity officer for a large entertainment company had come to an end, and our current administration had just come into the White House. Diversity, human resources, corporate social responsibility, and community were an integral part of my life, and I was seeking a way to continue to have an impact in those areas.

I was not sure about next steps in my career, so I participated in a workshop through the Los Angeles African American Women’s Public Policy Institute (LAAAWPPI). During a conversation with a peer who worked for Los Angeles County, I learned about FUSE Corps. Partnering with the county’s Office of Diversion and Reentry to recruit diverse candidates into organizations that support the homeless gave me the opportunity to truly find purpose in my work. I gained new conviction about the influence human resources practices can have on public policy through capacity building and training.

LAAAWPPI and the FUSE fellowship also gave me a deeper understanding of Los Angeles County politics and inspired me to run for a local seat on my neighborhood council and develop my dissertation topic. On a personal level, the relationships with my FUSE cohort were a true demonstration of collaboration, partnership, and family.

What are you working on now?

I am currently working as a human resources consultant for Paychex, coaching human resources consultants who provide expert advice to small businesses. It really is a dream opportunity. I obtained my M.S. in philosophy this March, and I am on track to graduate with my Ph.D. this July.

Last year, I was elected to the Van Nuys Neighborhood Council, and I am now an elected official serving more than 100,000 people in this Los Angeles neighborhood. In this role, I was able to create the first Human Services Committee focused on homelessness, which was inspired by supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas’ Empowerment Congress. The mission of the Human Services Committee is to educate, engage, and empower the Van Nuys community on issues and solutions around homelessness and mental illness.

I also serve as communication chair on the Los Angeles African American Women Political Action Committee and as a director on the Mexico and Central American Missions Society. I am at a time in life that I am blessed to be able to use everything I have learned in my career to serve and give back.

What are you hoping to achieve in the next 6 to 12 months?

I plan to graduate with my Ph.D. and continue serving my local and international communities through the various boards. I also would like to tap more into my creative side and finish writing books and articles that have taken a back seat to my studies and research. I am also excited about mastering the Spanish language.

News and press:

Press release about new board for Van Nuys neighborhood council

FUSE article about helping L.A. County build a workforce for homelessness services