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Prince Gives Royal Treatment To the Department She Built

HR Trailblazer Rachelle Prince Woodbury University, Burbank It’s fair to say that Rachelle Prince has a hard time distinguishing her career from the rest of her life. Her resume has just one employer Woodbury University and even before she started working there, Prince was a student at the institution, earning her bachelor’s degree in business administration back when the campus was in downtown Los Angeles. She even went so far as to emigrate from Canada to work there. “Not many people have the pleasure of serving an institution as long as I have,” said Prince. “I’m actually in my forty-second year now. It’s been, as they say, ‘a very good ride.'” Make no mistake the Trailblazer Award was not given to Prince because she’s been around a long time. Rather, it celebrates the fact that she built the university’s human resources department from scratch. After 14 years as the executive assistant to the president, and secretary to the board of trustees, Prince was asked by her boss, Wayne L. Miller, to become the founding director of the newly created department. “Back then, we’re talking 1982, we didn’t have a focus on HR management,” said Prince. “We had a fairly new president who actually is the person who brought the university into the mainstream of higher academia by moving the campus to Burbank.” Prince, who never had any formal training in human resources, said that contact with her peers in other higher education institutions helped her learn the ropes. “The first thing I did was join CUPA-HR (College and University Personnel Association for Human Resources) and the AICCU (Association for Independent California Colleges and Universities) group on human resources,” she said. “I was very active at the beginning because it was a learning curve for me.” Over the years, Prince said, the university has gone through more major changes than she can enumerate. She gives kudos to Woodbury’s current president, Kenneth Nielson, saying, “We’ve had very positive growth in terms of programs and facilities under his direction.” One thing that hasn’t grown is Prince’s staff. She’s a one-person office these days. “We had an assistant director for six years but she left two years ago,” said Prince. The position was filled briefly but has been vacant for more than a year. That means Prince is “pretty busy,” and it’s one of the reasons she hasn’t had too much time for extra-curricular activities. She’s quick to say, though, that she doesn’t feel she’s missed out. “It’s very rewarding,” said Prince. “I very much enjoy working with all the people here. There’s lots of camaraderie and teamwork and I love being part of that team and having so much support.” While she knows she can’t work forever, Prince said she hasn’t yet created an exit strategy or even set a deadline for retirement. But she does know what she would like to do with her “free time,” when she does finally hand the reins over. “I’d like to do volunteer work with hospitals,” said Prince. “I’d like to work with the elderly, with shut-ins.” But given her track record, those plans will likely not be playing out anytime soon.

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