Koya at CUPA-HR: Breakthrough Moments, Civility, Inspiration and Happiness

Koya was pleased to be a sponsor for the 2018 national conference of CUPA-HR, the human resources professional leadership association in higher education reaching over 25,000 in the profession and 2,000 member institutions.

Today’s human resources leaders have schedules and to-do lists full of great challenges and more opportunities to contribute at their institutions than ever. The challenges and opportunities facing HR leaders today are dramatically changing the expectations and needs of this role in higher education. CHROs are called upon to be chief transformation officers, culture builders, and strategic business partners, working at the highest levels to ensure the sustainability and development of talent at their institutions.

At the annual conference in Indianapolis this year, attendees found resources and camaraderie in every event and session. The annual conference is a time to step back and gain insights about HR issues impacting higher education and learn how to approach these issues with fresh eyes and have some fun at the same time. It was thrilling to see CUPA’s emerging association partnerships with other higher ed communities, including NASPA (Student Affairs Professional in Higher Ed) and the NCAA (National College Athletic Association).

The keynote speakers provided inspiration and humor. Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour, the first African-American female combat pilot, set the pace for the conference with her high energy, high engagement and inspirational style. She challenged us going forward to create breakthrough moments (dreaming is planning!), to seek tangible evidence of civility and respect in our lives, and to inspire others to reach their full potential personally and professionally.

Dan Gilbert from Harvard University shared surprising research about the science of happiness and the way we can measure happiness in quantifiable terms and connect it to levels of engagement. The simplest way to do this is by asking people questions (a skill astute HR professionals are trained to do!). The cost of disconnected and disengaged employees is high—nearly $300 billion every year—an urgent call to action for the business community. We see evidence of happiness and high engagement in workplaces where the culture promotes community, civility, respect and trust. There is a clear value in investing in happy employees, as they are the best representatives for recruiting key talent to your organization.

We’ve seen at this conference what CUPA-HR does best—explore emerging workforce issues, conduct research, and promote strategic discussions with our HR colleagues. We can’t wait to see what next year brings as CUPA-HR heads to the Rocky Mountains of Aurora, Colorado.


Beth Schaefer-VPBeth Schaefer
Vice President, Executive Search

Beth has 20 years of corporate experience in human resources roles and over a decade of search experience in the corporate and higher education arenas.
At Koya, Beth specializes in searches for senior leadership roles in human resources, diversity and inclusion, financial management, enrollment management, institutional research and other areas of higher education administration.
Beth has led searches for Simmons College, Emory University, Boston College, Ithaca College, Vanderbilt University, Wellesley College, University of North Carolina, Wayne State University and the University of Washington.
Learn more about Beth here.