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Gabby Sanders
January 31, 2024

Psychology Major at the Center of Human Resources — and Loving It

Professionally, Gabby Sanders ’23 describes herself as “the person in the middle.” That’s another way of saying she’s at the heart of the action as a human resources (HR) expert at the Target Store in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

She recruits and tracks every candidate, provides updates on interviews and job status, and conducts onboarding. Training across other areas in the store informs her job, so you’ll even see her supporting the team at the checkout lanes. She says, “I would love to specialize in training and development within HR because the core of an organization is based on the culture the managers set.”

Sanders’ HR future crystallized during her junior year when she took Industrial and Organizational Psych and Principles of Management, which presented HR as a field vital to the success of every business. Psychology of Personality influenced her professional approach.

 “Everyone has personalities that fall along a spectrum of identities, and it’s my job to meet people wherever they are,” Sanders says. “This course helped shape my perspective on the importance of extending grace to others and practicing it each day.”

Her people smarts, or interpersonal intelligence, evolved as her responsibilities grew in Berry’s Office of Student Involvement (OSI) where she worked as the student director. “I learned about the importance of establishing a culture where everyone’s opinion can be heard and valued,” Sanders says.

Working closely with OSI Director David Eller, she absorbed how to structure meetings, plan events, set boundaries and address issues as soon as they occurred. “I had to learn how to separate giving someone feedback as their friend versus giving them feedback as their supervisor,” she notes. “Therefore, learning how to be assertive, even if they were my friend, helped me feel more confident about setting boundaries around policies that are non-negotiable at Target.”

Sanders’ internship with Berry’s HR department also built transferable skills. “I was responsible for researching different training modules that other colleges and universities utilized,” she explains. “Being able to practice putting together a PowerPoint Presentation with LinkedIn Learning resources changed my perspective on how you can implement new resources for the company you are working with.”

One life lesson gained at Berry is a keeper — and readily passed along by Sanders. “The destiny and path that is intended for you will not look like your friend’s path or your roommate’s path,” she says. “If you have a community of people, or at least one person, who consistently encourages you, I promise what’s meant to happen will fall into place. So, stay focused and don’t give up because it’s taking longer than you expected. There’s a scripture in the Bible from 2 Corinthians that talks about ‘walking by faith and not by sight,’ and that is what you have to do throughout your journey!”

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