Applauding Alumni: Danielle Crane, MBA '12

Applauding Alumni: Danielle Crane, MBA ‘12

Danielle CraneDanielle Crane is the chief administrative officer for GreenPath, Inc. She leads the Human Resources, Training & Development, Education, and Workforce Management functions. GreenPath is a national, non-profit organization, headquarted in Farmington Hills, Mich. It focuses on helping individuals achieve financial wellness. Counselors help clients gain control of their lives and teach the skills that are required for long- term financial success. Out of 500 employees at GreenPath, Inc., 300 are employed in southeast Michigan.

Danielle earned the PHR and SHRM-CP certifications, and is an active member of the National Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). She also serves as the College Relations Chair for Detroit SHRM. In 2014, she was a Top 10 Finalist for the Michigan Council of SHRM (MISHRM)’s Top HR Professional award.  The award recognizes individuals across the state who exemplify the highest standards of the HR profession.

With her B.A. in English and Human Resources from Albion College, Danielle wanted to broaden her formal education outside of HR to gain a stronger understanding of finance and general business management. She earned her Master of Business Administration from Walsh College in 2012.

Interview with Danielle:

Why did you choose to work for GreenPath?

“The organization’s focus on quality. I knew that an organization so focused on quality would prioritize employee training, development, and growth. That’s huge -- so many CEO’s overlook how that translates to success. The moment I met Jane McNamara, our CEO, I knew I was dealing with a CEO who ‘got it.’

My most important goal is to stretch my people. I’ve grown my career by focusing my work on the ‘value added.’ In other words, if I have one hour to spend on X, which X is going to provide the most value for the organization? I push my team members to think that way. Just because we’ve always done it one way, doesn’t mean we need to do it that way tomorrow. I want people to think and challenge the status quo – it’s the only way that individuals, teams, and organizations get better. Oh, and I’m not afraid to hire people without experience, as long as they have critical thinking skills. You can teach almost anything else.

Integrity, Quality, and Teamwork. My father told me, even before I entered the corporate world, “know your line.” He was referencing my ethical line – defining what I’m not willing to compromise, regardless of the situation. That concept has made decisions throughout my career so much easier. Hearing that GreenPath incorporated “Integrity” its core values was highly attractive. Learning that GreenPath actually lived its core values sealed the deal.”

What is your typical workday?

I am convinced that there is no “typical” workday in the workforce anymore. My day can range from facilitating a leadership course to workforce planning to foundational grant opportunities and everything in between. There is no “typical,” which is why I love it. I work with anywhere from 5 to 500 staff members on a daily basis. When you serve the ‘people’ side of an organization, the number of interactions you may have is limitless.”

Can you describe the culture at GreenPath?

“Entertaining, fast-paced, and focused on quality. In terms of quality, we talk a lot about "honoring the courage of our clients.” The moment someone picks up the phone to call GreenPath and ask for help is a huge moment in their lives. We respect that, so we don’t sacrifice quality for speed. Having said that, we move quickly; we’re simply not very good at sitting around and waiting for something to come to fruition. I chose ‘entertaining’ because I think we’re a pretty good time! We make sure to prioritize fun (if you don’t prioritize it, you’ll never have time for it.) My role is making sure we’re hiring and retaining the people who align with our culture. If we do that well, maintaining the culture is pretty easy. It becomes a shared vision versus one individual determining the culture for an organization.”

What advice would you give a new alum or current student seeking a career in Human Resources?

“Get involved with your local Society for Human Resources (SHRM) chapter. You will be exposed to networking opportunities, professional development, and so much more. Don’t just sign up on the roster – volunteer for a committee or a project. You’ll create more meaningful relationships and doors will open quicker as a result. Once that door opens, work as hard as you can to learn the business and the industry. You will drive so much value to your organization if you truly understand how every hire impacts the success of the business.”



Please join Walsh College in applauding Danielle Crane in her continued success by adding your comments below. You can also connect with Danielle on LinkedIn here.

To nominate an alumnus to applaud, contact Duc Abrahamson, Alumni & Student Relations Officer, at (248) 823-1298.

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