Have you met Rochelle Breedon (JD ’14)? We volunteer together on Ingram Micro’s Philanthropic Committee, planning activities for local nonprofits and working to give grants to our many well-deserving applicants. Rochelle earned a law degree from the Dale E. Fowler School of Law in 2014 and is now a human resource consultant at Ingram Micro. She is a self-proclaimed “corporate hippie” who brings joy to everyone around her!
Alyssa Lahham ’13: Tell us about your career. What does a day on the job entail?
Rochelle Breedon (JD ’14): I am a human resources consultant at a large global technology company, Ingram Micro. I am on our Human Resources Services team and provide support to the entire U.S. organization and even sometimes around the world. I manage our U.S. immigration program, so I get to work with interesting people from all walks of life and help Ingram Micro source the best talent, no matter where it is located in the world. I also work in the compliance space and use my spunky personality to train my H.R. team and managers on compliance topics without putting them to sleep. I am also involved in our internal associate engagement activities, as well as our philanthropic and community involvement.
Some days I may spend writing contracts or reviewing employee relations issues with our H.R. business partners, others I may spend volunteering in our community helping job seekers at WHW find outfits for job interviews. A lot of my role involves providing guidance and support to my team, which made my transition from law to human resources a breeze. Even though I do not have to visit the courthouse often any more, I still get to be a “counselor at law” and use my expertise in employment law to make a positive impact at my company. Even though I am young, I have earned a lot of respect in the corporate world for my ability to influence and for my trusted advice.
AL: Why did this type of work originally interest you and how did you get started?
RB: When I realized that the constant battle of litigation was not for me, I started to research careers that would provide me with a more positive and less adversarial environment to work in. Human resources and the ability to use a legal background to better the employee experience and make a corporate organization a more compliant and ethical employer really spoke to me as the next step on my path. At the time, my father worked in the Information Systems Department and told me that there were open roles in H.R. at Ingram Micro. When I first applied, I wasn’t qualified for any open roles. A few months later, they were looking for a candidate to join the H.R. team who had a strong compliance or legal background and I fit the bill. They called me to join the team as a human resources consultant.
AL: What parts of your job do you find most satisfying and the most challenging?
RB: The most satisfying part of my job is the opportunity to make a difference in the community. With the generous support of my company and the flexibility and encouragement from my supervisor, Kendra, I get to dedicate some of my work time to organization of community projects and volunteering side-by-side with other Ingram Micro associates. We have built a community garden in Stanton with United Way, packaged thousands of meals with Rise Against Hunger, made blankest for cancer patients with Yana Cancer Comfort, and even ran a half marathon to raise $10,000 for Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation. When I look at an organization, it is not the profits they make and the business influence they assert that impress me, but rather the ability to be a good corporate citizen and make a difference in the world with the people and resources they have.
The most challenging part of my job is remembering to not take things personally. Sometimes I get so invested in the work that I am doing that I forget to have perspective or take a break to breathe. Perhaps this comes with professional maturity that I have yet to obtain, or perhaps I will always be this way, but learning to hold on loosely to outcomes, set healthy boundaries, and manage my mental health in addition to my work responsibilities, has been a key theme for me this year.
AL: What are your highest aspirations professionally and personally?
RB: My goal is to eventually start my own business as a wellness coach focusing on health, nutrition, yoga, meditation and successful relationships. My partner and I plan to own and operate a sustainable farm, with enough property to host retreats, groups, weddings, and other events that help highlight and promote the best parts of being alive and being well. Real food, real people, real love.
Personally I look forward to creating a family and a community that I am proud of and fulfilled by, and leaving a lasting impression of love and positivity on the world.
AL: What are you most passionate about outside of work?
RB: Outside of work I am most passionate about mindfulness, wellness, conservation and spending time outdoors. I love to hike and backpack, travel around to music festivals, practice yoga, and work towards creating a home and lifestyle that is more thoughtful, sustainable, and full of joy.
AL: Who or what has inspired you most?
RB: My partner, and the love of my life, Leo Hannegan. When we met, I was in that transitory stage where you are first starting to establish your brand and figure out who you are in the world. You are no longer a university student, but are now in the real world establishing your own identity and defining who you want to be and how you want your life to look. He helped me burst forth from a stage of wishing and hoping, to actively living the way I wanted to all along. He taught me so much about mindfulness, about movement and fluidity, about letting go and having fun. He helped me redefine the societal framework for “success” and learn to live my life based on my own ideas of success and true happiness. He re-inspires me every day to be the best version of myself. No one is defined by the letters after their name, the title on their business card, or the money in their bank account, but by the ferocity of their love, passions of their soul, and the positive impact they leave on the world.
AL: How has your Chapman degree helped you?
RB: Earning a law degree at Dale E. Fowler School of Law has helped earn me a lot of respect and influence at a large corporation at a very young age. I have experienced a lot that the legal world has to offer in a short amount of time, including managing litigation cases in court, obtaining clients, advising clients, and earning my current position at Ingram Micro as an H.R. consultant. It enables me to speak up with courage to make my organization better and provide a unique skill set in my H.R. role, and it has been the reason I was assigned some of my key projects. I also had the opportunity to take a psychology of conflict resolution course while at Chapman that changed my way of looking at myself and conflict, and shifted my paradigms about different communication styles. I learned to be more patient and reflective, to read people well, and advanced myself personally and professionally by taking these skills to heart. Big shout out to Professor Slocum for the work she does to make the legal profession more thoughtful, mindful and positive results-oriented.
AL: What’s the best advice you ever received and what words of encouragement do you have for future Chapman alumni?
RB: “Your body knows before your mind does.” –Danielle Laporte.
Part of what makes me stand out in the professional world is my willingness to listen to my intuition, my commitment to integrity in my actions and speech, and my courageous communication in challenging situations.
My advice in a few bullets:
- check in with yourself often and don’t be afraid to course correct
- live your truth
- talk to strangers
- thank your teachers
- show up authentically in the world
- don’t be afraid to ask for what you want
- make time for you
- gather perspectives different than you own
- choose positivity and love over fear every time