Chief Human Resources Officer
Melissa B. Richards is a 1996 graduate of the Pennsylvania State University after her time in the military. She serves as Verland’s Chief Human Resources Officer. In that role, she leads the HR team in talent acquisition and retention, employee and labor relations, leadership development, employee performance management and succession planning, and internal talent optimization. She also collaborates with the entire Verland leadership team in workforce management, compensation, benefits, employee engagement, employee growth planning with professional and personal development, internal and external communication branding and external marketing efforts, and technology enhancements with improvements to Human Capital Information Systems.
Before joining Verland, Melissa served as Vice President of Human Resources at M.J. Brunner Inc. in Pittsburgh; Vice President of Human Resources at several Penn National Gaming properties in Mississippi, Pennsylvania, and Ohio; Director of Human Resources at Caesar’s Casino Property, Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino & Racetrack, in Chester, Pennsylvania; and Director of Human Resources at Odawa Casino Resorts in Petoskey, Michigan. In addition, she held several other management level Human Resources positions in a variety of for-profit companies.
In 2010, Melissa was recruited to Northern Michigan as the Director of Human Resources at Odawa Casino Resorts and tasked by the owners of the casino and resort area, The Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, to create a succession program to prepare and retain tribal members into senior (director level) leadership roles. In the beginning, only 12 percent of top management positions were held by tribal nation leaders. In the four years that Melissa worked as the director, she and her associate, whom she closely mentored, through a three-tier program of succession and talent pipelining, increased the tribal nation representation in top management positions to more than 50%. Concurrently, Melissa mentored, coached, supported, and groomed her successor to the position that she would soon be vacating. She cites as one of her most rewarding professional experiences watching members of the LTBB tribe develop into leaders, growing professionally and building personal growth and wealth, while reaching beyond what they initially may have seen as their potential.
Melissa truly values people and believes that any organization should invest assiduously and conscientiously in their people. She understands that human capital that aligns with one’s vision, mission, and core values is crucial to creating a welcoming and fair place to work. And, she knows that an engaged workforce is a successful workforce, regardless of the definition of success.
Melissa’s first and most important role is being a mom to her 12-year-old daughter and a care partner to her own mother. She also enjoys riding her motorcycle, camping, singing, and spending time outside enjoying all of the seasons that Southwestern Pennsylvania offers.
Melissa is excited to spend the final years of her career at Verland, where people matter and a caring culture is not just a phrase, but a way of life every day.
Support Our Mission
Verland was established through the love and compassion of its three founders and the generosity of one individual who was inspired to share her good fortune with others by donating the land on which Verland’s Ohio Township campus was built. Today, your support is needed to continue building community homes, expand the capacity of all facilities, and support our 230 individuals with loving care.
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