Meet Leanne Pawlak – The Buffalo #HRCommunity!

Meet the Buffalo #HRCommunity! COVID-19 has no doubt been a challenging time for most HR professionals to navigate. I am so grateful to the amazing HR Community for showing up for each other and offering information and support. You all are the best! I want to introduce my network to some of my connections who rock and who are rocks for their organizations! Stay tuned for multiple posts in this series – all from HR pros practicing in different industries. If there’s anything I can help you with, please send me a message on LinkedIn or through the contact me area here on my blog.


Meet Leanne! I first met Leanne when we were both HR Managers for two of Delaware North’s local field units. It was so nice to have friends in my role at other locations to collaborate with and bounce ideas off of. She was always so kind and willing to share how she was handling things and answer my questions. Leanne is now an HR Director in a hospital setting and I’m inspired by her work supporting her staff on the front lines, especially during this challenging time. Connect with Leanne and read on below!

Introduce yourself

My name is Leanne Pawlak. I am Director of Human Resources at Kaleida Health. Throughout my HR career I have held HR Management roles in the fields of healthcare, human services, hospitality, and retail. My experience has focused on full lifecycle recruitment, employee relations, labor relations, HRIS, and training and development.

Describe your current position and in what industry do you work

As Director of Human Resources at WNY’s largest healthcare organization, I am responsible for the delivery of Human Resource programs and services in support of site and corporate initiatives and principles. I am a member of the site leadership teams and consult management on the HR strategies necessary to achieve business objectives.

How has COVID-19 impacted you the most?

Professionally, there is increased focus on COVID-19 related meetings and projects. It is important to stay well-informed with the information that is changing day-to-day. Working in healthcare during this crisis invokes some fear and uncertainty, but it has made me extremely grateful and proud. It is truly amazing to see the teamwork occurring between clinical and non-clinical areas across the organization, and the dedication that all are putting forth to persevere and provide exceptional care during this challenging time.

What’s 1 thing you wished someone outside of HR understood about your job during this time?

My office is located in a hospital and HR is “essential staff”. We stay at work for you, please stay at home for us.

What are you doing to practice self-care?

Yoga, running, online shopping, and spending quality time with my husband, Jeff, and our miniature dachshund, Reese.

What has been your favorite part of your HR career?

Every role I have held and every organization I have been a part of has been valuable in molding me into the HR professional I am today. Being promoted to my current role was an exciting achievement.

What is a word of advice or encouragement you’d give to other HR pros?

“We cannot become who we want to be by remaining who we are.” Never stop learning, don’t be afraid to take chances, and change is a good thing!

What can the HR community do to support/help you?

Stay home if you can. Wash your hands. And, please stop sending spam emails/LinkedIn messages/phone calls to solicit HR services during this time!

Share something fun about yourself

I am a self-proclaimed foodie. I have a huge sweet tooth and would eat dessert for every meal of the day. I am a big Bills fan. In the summer, I enjoy golfing and gardening. In the winter, I enjoy ice skating.

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