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Title: Senior Human Resources Specialist
Started at NCSC: December 2019
Bethany Zoll lives on a 17-acre winery with her husband and two sons, 14-year-old Aiden and 11-year-old Frank – and many in-laws – in rural Gloucester County, Va., only about five miles from where she grew up. As a senior human resources specialist at NCSC, she’s busy focusing on hiring and diversity and inclusion training, but she also manages to carve out time to raise chickens, teach yoga, garden, and sometimes help out at the winery. To find out what she thinks about roosters and Metallica, read on.
What do your parents do for a living, and did that influence what you wanted to do? My dad works at NASA, in research and development, and my mom has had different jobs, mostly consulting for accounting and bookkeeping companies. I never had a lot of interest in that, to tell you the truth. Neither of my parents had a college education, and I knew whatever I did, I wanted that, and that was important to them, too.
You got a degree in industrial and organizational psychology at Christopher Newport University in Virginia. That sounds like training for a career in HR. It was. I studied productivity, engagement and organizational development. It was the psychology of work and good preparation for my job.
Did you ever watch The Office? The lead character Michael Scott has this irrational dislike of HR. A few times. …In HR, we’re familiar with what a lot of people think about us. My first boss jokingly said, “I hope you didn’t get into HR because you like people.” (Laughs.) We’re not always popular, but it’s rewarding when we can make someone’s work experience better.
You were a human resources director for Bon Secuors before you came to work at NCSC. How did you come to work here? I was working in the Richmond area, and the commute was killing me, and I was supporting a three-shift operation and on call 24 hours a day. I was drawn to the mission of NCSC, and I liked the idea of working in Williamsburg.
I’ve heard that you raise chickens. What’s the hardest part of doing that? (Laughs.) Two things: keeping them safe from raccoons, foxes and hawks, and, second, the roosters. For the longest time I only had hens. Then I got four roosters, and that was four roosters too many. I ended up keeping one. Let’s just say, roosters can be difficult to be around. They’re very mean.
Sounds unpleasant. What’s the worst job you ever had? I worked at Picture People (photo studio in Newport News, Va.) for two weeks. I quickly learned I was terrible at taking pictures, I couldn’t make babies smile, and I wasn’t good at upselling. …A lot of times you had to photograph large families, and babies were crying. It was tough.
What’s something that surprises people about you when they hear about it for the first time? Pre-pandemic, I was a concert junkie – mostly hard rock and punk. I love the whole concert experience. I always wanted to be up front, in the mosh pit, crowd surfing, getting on stage sometimes. …Metallica is my favorite band. A lot of people who don’t know me well are surprised to learn that I like that kind of music.
A similar question: What’s something interesting about you that few people know? I guess a lot of people here have gotten to know me and know that I’m a yoga instructor. They don’t know that by retirement, my goal is to live fully sustainable. I have the chickens. I’m an avid gardener, and we eat what I grow. I’m learning about herbalism and wild foraging, and we’re looking into solar energy for our next house. I think it would be great to live off the land and be totally off the grid.
Have you ever met anyone famous? If so, who was it, and what were the circumstances? I met Pharrell Williams at a nightclub in Virginia Beach back in the day. He was still with The Neptunes. I introduced myself and said hi. That was it.
If your house was on fire, and you could grab only one thing, what would it be? I’m not a collector of things, and I’m not super attached to anything in my house, but I do have greenery all over the house. I have plants my grandmother gave me that are important to me.