Bruce Waller’s HR Superstars Series… Meet Dena Culpepper!

Sharing Leadership Lessons in an interview with Bruce Waller…

10 Answers from HR Leaders that make a difference! 

I once heard Sara Blakely, (CEO Spanx) say, “The more you experience in life, the more you have to offer others.”  Today, I want for you to experience more by learning from some Super Stars serving in HR! I am inspired by people every day who model great leadership for others through their daily actions in human resources. These leaders have common threads that include empathy, love and care for people. They value people and the importance of relationship building.

In this HR Super Stars interview series, I want to introduce you to some of the best of the best in HR! These leaders make impact and will share challenges, successes, and perspectives on their journey as a business leader and in their personal lives. My hope is each person will inspire you and challenge you to become more for others on your journey.  So, let’s get started and meet our HR Superstars!

Today, we are going to hear from this week’s HR Superstar, Dena Culpepper, Owner of the Culpepper Management Group, an Association Management Firm. Dena is also instrumental in providing operations and management support for Texas SHRM State Council. We are very lucky to have her on the team and look forward to hearing more about her journey!

Now, let’s meet Dena…

  1. Where did you grow up?  My family moved around Texas due to my father’s job, but we landed in DeSoto, Texas during my high school years, so that is where I consider home.
  2. How did you get started in business/career?  My initial career path started in the Customer Service area of Comerica Bank.   I learned the banking business and loved what I did for a living, but Comerica is based out of Michigan and to continue to grow with the company I would have needed to move.  So, after much prayer, I left my position and started my own company in hopes of charting a path that would allow me to take my business and customer services skills and apply them in a different way.  21 years later; I am glad I took the risk.
  3. Do you remember a challenge or life lesson that you had to overcome early in your career which made you a better leader?  My oldest daughter falls on the Autism spectrum and when she was born the amount of pressure me and my family had to deal with was overwhelming.   I learned through both positive and negative examples what a good company and supportive team could mean to a family struggling with challenges they never expected to face, and that experience shaped me into the type or leader I am today.  I support, encourage, and lift up my volunteers and staff.   Our family did not overcome the challenge of Autism, but we learned to manage and thrive because of the support we received from good people who cared.
  4. What was that moment when you knew that you had found your lane, your purpose?   When I started my Association Management Firm, I was hesitant and cautious.  In the early years, people began to tell me that I was good at my job which caused me to want to become even better.  I focused on helping my clients succeed and when I saw that success actually happen, I knew I was doing something right. 
  5. What is your most valued achievement, and why? My family is my most valued achievement.  I work harder at being a wife and mother than on anything else in my life.  If they are struggling or if they are thriving, I’ve got their back and I am beyond blessed that they are mine to love.
  6. Is there any one person who inspired or mentored you along the way?  So many great people have made an impact on my life, but the one who sticks out among the group is my high school civics teacher, Bill Hickey.  He was the first person who treated me like an adult and challenged me to think for myself and be wise in my decisions.  I think of him often and I hope he would be proud of the decisions I have made.
  7. Do you have a saying or creed that you live by?  This too shall pass.   I am mindful that both the good and the bad things will fade so I try to appreciate the good times and not worry too much about the bad times.  
  8. What book(s) are you reading or audio to help grow your leadership right now?  I am really enjoying the Becoming Your Best book and Webinar series.  Steven Shallenberger is an inspiring teacher who makes me want to strive to improve at every level.
  9. Can you share any of your daily disciplines that help you stay focused as a leader?   I am a planner.  I like to know what needs to be done and a good list is usually my key for focus.  I create my list for the week on Sunday nights and create new lists at the end of each business day so that I can be prepared for the week / day will hold.
  10. What advice would you give others to help them on their leadership journey?  Try to learn from the examples set from everyone around you and remember that failure and success are both important parts of this journey. 

Thank you for sharing your wisdom and insights, Dena. You have inspired me so much in this interview! 

Some of my takeaways include… All business success is centered around serving the customer, learning customer service early pays off, sometimes your path will take you to places you never dreamed, team support is critical in the workplace and in your home, you never know what someone might be going through – and I absolutely love this. It’s all about people you are surrounded by in business and in life! Feedback is a gift and can fuel someone on their journey. Speak up when you see an opportunity to lift someone up – be a lifter! Family is the why and purpose for everything you do, Mentors make a difference — everyone needs a Bill Hickey in their life. It doesn’t matter if you are a mentee or a mentor, just be one and accelerate. This too shall pass is a great motto to live by… Having the right perspective provides an attitude of gratitude. Check out Becoming your best. I have the book and loved it… My favorite line is “The art is in the start”! Very inspiring book… Planning keeps you in front and intentional in all that we do. Love the advice… Be a model of leadership. Learn from everyone in your path – both good and bad.

Thanks again Dena for letting us learn more about you and your journey to share with others as an HR Superstar! If you would like to learn more Dena and Texas SHRM, visit www.texasshrm.org

Congratulations to our HR Superstar, Dena Culpepper! You make a difference in the HR Community.

This interview was submitted by Bruce Waller, CRP, PHR, SHRM-CP, Vice President of Armstrong Relocation and Companies in Dallas, Texas. If you have questions, or would like to recommend someone to be featured in Bruce Waller’s HR Superstars Series, call 972-389-5673 or email bwaller@goarmstrong.com. You can also sign up for Bruce’s blog “A Relocation Minute” on Leadership, HR, and Mobility and receive each week at www.brucewaller.com   

1 thought on “Bruce Waller’s HR Superstars Series… Meet Dena Culpepper!”

  1. Dena is such an amazing person! Bill Hickey really was a great and inspiring leader! I too was privileged to have learned from him. He touched so many young lives and set us on paths to success by developing our thought processes with his compassion and integrity. Great stuff, Dena and Bruce!! Thank you for sharing!! Kim P.

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