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My day by Donna Martin

Donna Martin, Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, Ameren Corporation

By Donna Martin 01 December 2008

Donna Martin, Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, Ameren Corporation
My day by Donna Martin4:45 AM Music awakes me. Four cats fed, I pack my breakfast, lunch and two snacks. Check Blackberry for messages and calendar to know how to dress. It’s 6 AM. I tune to soft jazz for 30-minute drive; music sets my mood and energy level.

6:30 AM I check our corporate Wellness Centre for attendance; then in the lift to 5th floor office. Strong coffee accompanies breakfast. I prep for a Benefits Committee meeting and decisions on our health care cost-sharing strategy between the company and employees-retirees. We also will review several pension plan amendments tied to new government regulations.

7:15 AM My assistant, Pat Fortney, arrives and overviews materials I’ll need for today’s meetings. Off to Benefits Committee.

9:00 AM Back to office for messages. One is from a retiree who’d like me to hire his grandson. I snack while I talk.

9:30 AM Two HR staff and an attorney arrive to discuss our policy requiring officers to retire at 65. Surprise: no one can find written documentation for this long-established practice. I ask them to benchmark other companies so I can prepare a recommendation for Board of Directors.

10:30 AM A new female executive arrives for an hour of coaching and mentoring. I convey that being an officer is more than just new job responsibilities; she must think about the shadow an officer casts as a role model.

11:30 AM Working lunch; I join teleconference on my workforce planning project. Later, I check messages and talk with assistant. I also check my energy: am I being a good management model?

1:00 PM The Executive Leadership Team discusses our stock price and effect of proposed rate changes. We also have to set corporate priorities for next 18 months. Everything discussed will have tremendous consequences. Only some issues settled; we adjourn at 3:00 PM.

3:15 PM A protein bar is my booster for filming a five-minute message regarding our culture change initiative called “Project Unfreeze”. The video is for our next officers’ My Day meeting. I change into a formal gown for some fun: we’re filming our company version of American Idol with one of our labour union leaders in support of a United Way campaign.

4:30 PM Back in business attire to meet with my HR vice presidents on: (1) budget reallocations, (2) preparations for a Board presentation on workforce planning and (3) refocusing resources to meet dramatically increasing hiring needs. After meeting ends, one VP stays to discuss a reorganization plan, which I approve with modifications.

6:00 PM Emails, phone calls and my “blue chip” to-dos for tomorrow.

7:00 PM To health club before it closes, I exercise and de-stress. Home by 8:00 PM to feed cats and dine alone. Later, I relax with escape fiction. I call two close to my heart: my 86- year-old mother at her home and my husband, working at our farm.

10:00 PM I reflect how fortunate I am to work at a profession I’m passionate about, one with so many opportunities to lead change. Working for a power company is great, but it does take a lot of energy. But now, sleep.

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