Story by Sherry DiBari

Jamayca "Jay" Madolid, graduating magna cum laude from Old Dominion University with a bachelor's degree in business management and a minor in business analytics, has always been ambitious.

"From a very early age, I've been a self-starter," Madolid said. "I grew up in a home where it was valued and emphasized to get things done before being asked."

Her resumé is a testament to those values. Madolid, a Perry Honors College student and member of Phi Beta Sigma National Honors Society, is ranked in the top 10% of the Strome College of Business's graduating class.

During an internship at Busch Vacuum Pumps and Systems headquarters, she had the opportunity to present proactive policy strategy and advocate for employees. "That role made me realize that I am detail oriented and self-motivated," she said. "Much of that derives from my value towards 'people' operations. I love working for people, with people, appreciating people and impacting people."

This internship solidified her decision to pursue a career in human resources management.

"I believe that a human resources management career will allow me to engage with the value of building and maintaining relationships with people and impacting them by helping them not only find their dream job but feel heard in their job," Madolid said.

Discovering human resources was the path she wanted to follow was not easy.

"Throughout high school, I was pretty confident that I was going to go into elementary education to become a teacher," Madolid said.

Madolid worked in a child-care facility at her gym for nearly six years. She created interactive lesson plans and strategized ways to encourage better behavior during playtime.

She was admitted into a teaching program in high school called "Teachers for Tomorrow," which gave students the opportunity to work in elementary and middle schools. Madolid taught classes, worked on lesson plans, graded papers and built relationships with students.

Madolid, whom students called "Miss Jay," was confident that teaching was her calling.

However, her parents didn't agree.

Her mother encouraged her to become a nurse. Madolid said it wasn't meant to be. "I can't even look at blood."

Her father suggested business. Madolid felt that was an easier compromise.

She researched business careers that could satisfy her passion for teaching and working with people.

Human resources offered a training-and-development component that allowed teaching as well as recruitment that allowed for engaging and interacting with people and developing relationships.

Human resources management also offered opportunities to make organizational practices better, similar to creating lesson plans. Another opportunity was employee relations.

"That doesn't sound fun in the textbooks, but it allows you to advocate and listen to your employees," Madolid said. "I am a strong believer that employees serve our people and not businesses."

Madolid cites research that shows people, on average, spend about 90,000 hours at work in a lifetime.

"It's so important to have functions in a business to monitor and ensure that checks and balances are in place to make sure you feel safe, appreciated and motivated in the environment you report to five days a week," she said.

Madolid credits ODU and particularly business faculty for providing opportunities to follow her passion.

"They are eager to be a part of your journey to success and will bend backward for you to help you accomplish your aspirations," she said.

For the past two years, Madolid has been the resident assistant (RA) for the Business Living-Learning Community, a housing and residence life community for students interested in business and public administration.

As RA, she provided the first level of support for students regarding university life, facilitating programming events and assisting in educational initiatives.

"Being in a community where I can provide direct educational support is something I am very appreciative of," Madolid said. "This is also while being able to support the other 600 residents that I indirectly supervise in my community."

Madolid, a Strome College of Business student ambassador, also serves as director of employer relations for the ODU student chapter of the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM).

"I am responsible for networking with local employers and building relationships to have guest speakers come into our meetings to educate our members in different areas of professional development within human resources," she said.

Madolid cites one positive effect of the COVID-19 crisis. She has been forced to slow down.

"Nowadays, I am learning to walk and enjoy the view, when I am used to a lifestyle that requires me to always run," Madolid said. "I'm learning to take it at a day at a time and learning to trust the process and I encourage my colleagues to do the same."

Madolid's advice for graduates: "Remember to still turn to each other for a helping hand. Be neighborly and kind. Good things are coming."

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