On the Rise: Mary Kate Henry

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Mary Kate Henry

Mary Kate Henry

Human Resources Manager | McCarthy Tire Service Co. Inc. | Age: 29

What was your first job in the industry?

My first job in the industry was when I was 13 years old. My job was answering phones and helping our receptionist. I was very nervous about starting my first day as I wasn’t sure if I would direct them the correct way or answer their questions.

What attracted you to the industry?

My family attracted me to the industry, and I knew once I got to college, I wanted to be part of the family business. Once I saw my brother and cousin enter the business, I didn’t want to miss out on the fun and knew I had to join. It was the best decision I ever made.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career?

The biggest challenge I have in human resources is recruiting and retaining employees. The tire industry is a tough market and employees will job-hop all over for a minimal increase in pay. It’s hard to find loyal employees who want to make a career with you and retire.

Who has had the biggest influence on your career?

The biggest influence on my career is my mother, Katie McCarthy-Lambert. She has always been my strongest supporter and my go- to for advice and she pushes me to be better. She is very well-respected by employees and other businesses and I admire that. I think she rubbed off on me with her philanthropy because she is very involved in her community. I wanted to follow in her footsteps once I joined the family business and I joined boards I am passionate about. I always tell those I meet when they speak to me about my mom that I want to be like her when I grow up.

What is your biggest accomplishment in the industry?

I think some projects I have been involved with implementing that have made a difference in our company are upgraded benefits for our employees, a modern time and attendance system where employees punch in with their fingerprints, and paperless personnel files.

Tell us about your current job and responsibilities. How do you spend your workday?

My days are never the same, and I love that. I currently handle payroll, benefits, employee relations, 401(k), and almost anything else HR-related for our 60-plus locations.

What did you do before you entered the tire industry?

 I worked for a company called Pride Mobility Products, in their HR department.

If a friend expressed an interest in joining the industry, what advice would you give them?

It’s a great industry to get into, but it’s hard work. The upside is that the potential to grow is unlimited if you work hard. The industry needs more young professionals.

What do you expect to be doing 20 years from now?

I’d love to still be in HR, but on a larger scale, growing our department as we grow our company. I’m constantly trying to implement new ideas and systems that add value for our employees and streamline processes for the company.

Aside from the basics like health insurance, what’s the most important perk/benefit an employer should offer? 

Paid time off. Everyone needs time off to rejuvenate and spend time with family.

What’s the biggest issue facing the tire industry?

Recruiting and retaining talent.

Tell us about your family.

My husband, John, and I just got married in May 2019! We have a golden retriever named Charlie who we love. My mom and dad are Gary and Katie Lambert, and my siblings are Gary and Tim. We all work in the business together, and it’s been really fun being together. I also have two nieces, Nora and Anna.

What’s the worst cliché or generalization made about your generation?

That we don’t work hard. That may be true for some, but not all of us.

Name a talent you wish you had

Artistic ability. I dreaded art class growing up!

What’s your favorite childhood memory?

Summers living at Harvey’s Lake with my cousins.

If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?

My great-grandfather, “Pop Pop.” He founded McCarthy Tire, and I would love to meet him!

 Do you live by a mantra or motto? If so, what is it?

 “We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.” – Ronald Reagan

Tell us something about yourself others might not know.

 I played soccer in college.

What’s your go-to song for a road trip playlist?

 “Born to Run” by Bruce Springsteen.

If tomorrow you could move into any other position in your company, what would you choose, and why?

Actually, I wouldn’t change a thing. I love what I do, and I love helping people.

What’s your favorite weekend activity?

Spending time with my family, whether it’s getting together to watch a big game or gathering for a nice dinner.

 Who’s your role model?

My mom. She is everything I hope to be!

If we gave you $1,000 and one hour, how would you spend the money?

Divide it up and donate it to the various charity boards that I serve on.

What advice would you give your high school self?

Always give 100%, no matter who is watching.

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