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Samantha Hernandez, 39

Executive director of human resources, Pro-Link Global

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  • | 3:00 p.m. October 14, 2016
  • Class of 2016
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Samantha Hernandez is fascinated by how companies use psychology in business. It’s why she chose to specialize in industrial organizational psychology in school.

After working as a benefits administrator at food distributor Sysco, Hernandez decided to join a background check company, Ad-Vance Screening, as vice president of operations. When 2008 stalled hiring, Hernandez looked for a new position and ended up leading human resources at Southeastern Guidedogs Inc.

Though she loved spending her extra time with the puppies, she was ready for the next step, wanting to take on a global HR opportunity. That’s when she joined Pro-Link Global, a company that provides immigration services. Within a year, she was asked to join the executive management team.

Today, Hernandez has employees in almost every region in the world. She’s learned labor laws and culture differences to support recruitment and training for the company’s nine regional offices worldwide. Pro-Link Global has 80 employees and partners with more than 1,000 consultants.

Hernandez says her biggest challenge is communication.  She’s constantly working to make sure that she’s sharing the same message in the same context, taking into consideration the cultural components that may impact it.

It requires a lot of balancing. Hernandez uses the website to keep track of what time it is in the different locations.

She uses Skype and What’s App to keep herself available and accessible for international employees.

Hernandez says she learns the most from spending time in her company’s locations. For example, no matter how much she prepared herself for the company opening an office in India, “being there and living it gave me insight…and helped me understand the Indian business culture.”

— Traci McMillan Beach


Name: Samantha Hernandez

Age: 39

City of residence: Sarasota

Twitter handle: N/A

Employer: Pro-Link GLOBAL

Title: Executive Director of Human Resources

Birthplace: Brockport NY

Years on the Gulf Coast: 26

Marital status/children: Married with two daughters ages 13 and 5

Alma mater: University of Central Florida – BA. Industrial/Organizational Psychology

Webster University – MA. Human Resources Management 

Best place to network: LinkedIn

Coolest business experience: When in New Delhi, India, we had the opportunity to visit a large Sikh temple. Our team was asked if we’d like to volunteer by rolling out dough to be made into bread to feed the hungry. It was so meaningful to learn about a new culture and give back at the same time.

Messy desk or clean workspace: Clean and paperless

Best business lesson ever learned: Don’t try to do it alone. Teamwork gets work done better and faster and you can bring others up with you.

A website that makes your job easier: In my role I am trying to schedule meetings and trainings globally. I couldn’t do it without

Community group you’re most involved with: Sarasota Manatee Human Resource Association

Favorite off-hours activity: My husband and I met while working at Walt Disney World during college. Now, we love taking our children to the Disney parks. There is something incredibly special and “full circle” for our family to spend time there and reminisce about past memories while making new ones - it’s so fulfilling. 

Two people, dead or alive, you’d like to have dinner with: I would love to have dinner with Harriet Chalmers Adams who explored large sections of South America completely bucking the traditional image of women at the time (early 1900s). I think a women’s perspective on nature and culture is so interesting.

I’d also love to have dinner with my grandfather once again – you never get tired of hearing those old family stories, do you?

What you would be doing if you could pick another career: I’ve always wanted to be an artist. Despite having no talent, the romantic image of painting a beautiful landscape is very appealing.

Top item on your bucket list: A hot air balloon ride off the Grand Canyon.

Skill you’d like to learn: After traveling to so many different places for work, I wish I had a better ear for languages. I’d love to be able to connect with my colleagues in their native language.

Who would play you in a movie about your life: Julia Roberts, we’ve both got a big smile.

If I had a magic wand I’d: I’ve seen firsthand the power of education. If I had a magic wand, I’d want to see every child set up with a great education.


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