Melissa DeVore learned early in life how to adapt o change. Growing up in a military family, she and her family moved every two or three years
due to her father’s Air Force assignments. Each time, she
was forced to make new friends. The upside was that she
met an interesting and diverse group of people over the
That experience has served her well in HR, a
profession in which being able to make quick, sound
decisions and show empathy for others are key attributes.
She has also used those skills to help other HR
practitioners. DeVore currently serves as the Alabama
SHRM State Council director, and she co-chaired the
Alabama SHRM State Conference from 2013 to 2016.
Prior to returning to her home state of Alabama in 2011,
she served as president of SHRM’s Albuquerque chapter
and held several positions with the New Mexico State
Council, including co-chairing the New Mexico State
WHAT’S YOUR WORK PHILOSOPHY?
Lead by example. This includes honoring commitments
and meeting deadlines, and keeping people informed
of progress and changes in the timeline. I also make
an effort to listen and ask questions. Finally, own your
mistakes. Don’t point fingers.
WHAT MOTIVATES YOU?
Helping our staff to achieve a greater good. Working
for a nonprofit research institute, my team supports
amazing people who are making discoveries about
cancer, the brain, childhood genetic disorders,
molecular biology and other areas. The individuals
who manage our biotech campus help spur economic
development in the area. Our outreach team educates
students about genomic science, showing them how
mapping personal genetics can help fight disease,
through hands-on classroom modules, digital learning,
and school and summer-camp experiences. Just talking
about this makes me excited about my job!
WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED?
Become the best at what you do. Know the business
and understand how you can impact it through HR. Last
but not least, gain influence through connections—don’t
isolate yourself. Find partners at all levels.
Vice president for human resources
HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology