Women Worth Watching 2015
Deborah (Debbie) Higgins
For Title Resource Group’s SVP of HR, it’s Truly All about People
Debbie Higgins has over 25 years of experience in all disciplines of human resource management. At Title Resource Group, she oversees the human resources function for 2,000 TRG employees in 385 offices across the United States. This includes performance management, learning and development, compensation, benefits, organizational change and development, and the company’s affirmative action plan.
Debbie is the executive sponsor of the TRG Diversity & Inclusion Council. She is also executive sponsor of the TRG Cares committee, which raises funds and organizes events for local and national charities, and helps support a local women’s shelter.
“…I have been fortunate to learn from many smart, focused professionals…”
Outside work, Debbie is actively involved in fundraising, volunteering for, organizing, and participating in bike rides, runs, and other events to benefit multiple sclerosis, cancer organizations, a local food bank, Special Olympics, and the Willow Tree Center’s anti-bullying campaign. She served on the Willow Tree Center’s board for three years and held the position of president for one year. Debbie was instrumental in sending more than 30 local middle school children to the Willow Tree Center’s annual camp, which focuses on teaching children how to cope with the stresses of growing up, live a healthy life, and avoid negative peer pressure.
“There are so many great women in HR roles,” said Debbie. “I have been fortunate to learn from many smart, focused professionals, who happen to be women. My first mentor was a wonderful inspiration to me. I cannot emphasize enough how important she has been to my development. If any woman starting her career has not found that mentor yet, find him or her!!”
Education: BS Rider University
First job: Retail sales person; Bamberger’s (Macys’)
What I’m Reading: “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption” by Laura Hillenbrand
The most important quality a woman leader should have is…
…I think the most important quality every leader should have, regardless of their gender, is ethical behavior. Without it, our business has no compass, our leaders lack credibility, and our people have nowhere to turn for role models in the workplace.
The career advice I’d give my former self:
Learn better work-life balance, without a doubt. I worked in an environment early in my career that valued time spent on the job. I wish that I had become a more vocal advocate for work-life balance much earlier in my career, both for myself and for my colleagues.
Words I live by:
Ethics and credibility are important to me. Do the right thing!
The one thing I’d do differently in my career, knowing whatI know now, is…
…I wish that I had learned the skill to trust my instincts and act on them with confidence earlier in my career. Do not be afraid to speak up, ask questions, make suggestions. It is so important to have a voice.
When I really need to focus on a project, I…
…clear the other “stuff” from my mind. I delegate or clean up other projects or issues so I can give my entire focus to that project.
My biggest career leap (and what I learned from it) was…
…leaving retail, where I worked for so many years, and coming to work in a completely different industry. We are fortunate in Human Resources to have a transferable skill set, so I wanted to try a different industry. While I was apprehensive about leaving what I knew so well, I knew I would grow more if I learned something completely different. I was very fortunate to find a company like Title Resource Group (TRG) and Realogy. We have a supportive culture, and I am surrounded by a great team. What I learned from this leap was that finding the right culture, where I knew I could thrive, was the most important consideration in my new career adventure.
Being a woman in my profession has been…
…there are so many great women in HR roles. I have been fortunate to learn from many smart focused professionals, who happen to be women.
I’ve learned that failure is…
…sometimes healthy. Learning to accept the lessons of failure is so important to personal growth.
I maintain a healthy personal life by…
…exercising most every morning. We are fortunate enough to have a fitness center in the office, so I can sneak in the occasional work out there too! I try to eat right most of the time. Most important, though, I try to laugh as often as I can. Laughter helps to balance the stress of work life most effectively for me.
I knew my present career was what I wanted to do when…
…I met my first mentor. She was a wonderful inspiration to me. I cannot emphasize enough how important she has been to my development. If any woman starting her career has not found that mentor yet, FIND HIM/HER!!