Annual Report: Money & Investments

On the rise: Mary Felton

Compiled by Pete Bach. Originally printed in the Appleton Post Crescent, March 15, 2010

Who: Mary Felton

What she does: Owner of HR Business Partners LLC, Appleton, which she founded in February 2009.

What she says: “I saw a growing need for small businesses to have someone help them with their human resource needs. They need someone to help them navigate through the hundreds of regulations affecting employees in the workplace,” she said.

She attended Appleton West High School. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh with a bachelor’s degree in business, she worked for more than 20 years in human resource leadership positions at Fortune 500 firms before forging out on her own.

She worked for welding products maker Miller Electric Mfg. Co., Appleton, for 16 years as human resources director, then four years as vice president of human resources at TIDI Products, Neenah, which makes paper products for the medical and dental industry.

She said she entered the human relations field to “positively impact the lives of others” while successfully running a business.

Many smaller firms may not need a full-time HR person, she said, yet don’t have time to focus on HR issues since they’re too busy managing and growing a business.

“I look out for their business and help protect them from legal issues, court costs and disruptions to business,” Felton said. “They call HR Business Partners when they need help — which gives them the efficiency and executive level expertise when they need it most and without the cost of a full-time staff.”

One of the most gratifying aspects of her business is meeting customers’ needs.

“My clients see me as part of their team. I’m their HR person,” she said. “To quote from one my client’s testimonials: ‘It’s like having her down the hall.’ If you need me, call me. I’m there for them.”

Felton also volunteered to serve as president of the Fox Valley chapter of the Society of Human Resource Management.

Future plans: “To continue to grow the business and employ additional human resource professionals as needed.”