Hina Malik: ‘Do Not Be Afraid to Take a Chance on Yourself’

Job Role: Senior Coordinator, Benefits

Department: Human Resources

Tell us a bit about yourself. How would your friends and family describe you? What are you passionate about? 

Hina Malik

My friends and family tend to believe I hold the answers to the universe…my answers come with a bit of sass, but there is always compassion. Some also say I am a true Scorpio, and they are not wrong! I am someone who tries to find the good in everything, and I believe in making sure to look and analyze things realistically. I am passionate about physical and mental health; I think the most important thing we can do for ourselves is to nourish our body and soul.

Describe your career at NRECA. What is the core function of your current role, and how does it support the mission of the organization?

I will be celebrating five years at NRECA on July 11—it is surreal to even say that! I have been lucky to have a couple of distinct roles at NRECA, all in HR. I started out in the HR assistant role and have moved into my current role on the benefits team. Some of my core functions include benefit transactions (life events, enrollments), working on the new ERP (Workday), as well as managing the leave program at NRECA.

Being a trusted resource for NRECA employees is an important function of my job role. Whether I am helping to navigate through trying or exciting life event changes or assisting in accessing our leave program benefits so an employee can take time off to care for themselves or their loves ones, having a trusted adviser to help navigate through personal challenges and changes inspires employees to continue doing their work to support our co-op members.

What drives you professionally, and what do you feel are the keys to professional success?  

Being open to what others have to say and observing different ways of thinking outside the box has motivated me to challenge myself. The three most important keys to professional success are to first ask questions––lots of them! If you do not understand, ask. The second would be clear communication on tasks, goals and ideas. This helps clarify your thoughts and commitment on what you can and cannot do. And third—the one that I have learned the hard way—accept responsibility and take initiative when you make a mistake. Someone once said to me, “It’s not about you, but it begins with you.” That has stayed with me in all aspects of my life.

What inspires you?

“Behind every young child who believes in himself is a parent who believed first.” My parents are my inspiration. They are truly my pillars of strength. Their determination and motivation has inspired me to always be the best version of myself. Like many others, I want my parents to live the life they deserve and that is the biggest inspiration of all.

What brought you to NRECA? 

I was working a job in sales while getting my undergraduate degree and I saw a posting for a job at a nonprofit. I was intrigued by what a nonprofit was and, quite honestly, what NRECA was (which I realize I am still learning!). I took a chance, applied, and was hired into the HR department. A few months later, my parents bought a new home that was part of a cooperative. It seemed like a sign that being a part of the cooperative business model was the place for me!

What keeps you at NRECA? What is your favorite thing about your job and NRECA as an organization? 

I have had the pleasure to work on an incredible and dynamic team. Even through transitions, I am grateful to be able to work with individuals who care about one another, both personally and professionally. That is one thing I believe brings people back to NRECA—we have a sense of community.

NRECA promotes a sense of growth. Not only have I been able to work in different roles within HR, but I was also able to get my master’s degree and the SHRM-CP certification…now that is true flexibility! Those would not have been possible if I wasn’t inspired by my colleagues to continue to grow and push my limits.

If you had a piece of advice for someone who was just entering into the job market, or starting a job search, what would it be? 

Never sell yourself short and never settle. Even if you have little to no experience, you must stay persistent and find the career that will enable you to grow. Even if that means taking your time and not rushing into the job market until you figure out who you really are as person and what impact you want to have. You have worked hard to get to where you are, do not forget that.

Is there anything else you would like to share? 

Continue to stay inspired and prioritize your mental health. It is important to remember that, especially over the last year where many of us have gone through such unpredictable times. Share your passions with the world and do not be afraid to take a chance on yourself.

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