Meet Our Director, Training & Development: Interview with Harmony Healthcare’s Cheryl Houy

What do you do at Harmony? What does a typical day look like for you?

I am the Director of Training and Development. I started as a recruiter here at Harmony Healthcare in 2015. The great thing about Harmony is through hard work and dedication you can write your own career path. I am now responsible for teaching the new recruiters and account executives, policies and procedures, how we can best present customized solutions to our clients and how to recruit and manage our talent. I am a huge nerd, so I love teaching and helping! I couldn’t do any of this without some of the most amazing co-workers who have become family.

You majored in Criminal Justice. What attracted you to that subject? What were some of the most valuable takeaways or skills you gained?

Sales is in my blood. Both of my parents are in sales. My Dad is a retired investment banker / estate planner for the National City, Private Client Group and my Mom is an executive director for tourism in northwest Pennsylvania, so I’ve been negotiating with my parents since day one. I had my first commission sales job at age 16 but when I was 18 and told to decide what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, I chose to be a probation / parole officer—I wanted to save the world and I have always been intrigued by law. I studied criminal justice as a major and I have two minors, one in political science and one in biology. After graduation I went on to get my master’s degree in Administration of Justice (an MBA for the criminal justice world). I also have an associate degree in radiologic technology. As mentioned, I am a huge nerd, so I love school. My parents would have fainted if while I was in high school, I had said “I love school” as I only went to class to keep my grades up for sports during that time.

My biggest takeaway from studying criminal justice—always be prepared. Think through all possible outcomes before your actions. When you are going into someone’s home to take their freedoms away (from a violation) you need to be prepared and you need to be mindful of people’s mental health, backgrounds and upbringings—it effects their responses. The Director of Probation and Parole at the time always told us “Desperate people in desperate times do desperate things.” Bringing in my psychology background has also helped me in sales to be prepared for all outcomes.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I have always been a nomadic, tomboy, independent free spirit…my parents had quite the chore a head of them in raising me because I was little thems. I love traveling—I lived in Italy (my Mom’s family is from Benevento and they all still live in the area, so I stayed with them for a year). My husband and I have been to Spain, the Netherlands, Italy, Mexico, and Canada. This summer we are going to Costa Rica to get some good energy from the rain forest. I’ve also been doing yoga since 2007. I began practicing, learning and living yoga in 2016. I practice Bikram yoga, Yin yoga, I am a Reiki Master and I plan on attending Ayurveda school in 2020. I am also currently taking Spanish classes!

What would you name your boat if you had one?

We are getting a canoe this summer and naming it the “Houy Canooey.” Our last name is pronounced “Who-We” so naturally we made it rhyme with canoe the best we could.

Is there a charity / cause you feel passionate about? Why?

My husband and I are active in several ministries within Sacred Heart Catholic Church and we also volunteer at Clothes to Kids both here in Tampa. Our friend introduced us to Clothes to Kids in 2017 when he took us to a luncheon for them. They provide a cheerful store environment where families and children can shop with dignity and respect and receive school clothing free of charge. It’s so wonderful, we help the kids “shop” for clothes for school. They get five wardrobes and even some fun accessories. The best takeaway is the lessons we learn from the kids. Last Saturday I was shopping with a five-year-old, Victoria. She finished before her brother, so she and I sat and talked. I asked her “What do you want to do when you grow up?” She looked up from playing with her new bracelet, smiled and simply said, “I want to help people.” Just magical, it keeps us humble and grateful for everything we have been blessed with.

What is the last book you read?

I am currently reading three books; “Your Life Is Medicine-Ayurveda for Yogis” by Kristen Schneider, “The Healing Self” by Deepak Chopra and “48 Laws of Power” by Robert Greene. When I was younger my parents made me read at least 30 minutes a day every week, “Sweet Valley High” was my go-to. Seemed like torture at the time, now I love reading. Both of my parents are readers, my Dad has probably read “Lonesome Dove” six times.

Hollywood decides to make a movie of your life. Who plays you in the movie?

RuPaul…no question about it and / or “Sound of Music’s” Julie Andrews.

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