Helena O'Connor, SPHR

Helena O’Connor has approached her career with an entrepreneur’s flair for growth and systems development that has defined her work in human resources improvement. Helena has lived in four different countries, started her own wine business abroad, and has now settled in the United States in North Carolina.

Although Helena calls North Carolina home, she recently moved to Athens, Greece, to care for her elderly mother. Helena hopes to work with European co-ops while supporting those in the United States remotely, making the occasional visit stateside. Currently Helena is working part time, taking selected projects on a case by case basis.

Before becoming a consultant, she worked for nine years as the human resource manager at Weaver Street Market Co-op. During her tenure, the co-op grew to three locations and a full-service restaurant, employing over 200 people. Her expertise encompasses all aspects of human resource management including employee recruitment, employee satisfaction surveys, compensation analysis, Open Book Management and financial literacy training, human resource audits, and managing change and developing human resource structures for expanding businesses. Having served as the worker-owner representative to the Weaver Street Market Co-op board of directors, Helena brings a special understanding of policy governance and board relations to all her work.

Helena has been certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) since 1999 and holds a MA in Organizational Communication and Behavior from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has studied Open Book Management with ZingTrain and The Great Game of Business.

Helena enjoys working with food co-ops because they uphold high standards for staff treatment and compensation. “I believe fervently in the partnership between employees and management. I have a passion for co-ops. It’s a model that provides benefit to so many stakeholders—the community, workers, management, producers and consumers.”

Helena’s services include:

“Our co-op gained valuable insight from working with Helena. She provided us with a full picture of staff’s perspective and gave us a well thought out report that has greatly helped us form a solid plan to improve our work culture. Helena’s experience working with co-ops really shines through and contributes to her ability to communicate effectively and make spot on recommendations.”

—Rita York, General Manager, The Merc, Lawrence, Kansas

“Helena was great to work with on our staff survey. She gave an excellent presentation to help us understand and use the results. Our management team felt cared for and supported by Helena throughout it all. We couldn’t have asked for anything ­better.”

—Patti Waters, General Management Team, Franklin Community Co-op