Recent Marquette Business graduate Carly Skrabak entered Marquette the way so many students do: multi-interested.
“I actually never knew what I wanted to do,” Skrabak says. “I kind of gravitated toward business, but I knew I didn’t want to do anything with math, so that took out accounting and finance. I thought, ‘Hey, I’m pretty good with people,’ so I thought human resources was something I could be good at.”
Little did she know her future mentor, Mark Naidicz, got into HR in a similar fashion, having changed majors twice himself as a Marquette undergraduate.
“So many times, people think that when they’re 18 or 19 that they have to have it figured out,” says Naidicz, an HR executive-in-residence (EIR) in the College of Business Administration.
The 1984 Marquette Business alumnus held global HR leadership roles at S.C. Johnson, Abbott Laboratories and AbbVie in his career prior to joining Marquette. In addition to bringing decades of industry knowledge and connections to his role as an EIR, Naidicz also serves on the advisory board for Marquette’s Institute for Women’s Leadership.
The veteran HR professional joins Bob Love (accounting), Jim Stollberg (supply chain management) and David Reeves (innovation and technology) in rounding out Marquette Business’ EIR program.
“Our EIRs bring a wealth of experience from their decades-long careers in industries and companies that span the globe that enrich and enliven the Marquette experience for our students,” says Dr. Jennica Webster, associate professor of management.
For Naidicz, the role is a chance to apply his experience on behalf of a meaningful mission.
“It goes back to my training here at Marquette and the whole focus on cura personalis — caring for the whole person,” he says. “In my career, I had great mentors and guidance. As I grew in my career, I knew how important that was and I believe that the focus we need to try to have is on our students.”
One can see that commitment to students in action by simply visiting the new Brew in O’Brien Hall where Naidicz frequently buys students coffee and chats with them about their career paths.
Skrabak, a former volleyball player in Marquette’s standout program, was one such student. She says that Naidicz taking the time to provide her with career mentorship was invaluable to her as a Division I student-athlete, whose schedules are often hectic.
“We ended up meeting in the AMU one-on-one and we sat and talked for about an hour,” Skrabak says. “He wanted to learn more about me and what my professional goals were. I told him that I’d never known what I wanted to do after college, but he talked me through some of it and he talked me through some of his experiences. You could tell that he just really wanted to help college students. He has a passion for helping people, which is so cool.”
If forming relationships with students seems to come naturally to Naidicz, it’s because there are parallels between what he does now and what he did in his human resources career. In his career, Naidicz worked in recruiting and early career development, two specialties that dealt a lot with professionals in their formative years.
“Relationships need to be individualized,” Naidicz says. “When you can first build relationships and connections, you can then build other things. That’s what I was taught in my time at Marquette, even working in the admissions office as a student.”
Naidicz says Marquette Business’ new home, O’Brien Hall, is a game-changer compared with what was available during his time as a student. The technologically advanced classrooms and meeting rooms, expanded event spaces, and café all serve as invitations for the Milwaukee business community to engage with Marquette students and faculty, just like Naidicz does.
“This is an amazing facility, but more importantly, it’s a gathering place,” Naidicz says. “What we wanted to do was make sure this is open to everyone. How can we have business meetings or community meetings or alumni in here? It really is a way for us to connect, to collaborate and to build relationships.”
Once a multi-interested freshman, Skrabak is now a graduate student at the University of Cincinnati pursuing a master’s degree in human resources, a decision that Naidicz helped her make.
“He was definitely great to have as a resource to help guide me on some of the things I was thinking about,” Skrabak says.