Bob Bourg from St. Ann’s Community Named 2019 HR Executive of the Year

Bob Bourg

The Rochester affiliate of the National Human Resources Association named Bob Bourg of Rochester Chamber member St. Ann’s Community as the 2019 HR Executive of the Year award winner.

The HR Executive of the Year award was created to recognize exceptional leaders in the HR community who bring innovation, inspiration, and operational excellence to their organizations. Co-chaired by Rhonda Noto, Chief Human Resources and Administrative Officer at Harter Secrest & Emery LLP, and Jennifer Steier, Vice President, Human Resources at Orolia, the awards luncheon is now in its sixth year.

“Each year, we see incredible nominations for HR professionals whose contributions significantly impact their organization. I’m truly inspired by the accomplishments of all our honorees,” said Noto.

“People are the most important part of any organization. And at St. Ann’s I’ve always expressed that we must take care of the people who in turn take care of the people! I’m honored to be recognized as this year’s award winner. It’s a testament to how HR has become an integral part of our organization,” said Bob Bourg, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, St. Ann’s Community.

Bourg took an unconventional path to HR, serving most of his career in governance and administration before the St. Ann’s Community Board of Directors offered him the HR position.

St. Ann’s Community serves more than 3,000 people per year in the 500+ bed senior care centers in Rochester and LeRoy. With 1,200 employees and more than 2,000 volunteers, service is always at the center of Bourg’s attention. He worked with the St. Ann’s CEO to refresh the organization’s strategic framework, making sure People became its core.

In every initiative Bourg has put forth since taking on his role in HR, people have been at the forefront. He works tirelessly to ensure his team has a strong sense of empathy and understanding of what is happening with employees. He encourages leadership rounds where the HR team connects with employees, taking time to get to know them, their needs and pain points.

As a result, Bourg has implemented several programs that directly support employees as well as the organization’s bottom line by decreasing turnover and absenteeism. For example, he set up a summer camp program so employees had a safe and reliable place to bring their children during school breaks. This mitigated the worry for parents, while also allowing them to maintain the St. Ann’s high standards of care. The success of the summer camps spurred the creation of additional school break programs. Building on that success, Bourg is also implementing a low-cost diaper purchase program for employees with young children, and a school supply drive where employees can get necessary supplies at little to no cost.

Bourg also created the St. Ann’s Academy Group – an eight-month career development program that identifies high potential employees who can be groomed for leadership positions. To date, more than 100 employees have completed the Academy. In the five years since the program started, more than 20 participants have been promoted successfully into leadership roles, and retention rates are higher than the average rates across the organization.

“HR is vital to the St. Ann’s business, and Bob is a true business partner. He is a strong and trusted leader who has the ability to transcend the theoretical to the practical. We’re thankful to have him and the culture he’s helped to create,” said Michael McRae, CEO, St. Ann’s Community.

Four other honorees were also celebrated at the luncheon.

Brayton Connard, SPHR, from Monroe County received the Exemplary Leadership and Navigation award; Michele Ebenhoch from Rochester Chamber Partner member LaBella Associates received the Passionate Service Excellence award; Christine O’Rourke from Rochester Chamber member Louis S. Wolk JCC of Greater Rochester received the Organizational Visionary award; and Doug Parton from Rochester Chamber Partner member Partners + Napier received the Innovative Value-based Leadership award.

About the National Human Resources Association

The National Human Resources Association is focused on advancing the individual career development, planning and leadership of human resources (HR) professionals. Through professional networking programs and development services offered across the country, they strive to support human resources professionals throughout their career life cycle - from intern to executive - as Human Resources leads the way for change in today's businesses. The mission of the Board is to serve and support their HR members and affiliates by providing professional networking forums and professional development programs for their members. They also provide professional development tools and opportunities via live meetings in their affiliate locations and via conferences and seminars delivered in conjunction with their training partners. Additionally, they offer a wide range of on-demand, webcast and audiocast events.