As a human resources (HR) executive, Angela McLean walked a fine line between service and finance. It’s what prompted her to earn an MBA from Wayne State University and what infuses her teaching in Macomb’s Business Management program.
“I have always been a student of how people make businesses successful. When I was developing and running HR departments for smaller companies,” relates McLean, “I always reported to the chief financial officer, who was very analytical. Sometimes it could be a tough task balancing the two. But it showed me that the everyday workers are the business heroes and good managers know this.”
McLean joined Macomb’s business faculty in 2008 after realizing that conducting employee training was the most fulfilling aspect of her HR duties. In her role as Macomb’s lead faculty on the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses initiative, McLean teaches leadership courses to CEOs and other decision makers at Wayne State University and at Babson College in Boston, home base for the initiative.
“I meet small business owners from all over the world and then bring what I learn from them back to my students,” says McLean. “It’s the best of both worlds.”
McLean’s experience also includes five years of running her own small retail shop – designing and printing elegant wedding invitations. It’s characteristic of her mission to stay on top of business’ constantly changing dynamics. Although she holds the highest professional certifications in human resource management, for example, McLean spent last summer as an HR intern with Quicken Loans in Detroit.
“I worked with awesome people who welcomed me on their team even though they knew I was not part of the internal pipeline for their organization,” says McLean. “I learned how HR functions today. It is radically different from when I started out.”
Her perseverance in remaining current in her field is one of the reasons McLean was nominated for and received the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (part of the University of Texas at Austin’s College of Education) 2018 excellence award for teaching. For a professor whose favorite times of the year are the first day of class and commencement and who is regularly impressed by the “grit and resilience” of her students, it was “super gratifying.”
Also gratifying is teaching at the college where she got her start, before transferring to Michigan State University (MSU) and earning a bachelors degree in business management.
“My mom and dad went here. It was automatic that if you were going to college, you started at Macomb,” says McLean, whose husband, Tom, earned an accounting degree from Macomb, and son, Brendan, a mechanical engineering at MSU, attended while in high school. “What is so special about teaching at a community college is that I get to be part of that opportunity that changes everything for a student. It is such a rewarding experience.”