With over 20 years of experience as a lawyer and human resources professional, Sandra Charton brings passion and enthusiasm to her career each day. She is driven by the work she does and is always looking for ways to learn more about trends and developments in her field.
Sandra graduated from Brandeis University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in American Studies. After completing her undergraduate work, Sandra decided to take her education to the next level by attending law school. She graduated from Boston University School of Law with her Juris Doctor.
She put her law degree to use right away by serving as Counsel for the National Association of Government Employees/International Brotherhood of Police Officers, a large labor union. In this role, Sandra learned so much about different areas of labor and employment law and it led to her being recruited by a Boston law firm. After a few years with the firm, she moved into a job as in-house Labor and Employment Counsel at Boston Medical Center.
Practicing labor and employment law helped Sandra realize the importance of developing and maintaining positive relationships between employees and employers. This made her want to explore the field of human resources and she took a position as the Director of Human Resources at a private psychiatric hospital outside Boston. Sandra played an essential role in recruitment, employee development and training, labor relations, and legal compliance.
Sandra Charton continued to grow her experience in human resources beyond the hospital by accepting a position as the sole Senior Staff Representative for Management at the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Joint Labor-Management Committee. This organization focuses on resolving impasses between employers and labor unions. Another opportunity came for Sandra, and she transitioned to a new role as the Director of Human Resources and Operations at Genesys Research Institute, Inc. From here she accepted an offer to become an Associate at the Edward J. Collins, Jr. Center for Public Management at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. All of the positions Sandra has held over the years helped her in her current role as the Chief Human Resource Officer for the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts.
Q: What’s the most important thing we should know about you?
Sandra Charton: I’m loyal, hard-working, empathetic, and I love to learn.
Q: Name the most impactful lesson you learned from failure.
Sandra Charton: I learned how important it is to use “due diligence” to learn about a job, the culture, and the leadership before deciding whether to accept a new position.
Q: What accomplishment are you most proud of?
Sandra Charton: My ability to work at (and learn so much from) a variety of jobs and, at the same time, to parent 3 incredible children who have grown into even more incredible adults.
Q: What did you waste the most time on when you were first starting your career?
Sandra Charton: Applying “cold” to random jobs, rather than taking any time to think about what types of jobs would be a good fit.
Q: Name a tool you use for work that you can’t live without.
Sandra Charton: Not a groundbreaking answer, I know, but it’s my computer and all its software programs.
Q: What is your favorite hobby and why?
Sandra Charton: I love to read mysteries because it allows me to think and escape at the same time!
Q: What excites you the most about your industry right now?
Sandra Charton: The transformation of human resources from a focus on “transactional” functions (e.g., filling out various types of paperwork) to a much more strategic, holistic role.
Q: What concerns you most about your industry right now?
Sandra Charton: I am concerned about how increasingly difficult it is for human resource professionals to keep up with all of the changing laws, regulations, and court decisions impacting the field.
Q: What’s the greatest risk you’ve ever taken?
Sandra Charton: Deciding to transition from a career as a labor and employment lawyer to a position in the field of human resources.
Q: Name one small habit that positively impacts your productivity.
Sandra Charton: I will set the timer on my phone for a certain period of time, listen to classical music, and focus on a single project during that time without any interruptions.
Q: What tips do you have for getting a seat at the table?
Sandra Charton: Be a good listener, be respectful to others when you share your views, learn about the organization’s mission, and communicate clearly.
Q: What book has made the biggest impact on your life?
Sandra Charton: “Catcher in the Rye”
Q: Do you value intelligence or common sense more? Why?
Sandra Charton: Common sense, since I think it makes navigating through the challenges of life a bit easier.
Q: What would you consider to be the perfect day?
Sandra Charton: It would involve exercising, seeing my family and friends, reading, and completing a meaningful project at work (and not necessarily in that order).