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Employee Spotlight: Darnetha Elmore, HR

woman standing by a wall with arms crossedDarnetha Elmore, Sr. Director, HR in Ammunition, is well-known among Vista Outdoor employees. She is a straightforward people-person. She greets everyone with a smile, and she was a driving force behind getting the Employee Assistance Fund up and rolling.

Take a closer look behind this HR Professional to learn she was the first in her family to graduate from college, she is known to have jumped from airplanes and frequently participates in 10K races.

Darnetha joined ATK as an HR Generalist III in 2008 after a 23-year stint with the U.S. Army.

“I actually thought when I retired from the military, that was it for my career. A good friend, who later became my mentor, convinced me to give Corporate America a try. I’m glad I did, no regrets at all.”

Darnetha went from working as a Signal Security Specialist in Military Intelligence to working in the supply chain field. In her time with the Army, Darnetha held all leadership roles from Squad Leader to Sergeant Major, the highest enlisted rank.
Darnetha was selected to enroll in an Equal Opportunity Advisor course while in the Army and attended grad school, earning a Dual Master’s Degree in Human Resource Development and Management and Leadership.

This course is what inspired her to work toward an HR career after retiring from the military.

As an HR Generalist III at ATK, Darnetha originally supported only the engineers at Elkton. She eventually began working with multiple locations and now works with employees across Vista Outdoor as a Sr. Director.

She went back to grad school in 2016 to earn a Master’s in Organizational Leadership, which led to one of her most successful projects at Vista Outdoor: helping to develop the Employee Assistance Fund.

“While I did not do this alone, seeing the Employee Assistance Fund go from a school project on paper to actually making a difference for Vista Outdoor employees gives me great satisfaction,” she said.

Darnetha shared one of her greatest adventures: Jumping out of airplanes. One might assume this means she enjoys the thrill of skydiving, but it’s not something she loved doing. Rather, it was a skill they taught in the Army. A short but intense course requires three weeks of training to become a paratrooper.

“I saw it as a challenge and something that would set me apart from my peers as I tried to move up in the military. I also wanted to be in the 82nd Airborne Division,” she said.

Darnetha says it’s different from skydiving, but similar. She froze in the tower during one of the drills. Until that moment, she never thought she was afraid of heights, but she got through it and earned the badge for graduating jump school.

Darnetha has a 30-year-old son who has also earned an MBA, which she says was an extremely proud moment for her. Darnetha also has seven siblings (three brothers and four sisters)—five of whom are also veterans.

 

FAST FACTS

Last read:
“The Vanishing Half” by Brit Bennett.

What do you feel is your best quality?
My people skills.

Most likely to buy in bulk?
Everything, I love Costco.

What would a day off with no obligations look like?
I would sleep in, which for me still means I’d get up early. I would cook a breakfast that would include pancakes, the crunchy edges is a must.

Best type of meat? How is it cooked?
Fried Chicken Wings (whole).

One thing you could never live without?
Wine. I guess I could go without if I had to, but I don’t want to. Coffee is a second.

Favorite Holiday?
Thanksgiving. I love to cook. I especially love watching people enjoy my food. I sit back and wait for the compliments.

Worst injury?
Head injury, landed to hard on the drop zone and was knocked out.

Favorite activity outside of work?
I love to travel.

Something most co-workers don’t know?
I love to dance. I’m not very good at it.

What types of vacations do you enjoy most?
Relaxing near the water. My favorite was a sailing trip to the British Virgin Islands. We sailed to 8 different islands in 7 days.

Best advice you’ve gotten and applied?
My good friend and mentor, also an HR Director, Brenda Harris told me not to worry about the money, let your work speak for you and the money will come.

Tell us about an activity you love.
I enjoy running and combine it with a love of travel. I go to different cities for 5 and 10k runs. The 10k is my sweet spot, and my favorite 10k is the Cooper River Bridge Run in Charleston, SC, which happens to be my home!

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