Charlette Hill has spent the grand majority of her professional life at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital—and she wouldn’t change a thing. Hill, an administrative director has been with the organization for nearly 19 years, and she sings nothing but praise for the effect that St. Jude has had on both its patients’ lives and on its Memphis community. Hill chatted with ESSENCE.com about what it is that makes St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which ranks No. 10 on our Best Workplaces for African-Americans list, so great.
What would you say is your favorite part about working at St. Jude?
The mission and being able to see the children and the people we’re impacting. It’s not like a regular company that’s making, say, a computer. When you see what you’re affecting—especially when that’s children—the mission is everything. We’re actually doing something. We’re making a difference, and that’s important.
What drew you to the company in the first place?
I liked that St. Jude had invested in Memphis. Memphis has a reputation. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s not. St. Jude had the opportunity to move to St. Louis, but they chose to invest in our community regardless of what people were saying about it, and they just stayed here. They make Memphis better by being here. I was drawn to that. I wanted to be part of a company that chose us over someone who may or may not have been better.
In terms of diversity, how do you think St. Jude differs from other companies?
When it comes to diversity here, it’s not like they go out and go, ‘We’ve got this White guy, we need this Black lady to offset.’ It just evolves. They try to get the best person for the job, and it just so happens that they consider a lot of the best people for the job to be African-American. I started out as an administrative assistant here, but you have to have a Master’s degree to advance to an administrative director. However, having been here so long, I had helped come up with ways to improve St. Jude. As time went on, I was actually training the administrative directors on a lot of the programs that I had instilled, yet I was still an administrative manager. St. Jude said, ‘You know what? That’s not right. If she can train someone, if she knows what’s going on, then she should be administrative director.’ And they broke the rules and gave me the job. They really thought about the fact that I deserved the job.
What advice would you give someone seeking a job there?
I think that they need to make their resume specific for the job that they want. We’re looking for someone who understands what we do and understands what we’re asking them to be able to do. And if they’re able to convey that in a resume or in a letter, then I think they’re going to go a lot further in terms of getting an interview and getting a real look in terms of hiring.