Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Chief Human Resources Officer Hitachi Capital America
In 2005, Hitachi Capital America (HCA) had no human resources department outside a part-time HR consultant. With just 66 U.S. employees, Joni Kovac came aboard after several years with GE Capital and in consulting to build the function and support a growing business. This included establishing processes and policies for compliance, performance management, compensation management, employee relations, engagement, training and benefits administration. During the ensuing 15-plus years, which also included four acquisitions over seven years, the company expanded into Canada and now employs nearly 450 people and has more than $3 billion in assets. The current HR team consists of eight professionals in the U.S. and five in Canada.
VISION FOR THE FUTURE:
“As a Hispanic female, my vision for the industry is to welcome more diverse talent, recognizing that different perspectives, cultures, backgrounds, ages and abilities lead to more creative, rewarding and successful companies. At HCA, we are making strides in sourcing diverse talent and ensuring everyone has the resources and platforms to share, participate, learn and grow.”
In addition to launching and building an HR team, Kovac also participates in the ELFA, attending annual human capital roundtables, collaborating with other equipment finance HR leaders and contributing to ELFA magazine articles. Kovac also serves on the Connecticut board of advisors for the HR Roundtable, a professional group of senior HR professionals from regional companies who meet monthly to discuss HR business topics.
Kovac’s past experiences have contributed diverse skills to her current role, including those of a licensed marriage and family therapist, which have proved useful in employee relations. The choice to join HCA was, and continues to be, driven by its inclusive environment. In its annual employee engagement survey, HCA’s top strength was listed as its employee- and family-friendly atmosphere, which is even more valuable during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Everyone has had to pull together to be flexible to make HCA’s work-from-home model successful for the business.
“HCA is a much larger, complex and diverse company now than when Joni started. Her expertise, professionalism, connections to the industry and hard work have been critical every step of the way in achieving that growth. And she has done it all while preserving the inclusive, collaborative culture at the heart of the company,” Ryan Collison, president and CEO of Hitachi Capital America, says. “Nobody can be successful alone and Joni has always recognized that significant engagement with her industry colleagues is an important success factor. She and her team have helped us to be better trained, more professional and more capable than ever before.”
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