Gwen Abrams is a Human Resources Manager at Optima. She currently resides in Flagstaff, Arizona, and her expertise is in Full Cycle Recruiting, Benefit Administration, and Administrative support to Executive Leadership with small to midsize companies. Outside the office, family, creativity, and empathy for others are at the center of Gwen’s life.
Born in Syracuse, New York, Gwen moved to Southern California with her family in 1980. She completed high school and started college, but ended up moving back to Syracuse before returning to California to help her family care for their grandmother. Since Gwen loves working with kids, she began her career in early childhood development. Although this is still a passion for her, as a single mother, she wanted to provide a secure future for her son, so Gwen returned to school at the University of Phoenix. She completed an HR Management Certificate in May 2008, and obtained her Bachelor of Science in Business Management in April 2011.
Once Gwen began working in Human Resources, she felt like she was at home. As a people-oriented person, Gwen appreciates that HR allows her to work with people every day while providing important information that helps individuals make decisions in their careers and for their families. Family and friends mean the world to Gwen, who comes from a very tight-knit family herself. Gwen treasures her friends, many of whom she has been close to for twenty or even thirty years. For fun, she enjoys spending time with her family, and attending sporting events or going on trips. In her spare time, Gwen enjoys dancing, listening to music, painting, and doing other creative activities. She loves to read (she’s currently reading Isabel Wilkerson’s Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents), watching Netflix (she’s a big fan of Bridgerton), and cooking. Gradually, Gwen is moving to a plant-based lifestyle.
One of Gwen’s favorite aspects of Optima Office is how much the CEO cares about her employees and promoting growth and success. She describes the company culture as “supportive, diverse, and fun,” and feels accomplished in her professional life by continuing to learn and stay on top of different laws and regulations.
Given her passion for working with people, Gwen knows firsthand the importance of empathy. She loves to give back wherever possible, which is what motivated her to join the Board of Directors for a non-profit organization. She serves as the Vice President of Administration for the Arizona chapter of the National Association of African Americans in Human Resources (NAAAHR). Her favorite volunteering event is Arizona Standdown, where Gwen volunteers to help our veterans.
On a day to day basis, Gwen tries to live by the words of Maya Angelou: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”