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CareSouth Carolina’s Denise Ellis named ‘HR Professional of the Year’

October 21st 2019

CareSouth Carolina’s Denise Ellis was named The HR Professional of the Year by the South Carolina Primary Healthcare Association at its 36th Annual Conference and Board Governance Retreat.

Ellis, the Chief Personnel Officer for CareSouth Carolina, received the award for her loyalty, dedication and commitment to the organization and to the state of South Carolina as a Human Resources (HR) professional.

“I was humbled,” Ellis said. “The HR department is one that often times goes unnoticed. It’s not common for people in this profession to get much recognition, and of all the great professionals in HR around the state, I was the one being recognized. It was a truly humbling experience.”

It wasn’t the original plan for Ellis to get involved in HR.

She grew up wanting to be a journalist but after getting married, she moved to Charlotte to help her husband with a family-owned textile company. She stayed in the textile business, working as an International Logistics Manager for a company that was expanding in North America. As part of the job, she was counted upon to handle HR duties.

“I had no experience in HR, but it was part of the duties of the job,” Ellis said. “So, I learned and I enjoyed it.”

Her husband’s business closed in 2003 and the two made the decision to move back home to Florence, SC. Ellis said she was tasked with looking for another career because there were no ports for importing and exporting in Florence. That’s when joined McLeod Health as an HR Assistant.

What happened next, Ellis said, was life-changing.

“I stumbled upon CareSouth’s website in 2006,” Ellis said. “I was doing research and had no clue CareSouth even existed. I wasn’t even looking for a job, but I saw an opening for an HR Recruiter. I decided to apply and I got a call seven minutes later.”

On March 26, 2006, Ellis started her career at CareSouth Carolina as an HR Recruiter. She held different positions, including HR Trainer, HR Recruiter & Trainer, HR Office Manager and moved into her current role in 2015.

“I have a personal mission at CareSouth Carolina,” Ellis said. “My mission in my career is to help grow people and make a positive impact. It’s not just employees, but interviewees. I want to leave everyone I come in contact with something they can learn and grow from in the future.”

Even though Ellis doesn’t deal directly with patients, she knows that the behind-the-scenes work she performs leaves a lasting impact in the community.

“I can’t imagine doing HR outside of CareSouth Carolina,” Ellis said. “Being in a FQHC, you know that what you’re doing is making a difference in the lives of the community. Even though I’m behind the scenes, I know that the decisions I make help make a difference in the lives of our patients and the community. We don’t make a decision in HR unless it supports the mission and vision of CareSouth.”

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