When Juanita W. Hicks took her first human resources role at West Georgia Technical College, she knew it was the right fit for her.
“It was a match made in heaven,” she said. “The mission and the service that you have the opportunity to participate in while working in higher education is what keeps me doing this work.”
Hicks joined the University of Georgia as the new senior associate vice president for human resources and chief human resources officer on July 1. Her career spans more than 20 years in human resource management, including 14 years in higher education.
Prior to joining UGA, Hicks held progressively responsible roles at institutions across the state, most recently serving as the vice chancellor for human resources for the University System of Georgia. She felt the call to return to the unique community and energy found on university campuses; she embraces the opportunity to participate in projects while witnessing their impact on the campus community firsthand, she said.
Hicks was especially drawn to UGA because of the university’s mission and how it resonates with the Athens community and state.
“UGA is a force in the state of Georgia. It is important to work for organizations that you believe in,” she said. “I believe in the University of Georgia; I believe in the University System of Georgia; and I believe in our community.”
Hicks values advocacy, transparency and collaboration as essential principles for fostering a successful organization. She advocates for her employees and for the institution at large, which, she explains, isn’t always about simply providing the answers.
“Frequently, I find that my role is not to tell someone what to do but to ask good questions that allow us to partner in finding the best solutions,” she said.
In her free time, Hicks enjoys exploring her family’s new home in Athens.
“I love trying new restaurants, and I’ve been hearing about the great food in Athens for so long, so I’ve been experiencing it one restaurant at a time,” she said.
She also enjoys outdoor walks and spending time with her family during their Sunday meal-prepping tradition.
Hicks steps into the senior associate vice president role following the service of interim chief human resources officer for University Human Resources Tamara Freeman.
“Having worked with Juanita for several years during her time at the USG and at Georgia Tech, I am very excited to be working with her as UGA’s CHRO. I am confident that Juanita will provide great vision, leadership and support to build on the very positive momentum and energy the Human Resources team is generating,” said Ryan Nesbit, vice president for finance and administration. “I am also deeply grateful for the extraordinary leadership Tammy Freeman provided while serving as the CHRO on an interim basis for the last year and a half and for the exceptional service and outstanding work of the Human Resources team during this transition.”
Hicks says she’s excited about the conversations she’s already had in her brief time at UGA. Over the next several months, she plans to continue getting to know the university and the people within it while familiarizing herself with active projects. She looks forward to exploring opportunities to pair her extensive background and skills with endeavors already taking place at the university.
“I consider myself a collaborator and a partner to faculty, staff and administrators at UGA, and I pledge to serve these groups as they continue to pursue UGA’s mission through teaching, research and service,” she said.