Career Paths: Harmony Lussier bet on herself


Harmony Lussier always thought she’d be a TV news anchor. But while working retail in college, she found herself poaching employees from rival stores and realized she had a talent and passion for recruiting.

Following her graduation from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Lussier led recruiting teams for Kohl’s, JC Penney and GE Healthcare before joining Molson Coors Beverage Company in late 2019, a busy and strange time as the company announced a new strategic plan, and grappled with a workplace tragedy and the pandemic.

“I think I realized pretty early on this was a very different culture than what I was used to.  We do a really nice job of living our values and our leaders truly put people first. It’s a big, global company, but it feels like family,” she says. “You have an opportunity to make a real impact on the business.”

At Molson Coors. Lussier has already held several positions, including senior HR business partner for supply chain, human resources, IT and legal, as well as senior manager for talent acquisition.

Last January, she was promoted to director of benefits, an area where she didn’t have any prior experience. When the role became available, she knew she needed to make a decision pretty quickly as to whether or not to go for it.

“When people go into benefits, they stick around for five or 10 years –  it’s a long cycle business,” she says. “I knew that if I didn’t go for it then, I probably wouldn’t get the chance. But it was a risky move because although I met the basic qualifications for the job, I didn’t have the level of benefits experience the team preferred. I didn’t check all the preferred boxes.”

But she spoke to her managers, expressing her interest in the position and making a case as to why she thought she was the best candidate for the job, while also posing a challenge to them.

“I said, if you don’t think I’m the right person for the job or there won’t be time to train and support me as I learn the space, please don’t put me in the role because I don’t want to fail,” Lussier says. “It worked out. It’s a really good example of betting on your people - someone internal who has a proven track record and the desire to learn more.”

Lussier says she learned a lesson about taking chances, but more than that, betting on herself.

“It’s a little scary. I’m the leader of a team who know benefits inside out. They are going to be teaching me and that’s exciting but a little scary,” she says. “At the end of the day, it’s okay to say, ‘I don’t know, but let me find out.  Comfort is the enemy of growth.”

As Lussier’s career has evolved, she’s learned that you don’t need to have deep knowledge of a topic to lead and succeed. But you do need intrinsic skills.

“I think we’re in a time and place where we can hire for transferrable skills like drive, creativity, leadership and execution,” she says. “All that other stuff can be taught.”

And you need the confidence to believe in yourself and be your biggest advocate, Lussier says: “Shoot your shot.”