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Human Resources at the Nexus of People and Technology



Danielle Ferretti (BBA ’08) could not have asked for a better way to launch her career in finance than landing a spot in one of Disney World’s coveted internship programs, working in the horticulture department on Epcot’s Flower and Garden Show. “It was the most fun way to do finance,” she says. After graduation, Ferretti went to work as a financial analyst with Lockheed Martin’s Special Programs Team, which handles much of the company’s top-secret research and development work. While the job was a drastic change from Disney’s upbeat culture, Ferretti feels she was able to develop invaluable skills. “What you’re working on is serious and you’re under pressure because you are working on a product for national security,” she says.

Yet, Ferretti still felt something was missing. She began volunteering on cross-functional teams, including one in human resources. It was here she found what had been lacking. “I wanted a human element to my work,” she says. This revelation led her to pursue an MBA in organizational behavior at Washington University in St. Louis. In between her two years in business school, Ferretti was one of three students from across the country chosen to intern with Yahoo in its People Department. “I had my eye on Yahoo pretty early,” she says. “Silicon Valley is the place to be if you are in HR today. It’s where the most progressive HR practices are being born.”

Shortly after completing her MBA, Ferretti joined the company full-time, just as it was struggling to reestablish its identity. “It [was] an exciting time because the people here really wanted it to succeed,” she says. One of her favorite projects at Yahoo involved reducing the lead time between a job candidate’s last interview and the extension of an employment offer. She designed an online system that enabled those interviewing the candidate to track their progress relative to others in the process. “It was a fun way to get everyone motivated by creating a little competition,” she explains.

In June, Ferretti joined San Mateo, California-based software maker NetSuite as manager of its university relations department. “I’ll get to play a part in helping our future business leaders grow – and for that, I am so excited,” she says. “This was a really awesome opportunity for me, as it fits right in with my passion to bring talent to the Valley. Hopefully we’ll get some more ’Canes out here!”

Ferretti is also the first president of the University of Miami’s Young Alumni Leadership Council. “My personal passion is helping people, and UM has a great talent pool that I want to make known,” she says. “I want to help build that pipeline to tech companies and Silicon Valley.”

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