Danielle Gilbert, 35 

Administrative Director of Human Resources, Bon Secours

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Ash Daniel

Danielle Gilbert’s motivation, strengths and achievements arise from relationships. The Richmond native says she chose a human resources career to help others.

“I love coaching, mentoring, giving advice,” she says — “and human resources allowed me to do just that and to help individuals reach their full potential.”

After working in HR at Lowe’s and Circuit City, Gilbert joined Bon Secours Health System in 2013, advancing in the organization rapidly. She’s been able to assist Bon Secours with multiple acquisitions and mergers while helping the organization expand its diversity and inclusion initiative. Gilbert’s eager to highlight Bon Secours’ awards for inclusion, such as those from AARP and Working Mother, which also profiled Gilbert in 2013.

After work, Gilbert transfers her appreciation for mentoring to an organization she started in 2013, Manifest in You, which helps individuals in underserved communities gain skills to be successful in a career.

“I’ve learned in HR that people often can’t get past an initial interview,” Gilbert says. At local recreation centers and through the Partnership for the Future nonprofit, she instructs on résumé writing, interviewing, career etiquette and other job skills.

“Danielle is a leader with a passion for mentoring the next generation, as well as helping those already in the work force to unleash their potential,” says Kim Brown, who works with Gilbert in human resources at Bon Secours.

“My twin daughters that are 5 and my husband motivate me to do what I do,” Gilbert says, “and to understand there’s a greater need — that not everyone is fortunate enough to have all of the tools they need in life.

The ups and downs of family life, including the loss of multiple family members, provided painful but important lessons early on. She was 16 when her mother died from leukemia, leaving young Danielle with a “natural mother instinct” to care for her siblings, she says. Her mother’s death and other tragedies helped her focus on life, and she determined not to use death as an excuse.

Relationships are the key to having it all, Gilbert says: “It’s really about being able to connect with people and being authentic and giving from the heart.”

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