Making an impact on the local community

Ashley McKarney, ‘08 BCom and founder of Involvi HR Consulting, is passionate about helping others succeed

Alumna Ashley McKarney credits her experiences and the network she formed as a student at the Alberta School of Business — where she studied entrepreneurship and small business —  as contributors to her professional success. 

Specific experiences she pinpoints from her time as a student include studying at the University of Edinburgh for a semester, taking part in student club activities, working for the School of Retailing and completing a “pivotal” internship at Focus Communications.

Through this internship, she received mentorship from Dean Heuman, one of the owners at Focus, who continues to mentor her to this day. 

“Dean has been cheering me on for the past 10 years and was an influential force in my future as an entrepreneur.”

After completing her studies, McKarney kicked off her professional journey by gaining progressive experience supporting large organizations such as IKEA and Cintas with their HR needs. 

While she enjoyed working with these companies as she developed her career, she knew that true satisfaction would come from working directly with local businesses. 

Getting truly local and personal, McKarney began consulting for colleagues and mentors in her network beginning in September 2019. As her reputation grew and referrals started pouring in, she took the bold step of launching Involvi HR Consulting, a company that offers customized human resources and learning and development services to local and national organizations.  

“It's common for leaders to underestimate the importance of People Operations until it's too late. We work closely with passionate business leaders and owners to make a difference, reduce risk and produce positive outcomes for their organization."

One month after officially launching Involvi, the pandemic hit, forcing McKarney to navigate numerous challenges. Among these challenges were defining Involvi’s service offerings and adjusting to the new virtual landscape, all while balancing her time as a new mother to her son, Dexter. 

Despite the challenges, McKarney’s business is thriving and her team has grown to ten members throughout Alberta.  

One piece of advice McKarney shares is the importance of setting boundaries between work and life.

 “Don't make your life about your business,” she says.” It’s very easy to do this especially when it comes from a place of passion.” 

Helping others grow

Even with her busy schedule, McKarney remains committed to helping those around her. 

McKarney mentors current students at the Alberta School of Business, most recently, she coached a team of four who competed in the HRC West Case Competition held in Calgary. 

Her dedication to helping others grow extends beyond students. McKarney hired several new graduates into the Involvi team to help them kick-start their HR careers. She has also promoted two of her Consultants to the role of Managing Consultant, enabling them to take on larger roles within the company.

“I founded Involvi HR with the goal of transforming the traditional HR function into People Operations. The more impact that we can have in developing people leaders on our team, and within our clients, the more that dream becomes reality.”

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