7 Questions with Director of Strategy & Operations, Bill Rooney

One of U.Group’s greatest sources of pride is our team. Their talent and passion enable us to bring the best solutions possible to you, our customer, and we truly couldn’t do it without them. Each month, we’ll shine a spotlight on a member of our team, giving them an opportunity to talk about what they do at U.Group, what inspires them, and more! 

Meet Bill Rooney. Bill works as our Director of Strategy & Operations, creating and optimizing core U.Group processes and policies while ensuring our team is best in class. Prior to his work at U.Group, Bill worked to build up a new consultancy organization within the federal government. He’s a solution-oriented, passionate master at improving efficiency and optimizing resources. Get to know Bill here! 

Describe your role at U.Group. 

BR: I lead the development and delivery of high-impact, user-centered People Operations programs and services. 

How did you discover your passion for strategy and operations? 

BR: I’m inherently curious and a skeptic, which manifests in always wanting to understand systems and how things work. Most often humans have been the subject of my curiosity, whether it was studying anthropology in school, working in social services, or in People Operations-related functions—where I’ve spent most of my career. People create some very interesting problems, especially when you get a bunch of smart, passionate, and motivated folks trying to work together towards some impact. I’m energized and fascinated by the challenges that come with creating an environment for great people to do great work. 

Do you have an outside hobby that influences your professional work? What is it and how does it influence you? 

BR: I’ve been playing games for as long as I can remember. One of my earliest memories is hiding under the coffee table watching my dad play Zelda when I was three years old (dungeons are scary!).  I play just about all kinds of games—console, PC, board, and tabletop. Most often, however, I tend to play games with a strong competitive element to them. I feel that through games I have been able to hone skills like observation, experimentation, critical thinking, design, team work etc. These are all things that have contributed to my personal and professional successes. 

What’s the coolest thing you’re working on right now? 

BR: I’m excited to be part of setting up the Employee Engagement Council (EEC) alongside Helai, Jabali, and Anuj. The EEC will be made up of a representative cross-section of employees who will be working to develop, improve, and enhance the employee experience. It will be a vector for all kinds of change. Diversity and inclusion are out front, in the open, right where it must be. I have very strong feelings about the necessity and value of diversity and inclusion (says the cis, straight, white guy). I can’t wait to see what kind of ruckus the EEC will make.  

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve seen or read lately? 

BR: The latest season of RuPaul’s Drag Race—my spouse, Vilte, 3-year-old daughter, Leona, and I are superfans of the show. We even took Leona to DragCon a couple weeks ago! In my humble opinion, Drag Race is one of the most entertaining, intense, and complex competitions out there. The contestants have to be fashion designers, singers, dancers, actors, improv comics, and pro-level makeup artists on top of having to perform in some insane heels! The queens are absolutely inspirational. Everyone should watch the show.  

Before working at U.Group, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve had? 

BR: I was really fortunate to join 18F a year or so after it started. Hacking bureaucracy and changing government a millimeter at a time was both exhausting and incredible. It was the people, however, that made it one of the most unusual experiences I’ve ever had. As senior-year-of-high-school as it may sound, I met people who I’ll never forget and who fundamentally changed who I am and the person I want to be.  

What is something few people know about you? 

BR: I have a sister, Kevyn, who is intellectually disabled and who is one of the most amazing humans I’ve ever known. It’s hard to really communicate the impact that she has on my life and others around her. A few years ago, a friend and I made a mini-documentary as part of a fundraising campaign for some of organizations that support her and the intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) community in San Antonio. The campaign shows how incredible Kevyn is, better than I could describe with mere words. We called it The Queen of Heart. Watch it if you’d like!

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