Building relationships to help others flourish
Shane Jakubovic has been with Covestro — formerly Bayer Material Science — since 2010. He started off in human resources, then moved into corporate social responsibility, leading a STEM initiative to provide education and hands-on experience to students across the region while also giving Covestro employees opportunities to develop and make a community impact. He’s now the Head of the President’s Office, working on centralized strategic initiatives as well as providing program management for Covestro’s president and his U.S. leadership team.
What led you to your career in human resources?
Funny story! I went to college at Slippery Rock University, and started as a secondary education major, wanting to teach history. There are so many teachers in my family and they’re all local to Pittsburgh, and that’s what I thought I wanted to do, too. In my freshmen year, I did observation hours with my cousin who taught 9th grade history. I hated it! I came back after that week and went to my advisor and said, “This is not for me! I don’t like being a teacher.” I was completely ruined because I thought I knew what I wanted to do. Thankfully, I had a great advisor who introduced me to some of his colleagues in the business school and I started taking some classes in Human Resources. I found that part of the reason I wanted to work with students was because I like helping people, I like working with others, and I like seeing people grow. Seeing that side of HR really gave me a passion for it. I went down that route and was eventually named the president of the Slippery Rock chapter of the Society of Human Resource Management. I’ve never looked back.
What motivates you?
I’m motivated through relationships, both in my personal life and in my work life. What drives me is culture and relationships. I think that building relationships and having fun while you’re at work are the most important things you can do, and it’s what gives me a sense of purpose.
Have you always lived in Pittsburgh?
Yes! Born and raised in Pittsburgh, south of the city in South Park Township. I had an opportunity to live in Texas in 2012 and 2013, which was great, but when my wife and I were starting our family we made the decision to come back to be close to our family and friends.
Why do you volunteer with United Way?
United Way, to me, always puts the needs of the community at the forefront of the decisions they make. They focus on initiatives that have such a breadth, working with children and youth, the elderly, and struggling families. I come from a divorced family — my mom raised my sister and I. I know what it’s like to watch your mom boil water to put in the bathtub for your sister. So, seeing United Way focus on individuals in need, who might be scared to ask for help at times, is great. They provide access to services to people who truly need it — and they do it in a compassionate and caring way.
What drives you to be active in your community?
There are several reasons. At its core, it gives me a sense of purpose and makes me feel good. I believe that people are essentially all the same — we’re all here together, striving toward a common goal. Giving others the opportunity to flourish and pursue their dreams is important to me. More selfishly, being active in my community provides me with development opportunities. Being on an allocation committee and helping to direct where money is going or reviewing finances on the board, are opportunities I would never have if it wasn’t for being on the board at United Way. It also counteracts the effects of stress and anxiety. When you combine all of those things, community work makes me feel healthier and happier.
Do you have any hobbies or things you like to do outside of work?
As a family, my wife and I have three boys under the age of 5 and two dogs; I cherish the time we get to spend together. I love to golf, although the time I can devote to golf has changed dramatically in the last five years! Being a father is most important to me. My wife and I also run races. We just did the Pittsburgh Half Marathon in May. Fitness is a big part of our lives, not only because it’s something we enjoy doing together but because it’s time we get to we get to spend alone together.
What is your favorite United Way memory?
When Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, we were here in Pittsburgh, but because we’d lived in Texas, we had a lot of friends and coworkers down there. There were a lot of kids who were displaced from their homes and lost all their toys, coloring books, favorite stuffed animals, and blankets. We asked our United Way here if they could help us organize something, and we worked together to create care bags. Covestro employees bought a bunch of toys and stuffed animals and United Way gave us blank bags that we could color and draw on. Our employees got together and drew pictures and wrote saying on the bags like “Houston Strong”. United Way helped us with all of this — they connected with the United Way in Houston and found the kids most in need. It was great to see how United Way touches hearts not only here in Pittsburgh but also in other places. It just speaks to the work they do.