Reanna Werner has always had a passion for people — so it’s fitting she’s made her career working in the field of human resources.

The 39-year-old owner of consulting firm HR Branches got her introduction to the industry when she was barely old enough to drive.

“I actually started my career in HR when I was 16 years old,” Werner said. “My best friend’s dad owned a recruiting firm, so our part-time job after school was to sort through résumés and pull out all of the résumés applicable to the current positions he was recruiting for.”

It was there that Werner began to think about the things that make employees tick and developed a passion for the psychological factors behind business.

She later pursued a bachelor’s degree in business administration and HR from DeVry University and completed the program in 2½ years, while raising her daughter as a single mother and working full time at a call center.

“I missed out on the first five years of my daughter’s life because of it, but it was ultimately rewarding,” Werner said. “I knew that nobody else could support my daughter except for me and I needed to do this for her future. So it was a lot of juggling and a lot of balancing. My daughter probably had more textbooks read to her than bedtime stories. But she’s really smart because of that.”

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Werner went on to get her master’s degree and launched into an HR career.

She worked her way up to leading a mid-size HR team, but about five years ago her husband started his own Certified Public Accountant business and many of his clients expressed a need for HR services.

So Werner eventually decided to start her own HR firm specializing in small businesses.

“If there’s a legal hiccup with these small businesses, it’s not just a matter of money — it’s a matter of being put out of business,” Werner said. “So the stakes are a lot higher. That made me feel even more compelled to make sure they had some sort of resource to turn to when they really needed it.”

Werner’s official title at HR Branches is “chief problem solver.”

“Some people look at problem solving as a negative thing, but I feel as an executive, that’s the best part of our job,” Werner said. “When you can solve someone’s problem, you know you’ve been successful at the end of the day. I want my clients, my employees and my staff … to bring their problems to me.”

Outside of her demanding career, Werner is also an active member of the community. She’s especially passionate about a weekly volunteer effort that provides macaroni and cheese to Colorado Springs’ homeless people.

“We share a bowl of macaroni and cheese with about 50 to 75 of our closest homeless friends,” she said.

“Colorado Springs has been my home since the day I was born and it’s given me a lot. And I want to give back to it in any way I can.”

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