From Weddings to Human Resources

PROVO, Utah – Sep 20, 2021 – After graduating from the BYU Marriott School of Business in 2013 with a degree in recreation management, Miranda Oliver started working as a wedding planner, which she thought was her dream job. However, after a few years, she realized she wanted something different. Oliver used her knowledge of experience design, which she gained during her undergrad at BYU Marriott, to successfully transition to a career in human resources.

Oliver chose to attend BYU for her undergrad because she felt the school would enable her to reach her future goals, including being a wedding planner. “The best of the best attend BYU, so I told myself, ‘How could I not take advantage of this opportunity?’” she says. Oliver explored several different majors, but she kept going back to her lifelong love of events. “I always had a passion for event planning, and I also wanted to help people,” she explains. “When I found out about the recreation management degree, I knew the major would line up well with my interests.”

After she graduated, Oliver continued to follow her dreams and found a job as an event planner at Arbor Manor in Salt Lake City, specializing in weddings. She worked in that position for a few years. However, while she loved her job, she did not enjoy the time commitments involved, which often took up evenings and weekends. As a result, Oliver decided to switch fields so she could have a more traditional work schedule, leading to more time with her family.

Oliver found a new job in project management at Henriksen Butler (H/B), a furniture company, where she continued to use her roots in experience design to create meaningful experiences for others. As a wedding planner, she had often had to coordinate between multiple vendors, an invaluable skill for project managers. While at H/B, Oliver also became more aware of the needs of employees in a traditional corporate setting. She noticed a disconnect between employees and management and felt inspired to help everyone feel heard and appreciated.

Oliver talked to others within the company about the issues she noticed, and she was eventually recruited to join the HR team and help identify solutions. She has worked in HR ever since. “I transitioned to this new path and stayed because I realized how much the field related back to my undergrad,” Oliver says. “When you consider the employee experience aspect of my job, this career is in line with my passions.”

As an HR representative, Oliver continues to focus on the experiences of those around her but in a different setting. “In my new field, I focus on recognizing how experience design can be applied to employees,” she adds. “My passion is experiences, which play into everything we as humans want to do, so I try to help make those moments better.”

In 2017, Oliver accepted a job in the human resources department at Cricut, a craft-machine company. Since then, she has worked her way up Cricut’s HR ladder and is now a senior manager in the department. Her career ascension has also been helped by her MBA degree, which she earned in 2019 from Western Governors University (WGU).

In her MBA program, Oliver once again used principles from her time in the recreation management program at BYU Marriott. “During my MBA, I noticed that my undergrad had a lot of foundational experiences that I could apply during my time in the MBA program at WGU,” she says. Some of these concepts, which Oliver has been able to apply to her HR career as well, include risk management, business plans, and basic finance principles.

“I could not have completed my MBA without my undergrad,” she continues. “BYU Marriott allowed me to be more successful and understand several of the concepts within my graduate degree.”

Looking back, Oliver is grateful for her career path to HR and for the many ways she has applied her recreation management degree throughout her life. While she never thought she would end up in her current position, Oliver is happy to be at her true dream job and living in Cottonwood Heights, Utah. “The role I am in now is perfectly me,” she says. “My job is a combination of project management, which I am at heart, and also employee experience, where I can help others have better lives.”

Miranda Oliver, 2013 BYU Marriott recreation management alumna and senior manager of HR at Cricut. Photo courtesy of Miranda Oliver.
Miranda Oliver, 2013 BYU Marriott recreation management alumna and senior manager of HR at Cricut. Photo courtesy of Miranda Oliver.
Oliver (far left) with her HR team at Cricut. Photo courtesy of Miranda Oliver.
Oliver (far left) with her HR team at Cricut. Photo courtesy of Miranda Oliver.
Oliver with her husband at her graduation from WGU, where she received an MBA. Photo courtesy of Miranda Oliver.
Oliver with her husband at her graduation from WGU, where she received an MBA. Photo courtesy of Miranda Oliver.

Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Mike Miller