Alumni Award Winner Spotlight: Colleen Haley

January 12, 2023 - Shelly DeJong

Headshot of Colleen HaleyColleen Haley, an MSU Psychology and MSU HRLR alumna, won the College of Social Science Alumni Award this past fall. We caught up with her recently to hear about her work as the CEO of Quality Metalcraft & Experi-Metal, what drew her to psychology and HRLR, and what she wishes she had known as a student. 


Congratulations on receiving the Alumni Award! What does it mean to you to be recognized in this way? 

Staying connected with and supporting MSU and the College of Social Science is personally rewarding and engaging. I have been an advisory board member, spoken at classes, and currently am a member of the CSS Dean search committee. I owe so much to MSU and the CSS, my involvement is a small way I can give back. It's an unexpected treat to receive this recognition, but it's really icing on the cake - I would devote my time, experience, and energy no matter what. 

You’ve had quite the career! Can you give a few of your favorite highlights? 

I have to say that my current role as CEO of Quality Metalcraft & Experi-Metal Inc., a Michigan-based manufacturing company, stands out for me as a high point. It's the most challenging and most fun job I have had. Working with a winning team making great products and improving all aspects of our business for the benefit of our stakeholders is a dream job. Another highlight is my time traveling and working with global teams and customers both at Yazaki and Parker Hannifin in the automotive and diversified industrial markets. I learned about business, cultures, and people firsthand on hundreds of trips to Asia and Europe, and also while living in Brazil and working across South America.  

We would love to hear about your time at MSU. What drew you to psychology? 

From the time I was very young I wanted to be a psychologist so that I could help people to be healthy and happy.  During my time at MSU I gravitated to organizational and industrial psychology classes. I found the application of psychology to companies was compelling – group dynamics, culture development, the intersection of individuals and their goals and drives with organizations. I continue to be fascinated by human behavior and motivation. I believe my psychology and HR studies have been put to use in every business role I’ve had in my career. 

Like many college students, my time in the psychology department helped me to determine what I did and didn’t want to pursue in my career.  I learned being a practitioner or researcher wasn’t for me and that understanding and working in organizations fit my interest in psychology and also my practical, results-focused nature. 

What do you wish you had known as a college student that you know now? 

I wish I had known that life and work will all come together. In college you can be super-focused on achievement and getting into the perfect grad program, first job or company. What I learned with time is that we all find our way and our path may be very different than we had planned – sometimes the unexpected path ends up being great. Have faith and confidence that life and careers have unexpected turns and opportunities come in ways you might not expect. Enjoy the ride! 

What makes you proud to be a MSU Social Scientist? 

The College of Social Science touches so many disciplines – all of them focused on human beings, our relationships, systems, cultures, and complexities – what could be more valuable or compelling? I’m proud to represent MSU in my work and personal life, I feel like my MSU CSS education has positioned me to have a positive impact on the individuals and organizations I lead and interact with every day. I can attest to the accuracy of the College’s tagline from my own experience – our science transforms the human experience and inspires leaders.