Cameron Martin is used to moving. He estimates he has moved nine times in his 24 years. His father’s occupation necessitated the moves and forced Martin to adapt on the fly. Those adjustments, he opines, have helped him become increasingly successful socially in an age of digital dominance. A move from finance to human resources in college set Martin on a path he expects to travel for some time, with roots solidly planted in the Centennial State.
You currently reside in Colorado Springs. How did you end up there?
I moved here about seven years ago, my senior year of high school, because my dad accepted a job here. After my senior year, I went to the University of Colorado. In that time, I fell in love with Colorado Springs: the beautiful mountains, the great weather. It’s been amazing ever since.
Where were you born?
I was born in Indianapolis. We moved about nine times since then. My dad managed call centers, so we moved around about every year and a half. I’ve lived all over the place — been in the Carolinas twice, Kentucky, Kansas, Tennessee, Michigan and then Colorado most recently. He might keep going, but I can’t follow him this time (laughs). I turned 24 in April, got married in October (2019) and just bought a house. So, now it’s really about settling in and making it ours.
How’d you meet your wife, Basia?
My junior year of college, in one of my management classes. She just kind of was forced to sit next to me because it was the only open seat left since she was late. And the rest, really, is history.
It’s a double-edged sword moving that often early on: You saw a lot of places, but were unable to really call one place home. Did you get used to it?
When you’re that age, I don’t know if it matters too much who you’re playing with or where you’re at. The older I got, I was a little resentful of it. Because that’s when you start developing those more permanent relationships; you want a place you feel like you belong. The more I got used to it though, the more I saw the hidden blessings. I developed great people skills early, the ability to mingle and talk to different people and make friends wherever I went.
I did get to see different cultures and places and how people were; I think that’s something that has helped me personally, which has helped me develop in my professional life too.
What is it about Colorado that you like so much? What about it feels like home?
Colorado Springs is great because it’s pretty quickly becoming a big city, but it still doesn’t feel like a big city. It still feels very personal. There’s a lot of local-owned businesses, things like that.
Also, the climate is something I connect with here. Even when it’s cold, it’s not too bad. There’s always sun shining. There are plenty of beautiful parks and mountains. You can go hiking or biking. My wife and I are very active, so it’s nice to have this many options. You never feel like you’re stuck inside, which is sort of how we felt in Indiana.
You’re relatively new to the field of human resources. What was the path that brought you to this particular field?
When I first went to business school, I really wanted to be a finance major. So, I went through that, and I interned at T. Rowe Price. At the time, I also had another job at a local call center, where I was a training specialist. I got to work with bringing people onboard, helping them make their selection and progressing through their careers. I realized how much I liked those interactions.
So, I met with one of the counselors at college, and I described how much I liked that. And unless you’re in a really niche part of finance, you don’t really get to converse a lot with people or help them out. It can be a lot of bean-counting. My counselor asked if I’d considered HR, and I had not.
I ended up taking some classes in HR and switched my major to it. Then about six months later, I finished college and needed a job. I got one with the City of Colorado Springs, just as a very entry-level role. I felt it was where I was supposed to be. Then I ended up moving
into the compensation realm, which is where I’m at now. I really like it.
How is working for a city — not a huge company — different? What makes that interesting and beneficial?
Working for the city has really expanded my horizons, to really understand how things work. It’s been really eye-opening to see how many facets of the city are controlled by employees, and how much we get done with so little manpower.
It’s not a big organization with huge sums of money to do things; we have to be very vigilant and smart in how we spend our taxpayer dollars.
What is it about you that helps you thrive in the HR field?
I think the big thing for me is that you have to be flexible; it’s not something people typically think about when it comes to compensation. It’s very rigid in terms of what the law is, but we have to be reliable in terms of working with the business leaders and strategy on how to get things taken care of. Compensation is a touchy subject for some people, so if you don’t get that right, the whole system kind of falls apart.
You’re younger than most WorldatWork members. What advice from more experienced co-workers has stood out?
You can’t really get anything done without working together. Everything is linked one way or another. What I’ve been taught and mentored is a way to leverage those relationships to help each other. It’s cliché, but if you don’t work as a team, you can’t get the mission done. And hen you have a limited pool of resources and budget, that is even more critical.
You mentioned that you and your wife are very active. Any specific hiking spots or trails you frequent?
My wife specifically loves the Manitou Springs Incline. It’s an extreme trail within Colorado, very popular around here. It’s grueling. We’ve done it 15 to 20 times now. It takes about an hour to an hour and a half. The funniest part is you’ll really lose motivation at points; you’ll be catching your breath, then some six- or 90-year-old go blowing by you. So that gives you another push.
Outside of that specific spot, we’re gym-goers every day. We’re very into our fitness. I love playing basketball and tennis. We really love live music, so we try to frequent as many concerts as we can get our hands on.
How about travel?
My wife is also a huge travel freak. Being born in Poland, she has a huge desire to go everywhere we can in Europe. So, we’re planning a big trip to Poland this year. We’re hoping sometime in May. We want to see Poland, mainly, but also visit some of the surrounding countries if we can. Germany, Spain and/or France would be great. The driver for our travel now is that I’ve been all over the U.S. my entire life, but I’ve never been outside of it. We want to experience the culture of the world.
As far as a bucket list — something you want to do, somewhere you want to go, something you want to see — what’s at the top of that list at the moment?
One bucket-list item is travel: I’m a pretty huge literary nerd, and I’ve always been way into the Lord of the Rings books and movies. New Zealand is where most of the movies were filmed. I’ve always wanted to go there, maybe we can go there in the next four to five years.
As far as a purchase, I’ve always wanted to have my own lake house. In Indiana, every year we’d have family come back once a year. We’d have 40 people in one house, with one boat, sleeping on the floor. And it was great. That’s one warm, fuzzy memory of something I’d love to be able to do for my own family someday.