Integrated People Solutions
What do you value most about your HRPS membership?
HRPS is a great way to network with thought leaders in the HR profession and stay current on the latest ideas and their implementation. Like anyone in the field soon discovers, it’s impossible to know everything that is going on in the marketplace. HRPS provides a great forum to hear about what is being implemented at top companies from around the world. We can’t come up with all of the great ideas ourselves. And like I tell my son, “You don’t need to make all the mistakes yourself.”
Do you volunteer with HRPS and if so, how?
Historically, I’ve had the pleasure of working on a subgroup to attract and develop new HR leaders through HRPS at the national level with Sophia Kristjansson and others. On a more local level, I’ve enjoyed working with our local affiliate, Rocky Mountain HRPS. It is a great opportunity to understand what is happening locally as well as get more people in the Denver/Boulder area involved with the national organization. The goals and strategies align well across the groups and the local affiliate allows HR leaders to address geographically specific issues and network in their own back yard.
Why did you join the HR profession?
I suppose it was combination of genetic predisposition and environmental factors. My father was an HR VP for United Airlines and Emerson Electric before moving into general management. My grandfather was a union leader for the Flint Fire Department. Needless to say, they liked to debate and I was always around it. I never really grew up thinking, “I want to be an HR guy”, but I found that it was a very natural draw. On a higher level, I love strategy and trying to attract and motivate people to help drive a strategy to fruition. HR cuts across all of the business more than any other. What other field can you get exposed to senior leadership teams and see how they operate at an early age? It’s just a wonderful place to start your career if you want to learn the game of business and eventually run the show.
What has been your greatest success in your HR career?
When you work in HR, success comes in the form of your clients’ successes. A lot of people like to call HR the glue of the organization. I prefer to think of HR as the grease - it helps everything run smoothly. I was fortunate to be part of some great changes on a structural level, like helping launch online banking at Wells Fargo. But for me, the biggest successes have come from putting great leaders in place at great companies. What better way is there to help a client than by providing the right leader to guide and motivate teams to deliver on the strategic plan?
What has been your greatest challenge in your career? How have you overcome it?
I’m not sure I would categorize any HR work I have done as a challenge; they are really just opportunities in disguise – fun puzzles to solve. On a personal level, I can tell you I was a very introverted kid who loved math and science and was rarely the first person to initiate a conversation. So my biggest obstacle to being an effective HR leader was me – and that’s a lifelong project. I got over it by repeatedly putting myself in situations where I had to get out of my comfort zone while leveraging one of my strengths, genuine one on one connections. I sought out opportunities to speak publicly and by walking the floor and connecting with individuals to the point where it became second nature. Maybe that is a long way of saying “Get over yourself” and “Fake it ‘til you make it.”