The Hope of HR: “People are fundamentally good.”


While I don’t focus exclusively on healthcare HR, in the last year that has been the world I’ve been living in — with much pleasure and a deep sense of honor.  If you went to the 2010 ASHHRA conference  (and hung around for my closing keynote), you already know that I spent two months driving around the country interviewing healthcare HR leaders who love their work. You can see a version of the resulting video that I showed as part of the speech here.

There’s so much great material that came out of these interviews, so inspiring, so refreshing, that I’ve decided to share it with you here.  Most of the conversations will be around my trademark question:  “Does your work relieve pain, restore hope, or bring beauty into the world?”  (I’ll tell you about the origins of … Continue Reading

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The Hope of HR: Prepare to Be Amazed…Every Day


When you’re in HR, it’s so easy to get bogged down by the hassles and headaches of dealing with people. How do you keep your own passion for HR energized? Be the keeper of a workplace culture that cherishes the passion of your people.

The more I get to know what healthcare HR faces every day, the more amazed I am. I don’t know how you do it, frankly. But I’m so glad you do. And I’m so impressed that even in the face of regulatory, legislative and other strategic challenges that threaten to get in the way of you doing your best work, you don’t lose sight of the fact that there are people in your organizations who really see the deep human meaning behind the work they do. And they draw inspiration from those small golden moments where … Continue Reading

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Diane Dixon

Diane Dixon

Corporate communications demands a love for story-telling and a passion for strategically delivering the company message that serves a variety of stakeholders.  As the daughter of two journalists, Diane Dixon found her way into corporate communications after growing up  surrounded by smart, lively story-telling and political discussions.  There was no question that she would spend her own professional life pursuing and sharing great stories, news, and, as she emphasizes, the truth.

Diane is also a rarity, especially in any  communications field. She has been with the same company for 28 years, helping Avery Dennison celebrate its 50th anniversary — and now gearing up to help it celebrate its 75th.  In this interview, she looks back over her career at Avery Dennison and offers advice on how to get started in corporate communications, sustaining your passion for the story and the … Continue Reading

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Tim Garrett

Tim Garrett

Like many leaders in HR, Tim Garrett didn’t set out to spend his career in the people side of business.  To say he was in the right place at the right time might be a stretch. But he was definitely where his talents could be best used when they were needed the most.  He was in a management training rotation in the HR department when a strike hit the company.  He was immediately assigned the duties of giving management whatever support they needed to prevail in the strike.

Over 30 years later, he has successfully led his employers and suppliers through more than 15 unionization attempts. His approach is not to go head-on with union organizers. It’s to create a workplace culture based on mutual trust and respect — one that makes unions irrelevant in the eyes of the employees. … Continue Reading

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Arte Nathan

Arte Nathan

Las Vegas, famous for its ever-changing skyline and ever-rising expectations, is not known for understatement on either score. And so, as adept as it may be to wow the tourists and conventioneers, it has a more difficult time turning the heads of Las Vegas insiders. Glitz, shimmering glitter, shimmying body parts and specially stamped tokens that tumble into metal slot machine bowls designed to deliver a loud clatter fail to impress the denizens of Las Vegas. Not only have they seen “the man behind the curtain,” they are the man behind the curtain.

For a town that traffics in enticement and illusion, the only thing that can really impress is authentic excellence. This elusive quality of flawless flawlessness was ultimately manifested with the opening of the Bellagio, with its fountains, its pools, its marble-clad bathrooms with soaking tubs, its … Continue Reading

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Eva Sage-Gavin

Eva Sage-Gavin

As Executive Vice President of Gap, Inc., Eva Sage-Gavin runs the people function of a company with 134,000 employees and one of the most recognizable American brands worldwide.  Eva knew from the time she was 15 that corporate human resource management held the most promise to her for a fulfilling life’s work. And then she set about mapping her career step by step, choice by choice, beginning with a bachelor’s degree in industrial and labor relations from Cornell University.

Each item on her resume reflects a careful decision geared to helping her achieve the topmost HR seat inside a major corporation by the time she was in her 40’s.  And so her career has taken her to such varied companies as PepsiCo, Xerox, Disney Consumer Products, and Sun Microsystems.

One important lesson she came … Continue Reading

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