Monday, November 19, 2007
Position: Chief operating officer, the Society for Human Resource Management, an Alexandria association that serves human-resource professionals and advances the interests of their profession.
Career Highlights: President, North America, DBM; president, Lee Hecht Harrison; chief operating officer, Lee Hecht Harrison; regional senior vice president and general manager, Lee Hecht Harrison; senior vice president, Keystone Associates; group vice president, eastern region, and executive committee member, Drake Beam Morin (now DBM); group vice president, northeastern region, Drake Beam Morin; group vice president, global accounts, Drake Beam Morin; group vice president, gulf region, Drake Beam Morinz; senior vice president and managing director, Drake Beam Morin; senior vice president, regional marketing, Drake Beam Morin; managing principal, PMG; senior consultant, PMG; co-founder and vice president, Human Resource Management; consultant, Swartout Associates (now Lee Hecht Harrison); and project coordinator, employee relations, Christian Science Monitor.
Education: BA, English literature, Principia College; Graduate coursework in organization development management, National Lewis University.
Personal: Lives in Alexandria with husband I.J.
How did you get to where you are?
I really think my career has been a very natural progression. I started in human resources in a nonprofit organization -- with the publisher of the Christian Science Monitor -- and then spent 25 years in the for-profit sector. Now, I find myself in the nonprofit sector. I first moved into the human resources consulting space, primarily the career transition and career development sector in the Midwest for a number of smaller, local and regional boutique firms. Then I joined a large, global firm. So my career moved frequently in terms of geography and responsibility, from coast to coast and in between, St. Louis, Kansas City, Dallas, San Francisco, Boston, New York, Philadelphia and now Washington. I'm part of a two-career family and so there were additional moves for my husband's career -- Denver, St. Louis, Reno and Las Vegas. Being open to relocation and a commuting relationship was critical to many of the career opportunities I received along the way.
With every geographical move, my set of responsibilities grew larger. In all of those locations, I was leading organizations that provided services to human-resource professionals who supported their organizations' business objectives around restructuring, downsizing, and mergers and acquisitions. Those activities have an impact on employees, retention, productivity and the bottom line. Partnering with human-resources leaders to make sure that they had the right approaches and support for their organization has been the key to my success.
Creating cultures and strategies to which really smart people were attracted and rewarding them to do their very best work every day ensured the success of the organizations that I led. Along the way, I've been a leader of start-up and entrepreneurial consulting firms, subsidiaries of large multinational corporations and part of the executive leadership team of a company owned by private equity -- all serving the human-resource community during the most stressful times.
Taking on the role of chief operating officer builds on all my experiences, and the timing of it is particularly meaningful to me. I'm bringing this set of experience and skills to the top of our profession at the beginning of one of the most important election cycles for the world of human resources. The issues that will be impacted by the outcome of next year's elections are critical to the future success of businesses and critical to the success of human-resources leaders in helping to create their organizations' strategies around attracting, developing and retaining talent as the baby boomers leave the full-time workforce. The government and business community will also begin to tackle the difficult issues of maintaining a competitive workforce, health-care reform and legal immigration. These aren't just human resources issues, they are business survival issues. Being able to lead the Society for Human Resource Management, which is providing strategic agenda-setting thought leadership for the human resource profession, is a very exciting next step for my career.
-- Judith Mbuya