Position: Executive vice president, human resources, Freddie Mac, the McLean mortgage finance company.

Career highlights: Senior executive vice president, human resources, Wachovia Corp.; senior vice president, human resources, Waste Management Inc.; senior vice president, human resources, United Airlines; vice president, human resources, Pacific Southwest Airlines; partner, Meserve, Mumper & Hughes; and associate, Meserve, Mumper & Hughes.

Age: 54

Education: BA, political science and economics, Occidental College; JD, University of California at Los Angeles.

Personal: Will relocate with wife, Lynn, from California to Washington.

How did you get to where you are?

There will probably be three things. The first is my mother and dad, who I think were great role models for hard work, integrity and respect for other individuals. And that has served me well throughout my career.

The second influence has been that I have worked for a number of really talented executives who have provided me, in the course of the last 20 years, with a lot of coaching, guidance and at appropriate times taken me to the woodshed. They have enabled me to continue to improve my ability to add value to a business relative to how it manages its talent.

The third is I have always followed the practice of attempting to select and hire individuals who were far more talented and creative than I am, which has enabled me to accelerate my learning in all areas of practice within human resources.

And in my new role I believe I have a great partner in Dick Syron [chairman of Freddie Mac] who will enable me to continue learning and growing as part of the new Freddie Mac management team.

I actually got attracted to human resources as a result of my work with a law professor at UCLA law school during my last year of school. He was heavily involved in employment dispute resolution, also known as alternative dispute resolution, the American Arbitration Association and other dispute resolution associations. That interest continued during that period when I was at the law firm. I was engaged in labor relations and employment law practice.

I've dealt with a wide variety of challenges that most businesses encounter today, including dealing with the people-related aspects of mergers and acquisitions, reductions in force, benefit changes, talent planning and succession development as well as the compensation and reward programs that are necessary to recognize and incent talented employees.

I think the biggest challenge that has run consistently through my career is attracting, motivating and developing great talent. You do it by creating a compelling vision and plan for improving the performance of the company and creating an environment in which employees are engaged and can do their best work.

The terrible catastrophe [of the Gulf Coast hurricanes] presents a situation where Freddie Mac will demonstrate the importance of the role we play in creating low-cost affordable mortgages, and we plan to be a leader in coming up with creative ways to help the families that have been devastated.

-- Judith Mbuya