Students in EMBA Class 47 spent their Leadership Residency week in St. Louis meeting with top execs in different fields to discuss current business issues across a wide range of topics. Human resources was the topic of a panel discussion that included guests from leading companies. Vikki Schiff, Vice President of Human Resources for Ball Aerospace & Technologies, Carra Simmons, Vice President of Learning and Development at State Farm, Ray Kleeman, Vice President of Human Resources at Monsanto, and Wendy Livingston, Vice President of Talent & Leadership at Boeing participated in the evening dialogue, sharing their extensive knowledge of HR with the EMBA 47 cohort.
The panel was convened to bring real world solutions into the academic setting, and the student questions reflected the students’ immediate learning. One student posed the question based on an earlier classroom discussion, “How do we acquire and keep talent when the talent pool is shrinking?”
Livingston answered, “Be O.K. with people leaving, but on good enough terms that they want to come back later.”
Students also wanted to know to what these executives attribute their personal growth.
Simmons said, “throw me in a snake pit!” She believes that learning how to problem-solve has made the most impact on her personal growth.
Kleeman replied, “take a risk and bet on yourself, have a good network, and know your worth on the market.”
Livingston’s comments included “never saying no to a job. This makes people you work with very grateful. Know your worth. Know the business.” Then she commented on when mentoring, male mentors will talk about business and female mentors will talk about being aggressive or pursuing dreams. “I can watch TED talks for that!”
Some companies are using data analytics to determine potential leaders internally. Others are utilizing new self and departmental evaluations. Once a potential leader is determined, each company has its own method for developing their leaders, and these methods are continually being updated and challenged as the workforce changes.
Olin is grateful for friends like these who are willing to share their time and expertise to further our mission to create knowledge, inspire individuals, and transform business.