Saluting @LisaRosendahl – #TimSackettDay

Today, just like every other day, hundreds of thousands of HR leaders will head off to work. A veritable battalion of professionals, they work in every industry and at every size organization imaginable. Unsung heroes, most of them; leading the good fight and doing their best to make the profession, their teams and their organizations better.

Lisa Rosendahl, Acting Associate Director at the US Department of Veterans Affairs, does those things every day.

And today, on #TimSackettDay, we’re celebrating Lisa.

This is a day when we celebrate the inspirational folks in HR and recruiting; we started with Tim Sackett and have since sent a collective shout out to Paul Hebert, Kelly Dingee, Victorio Millian and Animal. Oh…and it’s a surprise too (I wish I would have thought to ship some cake up to Lisa in Minnesota. Damn).

So let me tell you how Lisa inspires me…and countless others.

  • She’s a mom to a wonderful daughter
  • She’s a fearless HR leader with a focus on exceptional leadership, the building of high-performance teams, and strengthening the contributions of her team
  • She’s an inspirational writer
  • She’s a military veteran who served our country as an Officer in the US Army
  • She’s one of the co-founders of the site WomenofHR

I first met Lisa in 2010 and we’ve had the opportunity to get together at various events for lunch and laughs and coffee and dinner over the years. Not enough though. And here on #TimSackettDay I vow to rectify that for 2017.

So congratulations Lisa – you are an inspiration and I, for one, salute you!

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All Recruiting is Local: Triage

sisyphus punishmentThis has been quite the summer in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Alton Sterling (July 5th). The ambush/shooting that resulted in the death of three law enforcement officers (July 17th). The flood of epic/biblical/Zeus tossing lighting bolts/’Tony Perkins didn’t understand God” proportion (August 12th /13th /14th).

We were reeling, as a community, after the first two events; it’s the kind of news coverage no city wants. We’re used to national or international news being made due to (1) LSU football (2) the foolishness of our government/former governor or (3) because somebody is singing “Me and Bobby McGee” at some karaoke bar while drunkenly lamenting (in kinship with Janis Joplin) about being ‘busted flat in Baton Rouge.’ (admit it; you just sang along to that….didn’t you?)

Then came the flood.

But let’s rewind.

How do we spin this mofo?

After the Alton Sterling shooting (and weeks of protest marches) and the grief that settled on the region after the killing of the 3 officers, people were unsettled. Obviously.

How could this be happening to good old Baton Rouge? We’re a charming city halfway between New Orleans and Lafayette! Oh sure, we may have the worst traffic along the entire stretch of I-10 but we’re the city that Garth Brooks sings about for God’s sake. We have unbelievable food, great music, friendly people, and what many consider the epitome of college football tailgating traditions. Are we a bit behind the times with a soupcon of (hidden) southern racism? Well, yeah. But, by God, we’re also bustling and growing and working super hard to change.

But then … pow. Ouch. A punch to the collective solar plexus. Awful and heart wrenching and devastating.

But, because our Baton Rouge Area Chamber (of Commerce) has a really super cool Talent Development group (seriously; the two awesome women that have led this since its inception are so incredibly stellar), they convened a meeting of local HR/Recruiting/Talent leaders on August 3rd so we could chat about positioning Baton Rouge as an employment destination after these two events. We discussed how, as employers, we’re promoting opportunities to in-demand talent and discussing relocation with people who, let’s face it, never considered BR as a career destination in the first place. We dove into WTF is IBM going to do? What about our local mega-hospitals? How do we convince Justin and/or Jasmine to choose Baton Rouge over Austin or Dallas or Atlanta or Seattle? This was, obviously, a challenging task before July; by August 3rd this was starting to seem like a chore of Sysiphean proportion.

Then the rain fell.

Digging Out

Two weeks after this meeting we had 31 inches of rain in 2 days. Mud and sludge and water, water, water. Mold and more mold and mold upon mold. We now live amongst sheetrock and gutted homes. Our residents talk about lost cars and lost homes and, sadly, lost lives. We had entire cities decimated in a matter of hours.

How do you dig out from crap like that?

The People

A woman I work with arrived at the office yesterday for the first time since the flood. She gave me her iPhone and we swiped through hundreds of pictures of her house. Saved for her own memories, of course, but also saved as the necessary documentation for FEMA and the SBA and the insurance adjustors and the company’s employee assistance fund/foundation and for God and baby Jesus and anyone else who could help.

We looked at pictures of her life; everything piled on the curb in Denham Springs, LA. We giggled at the photo of her son-in-law, sweating profusely after ripping down water-soaked walls in 95 degree heat/humidity. In one photo he sprawled in a lawn chair, beer in hand, shouting exuberantly to a room with concrete floors; nothing (save him and his outstretched arms), blocking the view from the front door to the far back of the house.

She wept, just once, as she told me about her mother’s belongings that are now lost forever; tangible mementos from her childhood and her mother’s life that now sit in a 10 foot high pile of garbage waiting for the Waste Management truck to scoop up on its next pass through the neighborhood.

She dealt with all this in just two weeks. She’s back on the job.

But not everyone is.

Hiring (not just recruiting) is local

Those problems we discussed on August 3rd (one month ago today) seem almost solvable now in light of recent developments. Not to sweep those July events under the rug of course; crime and institutional racism are not trivial by any matter. That hen has yet to come home to roost.

But how, locally, do we recruit in a market where people are in need of putting their lives back together before they even consider looking for a new job? How do we entice folks to move here when there is no housing stock on the market, apartments are booked across a 20 parish region, and people are on waiting lists of 600+ just to get a rental car? (note: guy at work told me yesterday he could get a rental car if he was willing to drive to Oklahoma and then, once he was done with it, drive it back to Oklahoma).

The economic recovery in south Louisiana is projected to take a year. Retired Lt. Gen. Russell Honoré, who coordinated military response in New Orleans after Katrina, says he expects it will be 8 – 10 years. (Have always loved me some General Honoré; that man needs to run for POTUS).

We have thousands of residents displaced, thousands of Louisianians homeless, and thousands more destined to feel the full force of emotions hit them in a few days, weeks or months. How do we triage that?

Would you move to Baton Rouge for a career opportunity?

There’s the ultimate talent question.

Source me some of that.

 

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image: Some rights reserved. This work is licensed under a  Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.
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Women at Work – 1920

1925_Accounting_Office_BrooklynThe Nineteenth (XIX) Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified on August 18, 1920 when Tennessee became the 36th US state to ratify and thus provide the final vote to amend the US Constitution. The amendment had been passed by the US House of Representatives on May 21, 1919 and, as we were reminded in HRC’s speech the other night, was passed by the US Senate on June 4, 1919.

In 1921, the Sheppard-Towner Act (officially known as the Promotion of the Welfare and Hygiene of Maternity and Infancy Act) which provided federal funding for prenatal care and education and included the creation of women and children’s health clinics, passed Congress and was signed by President Warren G. Harding. Somewhat appropro, since, as we now know, old Warren G. fathered a daughter with Nan Britton who was not, as you might surmise, Mrs. Harding.

Times were changing.

Then during the 20’s female employment began to rise especially, of course, for single women. Common occupations for the ladies included typist, filing clerk, stenographer, social worker. nurse, teacher and librarian. But, at the same time, women more frequently filled the creative ranks as artists, singers, actors and designers; women like Martha Graham, Coco Chanel, Edna St. Vincent Millay and Dorothy Parker. (dang…I always thought Dorothy Parker was the bee’s knees).

Of course, we still had this kind of thinking….

“I pay our women well so they can dress attractively and get married.” – Henry Ford

Much still to be done.

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image: Early Office Museum

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