The Rise of the Next Human Capital Luminaries in 2004, Part 2

In last week’s article, we introduced three unsung yet phenomenal human capital heroes: Eva Sage-Gavin of Gap, Inc.; Scott Weston of Falcon Strategic Group; and Donato Diorio of Broadlook Technologies. The work and contributions these three HR and talent acquisitions professionals have performed merits continued public discussion and analysis. If you want to see the future of recruiting and human human capital, you’d better familiarize yourself with this list. In that spirit, this week, I will continue by highlighting three more human capitalists who have made incredible contributions to our field, and whom I predict will not only continue to positively impact their own companies with their example and novel innovations, but the entire recruiting profession as a whole! Jon Walker, Dow Chemical. 2004 Human Capital Luminary Meet Mr. Jon Walker. Jon is the global vice president of human resource information systems for Dow Chemical. Most of us will never ever see the level of responsibilities he handles now on a daily basis. I had the opportunity to engage Jon Walker at last year’s PeoplePowerBusiness.Com San Francisco Symposium, where his keynote presentation, in conjunction with iLogos’ president Yves Lermusiaux, absolutely rocked the house! Jon’s perspectives are unique and advanced, clearly rooted in his 25 years of management experience in the areas of human resources, marketing, and operations at Dow Chemical. During his tenure he has significantly contributed to attracting, finding, developing and retaining the more than 50,000 employees across 60 countries and 900 offices (you can take a deep breath now) who make up Dow Chemical. Today, Jon is strategically aligning Dow Chemical’s global human resources information technology initiatives with Dow Chemical’s people success systems. It’s clear to me that Jon’s human capitalist role at Dow is resulting in some of the most innovative programs ever to be seen. Dow’s “people success systems” is a comprehensive resource that incorporates the philosophy, information, and tools needed to successfully transform the company’s culture in ways that find, attract, deploy, and retain talent across the entire organization. Without a doubt, Jon is not only a thought leader as it relates to talent management, but also someone with a successful track record in executing successful programs for Dow employees and external candidates seeking different careers in multiple functional areas and geographies. His recent major project initiatives that have caught my eye include his global implementations of Dow’s online university (, Recruitsoft’s enterprise staffing management solution, and Dow’s People Success Finder (an internal global HR self-service portal). What’s really refreshing about Jon is his humble, yet happy and almost self-deprecating, personality, which gives him the ability to relate to and validate the people he engages. Very few people have this personal communication skill, but if such a skill could be packaged into an HR and recruitment certification, then it should absolutely be required! As a man who’s constantly in the “human capital trenches,” with a definitive perspective of current events in the talent acquisitions world, and yet still fairly unknown, Jon is someone whom I salute and gladly nominate as a 2004 human capital luminary. Dave Lefkow, TMP Worldwide. 2004 Human Capital Luminary As a regular contributor to our beloved ERE, and a recent speaker at ERE’s Seattle Metrics Symposium, most already know that Dave is an interactive solutions consultant for TMP, focusing on providing TMP’s clients the strategic big-picture solutions for their recruitment initiatives. At TMP, Dave is the consummate practitioner of our profession, consistently providing an accurate, 30,000-foot-view of the recruiting world as we know it. Most of us have already read his articles. But in my opinion, his deep understanding of various technologies and how they should integrate into recruiting effectively demands an increased exposure of his knowledge. Moreover, as Dave told me, “Technologies and what they can actually achieve in the recruiting and retention function are still in the throws of development and discovery.”. He believes that not all industries have embraced technology’s contributions in staffing and not all candidates, such as hourly candidates, are always exposed to effective interactive employment technologies. According to Dave, it’ll be important in 2004 that recruitment technologies continue to evolve their sensitivity to the dynamics of the candidate’s experience. He should know. After all, Dave not only speaks and writes on workforce technologies, but also applies technology best practices daily. And so it goes that with his broad knowledge and exposure to literally hundreds of companies, that I once again highlight Dave Lefkow as a repeat human capital luminary for 2004. Annie Ayerst, Starbuck’s Coffee. 2004 Human Capital Luminary Ever wondered who the architects behind the exponential international recruiting growth at Starbuck’s are? Well, here’s at least one: Ms. Annie Ayerst, Starbuck’s staffing manager for international recruiting operations. Despite the lofty title, Annie is perhaps the epitome of what this article is all about. She’s a true recruitment hero buried neck-high in global responsibilities, but who always has a reassuring, upbeat spirit (cool under pressure) and is very down-to-earth. Although Starbuck’s has many wonderful talent acquisitions pros whom I could easily fill this article with, I chose Annie because we can all relate to her. She’s a highly effective human capitalist that you never hear from, yet her success story is as American as apple pie. She was born in a third world country (Vietnam) and at a very young age was brought to the U.S., where she successfully navigated her way through an extremely difficult cultural assimilation curve. Like many of us, she grew up holding down some very tough, thankless, and undesirable jobs in the customer services and retail domains. Yet through it all, Annie’s character has obviously prevailed and to the benefit of Starbucks! Today, Annie is perhaps one of the best-connected and most well-known recruiters not only in the Pacific Northwest area (she’s consistently held leadership roles with the Northwest Recruiters Association, Seattle SHRM, and The Professional Technical Diversity Network), but also in the nation. She’s often up until the craziest hours of the morning, conducting international interviews and making offers to candidates in numerous countries. Talk about dedication! Annie sees her diverse past as one of her greatest strengths, one that’s led her to become one of Starbuck’s most innovative human capital professionals. Her contributions have led to Starbuck’s successfully serving 25 million customers in 32 countries per week, opening 3 to 4 new stores globally per week, reaching a total of 7225 shops opened in 2003, and finally enabling the hiring of over 200 new employee partners per day globally! Can you say that? Through all of this Annie still manages to put her husband, children, and cultural values first. I asked Annie, “How do you do it? You’re like superwoman.” “Well,” she replied, “that’s the thing about Starbucks. They really are one of the best places to work in the world. Their family values and flexibility to accommodate their partners [Starbucks-speak for ’employees’] is second-to-none.” Fortune Magazine seems to agree; that’s why they put Starbucks in their 100 Best Companies To Work For list. Congratulations Annie! Although you may be too busy to notice the example you serve to others, your career only highlights how critical recruiters and human capitalists are to corporate success. You are absolutely a 2004 human capital luminary! Conclusion For those that who this illustrious list of luminaries last year, you probably know by now that this has become a bit of a tradition. If during the course of 2004 you encounter a human capital luminary who goes unrecognized, and you feel that the manner in which they conduct their HR or recruiting practice merits recognition, by all means forward their nominations during the course of this year and they will be considered for 2005. Until then, congratulations to all six of this year’s human capital luminaries! We wish them and all of you continued innovation, impact, success, and increased earnings in 2004. Thanks for reading, and remember if I can be of assistance in anything, I’m here to serve.

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