Senior Manager Global Human Capital, Bain & Company
Culture change that aims to promote inclusivity and mitigate bias has to run all the way through an organization.
After Tuck, Suzanne Schaefer T’02 went into management consulting with Bain & Company, figuring that with such a broad exposure to business, eventually she might connect with a particular industry. To her surprise, she instead felt a strong pull to a practice area, finding a passion for recruiting and talent development that has taken her on a ten-year career in human resources.
As the vice president of Global Campus Recruiting for American Express, Schaefer centralized the company’s global recruiting structure before shifting to a leadership role in Global Diversity and Inclusion.
Now, she is newly back at Bain as a senior manager for Global Human Capital, where she continues to think broadly about how to foster a diverse work force, as well as how to create pathways to success for incoming talent.
Invest in diversity and inclusion. Too many companies think of diversity as simply representation. They need to create an environment where all employees can bring their full selves to work. If you’re trying to hire more women, are the hallways of your company filled with pictures of men? Are the conference rooms all named for men? Do your town hall meetings have women on the stage? These are the subtle-but-important cues that employees notice, and they should reflect the culture you’re trying to create.
Think in verticals. Culture change that aims to promote inclusivity and mitigate bias has to run all the way through an organization. You can’t simply run the leaders through a training session, or punt new policies to junior employees. The employee-manager relationship is the basis of loyalty. At every level, employees need to know that their leaders embrace diversity.
Understand your talents’ values and motivators. Get to know what drives your employees. What do they value? If they are driven by personal economics and money, know that up front, and be very direct about how their results will link to firm performance and their own earning potential. If they care about social good, these are the employees you can tap when pro bono projects come up. When you can align work with what motivates your people, you can deliver fantastic work to your clients.
Connect the dots through the talent lifecycle. Through the recruiting process, we learn so much about people’s strengths, weaknesses, motivators, and preferences. But so often that vital data gets filed away as soon as new employees walk through the door. Rising stars often meet with coaches, but do we ever debrief those people so that the company can benefit too? Don’t drop the insights your HR team gains about employees. Fold those touchpoints in an employee’s lifecycle into their talent development plans.
There’s just something about a true meritocracy. It can be demoralizing when the D and the B+ employees are paid the same. Don’t be afraid to treat your stars like stars. Organizations where talent is actually rewarded based on performance and leaders are given the leeway to reward success will keep their most talented employees happy.
Don’t always turn to the “expert.” If you have someone who’s great at Excel spreadsheets and loves doing them, you’re likely to turn to her each time you need an Excel spreadsheet made. But there’s also a good chance that someone else on your team can do it too, and that the woman who rocks Excel also needs to broaden her skillset. Giving new people a chance can increase the usability of your team. Plus roles can sometimes be rooted in stereotypes—like Asians being good at math and science—when in fact the usual go-to guy is not best suited to his recurring role.
Be conscious about unconscious bias. We are drawn to those like us, but that’s a recipe for homogeneity. Instead of evaluating a job candidate based on gut feeling or what you may have in common, make a list in advance of the key attributes that would make a candidate successful in the role. Then in the interviews, take notes on how each person matches up to the job’s critical criteria.
30 days to create stickiness. Culture change doesn’t happen via one-day workshops. For example, there are differences in the way that men and women communicate. If you’re trying to make sure women’s ideas are being heard and they’re not being interrupted, teams should meet weekly to give each other candid and respectful feedback, and it can’t simply be the women giving feedback to the men. Research shows that new group norms need at least 30 days to take hold.
How to Shake Up an Industry, with Tomo Cofounder Carey Schwaber Armstrong T’10
Carey Schwaber Armstrong T’10, cofounder of Tomo, is working to transform the homebuyer experience.Read More
How to Be a Successful Product Marketer with Meta’s Federico Queirolo T’14
Federico Queirolo T’14, product and go-to-market leader at Meta, shares his experiences and tips for successful product marketing.Read More
How to Be a Successful Operations Leader
To succeed in operations, says ZOE COO Nicole Xu T’11, you need the short-term vision to run the business day-to-day, but you also need to be able to think three to five years ahead to build for the future.Read More
Improving Financial Health in the COVID-Era
Prudential President Jamie Kalamarides T'94 on how to improve your financial health during the COVID-19 era.Read More
Melissa Llarena T’10 on Feeling Empowered Amid Uncertainty
As a career coach and host of the An Interview with Melissa Llarena podcast, Melissa Llarena T’10 is driven by helping marketers and creative professionals rediscover their sellable strengths.Read More
How to Create a Customer-First Culture
Alison Elworthy T’11, SVP of customer success at HubSpot, offers advice on how to put customers first—no matter the size of your organization.Read More
How to Build Your Personal Leadership Style
Successful leaders develop their own authentic and personal leadership style, says long-time PetSmart CEO David Lenhardt T’96.Read More
As the vice president for Latin America and the Caribbean, Andrei Belyi T'01 leads TechnoServe’s mission of providing business solutions to poverty in 11 countries.Read More
Michaela LeBlanc Weber
Several times a month, Michaela (LeBlanc) Weber T’15 trades in her business suit for a bright orange jumpsuit, hard hat, and steel-toed boots.Read More
How to Keep Your Company Data Secure
What Alison Connolly T’11 finds fascinating, most corporate leaders find terrifying. The director of strategic partnerships at DarkOwl is an expert on the darknet.Read More
How to Make a Successful Startup Pitch
In her seven years as a venture partner at LaunchCapital in Cambridge, Mass., Heather Onstott T’07 has heard about 1,000 pitches from startups.Read More
Marketing a Disruptive Brand
Together, two Tuck alumni, Kate Jhaveri T’03 and Michael Aragon T’01, led marketing and innovation at the growing global brand Twitch.Read More
Charles F. Preusse II
A partner at Ridgeway Partners, Charles Preusse, II T’95 is a matchmaker of strategic talent.Read More
After guiding National City Corp through the financial crisis, Peter Raskind D’78, T’79 found civic engagement in confronting two of Cleveland's public crises—for the sum total of $2.Read More
Christoph Böhmer T’96 is helping lead a 500-strong volunteer effort to resettle Afghan, Iranian, and Syrian refugees in Germany.Read More
Lauren Krostue T’10 tried working in other industries, but something about the hospitality world kept drawing her back.Read More
At Tuck, Jayne Hrdlicka T'88 learned to think deeply and challenge convention—skills she drew on as CEO of the Jetstar Group of airlines.Read More
Shawna Huffman Owen
If you think the Web made travel agents obsolete, Shawna Huffman Owen T’98 has news for you.Read More
Kathryn Baker T'93 is a true expert on boards of directors. She has served on more than 20 of them over the last 16 years, ranging from oil and gas companies to Norway’s Central Bank to Tuck’s own European Advisory Board.Read More
Over twenty years ago, Carolyn McGuire T’83 helped form Community Consulting Teams of Boston. It’s still going strong today—and facilitating a lot of good work.Read More
T'98 Victoria Levy’s post-Tuck career took off with The Monitor Group, an iconic strategic consulting firm where she became a partner by age 33. Now, the firm has been acquired by Deloitte and Levy is guiding the integration of the two practices.Read More
Not many people in ball bearing sales finish their careers in venture capital. For Mike Carusi T’93, now one of the most successful health care investors in Silicon Valley, that unlikely journey started with two eye-opening years at Tuck.Read More
Bill Achtmeyer T’81 has worked with hundreds of senior executives at Fortune 500 companies and shares five pieces of advice for managing a large organization effectively.Read More
On Establishing Your Personal Brand
Helen Kurtz T’97, chief marketing officer and senior vice president of Foster Farms, Inc. talks establishing your personal brand.Read More
Fluent in four languages and passionate about entrepreneurship, Michelle Mooradian D’95, T’04 went from her post-Tuck consulting job at Opera Solutions to spend almost five years working for McKinsey’s Rio de Janeiro office.Read More
Tips for Transforming Your Career
After positions of increasing seniority at Morgan Stanley, McKinsey, and JPMorgan, Kate Grussing T’91 decided she wanted to transform her career by helping others transform theirs.Read More
On the Rewards of Nonprofit Board Service
Amy Houston T’97 was inspired to attend Tuck after seeing firsthand how a board with for-profit management experience can help a nonprofit, and she kept this lesson in mind when she joined the Robin Hood Foundation.Read More
On Influencing Company Culture
In his six seasons as executive vice president and chief human resources officer for the National Football League, Robert Gulliver T’97 has helped manage the NFL through some major cultural shifts.Read More
Amy Feind Reeves
A consultant turned job coach, Amy Reeves T'92, was able to research, model, and project the successful future of her business using the skills she acquired at Tuck.Read More
In much of the Middle East and North Africa, cash is still king. PayPal’s Francis Barel T’05 wants to change that, and open people’s lives to the world along the way.Read More
How Small Businesses Can Use Online Marketing Tools
After gaining experience at several software startups, Gail Goodman T’87 launched her own in 1999. As CEO of Constant Contact, Goodman has helped more than a half-million small-business customers navigate a rapidly evolving industry.Read More
A new book on design strategy by Deepa Prahalad T'00, daughter of management guru C.K. Prahalad, was rated by Fast Company as one of the 13 best design books of the year.Read More