When I saw the opportunity to speak to Howard Wallack ahead of the 2019 SHRM Annual Conference and Exposition (#SHRM19) I jumped at the chance. Howard is a former employee of SHRM (who seem to have an impressive ability to hire some absolutely brilliant people – just check out the social media team!) and the Deputy Chief HR & Administrative Officer at Jhpiego – a nonprofit affiliate of The John Hopkins University. Jhpiego operates in 40 countries with 3,900 employees – so long story short, Howard knows global HR.
HR-across-borders is absolutely a favourite topic of mine, as an international member of SHRM who makes the trek each year for this conference, there’s nothing more exciting than having the opportunity to learn from the people who make workplaces the best. If I’m going to get really specific, I’m interested in global leadership development – and that’s what Howard is speaking about at #SHRM19, "Managing a Global and Virtual Leadership Development Program," Along with "Global, Complex and Focused on the Cause: HR and Business Challenges in Interternational Nonprofits."
Tell me more about why you wanted to speak about managing a global/virtual leadership development program?
I wanted to speak on the JLDP because of its diversity, pulling in participants from different countries, different functions, and different career paths, with it responding to their needs to improve managerial and leadership capacity. Like many other organizations operating across many borders, working in a global matrixed company with nearly 4,000 employees in 30 plus countries we’ve had a challenge building consistent internal organizational culture, solid supervisory skills across locations and functions, and promoting a continuous learning environment, all of which we trust serve to reinforce employee engagement and productivity.
The Jhpiego Leadership Development Program (JLDP) is just one element among many that moves us in that direction, building on our other efforts of standardized onboarding, roll-out of a global learning management system (LMS), design of an internal supervisory curriculum, and career pathing.
What has been your most valuable lesson professionally so far?
Know your own moral and ethical “north star” and don’t be pressured by others to ever let your own personal compass deviate from it.
What is your favourite part of attending SHRM?
My favorite part of attending the SHRM Annual Conference is the energy and networking of being in a place with fellow HR practitioners from all around the world, from different sized-organizations, with different backgrounds and journeys that led us all into HR. I learn as much from fellow attendees as I do from the presenters!
What do you think attendees will be most interested in in your session?
I anticipate questions will come up about how we’ve managed as a non-profit entity to design, budget for, and finance a global leadership development initiative.
Any sessions that you’re excited about attending yourself?
Among many others, I’m looking forward to hearing Lisbeth Claus (#ZigZag HR), Stuart Chittenden (Transforming HR with Design Thinking), and Jonathan Smilansky (Building Management Teams in International Businesses).
What do you do when you’re not at work?
Swim, kayak, hike and occasionally bike; spend time with family and friends. For the past seven years, I’ve volunteered time as a board member of Cultural Vistas, a non-profit that works to promote global understanding and collaboration among individuals and institutions through international exchange programs and professional internships.
What’s the most important lesson you want attendees to your session to walk away with?
I have two:
1. Build choice into a curated leadership development program, because it gives decision-making agency to learners and their commitment to the effort goes up.
2. Linking leadership development with solid mentorship makes for a potent combination.
Make sure you follow Howard on Twitter.
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