“Run at the Tough Stuff!”

“One of the best development experiences anyone can get is to run at the tough stuff and go prove that you can turn it around and that you can change it.”  So says Nancy Johnson, VP of Talent Acquisition and Development for workforce solutions provider Adtalem Global Education in Episode 16 of my podcast for Talent Leaders, Big Fish in the Talent Pool.  Running at the “tough stuff”, as it turns out, has been a theme in Nancy’s career.  In fact, the current Covid-19 Pandemic is not her first rodeo dealing with life-threatening business crises.

Two years ago a significant part of Adtalem’s operations were decimated by multiple hurricanes in the Caribbean, with devastating losses in facilities and people.  In our conversation, Nancy tells the story of the Talent Acquisition and Development teams’ fast pivot to help them rebuild, unknowingly creating a playbook they are referencing today during the #Covid-19 pandemic.   And it’s essential work as they meet the talent needs of Adtalem, and in turn, Adtalem helps meet the needs of the US and the world through educating healthcare, security, and financial professionals. 

Nancy draws on her experience in great organizations like #CareMark, #RRDonnelly, and #SaraLee on her path to leadership.  She says it was “curiosity with a little bit of impatience” that has shaped her career choices, teaching her how to effectively influence strategy, drive change, and manage internal politics – critical skills for current and future #Talent #Leaders. 

Other topics we wrestled to the ground:

  • Testing the value of TA through the broader HR lens
  • Agility as a key skill in response to global change
  • Balancing a bias for action with a “softer side” of relationship building at work
  • Engaging internal customers on the bigger picture of TA metrics and anecdotes
  • How Adtalem Global Education pivoted to 100% online courses for 30,000 nursing students to help meet the COVID-19 challenge

I hope you will be inspired as I was by Nancy’s insights, humility, and wisdom – things we can all use a little more of these days!

Erin McDermott Peterson is a Partner with PeopleResults, helping clients with global TA interim leadership, process renovation, and RPO advisory.  Follow her on Twitter @ErinMcPeterson, connect with her via linkedin.com/in/erinpeterson or email at epeterson@people-results.com and listen to her Podcast for Talent Leaders: Big Fish in the Talent Pool on iTunes and SoundCloud, or wherever you access podcasts.