We live in an age of always-on transformation. Every year, every week, every day the rate of change is accelerating and people are struggling to keep up. The only solution is for companies to learn and grow together and push their organization’s culture forward, without getting left behind.
It’s clear that organizations that are effectively scaling not only have the right business models in place but also have strong culture and people leaders driving those organizations forward. Having strong inspirational leadership can make a huge difference in an organization’s culture, as these leaders are responsible for advocating for their employees and developing the right organizational culture for success.
At Hive Learning, we are firm believers in tapping into the power of your peers. For us, that means keeping up to date with what the movers, shakers and changemakers shaping the culture debate are doing to create a high performance culture in their organizations.
That’s why we’ve curated a list of 30+ influential culture leaders who have inspired us over the past year and whose insights we look forward to keeping up with in 2020.
The list that we’ve curated is in no way exhaustive and includes just some of the culture and people leaders whose work has made us sit up and take notice.
We plan to continuously expand this list and keep it current so if you have any suggestions for those all-important ‘ones to watch’, we’d love to hear from you.
In the meanwhile, you can also join our Leader’s Network to keep abreast with expert insights and swap ideas with peers like yourself.
Check out our list below (in alphabetic order) to learn more about the top 30+ culture leaders and influencers you should follow in 2020.
Adrian Gostick is the founder of The Culture Works, a global training company focussed on helping organizations build high-performance work cultures. He is a global workplace expert and thought leader in corporate culture, teamwork, and engagement.
Hailed as the #3 Leadership Guru & #9 Organizational Culture Guru of 2019, Adrian is one of the world’s best selling author on organizational culture and employee engagement. His books have been translated into 30 languages and have sold more than 1.5 million copies worldwide which includes the New York Times #1 and Wall Street Journal bestsellers – The Carrot Principle, All In and The Best Team Wins.
Ara Tucker is Head of Talent and Culture at Audible, Inc and is focussed on helping organizations disrupt the status quo in pursuit of stronger business results, collaborative cultures, and inspired talent.
She’s also a multidisciplinary artist and novelist whose projects have included Black Like Us, a documentary film about affluent black people across generations, and I’m Here Too, a website dedicated to sharing stories about the diversity of human experience.
Arthur Carmazzi is the founder of Directive Communications Psychology – a group dynamics discipline used in rapid organizational culture change and leadership development. He is also a renowned motivational leadership keynote speaker and the best-selling co-author of “The 6 Dimensions of Top Achievers“.
Ranked in the Top 10 of the world’s top 30 Thought Leaders in both Leadership and Organizational Culture categories by Global Gurus, Arthur has 25+ years experience specializing in psychological approaches to leadership and corporate culture transformation. He is the brains behind the CBCI (Colored Brain Communication Inventory) and HDMA Emotional profiling tools used for “Psycho-Productivity” management. These tools have been implemented across a variety of HR and Leadership disciplines by numerous multinationals to generate greater efficiency of human capital.
Ashley Goldsmith is Chief People Officer at Workday and has global responsibility for human resources, internal communications, global impact, workplace facilities, and the Workday Foundation. Prior to joining Workday, Ashley served as CHRO and executive vice president at Polycom.
Under her leadership and on the strength of its positive and inclusive culture, Workday earned a spot on the 2019 list of the 50 Best Workplaces in Technology. She’s a firm believer that when people are motivated and inspired, they do their best work and puts her company’s employees at the center of everything they do. Her goal is to create a culture at Workday built on integrity, fun, and collaboration.
Brent Hyder is the President and Chief People Officer at Salesforce. Before joining Salesforce, Brent spent 15 years at Gap Inc. where he was the Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer.
Brent leads Salesforce’s Employee Success organization, which is on the front lines of making sure Salesforce’s award-winning culture continues to thrive after earning a spot on the 2019 list of the 50 Best Workplaces in Technology.
Head of the Employee Experience team inside Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s Office of Legal and Administrative Affairs (OLAA), Brian Tippens is responsible for driving the Culture, Inclusion and Diversity, Community Service, and Career Development agenda for the organization. Previously, Brian was the Chief Diversity Officer at Hewlett Packard Enterprise and was responsible for a wide range of company wide programs and initiatives that supported and influenced Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s diversity philosophy, strategy, goals, customer relationships and business results.
A sought after speaker and thought leader in the fields of diversity and sustainability, Brian oversees a number of programs aimed at increasing HP’s diversity efforts, improving strategy and building better customer relationships. He is also a board member or advisor to several external organizations including Operation HOPE; California Disabled Veterans Business Alliance, The Latino Coalition and the Shell Center for Sustainability at Rice University.
Cheryl Fullerton is Executive Vice President, People and Communications at Corus Entertainment. Previously, she was VP, Leadership at Maple Leaf Food Inc and was responsible for creating an integrated total rewards approach to employee attraction, engagement and retention – through their leadership, learning, talent management, recruitment, rewards, performance management policies and programs.
She is responsible for leading the creation of a high performance culture, and integrated, high impact people solutions to support the exceptional creativity and performance of the company’s people. In addition, she is responsible for creating a clear and compelling reputation of Corus as a strong, innovative Canadian company that provides meaningful, reliable value for partners through communication strategies. She also oversees Corus’ corporate social responsibility approach through the Corus Cares programs.
Christos is a people geek and a diversity and inclusion advocate with a career across different industries ranging from digital to social housing. He is currently the Head of People & Culture at Auto Trader UK. He spent four years at the Co-operative Bank before joining Auto Trader in 2014 where together with his brilliant team he focuses on creating a space where everyone’s uniqueness is celebrated and is empowered to thrive by being their authentic, true and best self.
Since joining Auto Trader, Tsaprounis has picked up several awards, including the Recruiter magazine’s Lifetime Achievement Impact Award. Driven by his passion for equal opportunities for all people, he leads the D&I and CSR strategies of one of the most admired digital businesses in the UK. Christos is also a highly sought-after D&I speaker where he talks about his passion for making a real difference in the D&I space.
Colleen McCreary is the Chief People Officer at Credit Karma, where she leads a team of more than 50 people and is responsible for global people operations. Prior to Credit Karma, McCreary was CPO at Vevo, The Climate Corporation and Zynga where she grew the company from 130 people to 4,000.
At Credit Karma, Colleen established a new compensation philosophy, improved feedback tools and added more than 400 new people in her first year in the role. She was named one of the Bay Area’s Most Influential Women by the San Francisco Business Times in 2011 and 2012 while at Zynga. During that time, the company was named among the Top 10 Best Places to Work in the Bay Area in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. Under her leadership, Credit Karma reduced annualized attrition by 48%, increased overall employee engagement score in CultureAmp annual survey by 10 points, with a 91% NPS by employees.
Deborah is Global Head – People Development at Wunderman Thompson and is determined to positively impact the culture at Wunderman Thompson. She works closely with the executive management team to ensure the global learning strategy influences the growth and evolution of the business. Before joining Wunderman in 2016, Deb spent 11 years at Cushman & Wakefield, where she served as the global head of talent management and head of corporate human resources.
Deborah works closely with the executive management team to ensure the global learning strategy influences the growth and evolution of the business. She is responsible for developing tools and content to both educate and engage the global network of 20,000 employees and create an inclusive culture within the organization.
Diane Gherson is the Chief Human Resources Officer at IBM and is responsible for the roughly 360,000 members of IBM’s workforce across 72 countries.
During her tenure as CHRO, Diane has redesigned all aspects of the company’s people agenda and management systems to shape a culture of continuous learning, innovation and agility. She has also digitally transformed the HR function, incorporating AI and automation across all offerings, resulting in hundreds of millions of net benefits. She has championed the company’s global adoption of design thinking and agile methods at scale. Diane has been an external advocate for social issues affecting employees, such as DACA, transgender inclusion, and addressing bias in AI.
In 2018, Diane was named HR Executive of the Year by HR Executive magazine and was elected as Fellow of the National Academy of Human Resources (NAHR), the highest honor granted in the human resource profession. In 2019 she was named by Business Insider as one of the top 100 People changing the world of business.
Donna Morris is the Chief Human Resources Officer & Executive Vice President of Employee Experience at Adobe. In her role as CHRO, she leads all aspects of human resources, real estate, and security operations globally.
“Disrupt or be disrupted” is Donna Morris’ rallying cry. From abolishing Adobe’s annual performance reviews, to dramatically expanding its family leave policy and, most recently, achieving global gender pay parity across all 32 countries where Adobe has employees, she has set the industry agenda making Adobe a great place to work. Donna believes that people strategies empower successful business outcomes, and with Adobe being an IP-based company, people are its most important asset. Under her leadership, Adobe’s workforce has increased by 226% to more than 20,000 employees and its real estate/facilities presence has grown to more than 75 locations around the globe.
Ellen Petry Leanse has spent more than three decades working in the tech industry and is currently the Chief People Officer at Lucidworks.
Ellen is an experienced executive coach with proven impact guiding leaders and teams to elevate innovation and results. She is the author and speaker on the neuroscience of innovation and well-being and the author of The Happiness Hack, a guide to hacking the brain to reduce stress, increase happiness and reclaim focus. She is also an instructor at Stanford, where she runs one of the school’s consistently top-ranked classes on skill elevation and mindset building. She has won numerous awards including the Silicon Valley Woman of Influence, Technology’s Top Five Marketers, Apple Hero Nominee, and a White House Innovation Fellow Finalist.
Ellyn Shook is Accenture’s Chief Leadership & Human Resources Officer and is responsible for helping over 425,000 people of Accenture succeed both professionally and personally.
Ellyn’s global team of HR leaders and experts is re-imagining leadership and talent practices to create the most truly human work environment in the digital age, fueling Accenture’s differentiation in the market and ability to improve the way the world works and lives. Her Twitter feed is a great example of how to use it as a tool to show both company culture and broadcast company HR initiatives to potential talent and the greater industry. Ellyn is a strong advocate for inclusion and diversity, and Accenture has been widely recognized externally as an employer of choice and for its diversity efforts.
Franck is Global Head Talent, OD & Diversity, Novartis Oncology and responsible for unleashing the power of the people at Novartis by transforming their leadership and culture by creating an organization where people are inspired, curious and unbossed so they can fully apply their talent and energy.
Franck is amazing at creating a story and purpose around culture and bringing it to life for people. In 2018, he was nominated for the HR Executive of the Year Award by CEO magazine.
As Diversity & Inclusion Lead, Gaia supports the implementation of a dedicated D&I function, aligning their work and client experience with purpose by fostering equal opportunities in tech for Sparta Global.
Gaia has been passionate about Inclusion since studying for her masters at LSE. She has helped to set up the diversity and inclusion department at Sparta after showing her passion for setting up initiatives such as opening up recruitment talent pools and providing coding workshops for women. She’s also won “Role Model of the Year – Tech Industry (SME)” award at the Women in IT Excellence Awards 2019.
As Global Director of Culture and Community at Twitter, Rivera leads Twitter’s efforts to better serve and engage the powerful voices and global communities who take to Twitter to share, discover and discuss what matters to them. Her focus is to make sure Twitter’s consumer-facing campaigns are connective, inclusive and reflective of the communities it serves. Rivera previously led internal diversity and inclusion efforts at VMLY&R, a digital and creative agency.
A passionate inclusion and diversity advocate, Rivera is determined to help affect change in the advertising industry. She is passionate about highlighting the need for diversity within the industry and in 2016 she created a presentation discussing the cultural impact of Black Twitter.
Jennifer joined the Halma Executive Board in March 2014 and has global responsibility for talent and culture as well as internal and external communications and brand across Halma. Prior to joining Halma as Group Talent Director, Jennifer spent over 15 years leading Human Resources, Talent and Organizational Development for divisions of PayPal, Bank of America and Honeywell.
Jennifer brings a wealth of experience to the Board to ensure Halma secures and develops talent ahead of their growth needs and builds a sustainable culture of high performance. Under her leadership, Halma launched a mobile-first, powerful peer learning experience in HalmaHub in 2017. HalmaHub enabled thousands of employees across 3 continents to share ideas, knowledge, skills, and experiences every day – leading to the creation of entirely new business models and accelerating the pace of change across the group to build a safer, cleaner, healthier future for everyone. HalmaHub won ‘Best use of social and collaborative learning’ at the Learning Technologies Awards.
Jessica Schilling is CHRO at Johnson Brothers. She comes to Johnson Brothers from HEINEKEN USA, where she led HR for the past three years. Prior to that, she spent 15 years in a series of HR leadership and employee communications roles at Diageo North America.
Jessica has strong industry experience and a passion for developing people, building diverse, high performing teams, and unlocking company culture in order to help drive engagement and business performance.
Jill Katz is the Founder and Chief Human Resource Officer at Assemble HR Consultancy, a boutique HR firm that partners with leaders to build best-in-class teams. Previously, she was Group Vice President and Human Resource Business Partner at Macy’s.
Jill is an active influencer, speaker and coach who is passionate about shifting the workplace to be more people-focused. As the CHRO of Assemble, she advocates the use of strategies like organizational transformation and candid communication to build better workplaces.
Jo Dennis is the Chief Human Resources Officer of Pinterest and is an HR leader with global experience in both the U.K. and the U.S.
Her first role was at HP, where she touched many aspects of the HR and People functions – from recruiting to mergers and acquisitions. Jo also served as the Chief People Officer at Omada Health, where she focused on building great culture by bringing the company’s values to life, attracting talent, and engaging employees to do the best work of their lives. She also serves as an advisor to PeopleTech Partners and Hone.
John Shurmer leads digital learning for 30,000 employees across Barclays’ UK business, having previously led the Learning Incubator focused on transforming the Barclays learner experience.
Under his leadership, Barclays won the best use of business culture at Business Culture Award in 2019 for successfully transforming their culture from one where collaboration and sharing wasn’t the norm to a culture where proactive learning and collaboration became part of the daily routine for 95% of learners.
Currently WPP’s Global Head of Culture, Judy is committed to developing productive environments of diverse and creative ideas across all WPP-affiliated organizations. Prior to working at WPP, Judy had a variety of valuable experiences having held leadership positions such as Global Chief Talent Officer for Wunderman, Chief Talent Officer at IPG Mediabrands North America and Digitas, and HR roles at Time Inc., BBDO and ABC-TV.
Judy is very passionate about creating an inclusive culture and is a role model for authenticity. She has contributed to a number of books and articles on human resources management, including The Coaching Connection: A Manager’s Guide to Developing Individual Potential in the Context of the Organization and Career GPS: Strategies for Women Navigating the New Corporate Landscape.
Justin is the Vice President of People at Thumbtack, where he leads the 90-strong People Team. Under his tenure, Thumbtack debuted on a number of Fortune Best Places to Work lists and was also recognized by FastCompany as one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies. He was previously the Head of HR at Google for its Go-To-Market (“GTM”) functions, and a member of the People Operations leadership team.
Justin is also a startup advisor, currently advising Balloon, Northstar and PeopleTech Partners. He was previously an advisor to CapitalG (formerly Google Capital) and their portfolio companies. Justin was previously named the Australian HR Rising Star of the Year, and was the Chair of the SHRM Young Professionals Board.
Katie Burke is the Chief People Officer at HubSpot, where she oversees HubSpot’s global employment brand to attract top-level talent as the company continues to grow and enter new markets.
Katie manages the team responsible for HubSpot’s award-winning culture and commitment to transparency and autonomy. During her time at HubSpot, the company has received culture commendations from Entrepreneur, Fortune, The Boston Globe, Glassdoor, and The Boston Business Journal. Katie’s emphasis on a culture of inclusion, diversity, and support has also placed HubSpot on Fortune.com’s “100 Best Workplaces for Women” list.
Laura Fuentes joined Hilton Worldwide in 2013 and is currently the Chief Talent Officer. In her role, she oversees global compensation, benefits, and recognition programs, as well as all people analytics for over 300,000 team members across 80 countries.
Responsible for strategy and execution of core programs around 100+ countries leading to an award winning culture at Hilton, including being named by Great Place to Work Institute and Fortune Magazine in 2019 as the #1 Best Place to Work in the U.S and #15 in Best Workplaces for Diversity.
Louis Carter is founder and CEO of Best Practice Institute, CEO Executive coach, organizational culture and leadership development expert, and acting CEO of a start-up Blockchain/Fintech company.
He is the author of 11 books in leadership and management including Change Champion’s Field Guide, Best Practices in Talent Management (John Wiley & Sons) and In Great Company: how to spark peak performance by creating an emotionally connected workplace (McGraw Hill). He was awarded the top 10 Global Guru award in Organizational Culture, top products award by HRTech, top leadership executive by Leadership Excellence Magazine and was chosen out of 16,000 applicants as one of 100 executive coaches to be in the Marshall Goldsmith MG100 group. As a part of the promise for this group, Louis provides one pro bono organizational culture project to a charity each year.
Pat Wadors is Chief Talent Officer at ServiceNow. Prior to her current role, she worked on and advised the teams of notable companies such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Yahoo!
She serves as the Chief Talent Officer at ServiceNow, which is out to make the world of work, work better for people – a vision she’s helping to carry out within her own organization by creating an amazing experience for ServiceNow employees.
Pattie Money currently serves as the interim Chief People Office at Twilio and was the Chief People Officer at SendGrid until their successful acquisition by Twilio, where she was responsible for the companies greatest asset, their people.
Pattie brings over 25 years of People leadership experience, working with executives and leaders at all organizational levels. Her work is focused on driving exceptional organizational performance while helping those within the organization achieve their fullest potential. She has been responsible for building and implementing the People strategies and programs required to support ambitious growth and an evolving organization while preserving and enhancing an award winning culture.
Rachel is the HR Director at Inchcape plc and has group-wide accountability across 17,500 employees in 32 operating countries in Asia, Latin America, Africa, Russia, and Europe.
Known to constantly push the limits of change within her workplace, under her leadership, Inchcape plc has witnessed immense success in transforming leadership mindsets and creating a culture of peer learning. She has taken business leaders on a transformative change journey, getting senior sponsorship and gaining momentum around collaboration.
Robby Kwok is the SVP of people at Slack, a role that puts him in charge of global recruitment, people operations, rewards and program management. Unlike other senior HR executives at big tech firms, Kwok does not have your typical HR background. He came to Slack from Twitter, where he was on the business operations team. Prior to Twitter, Kwok was head of corporate development for Linkedin
Kwok’s multidisciplinary background makes him well-placed to draw unique insights from the industry and offer tried and tested advice. Based on his own experiences, Kwok recommends combining big strategies and small hacks to stay productive despite a busy schedule.
S. Chris Edmonds is the founder and CEO of The Purposeful Culture Group. For nearly three decades, industry-leading executives have sought Chris out to help them build and sustain values-aligned cultures that are purposeful, positive, and productive.
Chris is a sought-after speaker, author, and executive consultant. He’s the author or co-author of seven books, including two Amazon best-sellers: The Culture Engine and Leading at a Higher Level with Ken Blanchard. Chris is an avid blogger and video-caster and is regularly featured by global news outlets such as Forbes and The Economist as an expert in improving workplace culture.
Siobhan is EGM People, Culture and Change at Dulux where her focus is on helping the organization to create a more innovative, consumer-driven, and growth-oriented culture.
She is a culture transformer with a vision to make workplaces better. She’s worked across four continents helping thousands of leaders to create a more agile and productive workplace. She’s also shared her ‘insider’ secrets in her new book, “The Insider’s Guide to Culture Change”. The book lists the 4 steps required for successful culture change and teaches how to create a workplace that can deliver, grow and adapt.
As a coach and leader Sir Clive Woodward is synonymous with two of the Nations most historic sporting achievements – England’s 2003 Rugby World Cup victory and Team GB’s London 2012 Olympic Games. A former England International and British & Irish Lion himself, during Clive’s tenure as Head Coach England moved from 6th in the world to being the number one ranked team, winning every trophy an England team can win. In 2006 Clive joined the British Olympic Association. As Team GB’s Director of Sport he worked in close partnership with key stakeholders in British Sport to support the national coaches and athletes at the Beijing & Vancouver Olympics as well as deliver Team GB’s most successful Olympic Games in the modern era at London 2012.
In 2012, Clive founded Hive Learning with the UK’s leading digital venture builder, Blenheim Chalcot (okay, so we might be biased on this one!). In founding Hive Learning, Clive set out to build a unique solution that could help businesses, teams, and individuals achieve high performance in a unique and highly scalable way.
Having served as head coach to the England rugby team through their victory in the 2003 Rugby World Cup, Clive has plenty to say about sporting excellence. He also applies what he learned on the sports field and in the locker room to the boardroom and the office, sharing tips on coaching teams to perform under pressure, the benefits of being obsessive and why innovation is central to long term success.
Clive’s passion for continuous learning, daily collaboration and shared values and behaviors across teams continue to underpin all of the work that Hive Learning does. Today, Hive Learning is a global leader in digital learning, helping workforces all over the world build cultures of learning, inclusion, and belonging.
As the SVP of People, she’s responsible for providing overall strategic HR leadership at Postmates and is part of the executive leadership team. Stephanie has a strong understanding of HR from a business perspective and has seven years of business line management experience in customer-facing roles across the technology, biotech, and fintech industries.
Stephanie is a results-driven business and HR leader who specializes in C-level executive coaching, culture and team development, performance and change management, and compensation.
Tawni L. Nazario-Cranz is Operating Partner at SignalFire, a prominent Talent lead VC that is paving a new way to solve the pain points that entrepreneurs face when they start and as they scale. Prior to joining SignalFire, she served as Chief People Officer at Waymo.
Tawni L. Nazario-Cranz is a global business executive with more than two decades of experience working for some of the world’s most innovative companies. As a leading business strategist and culture transformer, she drove Netflix, Bausch & Lomb, FedEx Kinko’s and other top companies to record-breaking success.
Tracey is the Director of People Experience at Sky UK. Sky is Europe’s largest entertainment company with 23 million customers in 7 countries. She has a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and more than 15 years’ experience in learning, leadership and talent.
She believes the priority is to put people’s experience of work first, and draws heavily on design thinking, human-centred design, innovation and an Agile approach to learning and influencing how the team thinks, designs and delivers.
Dr. Yoram Solomon is the founder of the Trust-Building Institute, teaching companies and individuals how to build trust in teams, be trusted by others, and know who to trust. His trust-building model is based on years of original research and service at the IDF 35th Airborne Brigade.
He published 11 books, 22 patents, more than 200 articles at Inc. Magazine and Innovation Excellence, and was one of the creators of Wi-Fi and USB 3.0. He is named one of the Top 40 Innovation Bloggers and one of the Top 20 Global Thought Leaders on Corporate Culture.
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Most influential culture leaders to follow in 2020
We’ve curated a list of 30+ influential culture leaders who have inspired us over the past year and whose insights we look forward to keeping up with in 2020.
Fiona Young (she/her) >
Having previously led Learning and Development for 3,000 people at Europe’s leading venture builder, Blenheim Chalcot, Fiona knows a thing or two about how to build high performance culture. As Content Director at Hive Learning, Fiona pioneered the organisation's leading guided content programmes which are designed to turn learning into action. Most recently, Fiona led the inception, development and delivery of Inclusion Works by Hive Learning - the world’s first diversity and inclusion programme focused on turning unconscious bias into conscious action - created from over 1,000 leading sources.