Lead(H)er Profile - Kristi Hummel, Chief People Officer at Skillsoft banner image

Lead(H)er Profile - Kristi Hummel, Chief People Officer at Skillsoft

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Our Lead(H)er series features impressive women leaders in the tech industry. In this Q&A, we are featuring Kristi Hummel, Chief People Officer at Skillsoft

Where did you grow up and how would you describe yourself as a child?

I am originally from Brooklyn, New York, but often say I was transplanted to the Greater Boston area. As a child, I would describe myself as being more on the shy and introverted side.

What did you study in college and what was your first job out of school?

I studied Business at Babson College in Massachusetts. Once I graduated, my first job out of school was at a recruitment agency in New York City.

Can you share the details on your career path and what were the critical moments that got you to where you are today?

First off, I can say I never planned on pursuing a career in HR. I started in recruiting, and this eventually evolved into an HR role. As time went on and I continued down the path of HR, I realized that this field is for me. I have worked for large global companies as well as small start-ups and both come with their own set of unique opportunities challenges. It’s been so interesting and rewarding helping to shape cultures and empower employees to achieve their potential in a variety of environments.

What is your current role and responsibilities?

I am currently the Chief People Officer for Skillsoft, a corporate digital learning company. My primary goal is driving our culture of learning and development throughout the company, and as part of this, building a more resilient workforce, and sharing those practices with our customers.

Looking back, is this where you thought you’d be professionally? Was it always your goal to be in this position?

I never had a set-in-stone career path. Instead, I looked to attain different experiences to learn from and help shape my trajectory. Maintaining a mindset of curiosity and being flexible to change is critical as you advance throughout your career. Over time, I have come to understand that human capital is a company’s most important resource, and I am honored to drive the strategy for us in this space and provide our employees with the same type of positive and opportunistic experience I’ve had throughout my career journey.

For people who are looking to be in a similar position, what advice would you give to others in terms of helping them achieve their career goals?

For anyone looking to pursue a career in HR, I have two tips. The first would be to always be learning and apply that learning to your personal and professional life. My second tip would be to find mentors who inspire you. If it wasn’t for receiving this advice early on, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

What do you find most interesting/rewarding about your work? What’s the most challenging?

Both answers are the same…the people! I am truly honored to see our team members grow in our company. The work they do for each other and our customers inspires me every day to shape the best possible culture that empowers our own team members. At the end of the day, it’s about how we collectively are creating a culture of learning, leadership, and inclusivity that can be role modeled by our customers. On the flip side, ensuring everyone in a company is happy and heard can be challenging -- we are all unique and have different points of view and workplace/work style preferences. Synthesizing a culture that meets all needs at all times can be challenging, especially in today’s work environment, but we are guided by our values and our culture of learning.

What are the most important skills that you need to do your job well?

The role of Chief People Officer is focused on the organizations’ most important resources. The human resources that make, market, operate, support and sell a company’s offerings. The skillset of a senior human resources executive is a combination of skills and experiences. Having a background in the disciplines of HR, business drivers, financials, and change management. You also need to be able to build and lead teams of experts – while at the same time bringing your own diverse set of experiences to help guide decision making.

What prediction(s) do you have for the workplace in 2022?

Over the past year, we have seen a massive shift in employees seeking upskilling and reskilling opportunities and doing whatever they need to do to get those needs met. If companies don’t shift their perspectives and provide learning opportunities for employees, they will leave to find a new “home” that will. The Great Resignation may have started in 2021, but it won’t be ending until companies shift their focus to meet employee needs.

How do you feel the role of a Chief People Officer has evolved over the last two years?

The role of HR has changed over the last decade, moving from personnel officers to experts in building engines to attract and develop talent. The most dramatic change, though, has happened in the last two years. We have had a pandemic, social justice movements, global talent pool competition, the rise of AI/ML in redefining roles, and the great resignation. Through all of this, CHROs are answering the call to position their companies for the future – leading conversations on mission and purpose, culture and how to think about the changing needs of team members.

Are you involved with any professional organizations outside of the company? Volunteer work?

I am! I’m a proud Board Member of the Board of Trustees for Boston’s Museum of Science and have been for nearly two years.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

For me, my free time is Mom time -- I love to spend time with my 10-year-old.

How do you manage stress?

Managing work and stress is never easy, but it’s essential to avoid reaching burnout. One of the challenges of remote work is that there is a tendency to not shut down at the end of the day, but it’s crucial to recognize it’s alright to step away from the laptop. Keeping work-life integration balanced is key.

Any book or podcast recommendations?

I love listening to the Adam Grant podcast!

About the

Skillsoft delivers online learning, training, and talent solutions to help organizations unleash their edge

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