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Semester concludes with visits from top HR professionals

Published: 2013-12-17

HR leaders from top companies and organizations

Executives in the classroom (L to R): Larry Lewellen, VP for care coordination & health promotion, Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center; Jason Gallourakis, associate VP of learning solutions at Nationwide Insurance; Charles Carey, senior VP of human resources/staffing for L Brands; Hank Real, manager, talent management, Honda North American Services; Kelly Wilson, VP, human resources business partner for Cardinal Health; and instructor Will Shepherd, director of enterprise learning and development at the Wendy’s Company

Call it a “round robin” of industry insights.

Students pursuing a Master of Human Resource Management concluded the recent autumn semester with a fast-paced, in-depth look at a number of hot topics in the field — a session led by senior leaders from top companies and organizations, including Cardinal Health, Honda North America, L Brands, Nationwide Insurance, and The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

The format — each executive rotated among groups of students in five classrooms, with each room dedicated to a high-level discussion topic — meant that personalized insights were shared throughout.

“It was a chance to learn more from very successful senior leaders within the HR field in an environment that was casual and informal — no frills, no show,” said MHRM student Lis Ellis. “To have five executives come to a class with such enthusiasm, genuineness, and humor, it brought a tangible reality to their stories and their advice. Overall, a great opportunity to listen, to network, and to reflect.”

The discussion topics were: trends in the HR field, including data analytics; career options and advice; continuing education, including best practices for keeping current in the field after graduation; ethics and decision making; and “knowing the business,” featuring discussion on developing relationships with business leaders and becoming ingrained in an organization beyond the traditional role of an HR professional. Afterward, a student leader in each group reported key learnings to the full class.

“Our goal is to get MHRM students grounded in business and thinking like business leaders,” said instructor Will Shepherd, who also serves as director of enterprise learning and development at the Wendy’s Company. “Firsthand engagement with today’s industry leaders is part of that process.”

Said Ellis: “The biggest takeaway was being reminded that professional growth and advancement is about self-awareness and the willingness to explore. No advice can give you the right formula to be successful; there is no safe decision, as it will either be a missed opportunity or a calculated risk. The guest speakers demonstrated that their paths were all unique.”