Posts Tagged ‘National Diversity Council’

A Discussion with Sheila Forte-Trammell, a Remarkable 21st Century Global Human Resources Leader (part 2)

Last March, Sheila Forte-Trammell (left) and I (Stan Kimer, blog author) co-presented at the Forum on Workplace Inclusion in Minnesota

Last March, Sheila Forte-Trammell (left) and I (Stan Kimer, blog author) co-presented at the Forum on Workplace Inclusion in Minnesota

During my 31-year career at IBM, one of the most remarkable and insightful Human Resources leaders I worked with was Sheila Forte-Trammell. After over 30 years herself in IBM in a diverse range of HR leadership roles in recruiting, placement, compensation, diversity, learning and employee development, she has now retired and consults as the owner of Total HR Services, LLC.

In Part 1 of this blog (link), Sheila and I discussed the key strategic areas in the future for human resources professionals. In this blog, Sheila and I discuss more about her past accomplishments and current projects.


STAN: Sheila, you have accomplished so much so far in your past career, and you are still having a tremendous impact within the Human Resources Community. What accomplishments that you are most proud of?

SHEILA: In partnership with Dr. Lisa Dragoni and others from the Cornell University Industrial Relations School, a longitudinal study was conducted to show how supervisors facilitate leader development among transitioning leaders. The results of this study were published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, January 2014. The results also reinforced that leaders must model the way (show) and provide instructions and guidance (tell) to new leaders and this approach has proven to enhance and accelerate the development of transitioning/new leaders.

Another accomplishment that I am proud of is acting in the capacity of mentor to several people over the course of my career. At one point I had 25 mentees and this allowed me become creative in engaging in many different forms of mentoring to address the need of my mentees. For example, I utilized group mentoring, individual mentoring, just in time mentoring, virtual mentoring and speed mentoring to connect with my mentees. The relationships that I developed were reciprocal in nature, in that learning was bi-directional. I always tell my mentees that “their success is my reward” and as I see them develop, I achieve a great sense of pride and accomplishment. Despite the fact that I am retired, I am still playing the role of mentor. Here is an excerpt from a note I received from one of my mentees in 2014. “I wanted to send you a thank you note for all you’ve done for me during my time at IBM. You believed in me when I lost faith in me. You planted a seed in me that is growing daily.” This is the type of impact makes me feel I have made a difference.

Lastly, I am proud of having managed a demanding career while raising two daughters (one a Medical Doctor and the other an Attorney) who are contributing to humanity and making a difference in the lives of many people. In essence, they feel it a duty to give back to society in a very positive way.


STAN: In addition you have also co-authored two very successful and widely read books. Can you tell us a little more about them?

SHEILA: “Intelligent Mentoring: How IBM Creates Value through People, Knowledge, and Relationships” helps HR leaders to use mentoring as a tool to develop and harness organizational Intelligence, institutional memory, connecting people for personal and business impact. This book provides a simple process that helps organizations promote collaborative learning; and emphasizes the professional notion of “giving back”. Diversity is a core element of this book and it shows how diversity of thought, style and approaches create a fertile ground for idea creation, creativity and innovation. Finally, this book dismantles the traditional ways of looking at mentoring and instead, mentoring is seen as a high performance work practice that all employees should engage in. This book was listed in the top 10 by Society of Human Resources Management January 2010.

“Agile Career Development: Lessons and Approaches from IBM” has been translated in English, Mandarin and Japanese. This book emphasizes the need for employees to be empowered to take control of their careers, constantly build and refresh their skills portfolio in order to remain relevant to the organization. It helps employees understand that collaboration and knowledge sharing must transcend departmental silos, geographic and cultural difference. Tips are given to HR Leaders on the various ways to “integrate career development into the broader talent management and business strategies.”


STAN: And Sheila, I know that you are still involved in a number of initiatives that are having tremendous impact on the global workplace. Can you share about a few of them?

SHEILA: Since retirement I have been involved in several initiatives and here are some examples:
• I am a member of the Board of Directors, Carolinas Chapter of the National Diversity Council, which has the vision is to transform our workplace and communities into environments where people are valued for their uniqueness and differences, and are confident that their contributions matter.
• I served as Executive Director for the Pleasant Grove Foundation signature program – The Dream Academy for almost two years. This program helps students to achieve their goals and help them acquire essential skills for the future workforce. Participants are ages 5-18 and they are engaged in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), Lego Robotics and Personal and Professional Development seminars.
• Speaker for the Duke University Professional Master’s Program. Focus areas: “Leadership in the 21st Century” and “Personal Branding.”
• Speaker at the American Association for Community Colleges conference.
• Currently serving on the National Visiting Committee for the National Science Foundation – Advanced Technical Education Center of Excellence.


STAN: Thank you Sheila. I look forward to continued teaming and interacting with you in your important HR and community work.

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Sheila Forte-Trammell is now the owner of Total HR Services, LLC. Here professional information is available via LinkedIn (Sheila’s profile.)

Generational Diversity – Are Your Recruiting Methodologies “Up to Date?”

IMPORTANT NOTE: (This session is being postponed until later in the year.) The newly formed Triangle Chapter of the National Diversity Council – Carolinas is holding its first half day conference, the Generational Diversity Summit on February 19th! It’s going to be a great event – link here for info and to enroll. Email brian.richards@nationaldiversitycouncil.org for corporate sponsorship opportunities.

Many millenials prefer informal working spaces where they can multitask and team

Many millenials prefer informal working spaces where they can multitask and team


Generational Diversity continues to be one of the hottest most discussed areas in the continually evolving field of workplace diversity and inclusion. In a blog I published in June, 2012 on the “Growing Various Types of Diversity,” I led with a discussion on the four generations now in the workplace. This is an historic happening as mature workers (link to a blog on this) are staying in the workplace longer due to financial needs, better health, and the desire to stay active and intellectually stimulated. Here also is a link to a 2.5 minute video excerpt I did on Generational Diversity.

The group now being recruited on our college campuses are referred to as “Millennials”, those born after 1982. This emerging generation has very different views on communications in the workplace, important attributes of a vocation, collaboration, corporate hierarchies and more. Here is a link to a recent article from Forbes called “10 Ways Millennials are Creating the Future of Work.”

One area that needs focus at many of our companies is recruiting. How do we find, attract and hire the brightest new talent? Of course we should not forget to recruit the experienced professional who may be looking for a job change, but as always, college campuses will continue to provide the largest talent pool of new workers.

On the whole, recruiting methodology has not changed very much over the past 30-40 years. Yes, resumes are sent electronically and placed in on-line repositories instead of mailed, and job postings are online in addition to print ads, but overall the process involves recruiters reading through thousands of pages of boring text resumes. How can this be innovated?

At a recent generational diversity workshop sponsored by the Raleigh-Wake Human Resources Mgt Association (RWHRMA) Link, Margaret Gordy, Talent Acquisition Manager for Citrix, shared innovative ways that her company is identifying and recruiting top talent. Citrix (link), an industry leader for collaborative workplace solutions such as the popular “Go To Meeting,” teams with university classes, clubs and professors to engage students in collaborative problem solving. Teams work together to propose solutions to actual Citrix business challenges developed by Citrix business areas. This gives Citrix managers a way to evaluate technical, problem solving, and team skills of potential candidates. Those demonstrating the strongest skills are often offered an internship, a full time job, or at minimum a fast-path into the job interview process.

Advantages of this approach over hours of pouring through resume paperwork include:
• Candidates with the best skills and team work abilities who will fit best into Citrix’s workplace are identified.
• Candidates can experience the Citrix culture and both the candidate and company can assure a good “corporate culture fit.”

Overall, companies that successfully recruit top talent across all generations and keep them engaged working cross-generationally will win in the competitive, global marketplace.

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