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2024 HR Innovator's Guide

People…they’re the most important ingredient to a company's success. They carry out your mission and simply put, are the lifeblood of your organization. Because of this, they deserve to work for workplaces that are building innovative, inclusive cultures. And that all starts with people leaders.

As we all know, it’s been a tumultuous past few years for folks in the talent acquisition and HR space, which is why we wanted to take some time to recognize them for their amazing efforts. So, we asked our community to send us the HR/TA leaders in their lives that are taking actionable steps to improving workplace culture and practices.

Then, we ranked the nominee’s based on their impact on their company and the industry and selected the top 25 to publish.

Their accomplishments include scaling their organizations to new heights, exponentially improving key KPI’s, being amazing mentors to their teams, implementing the newest HR tech, and more. In alphabetical order by last name, we present to you the top HR innovators of 2024.

*Nominations have been edited for clarity and brevity.

Casey Bailey
Head of People at Deel

“Casey has led Deel's efforts to rapidly scale over the last two years, building out our global team. To put that into perspective, Deel went from 50 to 550 people in 2021, and then 550 to 1,900 in 2022, and now we’re closing in on 2,600. In addition to these impressive results, Deel is a 100% remote company, and after sending out our first engagement survey a few months ago, 94% of people feel proud to work at Deel. Our fast growth and ability to keep our remote workforce engaged are both a testament to Casey’s leadership.”

Barb Bidan
Chief People Experience Officer at Crunchyroll

“Barb’s expertise is best summarized as focusing on attracting & hiring great talent; delivering amazing employee experiences that positively impact engagement, retention & belonging; driving efficient people operations; and building industry leading programs. Most recently, Barb led Crunchyroll’s “100 hires in 90 days” initiative, which is no small feat for a TA team.”

Michael Dowd
Vice President of Global Talent Acquisition at Element Materials Technology

“Michael is an innovative talent acquisition leader who understands the importance of partnering with the business to deliver amazing results. In addition, his management style allows his team to learn by example and develop the core skills needed to be successful. Not only that, but his expertise in data reporting, candidate sourcing, and relationship management has brought true value to the department.”

Tina Givens
Senior Director, People Operations at The Arizona Cardinals

“Since her time with the Arizona Cardinals, Tina has been an integral part of a major culture shift. She has been intentional with her words and actions and has facilitated over 40 listening sessions across the organization to better understand employees’ concerns. There have been a multitude of changes, including extended parental leave, tenure recognition, spirit weeks, participation awards, and more. She has made a huge difference in ensuring our organization has a great, healthy culture.”

David Gluck
Senior Director of Talent Acquisition at Savista

“David is a leader that empowers our team. He is always teaching others how to use the tools that the company has invested in and is a true advocate for the TA function. He works with senior leaders of our company and makes them aware of what our team is doing and how we can make their departments stronger. He always finds a way to keep us motivated and puts others ahead of himself.”

Desiree Goldey
Director, Talent Operations & Culture at Hub Recruiting

“Desiree’s has a unique blend of empathy, strategic thinking, and a forward-looking mindset. She stands out for her exceptional ability to merge cutting-edge HR technology with a deep understanding of employee needs, creating an environment where both business objectives and employee welfare are prioritized equally. Desiree's commitment to DEIB isn't just a part of her job description; it's woven into every strategy and decision she makes. Her innovative initiatives have not only increased employee satisfaction and retention but have also led to measurable improvements in organizational productivity and creativity.”

Ashley Goldsmith
Chief People Officer at Workday

“At Workday, Ashley has responsibility for all HR functions, belonging and diversity, and global impact on behalf of more than 18,000 Workmates. Ashley has an unwavering commitment to putting Workday’s employees at the center of everything we do, and she’s focused on helping to create a culture that prioritizes integrity, innovation, and FUN.”

Lauren Goodman
Head of People, West Coast at Soho House

“Not only does Lauren have excellent knowledge and expertise, but she manages the HR department with a human element, which is oftentimes something that feels hard to achieve in HR. She has the trust of almost every employee…from the dishwasher to the CEO. Lauren is always there to be that helping hand but gives you the space that you need to actually grow on your own.”

Maisha Gray-Diggs
VP of Global Talent, Inclusion & Experience at Eventbrite

“Maisha is a proactive and business-minded leader who is agile and flexible. She consistently brings fresh perspectives and comfort with the unknown, enabling teams to deliver breakthrough, quantifiable results. At Eventbrite, she is consistently an approachable, supportive, and empowering team leader and is skilled in using positive reinforcement to motivate performance and goal attainment.”

Rocki Howard
Founder and Chief Diversiologist at Diversiology.IO

“Rocki stands as a beacon of innovation in HR and talent acquisition, notably recognized as a member of the SIA Global Power 150 - Women in Staffing list and as an SIA Diversity Influencer. As the founder of Diversiology.IO, Rocki’s vision and dedication have been pivotal in addressing the unique challenges and needs of small and medium businesses in the realm of DEI. Her commitment to enhancing DEI in the workplace underscores her role as a transformative leader and a vital figure in the HR/TA community.”

Steve Kay
Director, Global Talent Acquisition at Velosio

“Steve stands out as a talent acquisition innovator through his adept integration of cutting-edge technology and a profound understanding of the space. He has revamped Velosio's entire hiring process, employing AI tools to streamline recruitment and assess candidate suitability effectively. All of his initiatives have led to incredible results (38% increase in the number of hires, a 33% decrease in time to fill job vacancies, and a 4% increase in accepted offers, pushing overall acceptance to 99%). Moreover, Steve prioritizes candidate experience, recognizing its pivotal role in attracting and retaining top talent.”

Jeffrey Luttrell
Global Vice President of Talent Acquisition at Atento

“Jeff is always sharing the most current practices for our department to improve and innovate. He has taught us how to create positive interdepartmental working relationships, how to build great community partnerships, and how we should all be fair leaders above all. Jeff gives all of us permission to have fun while we work too! He is a great mentor and #1 cheerleader to ALL who have worked for him.”

Tess Manderson
VP, Global Talent at Terminal

“Tess has a proven track record of achieving remarkable results in her role at Terminal - from expanding global operations and teams to implementing innovative strategies and scaling departmental functions. She has made significant contributions to Terminal’s growth and brand recognition, most recently in the company being recognized as a Forbes Best Start-Up in 2023. In addition, her candor and ability to listen, understand, and execute is unmatched.” 

Cheri Martin
Senior Director, People Operations at Lattice

“Cheri is an incredibly thoughtful and strategic HR leader. With over 15+ years leading HR teams at companies like Google, Twitter, and Slack, she comes with a wealth of knowledge but also has no ego and is willing to do just about anything to make her teams and the organization successful. She leads with empathy, curiosity, and has shifted the way we think about operations to drive efficiency while also simplifying and improving the employee experience. I've worked for a lot of leaders in my life and Cheri is by far one of the best.”

Becky McCullough
Vice President, Global Recruiting & Talent Development at Hubspot

“In her role at HubSpot, Becky is responsible for leading the team that attracts and hires top, global talent. She has focused on scaling the recruitment engine - from optimizing interview processes to examining the role data can play in hiring decisions to executing HubSpot's mission to grow a diverse and inclusive work environment. Becky has played a key role in HubSpot’s growth and has made significant contributions to creating an award-winning culture.”

Tim McElhone
Director of Talent Acquisition at Colas USA

“Tim joined Colas last year and has helped transform the team to be more strategic in their approach. He has demonstrated the ability to source top talent while helping to motivate and train other team members. This has helped to improve time-to-fill numbers, diversity hiring goals, and overall performance. Tim is a selfless and humble leader that partners well with others and has a personal touch that is appreciated.”

Matthew Mitchell
Global Director, Talent Acquisition at Procter & Gamble

“Candidates have a lot of choices, and Procter & Gamble has had a long history of offering a superior employee value equation to attract, develop and retain the best workforce possible. Over the past 4 years, Matthew and his team have made significant contributions in highlighting this to current and prospective employees. Matt is also a strong coach and leader, whose team respects and responds to his management style.”

Greg Muccio
Managing Director, Talent Acquisition at Southwest Airlines

“Greg’s commitment to leading Southwest's talent acquisition teams, employment branding, workforce development, and hiring strategy is in no small part due to his 22 years with the company. His passion for his job, his team, and the programs he’s involved in is contagious and his ability to see things globally in addition to the task at hand is commendable.”

Phil Reese
Senior Director of Talent Acquisition at Klaviyo

“Phil is the person all other departments turn to because of his knowledge, understanding of requirements, guidance, overall problem solving and strategic approach. He is an amazing communicator across all levels of the enterprise and takes the time to understand his business partner's needs and offer the right solutions. He is a team player, proactive, takes ownership of his projects, and solves issues quickly and effectively.”

Pamela Rodas
Senior Director, Global Talent Acquisition at TELUS International

“Pamela is always pushing for innovation on a global scale, not only for business purposes but to find a way to make talent acquisition more approachable for our diverse candidates. Pushing technologies such as AI, Metaverse, diversity, and agile recruitment make her a true innovator not only in her role as Global Director of Talent Acquisition but also as Director of our Global Innovation Center for Talent Acquisition.”

Elisa Sanders
Director of Talent at Stitch

“Elisa is a powerhouse across recruiting, benefits, employee relations, training, and more. Since joining, she has hired 25+ people in 7 months, more than doubling the size of our company; implemented an ATS; transitioned our benefits; instituted management training; and established herself as a cornerstone of the Stitch culture. It's also worth noting that she's put a huge emphasis on DEI within our recruiting efforts, resulting in a workforce that's nearly 50% women and 35% BIPOC.”

Debra Simmers
Global Head of Talent Acquisition at The Hershey Company

“Debra is a results-oriented HR and talent acquisition professional with excellent communication skills and leadership qualities. Even in her short time here at The Hershey Company, she has made a significant impact on the strategic direction and implementation of TA programs and processes to drive our company’s agenda.”

Dalithia Smith
SVP & Chief Human Resources Officer at Oatey Co.

“Dalithia has redefined HR innovation with the strategic launch of a DEI program at Oatey, catalyzing long-term cultural transformation at the company post-2020. Her commitment to nurturing inclusive spaces is evident through the ongoing success of monthly inclusion forums and the establishment of the Black Professionals Alliance and Women's Resource Network. Her visionary leadership and commitment to evidence-based practice mark her as a standout innovator in the HR field.”

Adrienne Sullivan
Vice President, Talent Attraction & Experience at Cencora

“Adrienne is an innovative talent attraction & acquisition leader who has been a key contributor to our global hiring strategy, DEI initiatives, and employer brand. She empowers our team of recruiters to leverage the latest in TA technology to drive productivity and provide a great experience for our candidates.”

Anissa Zabriskie
Global HR Business Partner at DuPont

“Anissa has played a crucial role in fostering a positive workplace culture at DuPont by sponsoring the Global CARE Team (Connect Appreciate, Respect and Empower). She has coached leaders on Rewards and Recognition programs globally that generated recognition for 3-4% of the Global R&D organization (an increase from 2022 of 1%). Her focus on adaptability and continuous improvement in the ever-changing global work environment is appreciated.” 

While we wish we could recognize every people leader out there, we’re glad to put the spotlight on these 25 HR and talent acquisition rockstars. Congratulations, and cheers to building innovative, inclusive workplaces in 2024 and beyond!

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