It was nice to see so many familiar faces — HR leaders we’ve highlighted in our magazine in recent years — taking the stage Thursday night at the annual dinner of the National Academy of Human Resources to become well-deserved inductees into the prestigious group’s Class of 2010 Fellows.
Included among the seven inductees were: Bonnie C. Hathcock, senior vice president and CHRO of Humana Inc., Human Resource Executive(R)’s 2007 HR Executive of the Year (featured in our Oct. 16, 2007 cover story); John T. (Jack) Mollen, executive vice president of human resources for EMC Corp., HRE‘s 2006 HR Executive of the Year (featured in our Oct. 16, 2006 cover story); and Sharon C. Taylor, senior vice president of human resources for Prudential Financial, an HRE 2007 HR Honor Roll inductee (featured Oct. 16, 2007).
Also inducted was Anthony J. Vegliante, executive vice president and CHRO of the United States Postal Service, who we just featured in this November’s cover story for his approaches to some very unique challenges at the U.S.P.S., and for his achievements in helping HR lead the organization through a very necessary transformation.
Completing the list of remarkable HR leaders and 2010 NAHR inductees were Lynda Gratton, professor of management practice at the London Business School; Gary P. Latham, secretary of state professor of organizational effectiveness and professor of organizational behaviour at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto; and Charles G. Tharp, executive vice president for policy at the Center on Executive Compensation and a university lecturer.
Tharp, a 1998 NAHR Fellow and former NAHR president, received the last and ultimate honor as the group’s 2010 Distinguished Fellow, a title given to only 11 others since the group’s founding in 1992. Not only was he recognized for his many years of service in human resource and executive compensation positions, including long stints at Bristol-Myers Squibb and Saks Fifth Avenue, but also for his ongoing commitment to learning, teaching and HR thought leadership. (He’s held faculty positions at Rutgers University, Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations, and the University of Massachusetts-Boston.)
In introducing him, Bill Conaty, former CHRO for General Electric and former NAHR president, even joked that “this guy has more degrees than a thermostat.” (Oh, and while we’re mentioning — admittedly unabashedly — the evening’s ties to HRE, Conaty not only was an HR Executive of the Year, in 2004, with his cover story appearing Oct. 16, 2004, but will also be a keynote speaker at the magazine’s upcoming Human Resource Executive Forum(R), running March 14 through 16 at the Grand Hyatt New York. He’ll be focusing on the subject matter of his new book, The Talent Masters, out this month.)
Tharp, in his characteristically unassuming and humble fashion, took the podium and said to the group that, “As a teacher, I’m going to give you a homework assignment: Look at your calendars and carve out more time to help people in their careers, to give back to people in this profession and help them through the rough spots … because there are rough spots.”
Taking advantage of the opportunity to help less-experienced but promising HR professionals, he said, “is what this academy is all about.”
“My challenge to the fellows in this room, and all the other HR leaders,” he said, “is if we don’t do that, give back, then we’re not doing the most we can with this profession.”
From Tharp’s quiet but impassioned plea to the caliber and accomplishments of his six fellow Fellow inductees, Thursday’s dinner certainly underscored the fact that — at least in this circle — HR excellence is alive and well.