In The Modern People Leader Podcast, we go behind the scenes with HR executives to hear about their daily routines, what it means to be a Modern People Leader and we will discuss the latest topics in the HR world. Our goal is to keep you up-to-date on the latest trends, and to help spark conversations and change within your organization. You can access our episodes below. Or you can subscribe to The Modern People Leader directly on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.

63- Interconnectedness of the HR buzzwords in 2022

Today we talked about the interconnectedness of all of the HR buzzwords, diversity being the key to everything, and the best career advice we’ve heard from our guests.


  • The interconnectedness of the all of the buzz-words we’ve heard over the last year (4:23),
  • The 3 P’s of Rituals in the workplace (6:22),
  • The importance of intentionality (8:07),
  • The common denominator to success is diversity (10:50),
  • How Twitter has re-opened offices and zoned them (13:53),
  • Flexibility and connection are key right now (18:30),
  • Best career advice from our guests (20:34),
  • And the magic wand question responses (28:09).

62- The Star Conspiraty on testing the metaverse at work

The Starr Conspiracy’s Bret Star (Founder & CEO) and Steve Smith (Partner & CMO) joined us on The Modern People Leader.

We talked with the Work Tech gurus about the metaverse’s place in the workplace, the difference between employee engagement and employee experience, and why they recently raised money to send body armor to Ukraine.


  • How Starr Conspiracy is testing the applications of the metaverse at work (20:55),
  • Products out there that allow employees to connect in the metaverse (26:20),
  • Why companies need to keep trying new things (32:39),
  • Employee engagement vs employee experience (38:10),
  • And why Starr Conspiracy sent over $500,000 worth of body armor to Ukraine (44:20).

61- Erica Keswin – on the power of rituals in the workplace

Erica Keswin, the author of two Wall Street Journal best-sellers (Bring Your Human to Work & Rituals Roadmap), workplace strategist, and podcast host, joined us on The Modern People Leader.

We talked about how rituals are the human way to transform everyday routines into workplace magic.


  • Her career journey (5:15),
  • Bring Your Human to Work and Rituals Roadmap (8:10),
  • Why connecting with peers, managers, and colleagues is so important (15:12),
  • Matching the message to the medium (18:25),
  • The definition of a ritual (21:17),
  • The 3 Ps of rituals (23:10),
  • The magic question that Erica asks every leader to better understand their company’s rituals (24:30),
  • Some of Erica’s favorite rituals that she’s seen (32:38),
  • Erica’s go to Chipotle order (42:04),
  • Career advice she’d give her 22-year-old self (48:37),
  • The people problem she would fix with a magic wand (49:46),
  • And why on-sites are the new off-sites (51:40).

60- Mita Malick – Co-Host of Brown Table Talk Podcast

Mita Mallick, co-host of the Brown Table Talk podcast and Head of Equity, Inclusion, & Impact at Carta, joined us on The Modern People Leader.

We talked about the importance of belonging, the big disconnect between the billions of dollars being invested in DEI and a true understanding of the work that’s being done, and what to do if you’re working in a toxic environment.


  • Her career journey (3:10),
  • How Brown Table Talk started (7:56),
  • Why Mita refers to it as the great awakening and not the great resignation (11:47),
  • How to increase the sense of belonging (13:45),
  • The barrier in truly understanding the work that’s being done in the DEI space (17:40),
  • Is the shift to hybrid creating a new dimension to bias in the workplace? (22:37),
  • How companies can better support managers and better protect employees (27:45),
  • Advice for the people experiencing toxic interactions at work (37:23),
  • How to prevent toxic people from slipping through the cracks of your hiring process (39:47),
  • The career advice Mita would give her 22-year-old self (43:58),
  • And how we are back to 1980s levels of women in the workforce (45:16).

59 – Tracy Hawkins on reopening Twitter’s offices & giving employees choice

Tracy Hawkins, VP, Work Transformation at Twitter, joined us on The Modern People Leader.

We talked about giving employees the choice on how they want to work and how Twitter has zoned their offices.


  • Tracy’s journey from flight attendant to Twitter (7:07),
  • Her role as VP, Work Transformation (13:45),
  • Why we should be jealous that she gets to work there (20:33),
  • How their real estate strategy has changed and what it might look like in the future (27:10),
  • Employee choice is huge at Twitter (32:00), how they personalize their different offices (37:45),
  • Remote work got a bad rep (46:20),
  • The zoning of Twitter offices – focus areas, collaboration areas, and social areas (49:43),
  • How they address world issues at work (54:43),
  • And the career advice she’d give 22-year-old Tracy (1:01:13).

58 – Cara Brennan Allamano on Udemy’s new normal

Udemy’s Cara Brennan Allamano (SVP, People) and Rachel Ernst (Sr. Director, People Programs) joined us on The Modern People Leader. We talked about Udemy’s new normal and what they’re doing to provide connection and flexibility for all employees.


  • the most pivotal moments in Cara and Rachel’s careers (4:53),
  • the “New Normal” at Udemy (17:35),
  • what flexibility means to Udemy (23:09),
  • their offices are like a co-working space now (27:54),
  • bringing Udemates on the journey to create the New Normal (29:20),
  • learning paths related to navigating the changes at work (30:46),
  • team working agreements at Udemy (33:44),
  • adopting agile methodologies on your people team (37:00),
  • the feedback processes they’ve built (39:00),
  • they went from having 5 global offices to 900 in one day (41:20),
  • what Cara’s hearing from the People Tech Partners community (50:20),
  • and the career advice they would give their 22-year-old selves (57:40).

57 – The four-day work week & working in the metaverse

Today we talked about Belgium approving the four-day workweek, the possibility of working in the metaverse, and then we talked about culture and the themes we’re seeing across different guests.


  • Belgium approves the four-day workweek (3:58),
  • Will we work in the metaverse one day (5:58),
  • And common threads from recent guests about culture, talent attraction, and career advice (13:14).

56 – Liz Fosslien on confronting big feelings at work

Liz Fosslien, the co-author of No Hard Feelings and Big Feelings, joined us on The Modern People Leader. We talked about her journey to becoming a best-selling author, the 7 Big Feelings that we’ve all been experiencing the past couple of years, and how we can begin to make peace with our emotions at work.


  • Liz’s journey to becoming a Wall Street Journal best-selling author (4:44),
  • why everyone should be jealous that Liz gets to work at Humu (10:55),
  • why she thinks we’re all so scared of confronting these big feelings at work (14:32),
  • how they identified the 7 Big Feelings (20:00),
  • which of the 7 Big Feelings resonates most with Liz (23:04), emotional granularity (28:20),
  • two tools for making peace with your emotions (30:16),
  • how to avoid negative thought spirals (35:35),
  • the 1 thing Liz wants people to take away from Big Feelings (40:50),
  • and the career advice she’d give to 22-year-old Liz (44:44). 

55 – Jessica Williams on Becoming a Talent Destination

Refine Labs’ Megan Bowen, COO, and Jessica Williams, VP of People, joined us on The Modern People Leader. We talked about Refine Labs’ culture playbook, how they’re leveraging social media to become a talent destination, and why they’re focused on onboarding.


  • why we should be jealous that they get to work at Refine Labs (7:05),
  • how they created their Culture Playbook (11:10),
  • the “oh hell nah list” of behaviors at their company(15:24),
  • the primary driver for going fully distributed (18:40),
  • how they’ve filled 80 roles in two years and how they plan to fill 100 more this year (21:40),
  • the journey for the typical candidate (24:50), the quality of inbound candidates vs. outbound candidates (28:50),
  • how you can leverage social media to become a talent destination (30:10), why they’re focused on onboarding (37:23),
  • where onboarding goes wrong for a lot of companies (43:00),
  • and what advice they would give their younger selves (46:20)

54 – Katie Burke on removing opinions from future of work decisions

Katie Burke, Chief People Officer at HubSpot, joined us on The Modern People Leader. We talked about HubSpot’s award-winning culture, how they conducted 4 panels to make future of work decisions, and how they’re giving employees the ability to automatically opt into the work style that best suits them.


  • why we should be jealous that Katie gets to work at HubSpot (11:05),
  • how HubSpot’s award-winning culture has evolved (14:40),
  • getting business leaders on board with where the future of work actually is (17:50),
  • how they conducted 4 panels to make decisions on the future of work (20:18),
  • the insights that their people analytics team is driving around retention (24:53),
  • personal connection to work as a key driver of retention (26:36),
  • giving employees the choice of how they want to work in an automated way (29:18),
  • tracking NPS, intent to stay, inclusion and belonging, and more (32:40),
  • DIB and the future of work shouldn’t be talked about in isolation (39:04),
  • lessons learned over the years as a leader (40:22),
  • and the advice she’d give to 22-year old Katie (44:40). 

53 – Best of Modern People Leader 2021 – part 2

On this very special best of 2021 mash-up, you’ll get insights from guests throughout our episodes from last year. In Part 2 you’ll hear from the following guests:

  • MPL Group Chat (episode 36) on this being HR’s time to step up and how we’re entering the age of HR (0:37).
  • Steve Cadigan, former CHRO of LinkedIn and author (episode 38), on how workers and companies can see less of the future than ever before, and why the competitive advantage moving forward will be the ability to deal with instability (6:57).
  • Dom Boon, VP of Talent & Organizational Development at Liberty Latin America (episode 43), on how they identified the habits of the top 10% of their managers (16:48).
  • Shelby Wolpa, former VP of People Operations at InVision (episode 45), on lessons learned from scaling the people function at 4 venture-backed companies and the foundational steps for setting yourself up for success in a remote-first environment (22:23).
  • Darren Murph, Head of Remote at Gitlab (episode 49), shares why you need to look at the future of work as an opportunity to build something new – and how you have a permission slip to reinvent how your team looks and works (29:03).

52 – Best of Modern People Leader 2021 – part 1

On this very special best of 2021 mash-up, you’ll get insights from guests throughout the last year. In Part 1 you’ll hear from:

  • Dilshan Rathnayake, Chief People Officer at Securonix (episode 7), on the importance of learning the business that you serve so that you can better serve your people as an HR leader (0:37).
  • Dena Upton, Chief People Officer at Drift (episode 15), breaks down what it means for her company to be going digital-first and why it’s a more equitable model (3:52).
  • Yemi Akisanya, Global Head of DEI at Groupon (episode 31), on why real success with DEI requires a complete culture transformation (9:25).
  • MPL Group Chat (episode 32) on the great resignation and what you can do to keep top talent (15:03).
  • David Hanrahan, CHRO at Eventbrite (episode 33), on why the traditional 9 to 5 is a relic of the past (24:54).