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.

51 – Jill Larsen on the evolution of HR and where it’s going

Jill Larsen, Chief People Officer at PTC, joined us on The Modern People Leader. We talked about how the CHRO role has changed, the evolution of HR, and some of her predictions for the future.


  • the one piece of advice that transformed her career (12:05),
  • the worst advice she’s ever received (15:15),
  • how the CHRO role has changed over the last 15 years and where it’s going from here (19:00),
  • will we see more CHROs promoted to CEOs (23:50),
  • we’re going through an HR evolution (25:34),
  • digital transformation in HR (30:00),
  • what does being data driven in HR look like (32:15),
  • findings from data projects (34:42),
  • gen z and millennial takeover (35:23),
  • is retention still the right gauge for culture (41:50),
  • employees having multiple jobs in the future (46:53),
  • metrics she’s looking at on a weekly basis (51:10),
  • and rhythms the people team has in place (53:10).

50 – The HR Metric to keep an eye on in 2022

At the end of each episode, we ask every guest which 3-4 metrics they’re keeping an eye on. Today, we talked about the biggest themes that we identified and which of these metrics should make it onto your HR scorecard.


  • DEI metrics (3:57),
  • peer recognition metrics (8:30),
  • eNPS or a single engagement metric (14:38),
  • employee engagement metrics (16:40),
  • retention data (22:00),
  • business metrics (23:50),
  • using the wobble scale for 1×1 conversations (24:38),
  • recruiting metrics (27:18),
  • building a scorecard for HR (30:27),
  • moving to a focus on leading indicators versus lagging indicators (31:58),
  • why we started The Modern People Leader (33:54),
  • and how you can help The Modern People Leader (40:09).

49 – Darren Murph on culture being built outside of company walls

Darren Murph, Head of Remote at GitLab, joined us on The Modern People Leader.

We talked about what a Head of Remote does, investing in document infrastructure, building culture outside of company walls, and how to shift from a fear and scarcity mindset to a mindset of opportunity.


  • What a Head of Remote does on a daily basis (6:20),
  • change without story feels like a mandate, change with a purpose feels like vision (9:44),
  • shifting from a fear and scarcity mindset to a mindset of opportunity (12:00),
  • you can learn something from everyone (13:07),
  • the two biggest challenges scaling culture fully remote (16:55), investing in document infrastructure (20:46),
  • COVID has given every leader a permission slip to try new things (30:54),
  • hybrid or shybrid? (32:59),
  • providing examples for building new lifestyles around work (35:26),
  • community impact outings are good alternatives to zoom happy hours (38:37),
  • culture is the barometer for how well values are adhered to and reinforced (42:20),
  • the future of work is going to be asynchronous (45:10),
  • and have you looked at your purpose portfolio lately (51:50).

Here’s a link to GitLab’s handbook:

Informal Communication in an all-remote environment

48 – Barbie Brewer on culture being exposed by the pandemic

Barbie Brewer, former VP of Talent at Netflix and Chief Culture Officer at GitLab, joined us on The Modern People Leader. We talked about the many shades of gray between office-first and remote-first. Then, we chatted about all things culture.


  • The best piece of career advice she has ever received (8:52),
  • the many shades of gray between office-first and remote-first (16:40),
  • the difference between remote-first and remote-friendly (19:05),
  • most companies are trying to make hybrid work (22:11),
  • keys to asynchronous work (24:10),
  • key lessons and takeaways on culture from her time at Netflix (37:30),
  • culture is never done (40:41),
  • good or bad, culture was exposed by the pandemic (42:58),
  • what leaders should do if they feel like the culture is off (45:21),
  • and defining the behaviors underneath your values (48:38).

If you want to learn more about Barbie and the work that she’s doing, visit her website: https://barbiejane.com/contact-us

47 – Gen Zers in the Workforce

By 2025 Gen Z will make up 27% of the workforce. So, today we talked about what makes them different from any other generation and what they’re expecting from employers.

46 – Clio Knowles on making employees feel seen

Clio Knowles, Chief People Person at Virgin Hotels, joined us on The Modern People Leader. We talked about technology, how they’re hiring differently, and the importance of making employees feel seen.

Episode Highlights:

  • Launching hotels during COVID (12:00),
  • Why they built a custom communications platform (14:50),
  • Combatting the great resignation in the hospitality industry (16:50),
  • Focusing attention on hiring people from underserved populations (18:40),
  • Seeing employees as human beings (24:20),
  • BAREIT sessions at Virgin Hotels (28:15),
  • They mapped the teammate journey out and created a teammate branding toolkit (30:20),
  • The people that have the answers are the people on the ground doing the work (34:00),
  • and more.

45 – Building a Remote-First Culture

Shelby Wolpa, Founder of Shelby Wolpa Consulting, joined us on The Modern People Leader.

Shelby talked about her experience scaling the people function for 4 separate unicorn+ status companies. Then, we talked about what it takes to build a best-in-class culture in a remote-first environment.

Episode HIghlights:

  • Learnings from scaling the people function for 4 venture-backed companies (9:19),
  • What it was like pioneering a remote-first culture (10:55),
  • Foundational steps for setting yourself up for success in a remote-first environment (14:10),
  • Common pitfalls when going remote-first (20:12),
  • What type of work should happen in the office (24:40),
  • Shelby’s prediction for remote work (25:50),
  • There’s no such thing as hybrid (30:30),
  • The three phases of onboarding (33:45),
  • And what’s keeping people leaders up at night (43:15).

You can find Shelby’s free guide for building a remote-first culture and her other playbooks on her website: https://www.shelbywolpaconsulting.com/

44 – Allison Whalen about Parental Leave

Allison Whalen, Co-Founder and CEO at Parentaly, joined us on The Modern People Leader.

She shared what she wishes people would have told her before she became a parent and took leave. Then, we talked about what the best companies are doing for parental leave.


  • Allison’s personal struggles dealing with the career stressors of parental leave (3:55),
  • what she wishes people would have told her before she took leave (8:20),
  • why parental leave is front and center right now (18:20),
  • moving past the old way of thinking about paid leave (22:16),
  • the challenges companies face with extending leave (22:36),
  • using parental leave to take inventory of what work matters most (28:08),
  • and re-onboarding parents when they come back to work (31:36).

43 – The 8 habits of top managers

Dom Boon, VP Talent & Organizational Development at Liberty Latin America, joined us on The Modern People Leader to share innovative work they are doing to improve the  manager and employee experience.

We went deep on LLA’s research and how they identified the 8 habits of the top 10% of their managers which are now being used to build out new talent programs.

Episode highlights:

  • LLA’s challenges in navigating the pandemic across 30 different markets
  • Why LLA embarked on the journey of identifying characteristics of top managers
  • How LLA identified the top 10% of managers and the research involved
  • What 5 questions LLA used to measure manager effectiveness
  • The 8 habits that differentiate the top 10% of managers at LLA
  • Next steps in building talent programs from this manager research, and 
  • Impact of shifting to a human-centric leadership to LLA’s employee experience

Check out Dom’s recent post on LinkedIn where he writes about the 8 new habits of their top people managers.

42 – Our Top 3 Moments from the Modern People Leader

During our very first, in-person, 1×1 riff episode we reflected on the past ten months and all of the great conversations that we’ve had on The Modern People Leader.

Here are some of Daniel and Stephen’s favorite moments:

During episode 4 with Dilshan Ratnayake EVP & Chief People Officer at Securonix, we learned the importance of HR people taking roles outside the HR, and the leadership accelerator at Securonix.

Lyndsay Lord, CHRO, Team Car Care, dba Jiffy Lube, joined us for episode 14 of The Modern People Leader; she was the first to highlight how our country is facing a crisis with hourly wage workers.

Episode 23 with Michelle Wax, Founder of the American Happiness Project, where Michelle shared her research and the biggest challenges people face in finding happiness.

The conversation with Yemi Akisanya, Global Head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Groupon, during episode 31, where we discussed how to build a business case for Diversity and Inclusion, and how to measure progress.

The conversation with David Hanrahan, CHRO of Eventbrite during episode 33 of the Modern People Leader, where he shared some bold predictions on the future of work, including 4-day work weeks, asynchronous work and more


41 – Angela Shaw (Chief People Officer, JuiceLand)

Angela Shaw, Chief People Officer at JuiceLand, joined us on The Modern People Leader. 

We talked about her nontraditional path into HR, uninviting people from the party if they can’t get behind your organization’s shared beliefs, and bucking industry norms when it’s the right thing to do. 

Episode Highlights:

  • Angela’s nontraditional path into HR
  • Her first 30, 60, 90 days on the job as the new CPO at Juice Land
  • Creating shared beliefs, shared knowledge, and shared action with DEI efforts
  • Why the fight over who should own DEI is so frustrating
  • Bucking the industry norms when it’s the right thing to do
  • Staying true to who you are and what you represent
  • And finding balance and learning how to say NO.

40 – Jess Galica on Women Making Bold Career Pivots

Jess Galica, the founder of the Reclaim Your Career project, joined us on The Modern People Leader.

Over the past year, she has interviewed 100+ women that have made successful career pivots. In this episode, she shares her findings as well as some of those stories. 

Episode highlights:

  • What led to Jess’s desire to make a career pivot
  • What propelled her research and writing around women & career pivoting
  • People in our generation are mastering the art of pivoting
  • What’s feminist guilt?
  • You’re the only one who needs to wake up and do your career every day
  • Women are bearing the disproportionate brunt of the challenges the pandemic has put on people as it relates to work
  • The three steps of a career pivo.