Talent Circles

Friday, August 28, 2015

Zachary Misko: A rare blend of competence and courtesy in the HR industry

I do not attend too many tradeshows and conferences per year... Among the ones I like is the HRO Today Forum that takes place annually in May. They also hold annual in events in APAC (Spring) and Europe (November).  The person who lured me into checking it out was Zachary Misko, Vice President and Global Executive Director at SharedXpertise. Zachary's soft-spoken and kind manners are extremely effective. No overselling. No claim that, as a vendor, I "should" be there. No injunction of any sort. He didn't need to: the simple fact that Zachary had joined that organization made it interesting to me.

Sharing expertise...
That's what Zachary Misko is deeply and sincerely about. This was the mission of the original media group founded in 2006 by Elliot Clark. Zachary is not stepping in just after a few years of experience: he was a practitioner for twelve years in various organizations and a provider of services for another thirteen years at KellyOCG, where his latest position was to their Global Vice President for Workforce Strategy.  He also served on the Board of Advisors and various committees for HRO Today Association for 8 years, prior to joining.  He is also the author, with Todd Wheatland, of The New Rules of Recruiting, an excellent short book published in 2013, on which I reported in this blog. In short, Zachary has a right to claim "responsibility for the thought leadership, best practice sharing or management of the association."

The Association
HRO Today offers a wide spectrum of services destined to a very large number of HR decision makers through its magazines, research studies, newsletters, events, and its famous HRO Today’s Baker’s Dozen Rankings. In my latest conversation with Zachary, we focused more on the great progress accomplished over the last year or so with the Association.

"It's all about the art of fostering conversation," Zachary says. "For this, we needed to strengthen our brand recognition, welcome advisors and practitioners from across the globe. We have built a powerful product and we have great content. We have "Thought Leadership Counsels" (that we call TLC's) and that's the opportunity to engage in best practice sharing and learning with our members on an on-going basis. We use that platform monthly for North America and Europe, the second week of each month, and address four different topics: talent acquisition, talent management, employee relations and services and outsourcing. My focus is to continue to improve that product and attract more professionals to engage. Today in the association has 3,000 members and 80% are practitioners. The Association has helped me to steer new content for both the magazine and well as for our events." The APAC region also meets twice monthly to discuss similar topics.

Zachary is definitely in his own element there too. His exquisite interface, his ability to listen and his understated moxie are a delight for all the attendees. You can see that he loves every minute and every aspect of his job. He enjoys the feeling of being kind of backstage while operating as an “MC” and major enactor in the inner sanctums of the HR show.

The event I know best is their North America event, held the past two years in Philadelphia – and it's really good. Of course as in most HR events, we hear about "success stories" whose content displays all the buzzword of the day, but you have much more and much better: Elliot Clark's deep attachment to Philly and the unshakled humor of a consummate professional, awards for people who make meaning in their communities, such as, this year, Candace Osunsade, the V.P. of Human Resources of  National Aquarium, Kawel LauBach, the CHRO of the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, or authentic narrations from hands-on practitioners who are not necessarily on the big talk circuit such as Kathleen Edge, the EVP of Human Resources of Southwire Company. This conference also offers the absolute best as far as relevant information is concerned thanks to the Wharton School Track, with amazing contributions by my friend Peter Cappelli whose fact-based perspectives should inspire any serious HR who loves her job, or such unbeatable session on Games and Gamification in HR delivered by Ethan Mollick . The 2016 North America HRO Today Forum will take to the windy city on May 2-4, 2016 in Chicago. This years European HRO Today Forum takes place November 10-12, 2015 in Amsterdam and ... there is still time to nominate HR professionals, providers and team excellence for the HRO Today EU Awards Gala.

The HRO Today Association continues to gain momentum, with solid membership growth, combined with learning opportunities, best practice sharing and networking.  The Association is excited to begin offering recertification credits in fourth quarter this year.  With a good group of HR Executives on the Board of Advisors and Zachary at the helm, they have a leadership team for success.

Zachary is only at the beginning of a long journey in our complex space, where people want to hear about change, yet can't only absorb it in homeopathic doses, where leadership is everybody's dream, yet micromanagement is everybody's obsession, and where pulse conversations should never give you a heart attack. But Zachary has what it takes to handle our metastable world, grey matter and emotional intelligence.

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