Winning wellness: A look at Ragan’s Top Women in HR

Recognizing those who keep our organizations running.

An effective HR department is key to making any great organization thrive. Whether by promoting learning and development work, educating employees about workplace safety or championing continued diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) efforts internally, , HR pros cultivate culture to help organizations run smoothly and effectively.

Ahead of Ragan’s Top Women in HR Awards, we’re looking back at our last edition of the awards,2022’s Top Women in Wellness to spotlight a few winners and their approaches to HR. To throw your hat in the ring for this year’s edition of the awards, apply here before the August 2 deadline.

Melinda Foster Sellers – Mary Kay

Melinda Foster Sellers

The background: Melinda Foster Sellers approaches her role with the intent of giving everyone in the organization a chance to rise up using their skill sets. As Chief People Officer at Mary Kay, Sellers leads efforts that lead to high levels of employee engagement at the company.

Under Sellers’ guidance, the annual survey attracted 91% participation in 2021, up 6% from the previous year. Within the survey, nearly 90% of respondents responded affirmatively to the statement, “This organization’s mission provides meaningful direction to me.”

Sellers is also a founding member of the Mary Kay Culture Committee. In this capacity, she works to learn how to best preserve and communicate about the company’s culture to its many employees  She also was a major part of the effort to preserve culture during the pandemic and helped engineer the company’s return to a hybrid schedule.

The takeaway: The best HR leaders shape cultures that make people feel like they’re part of something larger than themselves.

Lindsay Hoeft – Amazon

Lindsay Hoeft

The background: For Lindsay Hoeft, compassion is the compass that guides her leadership style and helps people perform at their best. After joining Amazon at the height of the pandemic, Hoeft’s guidance helped launch the Huddles program at the company, which teaches on-site employees proper body mechanics to avoid injuries. Starting with a team of six in the first two months, Hoeft’s program went out to over 300 worksites, educating over half a million employees. The program’s success saw a 14% reduction in musculoskeletal injuries by participants. 

Hoeft also pioneered the EatWell program, which increased healthy snack options for onsite Amazon workers by 50%. The program scaled to 98% and 71% of participants have reported eating healthier due to the program’s offerings.

Hoeft believes that wellbeing is a big part of the overall work experience, and her HR strategies exemplify this.

The takeaway: A great HR leader puts initiatives in place that help an employee bring their entire self to work, body and mind.

Gianna Driver – Exabeam 

Gianna Driver

The background: Gianna Driver is a builder when it comes to HR initiatives. In her capacity at Exabeam, she places a deep focus on diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Driver’s leadership helped create spaces and representation for previously underrepresented employees at Exabeam in just a few short years at the HR helm.

As Exabeam’s Chief Human Resources Officer, Driver hired a director of learning, development and diversity to create programs that focused on accountability and inclusivity for leaders, managers and employees alike. She’s also been behind the creation of numerous employee resource groups, including ones for LGBTQ+ employees and veterans.

Driver consistently works to ensure that positivity and inclusion permeate every part of Exabeam’s culture. She has led events like food truck appearances and ice cream socials at the office, along with lighthearted Zoom events for those who work at home.

The takeaway: Building a strong foundation of programs that facilitate employee connections fosters a culture of belonging that makes all feel invited to grow at your organization.

Sean Devlin is an editor at Ragan Communications. In his spare time he enjoys Philly sports and hosting trivia.

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