By John Sumser
One name comes up repeatedly. I’ve asked over 400 people who they think the most influential people in the industry are. Lots of academics are near the top of the list. To my surprise, Libby Sartain is the person most mentioned. Her relentless speaking and writing coupled with powerful stints at Yahoo and Southwest make Sartain a contender for most influential.
When she started, “there was no Human Resources Department. It was Industrial Relations at best and Personnel most of the time.”
For 31 years, Sartain changed the face of HR wherever she went. Libby was the first ever “Chief People Officer (at Southwest Airlines). She helped shape Yahoo for most of a decade. Once her tenure at Yahoo was complete, she headed for the Texas hills.
These days, Libby is enjoying being outside of the business world. In spite of her shift from operating to consulting, her reputation remains intact. It even seems to be growing. Saying that she’s outside of the business world ignores the fact that she sits on the board of Peet’s coffee and advises a slew of small-startups. Libby flies to work almost as much as she did during her full time years in Silicon Valley. She’s restoring a ranch that once belonged to her ancestors.
The transition from corporate leadership to consulting is fraught with surprise. Sartain has launched a blog and is learning to stay abreast of the flow of news and opinion in the HR universe. It’s the time in the trenches that makes her so valuable as a consultant for Talent Management Product development teams. “I am in an amazing learning mode,” she says, “I’m gaining a perspective you just can’t have internally.”
Libby is devoting a great deal of attention to her blog (and /component/page,shop.browse/category_id,7/option,com_virtuemart/Itemid,6/”>cialis 2.5mg building surprising levels of traffic). Here’s /component/page,shop.browse/category_id,7/option,com_virtuemart/Itemid,6/”>cialis 2.5mg a snippet from a recent post:
In Brand for Talent, Mark and I introduce the concept of a new job seeker. This job seeker is no longer an applicant. He or she doesn’t read the newspaper classified and fill out an “application for a job”. He or she is brand savvy. He or she is looking for a work experience… and comparing between employer brands that offer a match to their wants and needs. They are looking for what joining that brand says about their own personal brand. Today’s job seeker really isn’t looking for a job. He or she is looking for a lot more. Mark and I call this new prospective worker “The New Consumer of Work”.
Sartain is at the forefront of the unfolding of a new employee-employer relationship. Although there are a number of people describing the change, Sartain’s voice rings clear and lots of people pay her attention. She’s a clear example of the way that influence accrues with time.
John Sumser is the founder and CEO of TwoColorHat, a company specializing in market strategy for HR – Recruiting Vendors. You can keep up with his other stuff at johnsumser.com. Follow the rest of the Top 100 Influencers project.