Episode 376: CHRO Series – How Did You Start Your Career in HR? Part 3

There is unprecedented interest in HR roles right now, and the journey to it as a career focus is as multidimensional as those that serve the industry in orgs across the globe. Jessica, I’m sure you find it too. It brings together such a unique skill set, experiences, perspectives, education levels that you don’t see in all disciplines.

– Cindy Strong

This podcast is part of a series on the Workology Podcast focused on the role and responsibilities of the Chief Human Resources Officer, or CHRO (often called Chief People Officer or VP of Talent). The CHRO is an executive or C-level role that deals with managing human resources, as well as with organizational development and implementing policies of change to improve the overall efficiency of the company. The CHRO Podcast series on Workology is sponsored by Upskill HR. This episode of the Workology podcast is sponsored by HRBenchmarkSurvey.com

Episode 376: CHRO Series – How Did You Start Your Career in HR? Part 3


One of the reasons I wanted to do this series is because there is a lot of mystery around the CHRO role. I want aspiring CHRO’s to know what type of skills and experiences they need to promote into a future CHRO role along with hearing from senior HR leadership how they are partnering and collaborating with their executive peers. Because we’ve talked to CHROs from all types of organizations, their answers were really varied and insightful.

I want to hear from you. Text PODCAST to 512-548-3005 to ask questions, leave comments and make suggestions for future guests. This is my community text number and I want to hear from you. 

In this podcast episode, we are listening to excerpts from some of the best interviews on the Workology Podcast with CHROs and Vice Presidents of People and Culture on what skills and experience they believe are absolute requirements for a CHRO role, especially thinking about those just starting out in our industry.

This episode features (in order):


Nikki Salenetri, VP of People at Gympas

Jessica Williams, VP of People at Refine Labs

Cindy Strong, VP of People for Outdoorsy

Jill Waite, CPO at Portillo’s Hot Dogs

The full podcasts are linked to each guest above.

It’s so interesting to delve into how a role like CHRO whose experience more closely connects them to the strategy and operations of the overall business works with the rest of a company leadership team. Hearing the stories about how these HR leaders got their start in HR and how it led them to a CHRO role, there are so many ways to grow your HR career. I’m inspired by these stories and hope you are too!



– CHRO Job Description

– Nikki Salenetri on LinkedIn

– Jessica Williams on LinkedIn

– Cindy Strong on LinkedIn

– Jill Waite on LinkedIn

– Episode 297: CHRO Series – How Did You Start Your Career in HR?

– Episode 309: CHRO Series – How Did You Start Your Career in HR? Part 2

– Episode transcript 

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell is the founder of Workology, a digital resource that reaches more than a half million HR and workplace leaders each month and host of the Workology Podcast. Jessica lives in Austin, TX, with her husband, daughter, and an assortment of furry family members.


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