Category: Authenticity

HR is Artistic: Lauren

HR is Artistic: Lauren

Have you ever had to handle a rift in your department?

In this True Stories at Work episode you get to meet Lauren, who hit “all the desks” in HR to grow her expertise… but nothing prepared her for the mistake of rehiring a former employee, creating a “scorched earth” moment and a lot of leadership growth. We also talk about boundaries, and how you we keep them with our teams and employees.

Lauren shared so many stories that I had to split her stories across 2 episodes. In this episode, you’ll learn about Lauren’s background and how her career aspirations to be creative are fulfilled by working in HR.  ”HR is artistic because you have to literally be able to handle things at the drop of a hat unique situations.”

For the Workplace Confession, you will hear a story from a former coworker, who wants to share some stories that still make him laugh and cringe from working with me. This one is from a leadership coaching conversation where he gets distracted by a squirrel… and I pulled the coaching recording to find out how that squirrel entered our coaching session.

Additional research on topics discussed in this episode:

Should You Rehire an Employee Who Left Your Company? (

How to Be Friends with Someone Who Works For You (

I need your workplace confession, so if you have every done anything wrong at work, please share your story with me by going to and leave me a voice message (anonymously and easily) from your phone or computer.

Make a Workplace Confession

Stories are what we remember and how we connect, so please share yours with me!

Let’s talk about your people strategy

Tell a story!


Rip off the Band-Aid and Have the Hard Conversation: Michael

Rip off the Band-Aid and Have the Hard Conversation: Michael

HR leaders have difficult conversations, around an incredible range of topics “It would just be easier to say, we don’t want you around than to say, hey, I need you to wear a bra to work.”

Welcome to True Stories at Work, where we discuss the best things about working in Human Resources. The people, the stories, and the things that happen at work that we didn’t know even about… workplace confessions!

I’m a recovering HR executive, certified coach, and business school professor who knows that THE BEST stories happen at work, from heartbreaking to heartwarming, from hilarious to outrageous.

In a past role, I was a member of a magical HR executive committee, pulled together by a Group Purchasing Organization to represent a variety of members from each region of the country.… and I loved going to the meetings to connect with them, learn what they were doing, and hear their great stories! Today, you get to meet Michael, who was a member of that executive committee.

You will get to hear his journey into and out of HR. As an attorney, he shares “The importance of ripping off the Band-Aid and having difficult conversations, even when they are uncomfortable” and even when they don’t go as planned.  “It’s actually hard to do the things when you’re in the moment and experiencing it as a human as well”

He shares a story that demonstrates the impact that subtle, non-verbal behaviors can have on feelings and perceptions “even if I’m not saying it, or even if it’s not intentional, simply the, the chair I pick is sending a message.”

The approach he took to teaching people how to treat his HR team, and how he reinforced  “that HR is not just a punching bag”.

Micheal shares a great practice to keep your leadership team connected to the people in your company who are impacted by your decisions “It’s easy to start thinking about people as simply numbers or FTEs as opposed to remembering that real people are losing their jobs, and those are having real impacts on their life.”

At the end, you get to hear a workplace confession, something that happened at work that never made it through the doors of HR. This one is about me… a director sharing a story about me that he wanted to confess on my behalf, how generous!

Curious about how to improve your skills with difficult conversations?

Here are some links to get started:

How to Handle Difficult Conversations Gracefully | Psychology Today

Things to Do Before a Difficult Conversation (HBR)

How to Create a Strong Culture (

Stories are what we remember and how we connect, so please share yours with me

Let’s talk about your people strategy

Tell a story!

Make a Workplace Confession

Haiku for Michael

Michael knows that growth,

Requires difficult words to…

Be shared with kindness.

#HumanResources #Podcast #TrueStoriesAtWork

#Career #Culture

Don’t Be Afraid to Follow Your Passion: Aileen

Don’t Be Afraid to Follow Your Passion: Aileen

In this episode of True Stories at Work, we introduce you to Aileen, who has spent the majority of her career in Talent Acquisition at a professional services firm and is now a career coach. Join us as we share true stories about following your passion, networking into the best jobs, and the importance of taking career risks.

Aileen graduated college with aspirations to become a Russian-speaking foreign policy expert (and maybe even high potential Karaoke-queen) but accidentally entered HR after hating her first job as a technology data analyst.

She started her HR career in executive search, which she describes as “an amazing training ground.  You’re basically thrown to the wolves.”

Aileen shares how she successfully networked her way into HR at a professional service firm (twice) and her favorite stories about:

  • the importance of taking risks in your career journey, personal + client, and the value of networking
  • how searching for a job is like dating
  • how important it is to be aware of and overcome unconscious bias to hire the BEST talent.

Aileen has taken big career risks, even fulfilling her calling to become a Chicago Public School teacher, for one year… wait until you hear what she saw when she saw happening behind her back in her classroom when she reviewed her Student Teaching video! “I could review my own video. So that night I brought it home and reviewed it and saw it and I was like, oh my gosh, I think I’m gonna get an F on this video.”

Aileen encourages you to follow your passion and energy to find the job you LOVE. “Don’t be afraid to follow your passions. Don’t think that it’s just a nice to have, or it’s, it’s a dream job. It’ll never come true. It is possible. You just have to be thoughtful.”

At the end, you will hear my workplace confession, the biggest thing that I did wrong at work… which I still believe was right in the end. It is a story of insubordination in my quest to update our dusty and dated values, and how I took a big risk to ask for forgiveness, not permission. And how no one even noticed?!

Resources Suggested Aileen

Curious about how Aileen preps her clients and some of her favorite job search tools? Check out these links to get started:

  • Create an elevator speech + have 3-4 behavioral interview stories, check out this resource to set you up for interview storytelling success.
  • Optimize your resume with .
  • Best job boards for seekers: LinkedIn and BuiltIn.
  • Want to reflect on what career path makes sense, check out – which is a free Myers Briggs resource.
  • Or contact Aileen directly at

Stories are what we remember and how we connect, so please share yours with me!

Let’s talk about your people strategy

Tell a story!

Make a Workplace Confession

Drop Your Wisdom

Connect on Linked In.

Listen to the show



Aileen takes her own

Career advice by choosing

Work that brings her joy!

You Have to Want To Be A Good Leader: Bruce Part 2

You Have to Want To Be A Good Leader: Bruce Part 2

Have you ever wondered what makes a manager truly memorable? In this True Stories at Work episode we pick up with Bruce where we left off, talking about the impact COVID had on the employee complaints at work. This episode discusses the shift from employees complaining about each other to employees complaining about their managers. If you are just tuning into this podcast, please listen to episode 5, where this story begins…

Remember, Bruce studied HR, only worked in HR and oversaw the Employee Relations function of HR for a 15,000+ person company. He had a ringside seat to watch the best + the worst behaviors at work, including the behavior of leaders. “I think the sad reality, I don’t think there are a lot of very good leaders. And I don’t think it’s easy to be a good leader. And you have to want to be a good leader, but so many people have gotten into management who don’t even like to manage people, but that was the only way they can move up.”

Bruce knows that being a good leader isn’t easy and offers some insight for reducing complaints about leaders, improving the leadership hiring success and ways to become a memorable leader (in a good way).

Bruce reminds us that when leadership is done well, it is truly magical and the memory of that leader can last a lifetime “Um, that was literally 20, maybe like 22 years ago, and I remember being in the larger meeting room. And, and the impact that those messages had. “

Want to be a better leader? Here are some links to get started:

Spoiler alert, at the end we have yet another incident of love gone wrong at work, and by love I mean a relationship that started out as an affair but was really sexual harassment all along. “it was his admin who turned him in, who we later found out he had been having an affair with. And, the relationship fell apart… and then all of a sudden she wanted to get revenge on this individual.”

At the end, you will get to hear a workplace confession, something that didn’t make it through the doors of HR. Another one from my life-long friend Zoe, where she pulls a Robinhood move with some shiny new office chairs.

Feedback is a gift. Episode #6, the final episode of my first season, so please take one minute to go to and vote for your favorite episode… The winning episode will be invited back to share more great stories!

These are the first 6 podcasts I have ever created, so please share your feedback + suggestions for future episodes.


Great managers are

hard to find… and even more

difficult to leave.

Words Matter, How Someone Leaves Feeling Matters… So Sweat Those Details: Kelly

Words Matter, How Someone Leaves Feeling Matters… So Sweat Those Details: Kelly

Today you get to meet Kelly, who emphasizes the importance of kindness in Human Resources and the fragility of company culture. Her stories demonstrate how Human Resources can be the crisis hotline for leaders. The first call they place when they don’t know how to handle a challenging situation. We discuss the everyday decisions that leaders make that shape culture, and how much communication (and words) matter at work. You’ll hear stories of Phantom Crappers where poop rolls down hill and into HR, a passive aggressive behavior which could be improved with better leadership.

At the end, you get to hear a workplace confession, this one offers a compelling reason not to eat the candy from your coworkers candy dish.

Curious how to increase kindness in your workplace? Here are some links to get started:

Don’t Underestimate the Power of Kindness at Work

Corporate Culture is Everyone’s Responsibility

Visit my website to:

Tell a story!

Make a Workplace Confession

Ask a question+ make a suggestion

Join the email list, follow me on social.

Listen or subscribe to the show

Join the private True Stories at Work Linked In group to connect with guests and listeners of the show



Poop at work is an

Indication that you need…

Leadership training!

Vulnerability Improves Leadership: Cynthia

Vulnerability Improves Leadership: Cynthia

Cynthia is a preacher’s kid, a performer and a Human Resources professional with more than 15 years of experience including employee relations, leadership development and diversity + inclusion.

Cynthia has witnessed the worst of people at work, yet remains hopeful “I really like people, so I’m always looking for the best in people, but I have like built a lot of cynicism in, people, but I, I feel like I’ve ebbed and flowed and I’ve finally come back to, having more faith in people…..  so, you know, I’ve learned that people suck, but I also think that there’s hope for them.”

On today’s show you will learn about Cynthia’s journey into HR. We talk about vulnerability + how making and owning your mistakes will make you more respected by your team, and not less. You’ll hear a story about a CEO at a start-up who screwed up, owned up, and then you’ll learn how it all ended up.

At the end, you get to hear a workplace confession, something that happened at work that never made it through the doors of HR. This one might give you pause before you grab for that next pot of office coffee.

Curious about vulnerability + authenticity at work, here are some great places to start:

Brenee Brown, The Power of Vulnerability

Everything on Brenee Brown’s website

Herminia Ibarra, The Authenticity Paradox

Come on the show + tell your story!

Record your Workplace Confession

Ask a question?

Join the True Stories at Work Linked In group to share your stories and connect with other listeners.

Haiku for Cynthia

Cynthia knows that

Vulnerability does

Improve leadership.