One of the best things about my job is the places I get to go and the people I get to meet. And I don’t just mean the hotels and occasional celebrity keynote speaker. I mean the companies and organizations I get a chance to peek inside of. It always reminds me that everything you see, use, do, is somebody’s job. I’ve been inside a roofing manufacturing plant, a chicken processing facility, the boardroom of a pharmaceutical company, and even the headquarters of a major motorcycle manufacturer. In every sector and every industry there are people passionate about their work, their people, and their ability to impact the lives of their customers and their families. It is a great reminder of the human side of work. Which is really what HR should be about, isn’t it?

I also get to meet great individuals, at all levels of the organization. I’m lucky enough to be able to call some of them friends today. These are people who have built careers by helping their organizations unlock the potential of their people, and drive their businesses forward. One such friend is Bala Sathyanarayanan, Executive Vice President of Business Transformation and Chief HR Officer at Xerox Technology. I met Bala while speaking on a panel several years ago about succession. One of the things that most impressed me was how business focused and practical his advice was. Bala doesn’t “do HR” for its own sake. He is, as he puts it, “a business person who happens to do HR.”

Bala is full of great insights, and has a tremendous story of how he came to the HR space and his leadership role today. Which makes him the perfect guest for a brand-new feature here at Aptitude – The Aptitude Interview. Taking a page from Barbara Walters, we’re going to be sharing with you an interview with an HR leader every month in 2017, and at the end of the year, gathering the best of the insights in an eBook. And by leader, we don’t just mean those with an executive title. We mean anyone who is leading the charge for great people practices and business results. So, I hope you’ll hop over to read my interview with Bala, and join us throughout the year. And if you or a colleague are a fascinating HR leader, get in touch. We’d love to hear and share your stories.