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Influential HR Leaders Share the Role Models they would Invite to Dinner

During AllyO’s monthly HR Leadership Webcast, HR experts were asked a simple question: If you could have dinner with any 3 people, living or dead, who would it be? Their answers gave us a deeper look into what inspires and motivates each of these HR leaders.

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Stephen King
“There’s got to be something going on in that head that produces those stories. I don’t know if I would leave there frightened or if I would leave there amazed or amused but in any case you know you would leave there with something different after that dinner discussion.” – Jim Link, CHRO at Randstad

Barack Obama
“I find his life experience fascinating: his background and his relationships with his parents. I think there’s just a lot of intrigue and interest that one would find in talking to him.” – Loren Pofahl, Director of Global Recruitment at LanguageLine Solutions

John Adams
“I’ve kind of become enamored with this guy from Massachusetts who really was, behind the scenes, the architect of the American Revolution both literally and figuratively. Just an amazing person that had the influence over so many people that created this country.” – Jeff Seidman: Vice President of Human Resources at CORT

Abraham Lincoln
“I think of the time in which he lived and the battles and challenges being faced with fighting for a cause that wasn’t popular. Advocating for something that you truly believe in is certainly one of my core values.” – Lindsay DesJardins, VP of Human Resources at National Safety Apparel 

Prince
“As a Minnesotan, I find him to be a very fascinating character – his childhood, his parents, everything. It’s his creativity and drive. I couldn’t be prouder to have him as a Minnesotan and I would love to have the opportunity to spend time with him.” – Loren Pofahl, Director of Global Recruitment at LanguageLine Solutions

W.E.B. Du Bois
“Dr. Du Bois actually was the first African American to obtain a Ph.D. from Harvard and I would love to understand how his brain works about how he performs his ideas, how he wrote his books, and what inspired him to leave the north and come and teach in a racially segregated south. That took a lot of bravery and I would like to honor that bravery and understand it more deeply.” – Jim Link, CHRO at Randstad

Frank Zappa
“Not everybody likes Frank or his music but he’s one of the most iconic musicians and really was a Renaissance person. He was one of the very first musicians who decided as a business that he should hire his musicians in the band as opposed to where everybody gets a cut of the royalties. He paid all the members of his band a salary and whether they were working or not they got paid the salary, which ensured that as an employer he could have their services when he needed them. Beyond that he was a very relevant figure in America.” – Jeff Seidman: Vice President of Human Resources at CORT

Joe Rogan
“He’s a really funny guy, great stand-up comedian and I listen to his podcast every single day as I’m driving to work so I’d definitely like to talk to him.” – Matt Mackin, Corporate Director of HR at Anixter

Amelia Earhart
“She’s someone who is not the best pilot but she wanted it. She’s the name that we all know simply because of her passion. My favorite quote of hers, “I want to do it because I want to do it” is something I really believe in.” – Mary Beth Carter, Senior Director Global Talent Acquisitions at Owens & Minor 

Janis Joplin/ Mick Jagger/ David Bowie
“I think that would certainly be a fun dynamic to throw into the trio for dinner, depending on my mood and what I’m listening to at the moment.” – Lindsay DesJardins, VP of Human Resources at National Safety Apparel 

Mother Teresa
“I think it would be fascinating to understand her mindset as to why she did what she did and what drove her to do it.” – Loren Pofahl, Director of Global Recruitment at LanguageLine Solutions

Gloria Steinem
“She represents the voice of an entire generation of people in what she stands for in our society to this day so I would just want to pick her brain about the origins of her movement and how she came to be a figurehead for that movement in our society.” – Jim Link, CHRO at Randstad

Simon Pegg
“He’s a writer, director, and actor. He’s been super successful from being who he is.” – Mary Beth Carter, Senior Director Global Talent Acquisitions at Owens & Minor 

Anderson Cooper
“I think some of the experiences of the people he’s met in his life would be really fun to hear stories about.” – Matt Mackin, Corporate Director of HR at Anixter

Michelle Obama
“Aside from the political spectrum, just from a people standpoint; from a mother and career balancing. Being an advocate for a group of individuals that may not always be in a position to do that themselves.” – Lindsay DesJardins, VP of Human Resources at National Safety Apparel 

My Great-grandfather
“I’ve never met my great-grandfather I only have heard stories about him through my grandfather and my dad and you know he’s got a very interesting history. He was an immigrant, I’d love to have the opportunity to just spend some time and find out from him what his history is so that I can better understand my own history, so to speak.” – Jeff Seidman: Vice President of Human Resources at CORT

Ricky Gervais
“He’s somebody who speaks his mind, has huge passion, and does what he wants to do because he wants to do it.” – Mary Beth Carter, Senior Director Global Talent Acquisitions at Owens & Minor 

Anthony Bourdain
“I think that’s somebody who could bring anyone together and have an amazing perspective.” – Matt Mackin, Corporate Director of HR at Anixter

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