The Fixers

Winners of Human Resource Executive®’s 2017 Rising Stars awards share one special distinction: They each got a big, scary HR problem tossed in their lap. Then they solved it.

- Advertisement -

Scott Conklin was asked to lead a team with the mission of reinventing his company’s performance-management process. The result: a move away from annual reviews and toward a process that focuses on more frequent performance and career-development feedback and planning.

Kevin Finke had to address the disconnect between his company’s talent strategy and business strategy. His solution involved leveraging his previous experience in marketing.

Mandi Morrissey had to find an answer to high turnover and absenteeism at her company’s manufacturing plant in a rural area where job candidates were scarce. Her solution included pay bonuses for good attendance and improvements to onboarding and training procedures.

Esther Ni was asked to rescue her company’s plant in Mexico, where staff became overwhelmed with additional work after the closure of a U.S. plant. She retooled the plant’s staffing arrangements and introduced programs to use bus tickets and meal passes to help lure workers in a highly competitive labor market.

Timothy Tanis faced the challenge of revamping a broken old compensation plan workers scattered around the country. And he had to succeed where a big consulting firm had not.

- Advertisement -

That kind of problem-solving prowess characterizes all of HR’s Rising Stars for 2017.

Human Resource Executive® names Rising Stars each year to recognize executives near the top of their organization’s HR function who have demonstrated leadership, the ability to successfully launch significant HR initiatives, and the ability to tackle major HR-related challenges.

Judges for the contest include Charlie Tharp, executive vice president of the HR Policy Association and senior advisor of research and practice for the Center on Executive Compensation, a division of the HRPA; Gregory Hessel, senior client partner with the human resources practice and managing director of global client development at Korn/Ferry International’s Dallas offices; and Kristen B. Frasch, managing editor of Human Resource Executive®.  For stories on past winners and access to next year’s nomination form, visit™’s HR’s Rising Stars page.

Read these stories about the 2017 HR’s Rising Stars:

Revamping Performance

Scott Conklin has led an effort to overhaul Paycor’s performance-management process to better reflect the professional-growth needs of its employees.

Changing the Mind-set

Kevin Finke is harnessing the power of creative storytelling to help transform the culture at NCR.

The Real Deal

Through a series of innovative practices, Mandi Morrissey has successfully addressed Tru Vue/Apogee’s turnover and attendance challenges.

The Quintessential Business Partner

Esther Ni recently demonstrated her leadership skills and creativity when she transformed an array of HR processes at Acuity Brands’ Mexico plant.

Taking on Comp

Timothy Tanis, drawing from his statistical analysis skills, is playing a key role in changing the way Safelite Group goes about addressing technician pay.