Panel: What is the Best Way to Build Bridges Between Human Resources and the Rest of the Company?

  • What does senior management and the workforce at large need and want from Human Resources? What does exceeding those expectations look like?
  • Why do some employees and departments seek to limit engagement with Human Resources, and what motivates that reluctance and institutional inertia?
  • Talking about how the soft skills of change management and effective communications are must-have competencies for HR executives
  • Discussing ways to win hearts and minds throughout a company through championing successes, embracing the lessons learned from failures, a commitment to ongoing training and learning opportunities, and always creating a clear path forward for your workforce


Ken Barrett
Global Chief Diversity Officer
General Motors

Ken Barrett leads General Motors’ Global Diversity and Inclusion portfolio including workforce diversity strategy, empowering employee resource groups, and fostering an inclusive culture that promotes diversity of thought, to help GM compete and win in the marketplace.

Since joining GM in 2012 as the company’s first Global Chief Diversity Officer, Barrett has introduced key initiatives resulting in increased diversity hiring, greater accountability through actionable metrics, and leveraged employee resource groups (ERGs) to support employees and sell cars among their respective constituencies.

As Ken says, “It’s not about counting heads, it’s making heads count”.

Barrett strives to set the bar high and is regarded as a thought leader and subject matter expert in global diversity. Under his leadership, Barrett returned GM to DiversityInc.’s Top 50 Companies for Diversity, along with garnering a number of awards including the #1 Diversity Council in the U.S. from the Association of ERGs & Councils, scoring 100 percent on both the Corporate Equality and Disability Equality Indexes, Global Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Award, ranking the Best of the Best Corporations for Inclusion, as well as best places to work for African Americans, Hispanics/Latinas, LGBT, Veterans, Native Americans and People with Disabilities.

Prior to joining GM, Barrett, a retired Navy Captain, served as the Under Secretary of Defense’s acting director of the Office of Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity in Washington, D.C., where he set the D&I agenda for 2.1 million military personnel. Prior to that, he had five years of award-winning performance as the U.S. Navy’s Diversity Director, where he achieved historic levels of minority and female officer additions and transformational work-life balance initiatives. Further, through his leadership, the U.S. Navy was selected as the Top Federal Agency by DiversityInc. For his efforts as lead of the Navy’s Task Force/Life Work, Barrett and his team were recognized with the Ted Childs Work Life Excellence Award by Working Mother.

A Worcester, Massachusetts native, Barrett holds a bachelor’s in political science from Holy Cross, a master’s in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College and an executive master’s degree in business administration from the Naval Postgraduate School. Additionally, he was Navy’s Federal Executive Senior Fellow at Harvard University’s Olin Institute and a graduate of the Armed Forces Staff College.

Ken serves on several boards including Advancing Minorities’ Interest in Engineering (AMIE), National Organization on Disability (NOD), Families and Work Institute (FWI), Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF), New Detroit, Inc. and the editorial board of “Insight into Diversity.”


Melissa Harper
SVP, HR Innovations

In this leadership role, Melissa is responsible for developing, transforming and executing global talent strategies that drive a high-performance culture of innovation and inclusion at Bayer.

Melissa brings her nearly 10 years’ experience at Monsanto, acquired by Bayer, to lead enterprise wide talent transformation. Through best in class operational capabilities and analytics, Melissa developed a global function at Monsanto responsible for attracting talent, development, ensuring an inclusive environment, shaping a digital culture, and delivering talent needs that align to strategic business goals and preparedness for the future workforce.

She has been recognized as a Diverse Business Leader and as a Top Executive in Corporate Diversity. Melissa began her career at Spencer Stuart Executive Search and later served as Senior Vice President of Talent Acquisition at Whirlpool Corporation and Wachovia.

Melissa is from Chicago, IL, and received her BA in Psychology from Roosevelt University, and her MBA from the Keller Graduate School of Management. She is on the Boards of the YMCA, Junior Achievement and the St. Louis Opera.

Valerie Love
SVP, Human Resources
Coca-Cola North America

Valerie Love currently serves as the Senior Vice President Human Resources Coca Cola North America effective August 2019. Prior to joining Coca Cola, Valerie served as the Global Vice President Human Resources supporting Johnson & Johnson Consumer Supply Chain and Global Quality. Valerie also served as Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Worldwide Vice President Human Resources. Valerie joined Johnson & Johnson in April 2013 with over 20 years of Finance, Operations, Labor Relations and HR experience.

Prior to Johnson & Johnson, Valerie was the Vice President Human Resources at Tyco Integrated Security (Tyco International). While at Tyco, Valerie supported the Global Thermal Controls Division and Commercial Security operations.

Valerie started her professional career at General Motors and during her 20 year tenure she spent time in both local and international assignments (Argentina and Germany) where her levels of responsibility increased with each new appointment to include roles within finance, operations (manufacturing) and HR: global compensation, leading and providing overall direction and coordination of salaried HR activities for Sales & Marketing, Global Design, Global Research & Development and Strategic Initiatives; growing the talent base of both technical and leadership staff; providing HR consultation advice and support during the design and implementation stages of new facilities in emerging markets (key leadership role in launching Greenfield sites (startup plants) in China, Thailand, Poland, Brazil, Argentina and Tel Aviv, Israel).

At J&J Vision Care (JJVC), Valerie served as co-Executive Sponsor for JJVC African Ancestry Leadership Council (AALC) and Executive Champion for JJVC Diversity & Inclusion Council and she currently serves as National Co-Chair of the J&J AALC.

Valerie also served as a Board Member for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) North East Florida chapter, and currently serves as Board Member National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA) and is a member of the Executive Leadership Council (ELC).

In her spare time, Valerie enjoys running (has completed 3 marathons), reading, exploring different cultures and spending time with family.

Valerie has a BA from Tennessee State University and an MBA from Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee.

Stacey Calvert
VP, Human Resources
GKN Aerospace

After years as a practicing employment lawyer, both as a litigator in a national law firm as well as in-house legal counsel partnering with Human Resources professionals in the aerospace, technology, and manufacturing industries, Stacey Calvert took a new career path and moved into a Human Resources role.

She is currently Vice President, Human Resources for the North American aerostructures business of GKN Aerospace, part of a U.K.-based global engineering services and manufacturing company which traces its legacy back to 1759. Prior to this role, she was with a private equity-owned global industrial manufacturing business as Corporate Director of Employee Relations and Division Vice President of Human Resources and previously held other roles in the Legal and Compliance function within the technology and manufacturing industries.

Stacey earned her Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Alabama School of Law and has a Master’s degree in Organizational Management.

She holds the SHRM-SCP credential from the Society of Human Resource Management. Stacey has lived and worked in the Dallas, Texas area for the past 21 years.

She is married to Jim, a clinical psychologist and Lecturer at SMU, and has two teenagers.

Steve Hunt
Chief Expert, Technology & Work
SAP SuccessFactors

Dr. Hunt’s work focuses on the design and deployment of technology-enabled processes to improve workforce agility, productivity, engagement and well-being. An industrial-organizational psychologist and applied mathematician, he has played a central role in creating human resource solutions that have positively influenced millions of employees working for thousands of companies around the globe. A thought leader in the field HR technology, he regularly speaks on topics related to the changing nature of jobs, organizations, talent management, and the experience of work. Dr. Hunt has written hundreds of articles and several books on strategic HR methods including “Commonsense talent management: using strategic human resources to increase company performance” and “Hiring success: the art and science of staffing assessment and employee selection.”

Sharon Goodwine
EVP, Human Resources
Wells Fargo

Sharon Goodwine is an executive vice president of Human Resources (HR) at Wells Fargo, leading the Enterprise Talent team. She is responsible for a holistic end-to-end view of enterprise talent planning while she and her team ensure that we are well-positioned to meet the needs of today and the future by focusing on trends for talent acquisition, development, planning, and organizational effectiveness from a team member lifecycle perspective. The team also oversees the creation of talent-related products and tools.

Holding various Human Resources positions at Wells Fargo since 2000, Sharon was most recently the senior HR leader for Wholesale Banking. In this role, she and her team identified and capitalized on common advantage points, including talent intelligence, movement and development, diversity and inclusion, and long-term human capital strategies. Under her leadership, Sharon’s team successfully built effective partnerships with HR Centers of Excellence and line-of-business partners to leverage efficiencies, drive innovation, manage risk, apply metrics, manage annual processes, and develop implementation plans for business priorities.

Sharon has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Spelman College in Atlanta, and is a certified diversity practitioner through Elsie Y. Cross & Associates.

Active in her community, Sharon currently serves on the board for Freedom School Partners. She also regularly volunteers at her daughter’s school and with local nonprofit organizations. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband and two daughters.