DisruptHR Buffalo: Interview with Amy Pearl

amy2Amy Pearl is an author, speaker, facilitator, and the Chief Optimizer at RV Rhodes.  For two decades, the firm has provided strategic solutions and simple tools to help employers achieve their workforce goals.  

Prior to her consulting experience, Amy enjoyed a twelve-year career with M&T Bank, one of the country’s largest and most successful banks.  There, she was responsible for the retail bank’s largest client portfolio and oversaw multi-million dollar projects in technology, organizational development, sales and marketing.  Her efforts led to the successful implementation of some of the most ambitious initiatives in the organization’s quest to build a sales culture.  Today, she translates her strategic thinking and big-business experience into simple, results-oriented solutions for organizations ranging from billion dollar corporations to small not-for-profit organizations.

A strategic thinker with a true talent for facilitation, Amy’s goal is to build Collaborative Workplaces across the continent.  She is one of the largest Everything DiSC Authorized Partners in the world and a Master Trainer for the WorkPlace Big Five Profile.  She also has designed employee surveys and 360° feedback solutions for Fortune 50 and Best Place to Work organizations.  Amy’s common sense content and fun-loving style combine to create engaging presentations that give audiences simple tools to discover their talents, achieve their goals, and get energized by their work.

Amy took some time prior to Buffalo’s first DisruptHR event to share some insights with us, as a speaker and sponsor at the anticipated event.

HR Gazette: Tell us about yourself – your career history and how to came to be at your current role

Amy: I’m an obsessive planner and number cruncher who loves to be busy. After getting my undergraduate degree in Economics, I worked for M&T Bank. When I started, we only had 45 branches. Over the years, I was part of the bank’s exponential growth, working in technology, sales and marketing. I am eternally grateful for this experience. I draw on my M&T knowledge every day and connect with business leaders because I’ve walked a mile in their shoes.

I left M&T to raise my children. But, I wanted to keep my head in the game. So, I thought I’d consult part-time. Lol. Within three months, I was back to working full time and more, helping people discover their talents, achieve their goals, and get energized by their work.
Today, my goal is to help HR professionals thrive by sharing strategic, yet simple organizational development tools. RV Rhodes has become one of the world’s largest Everything DiSC Authorized Partners. We are among a handful of WorkPlace Big Five Master Trainers. Our book, “The Collaboration Breakthrough” is a best-seller and Aspiring Executives is listed among top executive development programs. I welcome the opportunity to build more collaborative partnerships with the amazing HR professionals of Western New York!

HR Gazette: What does your company do?

Amy: For two decades, RV Rhodes has provided strategic solutions and simple tools to help employers achieve their workforce goals. The RV Rhodes team increases their clients’ competitive advantage through award-winning programs such as:

  • The Collaboration Breakthrough: Create a workplace you love with this interactive team experience and employee survey.
  • Aspiring Executives: Be the best leader you can be through one of the top ten executive development program in North America (HR.com & LEAD2016).
  • Assessment Solutions: Hire, evaluate, and develop people smarter with our full service assessment services or do-it-yourself certification programs.

Notable clients include Barilla, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Catholic Health, Curbell, Ingram Micro, University of Missouri and Wegmans.

HR Gazette: Any upcoming product launches or initiatives you’d like to highlight to our audience?

Amy: Last Fall, we launched our best-selling book, “The Collaboration Breakthrough”. It’s the perfect resource for learning how to build a workplace you love. Our Collaboration Breakthrough Survey helps work teams identify what’s working and what’s not. Then, they use our Interactive Team Experience to muster the courage to tackle their more difficult or important problems. If you aren’t getting the results you’d like through your employee survey processes, call us to create the Breakthrough you need!

HR Gazette: What does an average work week look like for you?

Amy: Variety is the spice of life! That’s why my weeks are full of a mix of activities. I love spending time with our Aspiring Executives, either in one-on-one coaching sessions or our full-day workshops, celebrating their successes and brainstorming ideas to tackle their toughest challenges. Other days, I’m certifying HR professionals to use assessments to improve their hiring, development and succession planning processes. When I’m feeling more introverted, I dig into companies’ Collaboration Breakthrough Survey results to understand what’s really going on and to recommend ways to be more successful. My favorite part of the week is enjoying a glass of wine at our office with customers or our great RV Rhodes team!

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HR Gazette: What made you decide to be a speaker at DisruptHR Buffalo?

Amy: I applaud Human Resources professionals who seek better ways to get things done. Even in this day and age, people view HR as bureaucratic and not responsive to business needs. So, I’ll take any opportunity to dispel this myth and help others in their quest to do the same. Plus, this format makes me a little nervous – I’m hopeful it will help me become a better speaker.

HR Gazette: What will you be speaking about at DisruptHR Buffalo?

Amy: Engagement is Dead

The theory of employee engagement first emerged in the early 1990’s to catapult outdated job satisfaction models into the new century. For the last twenty-five years, HR practitioners have worked tirelessly to define, measure, build, and find the secret sauce for creating an engaged workforce. To our dismay, the most savvy business leaders describe engagement as “aspirational”, while those less enlightened among them still consider it to be ”motherhood and apple pie”.

In August, Gallup, the recognized leader in cranking out employee engagement scores reported that just 30% of the workforce is engaged. Interestingly enough, that figure was stagnant throughout 2015 and flat for the last five years. More shocking, despite the hard work to drive engagement, only 5% of the workforce is more engaged than their counterparts of the 90’s. If your sales were only 5% greater than they were in 1995, where would your organization be?

Although keeping employees “engaged” is important, the models are outdated and ineffective. The workforce is demanding something different and it’s time for us to deliver!

HR Gazette: What are the major learnings that attendees will take from your session?

Amy: In this presentation, I’ll share why engagement models are flawed, why traditional employee surveys don’t work, and what’s on the horizon to create a workplace people love.

HR Gazette: You only have 5 minutes to present at DisruptHR Buffalo. What unique challenges and opportunities does this format offer?

Amy: I’m more of a facilitator than a presenter. I like to get people talking, hopeful they will learn as much from each other as they do from me. So, talking for 5 minutes straight in a more scripted format is new and different for me.

HR Gazette: Why does Buffalo need an event like DisruptHR?

Amy: Buffalo is in the midst of a huge renaissance. I’ve been a proud resident of our community all my life. It’s great that others are now seeing and developing the resources that make us a vibrant community. Sustaining a thriving economy and region requires strong companies that employees love. DisruptHR is a catalyst for changing the way people think about HR, about work, and about working and living in Buffalo.

HR Gazette: Are you attending/speaking at any other HR-related events in the next 6-12 months? If so which ones and why?

Amy: I spend a lot of time sharing ideas with HR professionals and other business leaders, as well as at conferences. It helps me stay in touch with what’s happening while pursuing my goal to create collaborative workplaces across the continent!


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not of The HR Gazette or its team members.
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