In this episode of the HRchat show, Bill Banham is joined by Daneal Charney, Talent Lead at MaRS Venture Services in Toronto. Daneal is an HR innovator, startup enthusiast, speaker, and moderator. She’s also the author of Hitting Stryde: A Gen Y Career Survival Guide. She will be moderating the upcoming innovateworkTO panel happening on May 16th.
Read the edited transcription of the HRchat interview with Daneal Charney:
Bill Banham: Let’s look at your career up to joining MaRS. Please, can you tell us a bit about your earlier career, and why you decided to go into the world of talent and HR?
Daneal Charney: Sure. My dad was in the area of learning development, specifically leadership development. I used to go along with him when he used to present and really had an interest in how people learn, why people learn, and have always considered myself someone who’s curious, and wants to innovate. To me, learning is a key part of that. So I went into learning and development. One of my first big roles was working for Intel. I was hired out of my Master’s program to work in the China office as the Director of Talent where we did a lot of amazingly big things around succession planning, and building a program for their high potentials. Very much a talent, coaching, mentorship focus, but also an international, cross-cultural focus.
It was also the first time I was part of a tech organization. Even though Intel was very big at that time, it had a learn-fast, continuous improvement, constructive confrontation culture. That really stuck with me throughout my career in terms of best practices of creating an amazing culture.
Fast forward, went through lots of different roles in HR. Finally, got my head on straight, and realized that the reason I loved Intel so much is because I’m an entrepreneur, and I am a builder, and I like to get stuff done. I’m very results oriented. So I found myself finally kind of leaving all the different industries, becoming a consultant to startups for about five years, where I re-engaged, found my love of tech again, and here I am at [inaudible 00:03:33] MaRS, today, with a fantastic, really exciting role.
Bill Banham: Can you give an overview of the MaRS Discovery District?
Daneal Charney: Sure. Proud to. MaRS is the largest urban innovation hub, and it’s a place where there are more than 200 startups mixed with companies who want to learn from these startups, and could be first customers for these startups. There’s a number of VCs in the building, and there’s just tons of innovation happening. The largest stem cell factory, the Baxter Institute, I can go on. When I walk through the building, there’s just so much collision of innovations happening here. It’s very exciting to be here.
My role is really to advise and give access to talent for all of our MaRS clients that are high growth companies. I have the best job ever. It’s perhaps a very busy job, but I get to be a consultant, in a way, to all of these companies, and learn sectors from the [IPT 00:05:11] sector, where I came to our health sector, and our energy and environment sector. So it’s just an amazing place.
Bill Banham: What does an average work week look like for you?
Daneal Charney: What I love about this role is there really is no average work week. I mean, there’s dealing with clients, which happens all the time, but they all have different types of questions. Of course, most of them are looking to, “How can I attract and retain talent in the fastest, cheapest, best way?” We really try to give them shortcuts in order to do that.
What else does my week look like? Well, right now, I’m working on helping to release feedback to the government on the global skills strategy. So depending on what is important in talent, my job changes.
As you said, I present and write a lot. A really important topic right now is diversity and inclusivity, so I’ve done a number of a presentations which I call the Cost of Real Jerks, with a couple of organizations, which really highlights how we can create a positive culture, and what happens if we don’t.
Bill Banham: Okay, let’s switch focus now. This is a bit of a special HRchat episode, in that we are focusing on the innovatework Toronto event, which is coming up on May 16th. It’s the first in a series that Rob Catalano and I are hoping to run in Toronto. The second one is hot on the heels – happening on June 20th.
You’re going to be moderating a session called The Consumerization of HR: What the Future Looks Like, and How Business Leaders Must Evolve. Tell me all about that. What’s the context and some of the learning outcomes?
Daneal Charney: The event is about really building awareness of how HR needs to shift in order to offer a consumer-grade experience because our small startups are competing with Google and Netflix. Millennials, and workers in general – especially in tech – expect a mobile, social, interactive experience all through the employee lifecycle .. I think there’s a lot of really exciting things to do to augment our candidate experience. I mean, in terms of the event, I’m hoping to give people a business case for creating a consumer grade experience and, on the recruiting side, I think if you can engage candidates, candidates can be customers.
Candidates also share their experience. If they get a great experience, they’re going to share it. I just read a great article by Virgin Mobile talking about how Virgin discovered that 7,500 of their applicants canceled their contracts because of the poor candidate experience. Then they said, “Well, what if we can engage all of our candidates as a way to create a new revenue stream?” The difference between candidates, customers, and employees, the lines have been blurred. Everything is open and transparent, and you need to create a similar, consumer-grade experience as would have when we’re out there and we’re not working. That’s the importance.
Bill Banham: How can our listeners learn more about you, and what you do at MaRS?
Daneal Charney: I’m very much on social media including LinkedInand Twitter. If you Google my name you’ll probably see that I’m regularly writing or presenting.
Bill Banham: Awesome. Well, that just leaves me to say thank you very much for being our guest today.
Daneal Charney: Thank you so much, Bill.
Register for innovateworkTO on June 20th.