I Hate Lists! But Less When I’m On Them…Sackett’s Top HR & TA Influencers of All Time!

It seems like there are fewer lists out recently as content. Five years ago lists as content were huge! It was the go-to content for every crappy content marketing professional in HR and TA technology. Why? Because they get traffic! People like to see their names on lists, or not see their names on lists and wonder why “he” is on the list and I’m not on the list.

Recently, Engagedly came out with the ‘Top’ 100 HR Influencers of 2017. The list is alphabetical but it also has numbers, so it looks like Uncle Lou Adler is #1 on the most influential list of HR pros for 2017. I’m number 77. Stacey Zapar is #99. Kris Dunn is #26. If you know the alphabet you can almost play a game guessing what number you might be! (Editor question – if it’s not ranked, why put numbers on it?)

So, anyway, I hate these lists, but I hate them less when I’m on them because, well, I’m human. It feels nice that someone thinks you might know something about something and put your name on a list of other people you probably think are smart. The problem with most lists, like this, are that the person putting them together probably hasn’t met or spoken to 97% of the people they’re putting on the list.

The Engagedly list added a ton of ‘influential’ HR people I’ve truly had never heard of! Most are heads of HR for giant Fortune 100 type companies. I’ll say that’s smart. If you want to sell your product to an enterprise buyer, butter up the heads of HR at big companies and tell them how smart and influential they are. That’s just good business!

The problem is ‘these’ people, for the most part, really aren’t influential. Big giant HR is usually vanilla. They use big giant vanilla technology and they do things that are safe. That’s not really influence, is it?

Outgoing SHRM CEO Hank Jackson is on the list. Hank definitely has some influence in HR, but he’s also retiring in December, wouldn’t Johnny Taylor, the incoming CEO, be a better selection? Penelope Trunk is on the list. Has Penelope done anything in HR in the past decade? She recently said she was sick of her own advice! That seems influential.

William Tincup, my friend, and a super smart guy is on the list. He’s also on the board of Engagedly. Shocking he made the list…

Like I said, I hate lists, because what I did above is what everyone does when they see these lists. No one is like, “Oh. My. God. Thank you for this list! I had no idea who I should listen to in this space!”

Okay, I’ll stop being a dick. The criteria I would use for a list would be something like: People I have had dinner with and I would pay; People that have taught me something in HR and/or TA and/or Life; People I’ve hugged because I like them, not because I felt like I had to; People I think are smarter than me; People that get it.

Here’s my list of Sackett’s Most Influential HR/TA People of All Time (also the best dinner party ever or the most dysfunctional family get together of all time, and every single person on this list I’ve met in person and probably hugged!):

Celinda Appleby – Employment Brand expert at Nike, an Awesome smart lady with some sass! 

Jason Averbook – HR and TA Tech genius, one of the best presenters in the world, first person I forgot to add to this list!

Chris Bailey – CaymanHRGuy is his claim to fame, but he might be the best person in HR period. Smart, fun, giant heart.

John Baldino – My HR guy on the East Coast, Smart, Caring, Just good people!

Kassandra Barnes – HR technology marketing leader, sassy, smart, always open to trying new things.

Michelle Berg – HR Executive and consultant out of Canada, super involved in HR community, hustler to the n’th degree.

Josh Bersin – Everyone knows Josh, some dislike him, some love him. I like how he thinks.

Steve Boese – Mr. HR Tech, #8ManRotation, One of the nicest guys you’ll meet in HR and he really knows his stuff!

Bill Boorman – The most connected HR/TA guy in the world and always willing to go for a drink. Super kind, super smart.

Sarah Brennan – One of the most underrated HR/TA Tech minds on the planet, expert home flipper, awesome person.

Terryl Bronson – Trench TA Leader, my friend from my days at the Bee’s, always willing to help others, world class stick man.

Steve Browne – Mr. SHRM, nicest guy in HR. The most positive, uplifting HR leader you’ll ever meet.

–  Dawn Burke – HR Leader who flat out gets it, funny, high energy, one of my closest friends in HR, she’s just good people.

Heather Bussing – The one employment attorney on the list, which means she is my go to for all this stuff, and a damn good writer!

Johnny Campbell – Ninja. Always looking to move forward. Pushing the envelope of recruiting worldwide. Charismatic.

Teresa Carper – My VP of HR in my own shop at HRU. Super stud, won’t be outworked, ferociously loyal, brilliant.

Glen Cathey – Boolean Black Belt Dude. The smartest guy in sourcing you’ll meet who doesn’t believe he’s the smartest.

Lis Cervenka – Employer branding expert, TA tech executive, great marketing mind, respect the hustle.

Matt Charney – Brilliant writer, sharp wit, wickedly funny, gets the game better than almost anyone in the industry.

Joel Cheesman – One of the few ‘experts’ I listen to, truly knows his stuff and isn’t afraid to let you know it.

Jackye Clayton – Awesome HR/TA Tech knowledge, a better person, funny, my sister from another mister.

Graeme Close – Professor, best and most interesting wellness speaker on the planet, Nutrition consultant to Olympians & professional athletes.

Connie Costigan – C.C.! One of the top HR tech marketing and communication executives on the planet, and just a great person.

Gerry Crispin – The Godfather of Candidate Experience and TA, who I hope to become when I grow up. Life long learner.

Amy Cropper – Quietly one of the smartest TA minds in the room who doesn’t feel the need to throw it in your face.

Jim D’Amico – My partner in the Michigan Recruiter’s Conference, passionate TA leader, awesome person, brilliantly funny.

Paul DeBettignies – Kindest, hardest working TA pro on the planet, always willing to get involved and help, gets recruiting at another level.

Mervyn Dinnen – Super smart HR writer/blogger out of the UK, always asks the right questions to make you think.

Kelly Dingee – Sourcing expert to the stars. Kelly can break down sourcing for the masses like no other person in the industry.

Jim Durbin – Get recruiting and finding talent at a completely different level than 99.9% of the world and can show you how.

Holland Dombeck-McCue – The Kid! Recruitment marketing genius, under the radar, oh, the places she will go!

Kris Dunn – The OG, my ride or die, simply the single best HR/TA blogger on the planet and my best friend. #8ManRotation

Ben Eubanks – The analyst from Alabama, and the nicest HR analyst you’ll ever meet! Smart, hardworking, always willing to share.

Mary Faulkner – HR leader who is always on and willing to get involved, takes no prisoners and one of the few willing to tell it like it is.

Craig Fisher – Employment brand expert, good people, respects the hustle. Gives back to our community constantly.

Melany Gallant – HR Tech content marketing guru who is unafraid to try new stuff, which makes her stuff industry leading.

Joe Gerstandt – Freak flag flier, one of the top D&I speakers/minds on the planet, someone most of us would aspire to be.

Jamie Gilpin – HR and TA tech marketing executive, started most of the stuff others are doing right now, awesome lady.

China Gorman – Great leader, period, gets the HR industry better than most, she’s the boss you wish you had.

Ben Gotkin – Co-founder of ATAP, super passionate TA pro willing to work behind the passion.

Shane Gray – Tireless advocate for TA worldwide, always willing to help and has outstanding ideas. Hustle times infinity.

Kevin Grossman – Mr. Candidate Experience, gets HR marketing at a different level than all of us. Super nice dude.

Chris Harvilla – Super brilliant TA Tech mind and leader, could run any TA shop in the world better than you’re doing it right now.

Lance Haun – Kind, wicked funny, always helpful, truly understands the industry and how to help make it better. #8ManRotation

Michael Heller – HR Tech CEO, grinder, an executive who truly works to understand the practitioner’s pain, and that’s rare! He’s good people.

Maren Hogan – Marketing expert, hustles her ass off, a brilliant writer, so helpful. Never leave your credit card with her. 😉

Paul Hebert – No one gets recognition, incentives, and employee engagement better than this man. Plus, he’s an awesome hang.

Chris Hoyt – The recruiting guy, loved by all including my wife who is super hard to win over! I love talking shop with Chris.

Carmen Hudson – One of the smartest TA consultants you’ll ever meet, has always shared her time with me, Talent42 Co-founder.

John Hudson – He ran HR for Oprah, fools! Drop mic. Truly an awesome guy, always willing to help, great HR mind.

Teela Jackson – Recruiting leader out of the ATL, true pro, super funny, gets recruiting at another level.

Linda Jonas – An Aussie, living in Berlin, who just works tirelessly within the industry. Respect her hustle and willingness to always ask questions to make both sides smarter.

Matt Jones – Recruiting leader who is an expert in the game, gives back constantly, great positive energy, closer.

Charlie Judy – HR leader/expert who gives back to the industry constantly, gets workplace culture at a completely different level.

Micole Kaye – Influencer marketing expert, a millennial who acts like a Gen-X, super high ceiling because she’s unafraid.

Katrina Kibben – Employer branding, marketing pro, writer, involved. Someone who is always willing to help and give back to the community.

Kyle Lagunas – My favorite TA/HR analyst, wicked funny, fabulous, will poke fun at his own industry, smart.

George LaRocque – Always knows where the money is, constantly letting the industry know stuff before anyone else, I listen to him.

Sharlyn Lauby – The vast HR community loves the HR bartender and so do I, straight talk in a way that doesn’t talk down, she writes for those HR pros in the trenches.

Madeline Laurano – In a world of puff out your chest analyst, Madeline is a pros-pro who quietly knows more than 90% of the room. Flat out produces great research.

Jason Lauritsen – Super HR leader, better guy, truly wants to see you be a better you. One of my favorite people in the industry.

Jessica Lee – The most talented young TA leader on the planet, period. Brilliant mind. Tireless worker. Great spirit.

Tony Lee – Working constantly to evolve SHRM from the inside, awesome guy, always working to make his business better.

Steve Levy – Polarizing TA genius who will tell you exactly like it is, even if you don’t want to hear it. Truly knows his stuff.

Roy Maurer – Expert writer in our space, not a hack blogger like me, kind, giving, always willing to help hacks like me get better.

Jennifer McClure – The one HR speaker everyone wants to hear and see, self-made, constantly improving, such a good person. Knows what she talks about.

Trish McFarlane – No one in HR in the past decade has come farther in their career. HR leader, analyst, HR Tech executive.

Debbie McGrath – Founder of HR.com, she’s forgotten more about this industry than I’ll ever know. Constantly innovating.

Rob McIntosh – Executive TA advisor that is a top 1%er in terms of knowing more about TA than all of us. One of the few I read and listen to in this industry.

–  Victorio Milian – A better human than you and I will ever be, HR consultant and leader, one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet, with a keen eye.

Crystal Miller Lay – Employment branding and recruitment marketing expert and leader, constant hustle, unapologetic in a good way.

Jessica Miller-Merrell – The queen of HR/TA blogging, HR/TA tech expert, constantly pushing forward, challenges the norm.

Danielle Monaghan – The only head of TA for a giant corporation I’ve ever met you will tell you exactly how it is, publicly. So awesome!

Neil Morrison – HR Executive out of the UK. Might be smartest HR dude on the planet. Great writer and thinker. I’m love listening to him.

Kevin Mullins – HR Tech marketing executive, flat out ‘gets it’, a driving force behind WorkHuman, had great vision.

Shannon Pritchett – Worldwide sourcing leader, Ms. SourceCon, super smart and willing to give back to the community.

Laurie Ruettimann – Friend. Original HR blogger with snark and sass, showed everyone else how to do it. Mentor of mine. Smart beyond our industry.

Tim Sackett – Like I said, I hate lists, but I hate them less if I’m on them!

Lars Schmidt – HROS co-founder, Fast Company author, employment brand strategist who is super nice, helpful and giving.

Robin Schooling – Trench HR leader, blogger, an awesome lady who just gets HR at a level most will never get to.

Jason Seiden – Branding genius, overall genius, one of the few people I shut up and listen to when they speak. Always has great ideas.

Mary Ellen Slayter – Content marketing expert, good people, knows where the bodies are buried in our industry and can use that knowledge to help her clients.

Leela Srinivasan – Top 3 HR/TA Technology CMOs on the planet who also never invites me to her events. She’s smart that way.

Marcus Stewart – HR professor at Bentley Univ., best friend since junior high, the single smartest person I know.

Matt Stollak – The only HR professor on the planet who has been able to make the transition into mainstream HR writing. Sparty. #8ManRotation

Mark Stelzner -HR advisor to the who’s who of HR leaders on the planet. Might be the person in HR who can fix you the fastest, and he’s just a great guy.

Will Staney – TA consultant, industry expert, always willing to give back and work to make the industry better overall.

Bret Starr – Marketing genius who doesn’t believe he is. Nice dude, great leader. Some of the best ideas on the planet.

John Sumser -Brilliant dude, industry guru respected by all, one of the few who will ask the toughest questions and get the answers.

Ronda Taylor – HR marketing expert, Twitter hashtag guru, constantly helping others get better at the game.

Ron Thomas – Global HR leader, tireless industry advocate, awesome person, your guy on the ground in Dubai!

William Tincup Part of my tribe. Great sense of humor I’ve ever met. Smartest guy in our industry. I envy his mind. He’s my go to on most things in life.

Ambrosia Vertesi – Exceptional HR leader who is wise beyond her years, HROS co-founder, creative with a great sense of humor.

Jess Von Bank – Tireless industry sales executive who is in constant hustle mode, not constant sales mode.

Jeff Waldman – Social HR Camp founder, constant industry advocate north of the border, brilliant TA mind.

William Wiggins – Exceptional HR Leader, one-half the great Wiggins-Hudson duo, one of the funniest HR pros I know.

Mike Wood – Marketing leader for Globoforce, never stops, behind the force that has become WorkHuman, one of the good guys!

Stacy Zapar – Constant hustle. Super talented TA leader. Uses her skill sets better than anyone on the planet. Beyond nice.

Shaunda Zilich – Employment brand leader at GE, can build a motor cycle, thinks about EB completely differently than everyone else!

Okay, I know I’ve forgotten about fifty people, so I apologize to all those friends and smart people I’ve left off this list! Also, I know it’s not in perfect alphabetic order. Look it’s my list, I can arrange it any way I want!

Damn, this list thing is harder than it looks!



16 thoughts on “I Hate Lists! But Less When I’m On Them…Sackett’s Top HR & TA Influencers of All Time!

  1. Thanks, @TimSackett at Engagedly decided to put together a list of the most influential people in the field of Human Resources for 2018. This shows that how crucial human resources is to the business world, we felt it is time to honor the hard work, perseverance, and talent in the field 🙂

  2. Thanks for including me, Tim! Truly honored. Also, I love how 18 of the top 20 Engagedly list is all white male. Damn alphabetical! 😉

  3. First and foremost – please know my main reason I love this post is for the same reason I love most everything you write, even the sidebar comments — it’s like all the stuff that’s all up in my head and heart comes out of your mouth — and in a way more articulate and impactful way

    If I were to put a list together I’d do it the same way also, without a doubt. There’s so much more to people than what’s on their digital footprint and seeing this list and reading what you wrote about people made me nod yes crazily for the people I know — and make a bucket list to meet of the ones I don’t know — yet!! And Rob would be on my list because I have spent a lot of time with him — and if I were the both of you, I’d fix this not having met or spent time together thing ASAP

    Lastly I’m honored — thank you so much for including me, and not just on tech/data chops alone. I just do that stuff because besides being a geek, it’s been the easiest way to drive necessary change in HR and Talent themselves. Because you have to get the strategy, structure, and processes right to arm people with tech and insights that works for them — versus them working so hard for systems they get absolutely nothing from…

  4. Damn I’m crushed. I had to scroll through it twice and my name did not come up the second time. Disappointingly crushed.

    No I have that out of the way. Solid list of people that have influenced my thinking.

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