Organizations need to look to hire an HR Leader who can translate business needs to sound HR solutions. This person is responsible for implementing talent initiatives to drive a high-performance culture. In this fast pace business environment, the HR leader serves as a trusted partner and advisor to the C suite so that leaders can collaboratively deliver great business results.
Leaving a stable, in house job, Mai Ton, Founder and Owner of EMP HR Consulting, formed her own consultancy to share her knowledge to help other People Leaders to create great teams and great companies. Her ability to balance the needs of the business with the needs of employees has created strong teams and awesome business results for all the businesses she serves.
Below are the highlights of the interview between Mai Ton and Insights Success.
Give a brief overview of your background and your role at EMP HR Consulting.
I have 20 years of experience leading all aspects of Human Resources in several rapidly growing technology companies in the San Francisco and New York areas. Over the course of my career, I have been the ﬁrst Vice President of Human Resources at six companies, including ﬁve start-ups. My professional experience focuses on technology companies, and I had the fortune of preparing for IPOs, led due diligence for M&As, and handled global expansion. Throughout my career, I built high performing HR teams that delivered the full suite of human resources programs and services. My companies won 14 awards for creating great places to work based on high engagement scores. Including this most recent award for the Top 20 Female Tech Trailblazers, I have earned a total of three prestigious individual awards for delivering great places to work. I am presently utilizing my extensive and diverse experience to lead EMP HR Consulting, where I offer my HR services to deliver the workplace of the future, today. Check out www.emphrconsulting.com for more information.
How do you maintain balance between your professional & personal life?
I learned throughout my 20-year professional journey that I have to prioritize my family first. Otherwise, I merely see myself through the lens of what I do for work, which is NOT a complete picture of who I am. I have an 11-year-old daughter named Emma, and she is the reason I work so hard. She is my boss every day, and I work hard to make the world a better place for her and her generation. Plus, I adopt technology to make my personal and professional lives live happily together.
What was your life changing event/ incident that changed your life?
Three things transformed my life honestly: the death of my father, the birth of Emma and realizing that I was burnt out from my job. My father suffered from cancer and he was withering away from the side effects of his chemo treatments while Emma was thriving as a newborn baby ingesting milk every 3 hours. (It is an extremely unusual sight to see a dying parent and a newborn baby together.) On the professional front, I realized my job wasn’t bringing me the joy it once did. This roller coaster of emotions set me on a path to discover where I could experience joy again. Emma is 11 now and flourishing as a kid in NYC and last year I started a business where I could practice my skills, find some headspace to think about my own needs, and share my knowledge to help other people leaders.
What strategies do you undertake to make your employees resourceful?
I believe that employees thrive when you give them the tools and context to do their best work. I believe in transparency at work so that everyone can understand what’s happening around them at work, especially as a company grows. I make sure to join organizations that understand that everyone has a different style and way of working. I may prefer Google Sheets while someone else may prefer Microsoft Excel and we should both be allowed to purchase the tool that’s right for us. Technology is so powerful nowadays that you have to allow people the freedom to choose what tools they need in order to allow them to thrive at work.
What are some of the vital attributes, in your opinion, that every leader should possess?
I am a huge proponent of working with leaders who are human and live by their own set of values. I personally align with those leaders who believe in justice, integrity, respect, kindness, optimism and compassion.
How necessary is it to align business with technology and what are its outcomes?
I’ve worked in technology companies for most of my life so I am a big fan of leveraging technology to help lead a balanced and fulfilled life. With that said, you must control how much time you spend on technology and devices so that you never lose your human touch. My screen saver is a picture of a couple who is in bed together on their devices talking through their phones instead of having an in-person conversation. It serves as a reminder to close my laptop.
How do you sustain your entrepreneurial spirit in this changing technological era?
I like to listen and hear other people’s stories. I find that we are all the sum of our experiences so that no two people have the same journey. As I listen to stories, I try to think about what could be invented or what could be refined to solve for something that happened in that person’s life that altered the course of their life. Plus, I love to watch episodes of Shark Tank – these entrepreneurs inspire me to be creative!
Provide one line that best describes your vision and approach to business.
We leave our friends and family behind every day to go to work and I want to build environments that make that sacrifice worthwhile.
Any words for emerging entrepreneurs and any additional details that you want to highlight.
Create your own personal mission statement to anchor how you choose to spend your time, every day. Mine is:
I want to be an extraordinary individual who is kind and optimistic so that I can bring out the extraordinary in others.
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