SOURCE: HR Technology Conference

October 15, 2014 14:00 ET

HCA's John Steele Named 2014 HR Executive of the Year

HR Leaders at AT&T, Walgreens and Manhattan Associates Named to Honor Roll

HORSHAM, PA--(Marketwired - Oct 15, 2014) - Human Resource Executive®, the leading HR business magazine, named John Steele, senior vice president of human resources at Hospital Corporation of America, its 2014 HR Executive of the Year.

In addition, the magazine named to its 2014 HR Honor Roll William A. Blase Jr., senior executive vice president of human resources at AT&T; Kathleen Wilson-Thompson, senior vice president and chief human resources officer at Walgreen Co.; and Terry Geraghty, senior vice president and chief human resources officer at Manhattan Associates.

Winners will be recognized on Oct. 16 during a special awards dinner sponsored by Ultimate Software at the Trustee Ballroom at Boston University.

"The HR Executive of the Year award recognizes human resource leaders who have made outstanding contributions to their organizations and who exemplify the increasingly strategic role of HR in business today," says David Shadovitz, editor and co-publisher of Human Resource Executive®.

Since being named senior vice president of human resources at HCA in 2003, John Steele has helped navigate HCA through some significant challenges and changes.

Along the way, he has made finding and grooming the next wave of leaders a top priority, spearheading the creation of HCA's Chief Operating Officer Development Program, which identifies and cultivates qualified candidates who could, over time, develop into COOs and, ultimately, CEOs.

In addition, he has been instrumental in creating development programs for chief-nursing-officer and chief-financial-officer candidates, and establishing a soon-to-be-opened Leadership Institute, which aims to identify the top 1,000 rising leaders throughout HCA and nurture their potential.

Steele and his team have also played a key role in helping establish a "Healthy Work Environment" program, which determines where HCA's highest-performing hospitals excel, and puts these processes and practices in place throughout the system.

Plus, he's been instrumental in forming special subgroups within each hospital's employee advisory group to hear, consider and advise management on suggestions to improve staffing, workload and scheduling.

The three executives named to the 2014 HR Honor Roll were recognized for the following contributions and achievements, just to name a few:

In an effort to ensure that AT&T continues to innovate and provide value to its clients, Bill Blase has made learning and career development a major priority, putting in place a series of programs and tools aimed at ensuring that AT&T's workforce is properly trained and engaged in the business. Further, Blase and his team have significantly enhanced the company's Leading with Distinction program, which ensures everyone in the company knows where the organization is going, and why, and has made healthcare consumerism a top priority and strengthened the company's commitment to wellness.

Kathleen Wilson-Thompson has been instrumental in leading Walgreens' HR function -- and even the company at large -- through a massive change as the organization focuses less on growing outlets and more on enhancing customer experience. Among her many achievements, she helped establish Walgreens University to train all employees in new competencies needed to enhance customer experience and carry out the organization's new strategic direction. She also has played a key role in launching the company's Leadership Academy so company executives could further develop business acumen and skills.

Terry Geraghty has focused his energies on training and engagement initiatives to help successfully plug some of the leaks in Manhattan Associates' talent pipeline. To that end, he devised the company's hallmark training-and-career-development element, called the Associate Career Enrichment program, which now includes more than 1,000 courses. In addition, Geraghty and his team have also established the Manhattan Connect program, which focuses on millennials and brings volunteerism efforts, wellness and social activities together in order to provide a place for employees to connect with the community and each other.

Judges for this year's contest were Richard Antoine, president of the National Academy of Human Resources and former global human resource officer of Procter & Gamble Co.; Dennis Donovan, vice chairman of Cerberus Operations & Advisory Co., and HRE's 2003 HR Executive of the Year; Fred Foulkes, director of the Human Resource Policy Institute and professor of management policy at the Boston University School of Management; Susan Meisinger, author, speaker and consultant on human resources, and former president and CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management; and Human Resource Executive® Editor and Co-publisher David Shadovitz.

The judges based their selections on the following criteria: the candidate's ability to handle significant problems or obstacles in the human resource field, the candidate's role and/or success in establishing the human resource function as an integral part of his or her organization, the candidate's management skills as demonstrated within the human resource function and his or her contributions to the HR profession as a whole.

Honor Roll candidates are divided into two categories: Employers with fewer than 7,500 employees and employers with 7,500 or more employees. This year, one executive was selected in the under 7,500-employee category and two were selected in the 7,500-or-more-employee category.

The 2014 HR Executive of the Year and HR Honor Roll winners are profiled in the October 16 issue of Human Resource Executive®, which has a circulation of more than 75,000 HR vice presidents and directors. It is published by LRP Publications and is based in Horsham, Pa. On the Web, it can be found at www.HREOnline.com.