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For the latest edition of our “Career Corner” series, HR Leader sits down with Christy Harris, senior vice president of human resources at Allstate Insurance Company and member of the HRMAC Board of Directors. Read on to hear Harris share what led her to focus in HR, the best career advice she’s ever received and the podcast she holds above all others!

What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

HR Leader: Was human resources always a career that interested you? What have been some of your favorite parts of your job? What have been some challenges you’ve faced/overcome?

Christy Harris (CH): I was actually a Finance major in college! Truthfully, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do – I was good at math and in the business college so I majored in finance. I was introduced to the HR field through my first job out of college and it piqued my interest. I did some research, went back to school while working, and made the career move to HR. I haven’t looked back.

HR Leader: What are your top tips for addressing talent needs and desires given the tight labor market?

CH: My suggestion is for organizations to be clear on what talent they need, create a compelling value proposition and provide transparency into what it’s like to work at the company. Always think about how you can bring diverse hiring leaders into the process so you can bring diverse perspectives to your organization.

HR Leader: How has technology changed the role of HR? What are some important technologies that all firms should consider?

CH: Virtual collaboration tools are so helpful when building teams. Utilizing technology, increasing team meetings and individual touch bases are great ways to collaborate and stay connected.

HR Leader: What is the best career advice you ever received? What’s the best career advice you never received but wish you had?

CH: “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” One of my employees mentioned this to me when he decided to make a life change. It stuck with me, and I realized that there were assignments and roles that I held myself back from because I was afraid I didn’t have the skills, knowledge or expertise to do the job from day one. I now realize that my growth came from situations where I was uncomfortable and took risks.

HR Leader: What is one podcast you highly recommend?

CH: Brene Brown’s “Unlocking Us” podcast – specifically, the episode Brene with Ibram X. Kendi on How to be an Anti-racist.

HR Leader: What is your favorite place to visit in Chicago?

The lakefront. I just love being by the water – it is calming and so beautiful.