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The HR Leader “Career Corner” continues in 2020! As part of this series, we’ll continue to sit down with professionals in top human resources leadership positions throughout Chicagoland, bringing you the inside scoop on what it takes to make it. First up this year is Toyin Ogun, CHRO of The HAVI Group, LP, who also happens to be a member of the HRMAC Board of Directors. Read on to learn about Toyin’s career and what he listens to while on-the-go.

“Learn more, do more.”

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 or overcome?

Toyin Ogun (TO): A career that aligned people, data and process has always been interesting to me. I caught the “personnel” bug – as it was known back then – in my sophomore year of college and, even though I didn’t start off in the profession right away, I knew directionally what I wanted to do. My favorite parts of the job have always involved any sort of large-scale organizational change as that brings every part of both operational and strategic HR into focus. Connecting changes in the macroeconomic environment to the strategy of the organization and subsequently the workforce, continues to be an interesting and ongoing challenge.

HR Leader: Do you have any tips for professionals who aspire to become a CHRO?

TO: I think it is critical that aspiring CHROs “minor” in other aspects of the business to become well-rounded business professionals with an avocation for human capital management. This could range from a stint in a different part of the business or working in parachute / action learning teams to solve a business problem / opportunity.

HR Leader: CHROs help shape the talent of an organization. What are your top tips for addressing talent needs and desires given the tight labor market?

TO: Having a well-rounded talent management process that includes effective workforce strategic planning is a pre-condition for success in today’s labor market – both domestically and internationally.

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

TO: Technology, when used effectively, is a game-changer for the way the HR business is run. [Tech] has enabled HR to become more effective by leveraging data to provide productivity, process and people insights thereby enabling our managers to make better people decisions. Depending on where a company is on the maturity curve there are several technology platforms that can enable recruiting, talent management, data analytics, etc. but, at a minimum, there should be data warehouse suite to better understand the internal composition of the workforce.

HR Leader: What is the best career advice you ever received?

TO: “Learn more, do more.”

HR Leader: What is one podcast you highly recommend?

TO: Rather than an individual podcast, I would recommend two sources: the Havard Business Review, or HBR, weekly podcasts and Hidden Brain hosted by one of my favorite NPR personalities, Shankar Vedantam

HR Leader: Share a few articles or books you think HRMAC readers should check out and/or save.


HR Leader: Share 2-3 things you must keep at your desk when working in order to maximize productivity.

TO: I have my family photo to help me keep perspective, my U2 mouse pad and drink coasters to remind me of music and social justice excellence, and my “Sir Alex Ferguson Way” sign to remind me of my beloved Manchester United.

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

TO: I absolutely love the lakefront trail for either biking or jogging (except in the winter). The views are some of the best in the world.