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My Interview with Kearney & Company CPO Erin Ogburn

Kearney & Company Summer 2019 Intern Alyssa Boord Interviews CPO Erin Ogburn

During my summer internship with the Security Team at Kearney & Company I was given the opportunity to interview a partner. I was paired with Kearney’s Chief People Officer (CPO) Erin Ogburn for my interview and she was kind enough to take the time to talk with me. I was excited to have the opportunity to ask Erin about career advice and her journey to becoming Kearney’s CPO. I found this experience very helpful and I am looking forward to being able to apply her advice to my future career after I graduate.

Below are the questions I asked Erin followed by her response quoted in italics.

Q: What advice do you have Kearney interns?

A: “Do several internships. Spend time soaking it all in and pay attention to what’s going on in the company and the culture not just the work because the people and culture can really make or break a job. Internships are a great time to identify your priorities and you should utilize this opportunity to test out what you want. Also never be afraid to ask questions.”

Q: What do you wish you had known before going into your first job?

A: “My first job was really tough it had a terrible environment and was very competitive. Nothing I did ever seemed to be good enough. Instead of understanding that it was just the environment of the job I thought it was a personal failing and lost confidence in myself. I wish I had understood that many things in work are not personal and how to recognize those kind of work environments.”

Q: When something doesn’t go as planned, how do you handle it?

A: “This is a skill you perfect over life. I take everything a step at a time by taking out all the emotions and looking only at the facts because emotions will change, but facts will not. However, in order to make a solid decision you still have to take the people and emotions into account, but its important to sort out the facts first. You need to take a step back sometimes because your immediate response is often different than the response you would have if you wait and try to resist deciding immediately.”

Q: Did you ever envision that you would be in the place you are now?

A: “Never. I always knew I loved working with people and understood them, but I wasn’t sure how to turn that into a career. I decided to start in recruiting and see where that takes me. I came to Kearney doing recruiting when there were less than 100 people working here. When I was promoted to director of HR that’s where I believed I would stay and even 5 or 7 years ago there were no higher positions. I was never aspiring for this role, but over the years I have changed as a person and focused more on managing the big picture instead of small details. It’s all a growing process and it’s important to have mentors that can help you grow and get you to where you want to be.”

Q: What motivates you?

A: “People are a huge motivator. Being able to help people whether they’re seeking a service or are in need of support is very fulfilling for me. Being able to work through challenges is rewarding for me I am at my best when I am challenged and busy. Balance is also important to me. I make sure my family and friends have a part in my life. You have to decide where that balance is it’s important to do what makes you happy even when other people disagree.”

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