I grew up in a small town in northeast Ohio. My father worked in a coal mine and then a steel mill, and my mother                                                   worked in a GM assembly plant. From our parents and our neighbors, my identical twin brother and I learned that nothing comes             		             
                          easy, and that all work has dignity—a core value that had been especially critical to my development as an HR leader.
		   Besides my parents, my high school wrestling and football coach was the other major influence on me when I was young. He took                                                   my brother and me under his wing, expanding our sense of what was possible, and planting the idea that if we worked hard enough we could win a college scholarship. With his help, and the support of our entire community, we did just that—winning scholarships to six Division I colleges, including Northwestern, Penn State, and the Naval Academy. We chose Northwestern, where we were later selected as co-captains of the football team and members of the All Big Ten Academic Team. I was also proud to be named the Outstanding Midwest College Athlete of the Year by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Graduating with a degree in sociology, I talked my way into my first job, as an account executive with a staffing firm that happened to be helping Digital Equipment Corporation recruit the resources to fuel its explosive growth. From there it was just a small step to my first HR job, at Digital, where I ultimately served as HR leader for the Global Services Division. Along the way, I had the opportunity to continually expand my skill set, earning an MS in HR Management and Organizational Development and participating in prestigious advanced executive programs at INSEAD and Northwestern. 
When Digital merged with Compaq, I was selected to lead HR for the combined $4.5B services division, and later when Compaq merged with HP, I played a key role in integrating the two companies’ service organizations. From HP I moved on to become Chief HR Officer for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and later Cleveland Clinic.  
Sometimes it feels as if I’ve travelled a long way from my small town upbringing, but in other ways it all seems like a logical extension of the lessons I learned as a kid trying to succeed in the classroom and on the playing fields of Howland. It’s still about working hard, no matter how tough things get. And it’s still about helping other people, the way other people helped you.