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Thank you to the 1,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 questions!

I hope reading

helps you in your leadership.

 

Cheers,

Jonno White

7 Questions with Tara Furiani
7 Questions with Tara Furiani

Name: Tara Furiani

Current title: Chief Executive Officer

Current organisation: Not the HR Lady

Tara Furiani is described as "Creative and effective", "Driven and an intelligent business professional", "Natural leader and an incredibly quick learner", "Clear and proficient communicator", "Delightfully fun and energetic, while abundantly smart and sharp as a tack" and "she's my role model", by her peers.
A sought after thought leader, this strategic yet creatively minded executive sees the biggest picture and has made a career building, improving, and enhancing organizations through its people.
Tara holds several certifications, including; Predictive Index, DiSC, Dale Carnegie, Franklin Covey, Meyers-Briggs and a few others. She also has her BBA in Marketing, her MS in Organizational Leadership, and an MS in Psychology.
In addition to her work as a DEI Activist, Executive Strategist, Speaker and People Leader, she’s also the Creator, Executive Producer, and Host of Not the HR Lady. A show about 'All Things People, No BS.'
Tara spends her free time with her seven children, her NTHRL co-host & partner, her Mom and her Aunt. Their fun, multigenerational household of 11 enjoys traveling (pre-covid), dark hide and seek, going to the lake, making music together and cooking as a family.
Learn more about Tara and the show at www.notthehrlady.com

7 Questions with Tara Furiani

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader of a small or medium ente1. What have you found most challenging as a leader of a small or medium enterprise?
I've worked in the corporate space for so long that not having someone else's vision has been... weird. It seems like that would be the easiest, but no one gives you a roadmap for what you, yourself, are creating and you wouldn't want them to.

2. How did you become a leader of an SME? Can you please briefly tell the story?

I've been a Chief People Officer for an international organization across the US for the last 12 years and in the business of 'People' for 20. Covid certainly propelled my entry, as I was now without a job. But, relying on my vast network, I was quickly able to build a scalable and credible reputation filled with expertise and a quick wit.
Not the HR Lady has gone from a show, to a company to a movement and I'm excited to lead the new era of 'People' and help companies realize how much they're missing out by not investing in their people strategy similarly to that of their customer one.
Working with like minded professionals and finding so many who want to discuss 'All Things People, No BS' has been refreshing and turned the stress of a startup to enjoying something that's really meaningful.
That was unexpected... the feelings.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

I stopped structuring my days, long ago. You just have to ebb and flow, especially during covid. I'm a mom, with 5 kids in virtual school from grades Kindergarten through 10th and too much structure, just doesn't work.
I generally wake up early and read the news. I get up and dress, I cook breakfast and spend a little time with the awake kids. We usually start school on the computer at 10:30 and they're independent until 12:30 or so with help from Grandma and Auntie.
During this time, I catch up on all my administrative stuff... emails, updates, daily post, etc...
I cook lunch and have active school fun with the kids from usually around 12:30 until 2:30. We may play music, sing & dance... we sometimes go on an adventure... we go to the park or the beach. Typically we're doing some kind of learning as well... art, music, PE, etc…
When we get back, I write, am on shows, do some videos of my own and work until around 7pm, when I'll stop for dinner and family time. We typically film late, so after 9pm and we only do this one night a week.
This isn't every single day, some days I work straight through... I'm lucky to have some help and kids who can mostly read.
I'm always thinking about my day and new ideas, though and I find inspiration in the strangest of places.
I find this time to be weird, but out of all of it, it's taught me how I work best and what I need.

4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?

That leadership is merely a mindset. Anyone can be a leader, if they want to be. And, in leaders there's good and bad reasons to want it. We aren't all things all the time... so do the reasons we want to lead crossover into "bad"... maybe? But that's ok... it's human to want to be paid for your work, to make money and to see leadership as a track to that. It's incredibly logical and the kind of bad that everyone is guilty of.

5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?

I wrote a book, 'F*ck Your Office Snacks' and the process of writing it impacted my leadership style. I wanted to both be authentically me, as I am on the show, and appeal to a variety of readers, which I consider chameleon-ing a big part of my leadership style... That caused me to really take a hard look at each thing I wrote to ensure it was me, but it was me and best as I can be, for everyone.
I know that it's impossible to be all things to all people, though I try, I wanted this book to be a gut punch... because that's what it was for me. My takeaways, personally, could be more than the readers and I'm ok with that.

6. How do you build leadership capacity in an SME?

When you're building your leadership capacity you must seek others different than you. It's easy to rely on friends and hire folks who are familiar but they may not be the best for the business.
I always look for complementary partners. For example, Justin has incredible technical capacity for our audio and video and produces incredible shows quickly and with practically no expense. As our Chief Operating Officer, his technical savvy was a skill I don't have and didn't want to acquire. It's a complement to my vision. We're both artists, so we're similar in ways, but the strength of the bench with leaders who make everyone together, better... is just critical. Invest early and remember, it's OK not to hire a friend for that reason alone. It never works out well...

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader of an SME so far?

I get notes, emails, gifts and words of support and encouragement from professionals all over the world. Numerous people have called me their "sHero" and have told me what their voice has meant, to them... That's why I do this work. To affect change. Clearly, I'm doing that.
rprise?
I've worked in the corporate space for so long that not having someone else's vision has been... weird. It seems like that would be the easiest, but no one gives you a roadmap for what you, yourself, are creating and you wouldn't want them to.

2. How did you become a leader of an SME? Can you please briefly tell the story?

I've been a Chief People Officer for an international organization across the US for the last 12 years and in the business of 'People' for 20. Covid certainly propelled my entry, as I was now without a job. But, relying on my vast network, I was quickly able to build a scalable and credible reputation filled with expertise and a quick wit.
Not the HR Lady has gone from a show, to a company to a movement and I'm excited to lead the new era of 'People' and help companies realize how much they're missing out by not investing in their people strategy similarly to that of their customer one.
Working with like minded professionals and finding so many who want to discuss 'All Things People, No BS' has been refreshing and turned the stress of a startup to enjoying something that's really meaningful.
That was unexpected... the feelings.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

I stopped structuring my days, long ago. You just have to ebb and flow, especially during covid. I'm a mom, with 5 kids in virtual school from grades Kindergarten through 10th and too much structure, just doesn't work.
I generally wake up early and read the news. I get up and dress, I cook breakfast and spend a little time with the awake kids. We usually start school on the computer at 10:30 and they're independent until 12:30 or so with help from Grandma and Auntie.
During this time, I catch up on all my administrative stuff... emails, updates, daily post, etc...
I cook lunch and have active school fun with the kids from usually around 12:30 until 2:30. We may play music, sing & dance... we sometimes go on an adventure... we go to the park or the beach. Typically we're doing some kind of learning as well... art, music, PE, etc…
When we get back, I write, am on shows, do some videos of my own and work until around 7pm, when I'll stop for dinner and family time. We typically film late, so after 9pm and we only do this one night a week.
This isn't every single day, some days I work straight through... I'm lucky to have some help and kids who can mostly read.
I'm always thinking about my day and new ideas, though and I find inspiration in the strangest of places.
I find this time to be weird, but out of all of it, it's taught me how I work best and what I need.

4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?

That leadership is merely a mindset. Anyone can be a leader, if they want to be. And, in leaders there's good and bad reasons to want it. We aren't all things all the time... so do the reasons we want to lead crossover into "bad"... maybe? But that's ok... it's human to want to be paid for your work, to make money and to see leadership as a track to that. It's incredibly logical and the kind of bad that everyone is guilty of.

5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?

I wrote a book, 'F*ck Your Office Snacks' and the process of writing it impacted my leadership style. I wanted to both be authentically me, as I am on the show, and appeal to a variety of readers, which I consider chameleon-ing a big part of my leadership style... That caused me to really take a hard look at each thing I wrote to ensure it was me, but it was me and best as I can be, for everyone.
I know that it's impossible to be all things to all people, though I try, I wanted this book to be a gut punch... because that's what it was for me. My takeaways, personally, could be more than the readers and I'm ok with that.

6. How do you build leadership capacity in an SME?

When you're building your leadership capacity you must seek others different than you. It's easy to rely on friends and hire folks who are familiar but they may not be the best for the business.
I always look for complementary partners. For example, Justin has incredible technical capacity for our audio and video and produces incredible shows quickly and with practically no expense. As our Chief Operating Officer, his technical savvy was a skill I don't have and didn't want to acquire. It's a complement to my vision. We're both artists, so we're similar in ways, but the strength of the bench with leaders who make everyone together, better... is just critical. Invest early and remember, it's OK not to hire a friend for that reason alone. It never works out well...

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader of an SME so far?

I get notes, emails, gifts and words of support and encouragement from professionals all over the world. Numerous people have called me their "sHero" and have told me what their voice has meant, to them... That's why I do this work. To affect change. Clearly, I'm doing that.