When you are an artist, it’s easy to get caught up in the idea of inspiration. You see something and think, “That’s what I want to do.” But sometimes, that doesn’t work out.
Sometimes you just have to get started and see where it takes you, and it just takes a while for inspiration to strike.
You may find yourself in a creative rut and not know what to do with yourself. But then, suddenly, a new idea hits you. You want to try something unique, something that feels extraordinary and exciting!
Maybe it’s a sudden urge to draw or paint, or maybe it’s curiosity about how your favorite artists do things.
Maybe it’s just that you’ve been thinking about this idea for so long now that it feels like a homecoming—like returning after years of absence. Whatever the case may be, when you have an idea that feels right for you, and you follow through with it!
And that’s what Kimberly did.
Meet Kimberly Carroll, a managing principal at IA and an ardent mentor who embraced her deep curiosity rather than waiting for inspiration to strike. By leveraging her experience to compel HR leaders to genuinely transform their organizations, Kimberly has changed the lives of thousands of people.
Kimberly has spent her career educating herself and others in problem-solving, from difficult maths equations to complex organizational issues. She has been in the HR field for more than 20 years, pioneering and developing innovative solutions to the everyday challenges of the workplace.
Her strategic vision and solutions have been the driving force behind the major transformations of countless organizations.
Kimberly loves change and encourages others to take calculated risks and leverage the power of change. Her advice to future HR professionals? “Never be afraid to challenge the status quo. Have the courage to think differently, and you can make a real difference in the world.”
Continuing her commitment to inspiring others to reach their potential, Kimberly has become a budding motivational speaker and has been invited to deliver keynote speeches at conferences and podcasts. Whether she is discussing the empowering nature of curiosity, the importance of challenging the status quo, or the power of positive change, Kimberly has a unique ability to captivate and energize audiences with her passion and enthusiasm. She is a pioneer in the HR industry and a role model for aspiring professionals. With her leadership, guidance, and mentorship, Kimberly is helping to create a brighter future for HR professionals everywhere.
She is an unstoppable force of innovation and creativity, leading the way and inspiring others to do the same.
Kimberly showed us that the spirit of exploration can lead to remarkable discoveries and that if we’re curious, the world can serve up a whole host of surprises!
Let’s take a look at her incredible journey:
Kimberly, please brief us about yourself and your professional journey so far. What was your inspiration to step into the human resources industry?
I didn’t start in HR; my path there was a bit of a winding road. I started my career as a maths teacher, then moved into accounting and finance, then into HR and payroll outsourcing implementation, then global product management and development for HCM technology, then to HR and payroll shared services, and I am now co-leading an HR transformation advisory firm. What inspired me to get into HR—this is a difficult question because it wasn’t inspiration; it was a curiosity into the world of HR and PR outsourcing, and from there, I realized that HR tended to be one of the most inefficient organizations—not because they wanted to be, but because decisions are made without them but then they have to execute on them. I do find that most HR professionals are not experts in the process design area; they typically will rely on the HRIS or IT teams to tell them what the system can do, which I completely disagree with. Technology should enable the business process rather than dictate what it should be.
Tell us about IA, including its mission and vision. What is your role in its development and global outreach?
IA is an HR Transformation consulting firm known as “The anti-consulting consulting firm”—here’s why. We truly want to guide and teach our clients how to do what we do so that we can go away (of course, we always stay connected to them because they can call us at any time for guidance). We believe in the power of the relationship—getting to know our clients and what they are trying to accomplish, providing a roadmap and execution plan for delivery, and letting them fly. I co-lead the organization as a managing principal and have been very instrumental in where we are today and how we engage with our clients. We constantly transform ourselves to fit the needs of the global HR market (and, if I am being honest, we lead in this space because of our approach). Globally, our clients struggle with the same issues as if it were a single country—it is just the scale that can cause some complexities. Our challenge to our clients is to think differently.
Please enlighten us about your approach and strategies while assisting small and midsize businesses in achieving their proactive goals.
Our approach, while not revolutionary, is focused on the relationship. Our first goal is to build trust through a current state assessment, truly understanding the challenges that our client is trying to solve. We have found that sometimes they are trying to solve the wrong problems. Once we identify how things are being done today and what the pain points are, we provide our readout to inform all stakeholders—at this point, typically, there is no surprise. We then move into developing our recommendations for change, which can come in the form of newly designed processes (process optimization is our most sought-after service), an HR strategic roadmap of initiatives and projects, HR operating model changes, or the selection of new HR technologies to enable the recommendations. Though I am saying “or” with all, there can also be an “and.” There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to transformation—that is why we emphasize the need to “Get to know yourselves” during the current state assessment.
Please highlight IA and its specialties. What services enable you to open doors for opportunities?
See the answer above for more information on our approach and strategies. One additional item here is that we open doors for leadership across the entire organization to understand the value of HR in this new way of thinking—not just as order takers but as strategic partners to help the organization get to its goals and embrace the function as talent-focused rather than transaction-focused.
According to you, what sets your company apart from other human resources companies?
Well, we are not an HR company; we are an HR Transformation Advisory firm that helps companies rethink the value of HR and develop strategies to improve their function. What sets us apart is that we can engage with clients with an unbiased view of how things are working today—and guide them to get to a better place in the future.
How is IA utilizing technological advances to enhance its services?
We are a completely remote workforce and use cloud-based technologies to engage with our clients for project/program management, process mapping, current and future state processes, and data visualization tools for reporting. We are not a reseller of these technologies but do provide access to our clients during our engagements to enhance our collaboration and efficiency.
Tell us about the challenges you have faced and how they have shaped you as an influential female leader in this niche.
This is an interesting question for me. I don’t think of challenges within my career; I think of everything as a learning opportunity. Sure, I have had setbacks, but nothing has ever held me back from my overarching goals of teaching, guiding, building relationships, and changing the mindsets within HR. One setback in my early career was that I felt as a woman, I had to be overly aggressive, but I learned quickly that it wasn’t about aggressiveness but actively listening before reacting. That has saved me not only as a consultant but as a leader. Once I changed that, my career went flying. It seems simple, but I can tell you it is a lost art. I also know that influencing others can be difficult; change is hard, but if you use those active listening skills, you can hear the subtle differences and be able to course-correct your messages to gain trust and confidence in the direction you are going. There is a reality to all this, and as a leader, you have to know that not everyone will get on board, which has to be okay.
As an experienced leader, what is your advice to aspiring enthusiasts and entrepreneurs wishing to enter a similar sector?
Understand your passion – I know that not everyone believes that passion is important, but I do. You need to love what you are doing, and to get into HR; you have to have a passion for growing a business and the talent within that business. Also, know that you do not know everything – surround yourself with talented individuals that want to go in the same direction but provide different experiences and challenge the status quo. I also believe in being your authentic self – as a consultant, there is always a perception that you have to be everything to everyone and that it is about saying yes. Well, I don’t think that is at all accurate. Being able to tell a client that they are not going down the right path is hard, but it is necessary if you want to inspire change – being your authentic self in those situations is key to success, in my opinion.
Where do you envision yourself in the future, and how do you see your company in the upcoming years?
Considering I have a tremendous amount of passion and love for what IA does as a company within the HR transformation space, what I see for my future and the future of our company is to continually improve how we accomplish this and expand into other domains such as finance, IT, and operations. Our approach can be universally applied, no matter what the function is. I am extremely blessed to have found my place in the HR community as a transformation consultant who truly believes that IA can change HR and other functions one company at a time.