The role of HR managers grew in prominence during the COVID-19 pandemic as they were relied on to oversee return to office plans as well as health and safety protocols. Companies also turned to their HR staff to help them confront the mental health challenges that increasingly emerged during the pandemic and to devise ways to help workers struggling with these issues.
Jolen Anderson worked for years as an attorney at a law firm and inhouse at Visa before she became the company’s first chief diversity officer. She currently is the global head of HR at BNY Mellon and calls herself “an attorney by training and HR professional by passion.”
“When you’re an attorney, by the time something gets to your desk, it has to be fixed,” Anderson says. “I found over time, the advice that I was giving started to lean out of strictly being legal advice. At the same time, I had a passion around DEI, and I was sort of leading the charge for the firm within my space, so I was doing people-esque things.”