Friday, December 27, 2013

HR Profiles

Naomi Bloom

Title                      :          Managing Partner, Bloom & Wallace
Education              :          Boston University, MBA Financial Systems
Years in HR          :          46 Years
HR Contribution   :      Most of the work I’ve done is taken for granted now. There’s a lot of people  working today in wonderful HR tech career roles who don’t know that my   fingerprints are all over this wonderful industry.
Perhaps one of the most well-known figures in HR technology, Naomi Bloom has been called the matriarch of HR tech–and the name is fitting. She’s been in the business for over 40 years, and in her own words, she’s seen it all.
As Bloom says, she got in on “the absolute ground floor when the big banks and insurance agencies were automating their business processes for the first time,” when she took a job as a programmer trainee at John Hancock in the late 1960s.  She was also completing her MBA from Boston University at night. “I kept finding myself at the intersection of what the technology of the day could do—which wasn’t much—and what was then called personnel,” Bloom recalls.
It was at this intersection of human resources and technology that Bloom launched her career, and helped build the foundation of a new and growing field. Early on, she realized that “everything that matters about a company is the people,” and applied to that a philosophy she had learned growing up: tikkun olam, a Hebrew phrase for “fix the world.” Armed with these insights, she set out to improve how companies use their number one resource—their people. According to Bloom, “Improving HR is how you fix companies. And technology is how you fix HR.”
So she helped fix HR technology. After working in a systems consulting firm, leading their human resource management (HRM) consulting practices, for almost ten years, Bloom branched out on her own.  In 1987, she launched her own consulting firm—Bloom & Wallace—where she’s built the only vendor-neutral HRM domain model and HR software architecture “starter kits” to be licensed across the industry, which are considered a primary contributor to many of today's HR best practices.
After a quarter-century running her own firm, Bloom announced on August 5th that she would be winding down her consulting practice. But she’s left quite a legacy for posterity. As she said in our interview, “My proudest accomplishment is that most of the work I’ve done is taken for granted now. There’s a lot of people working today in wonderful HR technology career roles who don’t know that my fingerprints are all over this wonderful industry."
For all her experience, Bloom acknowledges that a great career can come at a cost. As she says, “Don’t expect to have it all. Nobody gets it all. And the sooner you figure out what you really want, what really matters, the better the chance you’re going to get it.”
The Secret to Success
Each of these women has gotten to where they are today through hard work—there’s no denying that. But when I asked each of them why they believed they were successful, the answer was unanimous: specializing in something you care passionately about, and embarking on a never-ending quest to keep learning.

Bloom recommends thinking of your career—and your life—as a three-legged stool. The first leg is the accident of your birth. The second leg is the good fortune of your life. And the third leg is your hard work: the effort you put into developing yourself. “When you think about your life as sitting on a three legged stool, over two legs of which you have no control over, you better put your energy into that third leg,” she says. “You better really control what you can, make the extra effort.”