Top 10 HR Pros For Deserted Island Stranded-Ness

Light and fun post today. Isn’t that what you want before a holiday break?

No one ever puts me on their HR-PEOPLE-WHO-ROCK-LIST. Bump you guys! I am making my own ridiculous HR list! And I am putting myself on it! Why? Because I can.

But my list is for realsies important, unlike your dumb popularity lists. Why? Because this is life or death. This is about surviving! And I’m not talking about surviving an open enrollment.

I’m talking about hunting, gathering, and making fires.


To set the scene, we are all going to a #TRU conference in London. Bill Boorman invited us, and he paid for a private jet to fly all ten of us across the pond. Unfortunately, Mr. Boorman booked us a low budget private jet, and the low budget private jet crashed.

Don’t worry, we all survived the crash.

Except for the pilot.

He was killed.

I am killing him off because he doesn’t fit on this Top 10 list (if anyone knows of an HR pilot, I will add an eleventh person to keep the pilot alive).


1. Meredith Soleau

I hate to camp. And I don’t like bugs. Or dirt. Or what saltwater does to my hair.

However, I wear high heels every single day. So when it’s time for someone to go out there and spear fish? I’m your girl! Also? I totally saved my Adderall during the crash. So I am hyper focused on spearing as many fish as possible. My ADD will not be a problem (for at least the first 30 days).

I can also French braid everyone’s hair. So not only are we going to eat fish, but we’ll be eating fish without our hair in our faces. Which? Is a big deal.

2. John Jorgensen

Did you know John Jorgensen can filet a fish? Yeah. That’s super important if you don’t want to be eating fish bones and fish eyeballs. John happened to bring a pocketknife on the plane, so this totally works out for us.

John can also smoke ribs. This particular deserted island is full of wild boar. John is a former Boy Scout, and he knows how to make pig traps. I think.

John is the new Head Chef. He fillets all the fish I spear, and he smokes all the wild boar.


3. Steve Browne

Yes, I realize the first three people are from the Midwest. But we know how to survive, people. We are corn-fed.

I am putting Steve Browne on the island because he is a Scoutmaster. Jorgensen was a mere Boy Scout. So while I imagine he can make a pig trap, Steve Browne is the dude who taught him how to make a pig trap.

We need some shelter. I am thinking Steve Browne can make some sort of fancy accommodation out of tree bark and giant palm tree leaves.

survive nature
image credit:

Steve is also in charge of fire. We need to smoke our pigs and keep warm by our shelter. The fish we eat raw (everyone likes fresh sushi). So Steve, start banging those rocks together. We’re going straight up caveman style.

4. Dwane Lay

Jorgensen told me Dwane can make beer.

Congrats, Dwane. You weren’t killed off in the plane crash.


5. Steve Gifford

Steve was in the US Army. And he went on two Iraqi tours. Thank you, Steve.

Steve, we need you to run security. I get really scared of the dark. I need someone tough with me to be the night watchman.

You know what boot camp looks like. I do not. Some of us (okay, just me) could use a little strength training to survive the elements.

I’m sure at some point in time we will need to establish some sort of order, and I’ll bet you’re handy with a weapon (after all, you’ve had world class training).

Security. Personal Trainer. Establish order. Weapons.

6. Michael VanDervort

We need a hostage negotiator. Mike, you’re an awesome union negotiator. This will have to do.

Let’s just say there happens to be some local people living on the other side of the island, growing marijuana. Hypothetically, I find the marijuana, and scream about it, and then they catch me and take me hostage…

I need you to negotiate.

(Yes, this is oddly like a scenario from The Beach. I know. But this movie, and that Tom Hanks movie, and Gilligan’s Island, are about the only things I know about surviving on a deserted island.)

7. William Tincup

Tincup told me he can play the trumpet like Satchmo.

Tincup, you get to survive the plane crash because we need campfire entertainment. I sort of wanted to kill you off because you always make lists, but I’m too busy spearing fish with high heels to find someone else who can play an instrument.

And I feel like you know all the words to rap songs, and learning words to rap songs seems like a fun way to pass the time on the island.

8. Tim Sackett

I need someone to be the island sounding board. And no one does this better than you, Tim Sackett.

I once called Tim and told him I was going to friendship-attack Laurie Ruettiman (because I didn’t think she liked me, and everyone likes me, so this didn’t make any sense, because we both have good hair), and Tim made us become friends.

We need Tim on the island.

He’s the peacemaker. And he allows us all to complain to him about each other.

9. Ryan Estis

Okay, we might need to expand our island community. Ryan, you get to be on the island because I feel you have excellent DNA, and there might come a time where I need to make some more island population FOR THE SAKE OF THE ISLAND.

I know we’ve never actually met, and I have only stared at you from across the room with my mouth agape, but I think this could work.


I also hear that you have a very pretty girlfriend… but guess what, Ryan… she didn’t come on this trip with you! So it’s just me, you, and the beach.

I’m married, Ryan! Stop hitting on me!


10. Matt Stollack

Because every deserted island needs The Professor.

the professorimage courtesy of

So that’s it, suckers!

Sorry if you didn’t make my totally awesome list. I hope you don’t feel sad or crappy about yourselves, since yet another list came out, and you weren’t on it! Because guess who did make this list? ME! I was number ONE!

Did anyone else notice that I just stranded myself on an island with 9 dudes? Yeah, let’s not talk about that.

Who would you put on your HR survival island list? Let’s talk in the comments.

FOT Background Check

Meredith Soleau
Meredith Soleau was supposed to be a famous country singer, but her parents made her go to college and major in something “real.” She graduated with a B.S. in Business from the University of Toledo, and landed a gig as a Human Resources Director at a large car dealership in Ohio. After eight years of HR at a car dealership, she burned out, decided to sell cars herself, and has since launched her agency, where she specializes in finding blue-collar workers. Clearly she has plenty of stories. But the best stories are probably about Meredith, herself. Read them on her personal blog,, where she holds nothing back. Follow Meredith on Twitter. Become her friend on Facebook. Connect with her on LinkedIn.


  1. Steve Gifford

    I have the conch!

  2. This is complete bullshit! You know you want me on that island, I am easily a top 5 pick. Please tell me I did not make the list because I am not a “practitioner.”

  3. Mary Wright says:

    Meredith, the “list season” is not over.

  4. William Tincup

    BTW, I’m an agent of The Dharma Initiative…

    And, I can tie knots… like, really fucking complicated knots…

    Just FYI.

  5. Will Staney says:

    Thanks for the giggle. That was a highly entertaining post. Also, on your next stranded island experience, if you need more campfire entertainment, I play a mean guitar and sing. Tincup and I could be the “Island Band”. LOL!

  6. Meredith:
    Interesting choices. You and nothing but men. Well played.

  7. Dwane Lay says:

    Hold up, hold up, Meredith. While I’m uber-appreciative of being included in your list, before you go looking to wack a few survivors, I’d like to strengthen my case for remaining with you.

    1) I can make beer. And it’s pretty good. Just kegged up a new ginger blonde ale for the 4th.

    2) I can make simple wines under the right circumstances, which I assume will be present. Because sometimes you need to class it up a little for the wild boar bbq. We needn’t be savages about this.

    3) I can mix a passable martini. Passable meaning with gin and very little vermouth. And extra olives.

    I also have non-potable skills to offer:

    4) I know between 1-3 decent cards tricks at any given moment.

    5) I know upwards of 10 jokes. 1-3 will, at any given moment, be either funny or appropriate. Probably not both at once.

    6) I have mad food prep skills, and would make a fine sous chef. And as Joe can attest, I make a mean frittata.

    7) While I am not terribly bright, I can lift heavy things.

    8) I can handle percussion for the island band. Also, roadie. (See #7.)

    9) I have written a book, and travel with several copies. They will be useful for starting fires.

    10) Ryan Estis is likely to be a little concerned about MY unhealthy obsession with him. This may make you look even better in comparison.

    There are more as well. I am willing to send you a survivor CV if needed.

  8. Tim Sackett says:

    I can’t wait for the Island’s annual performance review sessions with Mer and I!

    Forced Ranking at it’s best!

  9. Totally fun post! Love it all….except, you’re the only woman. Maybe by design and if so, I totally get it. After all, you do have Ryan on the island.

    I could be beneficial though because a) you need someone to commiserate with when you need to bitch about the men and I’m good for “girl talk”, b) we could totally have pillow fights…ok, not really because we won’t have pillows BUT…..c) I KNOW Ryan and can totally ensure that he hangs with us an not Dwane. Sorry Dwane. You’re just not “Ryan Estis pretty”. xoxo Pick me! I’m your chick! LOL

    thanks for a great read Meredith!!

  10. Kristina says:

    This is so funny. And for the sake of a desire to be on a list how about we say I can fly a plane? LOL And you clearly need to even out the population some. 9 dudes?

  11. Katrina Plourde says:

    Super great job on this. I love it. I wonder if Ryan will read this before he visits us at OHSHRM13?

    Thanks for always sharing your humor with us.

  12. Stoutcat says:

    Well, if you don’t invite China Gorman, y’all really aren’t going to have nearly as much fun as you woukd otherwise. Just sayin’.

  13. Loved this post. All the guys are cute. Reason enough to be stranded on an island with them. I’ll make the s’mores. Nuff said.

  14. Vidal F. says:

    Loved the post – How fun! Now serious stuff … where am I on the list?

    I can cook like a French chef – without the “Frenchie” personality…
    I can make wine …good wine (a new batch is out next week);
    I can speak many languages and pretend I can speak thousands more – this can come handy with the natives;
    I’m a savvy world-traveler so perhaps I can creatively find us a way out since I have escaped from many borders before (if we want to leave),
    and I’m by all means a hell of a funny guy … believe me, I can make you laugh you’re a** off every night.

    In addition, I understand FOT is EEO compliant so you need a Latino representation on the island.

    BTW – I just showed my Mom Ryan’s picture and she says I’m way cuter and I can make twins so population will grow faster ..

  15. karen mattonen says:

    well done, truly enjoyed this

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