Meet Dawn Burke


Dawn Burke is an HR Leader, speaker and writer, specializing in new HR practices, engagement and workplace culture.  Her HR career has spanned the last 20 years, most recently serving as VP of People for Birmingham, Alabama’s award-winning technology company, Daxko. That’s right – the very DAXKO that our very own KD is an alum of, because there are only so many people in the big B’ham who are worthy of a VP of People title.

A true Generalist, she’s done a little bit of everything, but recruiting and training is where she gets her mojo. She’s based in the good ol’ blogging capitol of the south, Birmingham, Alabama, where you can frequently find her listening to the Beatles and REM, watching Breaking Bad reruns (and Snapped and Dateline), enjoying serious amounts of coffee (and cheese, but not together!), dreaming of where she will travel next, and wondering how in the world this theatre grad ever got into football or HR…Check out her blog at or talk to Dawn via emailLinkedIn, Instagram or Twitter

See Dawn’s riffs and rants on Fistful of Talent  here



1.  The elevator just closed and you’ve got 30 seconds to pitch the random reader on who you are and why they should read your rants.  Go..

My elevator​ partner, you’ll enjoy my rants because I am just like you: A hardworking HR everyman who fancies​ myself HR ​​”​rant-worthy” ​within the confines of her computer. And the confines of ​my work. ​And the confines of ​my ​hom​e. ​Again—just like you…

​Also, my rants online​ are much more palatable than my rants in real life. Real life rants​ are an acquired taste. Just ask my husband.

2.  Now for the mundane – break down your location, title, company/firm and what you do for a living.

I’m an HR Advisor, speaker and writer. After 20 years of hustling for corporate powers that be, I decided it was time to start hustling for myself.

​Currently enjoying the gig-economy, ​ I like to help teach HR pros new HR practices, how to say “yes” more, and I still love to connect great people to new job opportunities. I also sing​, and wish I could fit being a Starbucks barista into my schedule.

3.  One more question that everyone expects. What’s the reason you’re in this game? (why do you do what you do?)

It’s fun,​​ it’s hard,​ it’s diverse, it’s sticky at times​. There are unlimited work combinations/possibilities in the HR world which keeps me interested​.​ And ​if done right, HR ​can help change peoples​’​ ​lives. ​

Seriously, it really can. ​

4.  If you’ve ever been to a professional baseball game, you know batters from the home team get to pick their own theme music as they walk from the dugout to the plate.  If we ever have a FOT convention, what theme music will you come out to to pump the crowd up and why? 

Heroes – David Bowie.  Cool song.  Cool guitar.   HR could use some.

5.  Let’s stick with the baseball theme. If you’ve ever been to a pro game, you also know that the visitor doesn’t get to pick their own music.  The home team picks that for them, and it’s usually less than stellar as a means of attempting to crush them.  If you could pick theme music for your arch-rival to walk into a conference room to, what would it be and why?

American Idiot—Green Day



6.  Finish the following sentence – “When I’m interviewing, I can tell within one minute that this thing isn’t going to work out because _________…”

  • I realize I have just called into a mental institution (really that has happened to me)
  • They have taken our scheduled phone interview at the checkout of Target
  • I listen to a 10 minute voicemail message that includes a wide spectrum of musical montages ranging from Method Man to the Original Broadway Cast of Les Miserables.  (I mean I love music…but come on)    

7.  Name the actor/actress that will portray you in the movie about you. Why the heck is that a fit?

Tina Fey or Lauren Graham (Gilmore Girls, Parenthood).  I love Lauren Graham and want to be her (or at least the character Lorelei on Gilmore Girls). 

8. List three of your favorite books to pander to the educated segment of our readership…

 • I’m a Hemingway Fan (I like A Farewell to Arms and Old Man and the Sea)
• She’s Come Undone—Wally Lamb
• Just finished Room and The Help—both excellent.
• Business books typically suck.  But I do like anything by Seth Godin and Malcolm Gladwell.

9.  List three of your favorite movies to connect with the segment of our readership that doesn’t like to read…

Can’t stop at three:

  • Godfather

  • The Color Purple

  • West Side Story

  • The Dear Hunter

10.  Let’s reach out to what remains of our readership. Who’s your favorite Old-School Rapper and why?

Wow—I’d have to say Beastie Boys: “Sabotage”

10.5.  My first car was a…  and here’s how it defined who I am….

FORD LTD baby.  Light Blue, hand-me-down.  I didn’t have a cassette player in the car so in my front seat I carried a boombox.  Yes it was still called a boombox then. There were always a ton of cassettes and D batteries all over the floorboard to keep the thing playing.


See Dawn’s riffs and rants on Fistful of Talent  here…