“Whit” is an HR Business Strategist and lover of all things Merger Integration-ish: When companies struggle with the pain involved with significant change, he’s on the short list. A Texan, he tends to amuse us (okay, he amuses himself) with colloquialisms and a cowboy’s view on our industry. John honed his HR chops at Alcon Laboratories and CVS Caremark before starting HR Hardball™ as a therapeutic outlet for his consulting philosophies. Currently, he’s driving new client groups crazy at Genentech as they collaborate on building talent pipelines for today and tomorrow. You can email Whit, find him on LinkedIn, or read more of his brain-droppings at www.HRhardball.com
10.5 QUESTIONS WITH JOHN WHITAKER
1. The elevator just closed and you’ve got 30 seconds to pitch the random reader on whom you are and why they should read your rants. Go.
I don’t think you should read my rants, it’s way too much for you to handle, now go quietly and never ask me again… (You see, I have kids, so my only game is reverse-psychology.)
2. Now for the mundane – break down your location, title, company/firm and what you do for a living.
Senior Staffing Consultant, Genentech Inc. I’m working closely with US Medical Affairs, Clinical Op’s, and Product Development as they build and expand their teams – not only do I love my gig, but I’m working with people who actually contribute to the fight against cancer. If I can play even a small part in that battle, count me in.
3. One more question that everyone expects. What’s the reason you’re in this game? (Why do you do what you do?)
Early on, after muddling results in outside sales, I fell into an Operations role for a start-up company—I found I’m well suited as a guy with a toe in many pools. I like to think of myself as a corporate mechanic, striving to make that engine run smoother.
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 pump the crowd up and why?
“If you’ve ever been to a professional baseball game…”??????? What is this, Russia? Of course I’ve been to a professional baseball game. I hate this question because I’ll change my mind 10 seconds later, but let’s go with “Jet Boy” by the New York Dolls – that’s right, Bowery Punk at it’s finest, Johnny Thunders crushing it with an all-time riff.
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 his or her 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 archrival to walk into a conference room to, what would it be and why?
Anything by Taylor Swift would suffice; it’s guaranteed to suck the very soul out of my archrival and anyone else in the conference room.
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 _________…”
They’re an over-blinker.
7. Name the actor/actress who will portray you in the movie about you. Why the heck is that a fit?
KD stole Bateman, so I’ll go with Robert Downey, Jr. Funny to the point of not knowing when to shut the hell up, perfectly cast.
8. List three of your favorite books to pander to the educated segment of our readership…
- Man in Full – Tom Wolfe
- Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain
- Moneyball – Michael Lewis
- The Big Lebowski
- Pulp Fiction
10. Let’s reach out to what remains of our readership. Who’s your favorite Old-School Rapper and why?
Johnny Cash, the Original Gangster; nobody tells a story like Johnny.
10.5. My first car was a <blank> and here’s how it defined who I am….
My first car was a light blue heavily used ’78 Chevy Caprice Classic…hmmm, defined who I am? American-made with a big motor, you can beat the hell out of it but it’s got another 100,000 miles, easy.