Chief People Officer, Barry-Wehmiller
Why is Rhonda speaking at WorkHuman?
Rhonda Spencer has helped lead and maintain Barry-Wehmiller’s cultural transformation, which was featured in Simon Sinek’s best-selling book, “Leaders Eat Last.” She shares how a 100-year-old business with 100 locations that’s acquired 100 companies developed a world-renowned, people-first culture.
Rhonda Spencer believes she has the best job in the world. As Barry-Wehmiller’s chief people officer, Spencer has the privilege of leading a team of professionals whose central role is fostering the organization’s vision of measuring success by the way they touch the lives of people. To that end, Spencer’s team focuses on inspiring personal growth of the global organization’s almost 12,000 team members, cultivating leaders in all corners of the firm, and nurturing a dynamic people-centric culture within the company’s 13 operating companies.
Spencer began her journey with Barry-Wehmiller in 1991 as an engineer, but was quickly promoted to vice president of sales. In 1999, Barry-Wehmiller’s visionary CEO Bob Chapman tapped Spencer to create a team to help transform the traditional manufacturing firm’s culture. Under Spencer’s leadership, the organizational empowerment team initiated innovative continuous improvement and sales motivation programs as well as the organization’s successful leadership development institute, Barry-Wehmiller University. Spencer assumed the newly created leadership role of CPO in June 2014 as the organization merged culture and people development (traditionally known as HR) and organizational empowerment to harmonize cultural initiatives and fully engage the global talents of both teams.
In 2015, Barry-Wehmiller began sharing its leadership development and culture transformation know-how with other organizations through the BW Leadership Institute, which delivers customized training, events, assessments, and consulting services for organizations seeking to align culture and strategy. Barry-Wehmiller’s own transformation journey and the steps they took to get there are chronicled in the WSJ best-seller “Everybody Matters: The Extraordinary Power of Caring for Your People Like Family.”
About “Everybody Matters”:
Co-authors Bob Chapman and Raj Sisodia show how any organization can reject the traumatic consequences of rolling layoffs, dehumanizing rules, and hypercompetitive cultures. Once you stop treating people like functions or costs, disengaged workers begin to share their gifts and talents toward a shared future. Uninspired workers stop feeling that their jobs have no meaning. Frustrated workers stop taking their bad days out on their spouses and kids. And everyone stops counting the minutes until it’s time to go home.
This book chronicles Chapman’s journey to find his true calling, going behind the scenes as the Barry-Wehmiller team tackles real-world challenges with caring, empathy, and inspiration. It also provides clear steps to transform your own workplace, whether you lead two people or 200,000. While the Barry-Wehmiller way isn’t easy, it is simple.
As the authors put it:
“Everyone wants to do better. Trust them. Leaders are everywhere. Find them. People achieve good things, big and small, every day. Celebrate them. Some people wish things were different. Listen to them. Everybody matters. Show them.”