After 25 years away from Nebraska, Wendy Livingston returned to her home state, joining Spreetail in June 2022 as the company’s Chief People Officer. In the new role, she leads strategy for the People & Culture division, which includes Talent Development, Talent Acquisition and Brand, Strategic Business Partners, Total Rewards, and People Operations teams. As the Chief People Officer, Wendy will build the best team and culture for Spreetail’s success.
"We are excited to have Wendy joining the team as our new Chief People Officer. Wendy's experience in building and scaling people strategies of Fortune 500 companies will help us as we expand our global footprint and scale our talent strategy,” said Brett Thome, Global Chief Executive Officer of Spreetail.
Wendy comes to Spreetail from Harsco Corporation, a publicly traded global industrial company based in Pennsylvania. Wendy served as the CHRO (Chief Human Resources Officer) and was responsible for the global people strategy for the company and its 13,000 employees located in more than 30 countries. Wendy also brings 24 years of experience at The Boeing Company, where she served as the Vice President of Corporate Human Resources.
After starting at Spreetail, we spent time with Wendy to learn more about how her experience has prepared her for this role and what excites her about joining the ecommerce industry.
What attracted you to working at Spreetail?
Spreetail has turned their vision into a viable, growing, and profitable business thus far and I’m excited for the plans of continued growth and global expansion. Also, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to return to my roots and work for an exciting company with a presence in Nebraska.
What surprised you the most after starting at Spreetail?
How large the business operation already is. The time I spent onboarding in the fulfillment centers made it real how expansive and impressive the business base is currently.
What are your immediate priorities at Spreetail?
Learn the business – my first priority is to understand as much about the business and the people as possible, which is incredibly important to leading the People & Culture (P&C) division.
My remaining priorities will be to work with P&C to ensure we have plans and actions in place to aid in the continued growth and expansion of Spreetail.
What are your dreams and aspirations to build at Spreetail?
It will be a highlight of my career to build a world-class P&C function that helps Spreetail compete and win on a global scale.
Spreetail attracts and hires ambitious people who want to grow, how do you see yourself personally growing here?
Maturing the P&C function and building new capabilities in the growing ecommerce space is hugely developmental to me, both personally and professionally. In this industry, there are entirely new skills sets I can acquire and hone.
What did you learn developing a global people strategy for employees located in more than 30 countries that you’ll apply to Spreetail’s growing workforce?
The more countries we’re in, the easier it can become to convince ourselves that every location needs its own solutions, processes, procedures, tools, etc. The reality is workforce needs around the globe are very similar and can be met with solutions that are more common than not. Rather than spend a lot of time and resources developing new solutions from scratch, it’s better to start with a common approach and then adjust in the areas where there truly is a difference. That approach will help us move much more quickly and ensure we’re creating the best and most consistent employee experience for all Spreetailers, regardless of where they’re working.
What specific experiences from your 20+ year career at The Boeing Company will help you achieve success at Spreetail and in the ecommerce industry?
First, be clear about the problem we’re trying to solve and why and then define the requirements before launching into solutions. It’s important to have that clarity so we don’t get distracted - whether we’re working with the business to build a workforce forecast or talent acquisition strategy, building learning and development based on needs, or total rewards packages that are competitive. I learned at Boeing that losing sight of what’s happening inside, becoming too eager to please, or say “yes” to everything can create a danger to the culture and the business.
Next, know the business and how it makes money, the business risks and opportunities, and what the business and functional terms mean. The human resources of a company is the most valuable and expensive asset.
Do you have any advice for aspiring women leaders?
Spend time with leaders, mentors, and managers learning the business inside and out and never hesitate to ask questions or take the assignment that no one else will say “yes” to. Use real time with leaders you trust and admire to extract as much business intelligence as possible.