Susan McGarry Basso, recently appointed senior vice president for talent, culture and human resources, began her role at Ohio State on Tuesday, September 5. Off to a fast start, Susan is actively engaging with university leaders, governance groups and the broad HR community as part of a robust onboarding plan. She is also an executive sponsor of the Enterprise Project.
Susan hosted HR community forums attended by more than 400 staff in person and online on Thursday, September 28, at the Ohio Union and Tuesday, October 10, at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center. In each forum, Susan shared an overview of her background, extensive HR expertise and leadership principles, all of which guide her approach as an HR professional.
Susan summarized her leadership philosophy as an HR professional. “I am truly passionate about my work,” Susan said. “I strive to be a leader who instills confidence by creating a clear vision and culture that is accountable, transparent and promotes growth. I will always do my level best to role model honesty, integrity and empathy for others.”
The new HR senior leader attributes everything she has learned in life about leadership to her role model and coach, her mother. She also credits her parents for instilling strong values that have contributed to her leadership style.
During the forum, she shared the following personal motivators for how she plans to lead the HR community at Ohio State: integrity, accountability, transparency, embracing change and courage.
Addressing the Ohio State’s strategic plan Time and Change along with the development of HR’s own strategic plan, Susan spoke to how the two plans will directly connect. Specifically, she pointed to the foundational role HR plays in the success of the university plan’s pillar of Access, Affordability and Excellence.
“We have to be responsible stewards of our resources. When HR is more efficient and effective it ensures our students can have a better experience, which translates to lower debt for them upon graduation,” she said.
Susan also shared what she considers the primary HR challenges and opportunities currently facing HR professionals in higher education nationally. These include: workforce demographics and a shrinking talent pipeline; rising health care costs; tremendous amount of change in state and federal legislation; the overall future of work, including the ability to be more agile in talent management; and the role of HR in organizational culture.
While the HR strategic plan is soon to be collaboratively developed, Susan indicated the focus is to outline 3-5 strategic imperatives that align closely with the university strategic plan.
Before opening the floor for questions, Susan concluded her remarks, saying, “I like to work hard, have fun and make a difference.”