Emergenetics International is honored to have Sarah King as our keynote speaker for the 2017 Brain Summit in Vancouver, Canada! Sarah serves as Chief Human Resources Officer for Darden Restaurants where she leads the execution of Darden’s people strategy building organizational capability and employee culture to further enable Darden’s growth.
Prior to joining Darden, Sarah spent 19 years with Wyndham Worldwide Corporation where she worked closely with operators and executive leaders to execute successful people initiatives around the world. A native of New Zealand, Sarah studied communications at the Auckland University of Technology.
Let’s get to know Sarah better in advance of the 2017 Emergenetics Brain Summit.
Q. Tell me a bit about your role and how you are introducing Emergenetics to Darden Restaurants.
A. I am the Chief HR Officer for Darden Restaurants, supporting the success of our eight restaurant brands through ensuring the execution of our People Strategy. I am introducing Emergenetics to Darden through my HR Leadership Team, which consists of my direct reports at the Restaurant Support Center and the HR leaders from all eight brands.
Q. This year’s Brain Summit theme is ‘Emergineering the Future’. What does that mean to you?
A. Part of the role of a C-Suite leader is to constantly scan the external landscape and understand the impact of the macro environment and marketplace dynamics on our business. In our current operating environment, organizations must be agile and know how to get ahead of the next wave of change, especially in the fast-paced technology-driven world in which we now live and operate in. This requires rethinking how work gets done, how we must lead in a multi-generational workplace, and how we build skills and capabilities for the future.
Q. Can you share a memorable Emergenetics-inspired experience you’ve had?
A. It is not really one experience, it is a combination of many experiences that have taught me how to communicate more effectively with my bosses and/or peers when trying to sell an idea. As a strong “yellow” profile, with third-third expressive and third-third assertive, I had previously launched in with my vision for change and become frustrated when others would not get there quickly enough and ask so many questions that made me feel like my ideas were not welcomed. Since better understanding more about others’ styles that are different from mine, I now appreciate that there is a need to present information differently in order to meet them where they are in their approach to change and provide a comfort level with what I am trying to achieve through more data and facts.
Q. How have you used Emergenetics to shape teams or projects you’ve worked on?
A. I have on several occasions put together project teams that are diverse in their Emergenetics profiles so that we can create balance and drive effectiveness through divergent styles, perspectives, and thought patterns. One of the largest projects this was used for was a corporate HQ relocation project. Taking everyone’s different perspectives into consideration really helped this mammoth exercise be more successful than if we had only used a traditional project team.
Q. Do you have a leadership motto or philosophy?
A. Progress not perfection! Leaders need to show that they do not always have all the answers, but that they are constantly mobilizing their teams to get better every day. This is critical to the growth and development of individuals, teams and organizations. Complacency is very dangerous in business.
Q. How do you like to spend your free time?
A. Traveling! Whether it is a weekend at the beach or exploring far away countries, I am always re-energized by getting out of my environment and experiencing new surroundings. Travel is the best education there is.
Q. What’s a ‘must do’ on your bucket list?
A. I have checked off so many already – I never felt I should wait to do bucket list type activities. However, I am very afraid of heights and flying, yet I would love to skydive one day. Maybe when I am 80…
Q. What can attendees expect from your keynote presentation at this year’s Brain Summit?
A. Attendees can expect an authentic insight into how Emergenetics can help support cultural change and organizational effectiveness. I hope to share both my personal growth experiences as a leader and my observations on how Emergenetics can help organizations develop a common approach and language that improves collaboration and communication.