Spotlight: Growth mindset guides Charles Aris H.R. leader Myron Pearman
by Joe Metts
Marketing Associate at Charles Aris Inc.
As an organization that thrives thanks to the strength of its people, Charles Aris Inc. is proud to highlight its outstanding team members. In our Spotlight series, we look into the lives, experiences and expertise of Charles Aris all-stars in an effort to share more about who we are individually and collectively.
Much of the foundation for any high-performing organization lies in the attraction and retention of top talent. Leaders in human resources are largely responsible for building and managing the systems through which organizations recruit, attract, hire, train, motivate and retain their best team members. The most effective H.R. professionals are dedicated to the craft of relationship management.
At Charles Aris Inc., the person most responsible for human resource management is Myron Pearman. A 26-year veteran of H.R. and customer service, Myron joined the executive search firm during the summer of 2016. From the start, he was presented with the opportunity to enhance the organization’s human capital efforts.
With five decades of processes in place to accommodate the firm’s team, senior Charles Aris leaders began to turn their vision of aggressive growth to 50 full-timers and beyond into reality. To help lead the way, Myron initially focused on a handful of critical elements in the organization.
“Right off the bat, I wanted to make sure that we had the right structure from the administrative team’s perspective,” he said. “I wanted to ensure that the team was crafted in a way that enabled them to have a larger impact on the organization and that was fulfilling for them on the career front.”
Myron and company first filled administrative roles with individuals who possess an array of valuable skills. The month of August 2016 introduced a trio of administrative all-stars to Charles Aris Inc. in the form of Becky Boxley (senior executive administrative assistant), Auguste Janovic (accounting and operations specialist) and Karen Parnell (administrative assistant).
“Filling those roles with professionals who have the talent to make a deeper impact across the organization was critical, given our growth mind-set,” said Brian Styers, the firm’s senior director of knowledge management. “It also propels deserving veterans into managerial roles as we increasingly look to promote from within.”
Charles Aris COO Allen Oakley helped pave the way in the months preceding Myron’s arrival, elevating company mainstays Karen Reinecke and Julie Vaughn – each of whom have been with the firm more than a decade – to accounting manager and office manager, respectively.
“Allen and Myron have done a fantastic job of initiating and managing change within the administrative team, handling that challenge effectively and putting a number of people in a position to succeed in support of others,” Brian added.
As a veteran and versatile office manager who also serves as the firm’s liaison with its I.T. services vendor, Julie understands and appreciates the value Myron has added in his first year at Charles Aris.
“Myron came into our organization during a critical transition period for our administrative team,” she said. “His experience and guidance have helped build a phenomenally talented group of professionals. For me personally, Myron has been an exceptional mentor and has encouraged me to continue to develop and grow in my career. He’s opened many doors for our team and has become an essential part of the Charles Aris family. I couldn’t ask for a better leader.”
From Myron’s servant leadership perspective, change management and helping others succeed just come with the territory.
“The way I try to approach things is simple,” he said. “There are certain things that need to be taken care of immediately, and others that are necessary for the future. I wanted to tackle those immediate needs as soon as I started with Charles Aris.”
Prior to his arrival, Myron spent the better part of 25 years in a variety of roles with American Express. Based in the Fortune 500 firm’s Greensboro service center, Myron initially served in general customer service before being promoted to a customer service team leader role in the facility. Not long after, he accepted a cross-training opportunity in the company’s human resources department.
“What attracted me to human resources was the interpersonal aspect of the function,” Myron shared. “Day in and day out, you connect with individuals who are at a crossroad in their career, and help them answer and envision where they want to be in five to 10 years down the road. How can the opportunities we can provide help them reach those goals?”
After moving into a senior H.R. generalist position with American Express, Myron earned promotions to manager and then director of employer relations.
He embarked on a five-year transition to project management, during which he was responsible for a team of 25 professionals focused on tasks specific to cobranded accounts and broader company initiatives. In 2007, an opportunity in the company’s H.R. department sparked a return to human resource management as a business partner for senior executives – a role that was global in nature.
Shortly after, American Express announced that it would close its Greensboro location. As a tenured executive and known commodity, Myron was given the opportunity to continue his work with the organization remotely; he soon accepted a promotion to vice president of human resources in 2013.
Two years later, however, American Express opted to move the VP role to the company’s location in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
“The move presented me with the toughest decision I ever had to make,” Myron said.
Born and raised in North Carolina’s Piedmont Triad region, he had made the decision early in life to remain rooted in the Tar Heel state – and so he did.
Raised in Kernersville between the Triad cities of Greensboro and Winston-Salem, Myron has forged a career that uniquely blends his parents’ occupations. His father worked on the manufacturing side of Western Electric, while his mother served in human resources. The couple provided a young Myron with steadfast examples of a strong work ethic and family unity.
Myron possessed a love for the outdoors, sports and animals while growing up on the family farm. What was an active, fun-loving childhood took a turn at the age of 13, when he was diagnosed with Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, a rare illness that halts blood supply to the hip joint.
Forced to wear a brace and walk with crutches for several years, Myron was unable to participate in athletics and a number of other physical activities. Despite the hindrance, he remained an active teenager, simply learning how to participate in his own way.
“The experience taught me a lot about dealing with adversity, overcoming challenges and solving problems in an outside-the-box manner,” said Myron, who became quite the competitor while still walking with crutches, earning a second-place finish in a local 5K race.
“I was able to learn to walk again, build my leg back up physically, and played basketball in intramurals throughout college,” all while being the first member of his family to attend a four-year university.
Myron attended the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where he studied economics. During his freshman year, he took part in a blind date through his best friend and began a relationship with his future wife, Angie, then a senior at nearby East Forsyth High School.
The couple later became engaged and eventually married following Myron’s college graduation. They welcomed two children several years later and made a commitment to stay near friends and family in the Triad, an oath they intended to keep over the course of their professional careers.
“I ultimately chose to decline the opportunity to go to Fort Lauderdale, choosing instead to stay in the Triad close to my family and [now grown] children,” Myron said in regard to the American Express opportunity.
Through the remainder of that year, he engaged in consulting and contract opportunities before conducting a search for his next career move.
“I took some time to really consider what I wanted my next move to look like,” Myron said. “I had a blank sheet and a few key elements I wanted in my next position: A smaller organization, growing, and headquartered in Greensboro were the three main traits.”
Myron was first introduced to the executive search firm Charles Aris Inc. through a mentor who suggested that he get a résumé on file in the event that an opportunity arose. He soon found a potential fit and was introduced to the firm’s leadership through a mutual connection.
Brian Styers, the company’s head of knowledge management, was impressed from the start.
“As our firm sought to strengthen and expand the functionality of leadership in human resources and accounting, we were focused on finding a talented veteran who had experienced and effectively addressed an array of organizational challenges,” Brian said. “Myron offered that in spades.”
Several interviews and discussions later, Charles Aris offered Myron the role of senior director of human resources and organizational development.
“Though I probably had 10 or more conversations with various people, I was impressed with how quick and focused the entire process was,” Myron said.
And yet how did he know that Charles Aris was the right fit for moving his distinguished career forward?
“I have been fortunate to work in principle-based companies for most of my career,” Myron said. “I loved the 22 Principles that Charles Aris had introduced and liked that their expectations were clearly stated and visible to everyone in the organization.
“Another major consideration was the quality of the people I would be working with,” he added. “I wanted to be in a situation where I would learn from new colleagues – and, looking at the backgrounds of the leadership at Charles Aris, I knew this would be a place to foster my own professional growth.”
A team context and the opportunity to deeply impact the organization also sold Myron on the opportunity and the organization.
“I could tell this role was important to the organization and necessary for the firm’s growth moving forward,” he said. “I was excited to get onboard.”
Throughout the hiring process, Charles Aris COO Allen Oakley knew it was critical to bring in someone who believed in establishing a cohesive culture.
“An H.R. leader must be the standard-bearer of organizational culture,” Allen said. “Not only that, but we wanted to add a true strategic thought partner who could make a sizable impact in our company.
For us to land the personification of that in Myron Pearman shows just how fortunate we are here at Charles Aris.”
Since joining the team, Myron has made a number of invaluable improvements to the firm’s everyday processes.
“Immediate goals were to streamline our compliance tools and figure out the best balance of automation and manual configuration,” Myron said. “Compliance and other opportunities for improvement can always be done in new and inventive ways, so that was an early goal once I joined.”
Another major goal for Myron was to ensure detailed care for the organization’s team members.
“I want to put our people in a position that enables them to worry about their job – not whether their pay and benefits will be processed successfully,” he said.
With that fundamental objective in mind, Myron began crafting ways to streamline and stabilize both payroll and benefits in conjunction with the firm’s accounting manager, Karen Reinecke.
“Myron has been a great thought partner to work with in streamlining our payroll process,” Karen said. “He has been really great at sharing his knowledge and ideas with me to make the overall process run even better. We work well together as a checks-and-balances team to ensure everybody knows they are in good hands when it comes to not only payroll but to all things related to benefits.”
To that end, Myron helped facilitate Banyan Consulting Group’s setup and implementation of “Banyan Connect” – an employee benefits management tool for the Charles Aris team.
He also played an integral role as the executive recruiting firm designed, developed and implemented its “Cohort” program at the end of 2016, and worked directly with fellow directors Brian Styers and Rich Williams to establish a recruiting internship program in 2017.
“It’s important that we understand how to develop pipelines of talent, our brand and our community,” Myron said. “We want to focus on attrition and gain a deeper understanding of our people, through one-on-one communication, to learn how to design the future of our organization and how to innovate as a firm.”
A student of human capital and the value of an organization’s team members, Myron has left no stone unturned in his early evaluations of the firm’s people and culture.
“I love to hear from our associate recruiters,” he said. “It helps us find opportunities within the organization – themes and things we can prioritize moving forward. We want to develop a strong human capital plan and people strategy, and I am fortunate to be able to start that process from the ground floor and figure out the best practices for its implementation.”—-
So what’s next for the Charles Aris all-star?
“My goal is to make the employer brand of Charles Aris as strong as possible,” he said. “We want to attract and retain talent that will enable us to continue achieving record success. It is also important that we stay ahead of and be proactive toward changes in the workforce and how we can build the right level of human resource structures and systems that enable us to grow over the next five to 10 years.”
Myron’s mission adds stability to the firm, especially given the fluid industry of executive search. His charge is dual in nature: care for the current Charles Aris team while crafting a framework in which Charles Aris can responsibly grow toward its team of tomorrow.
“I see my role as a cost to the organization,” Myron said. “My goal is to look five years into the future and be able to show a direct or indirect 2:1 return on investment for this firm through improved retention, success planning and talent evaluation.”
Just shy of a year in the organization, Myron has already made quite the impression on fellow senior leaders.
“From day one, Myron has bolstered our team, our policies and our processes, and done so in a way that has underscored his servant-leader mindset,” Brian said. “I’m thrilled he’s here.”
Allen couldn’t agree more.
“Myron did an amazing job coming into the organization and gaining the trust of our entire team,” he said. “He effectively represents both the people and ownership of the organization, and his ability to quickly professionalize the H.R. function here dramatically enhanced our ability to grow as an organization.”
With a wealth of knowledge in human resources and organizational development, Myron has sage advice for any budding professional.
“Understand your ‘Why?’ and find ways to leverage your network,” he said. “Be comfortable being uncomfortable and look for relationships where there is a mutual benefit for both parties. The best connections happen when both sides benefit from knowing each other and both parties are better because of it.”
Fitting words from the fearless H.R. leader at Charles Aris Inc.
"Thanks, Charles Aris, appreciate your dedication in finding such great talent for us to select from."
— The VP of Strategic Product Management for a Fortune 30 retailer, responding to an email informing him that Charles Aris Inc.'s candidate had just accepted the retailer's job offer.