Meet The Disruptors: Kathleen Brenk of DisruptHR Denver

Who are the people that are taking the lead in disrupting the future of work?

They’re the official Disruptors (Organizers) of DisruptHR events held in cities around the world.

Each week, we’ll introduce you to one of these intelligent, inspiring, and beautiful people (okay, pick two) who have stepped up, and volunteered to organize a Disrupt HR event in their city.

Kathleen Brenk – DisruptHR Denver (Disruptor #6)

LinkedIn – Kathleen Brenk SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Twitter – @kkbrenk

Who are you, and what do you do in your “day job”?

Kathleen Brenk – HR Strategist at CareerWise Colorado. We build youth apprenticeships across the state, and I translate our work into business talent strategies and lead implementation/relationship management.

How did you first hear about DisruptHR?

Mary Faulkner. She knows all the cool stuff.

Why did you decide to raise your hand and become an organizer for DisruptHR events in Denver?

I spoke at one of the first events. (Watch – The 5 Rules of HR from DisruptHR Denver 1.0.)

For many, many years I “practiced” HR in a way that was untypical, so DisruptHR spoke to me. Also, I’ve know Mary for years and I just had to get involved! (My father was a very civic minded school counselor – getting involved is hereditary.)

I am HR and I’m not ashamed of it. I love the work in all it’s forms. Time for us all to stand up with business and SPEAK.

How many events have you organized?

With my co-disruptors Mary & Meredith Masse, we’ve held events since 2014, and had over 300 attendees at our last event, which was our sixth.

What types of people/industries have attended your events?

You name it! CEOs, CIOs, HR pros, business owners, consultants, authors… If you have something compelling to say, we’ll consider it.

DisruptHR is about more than just HR. It’s business and leadership and thought – ideas and solutions.

What are you most proud of that has come out of being involved with/organizing DisruptHR events?

I’ve had several young-in-career professionals tell me (in varying iteration) – “I needed this. It makes it OK for me to be ME, and to think differently about how I ‘do HR’.”

What kind of feedback have you received from those who have attended DisruptHR Denver events?

I have 3 people that I mentor that I connected with because of DisruptHR. That’s what matters, and that’s how change happens.

What is your favorite DisruptHR Talk, and why?

“Why Are You Running?” by Brian Fretwell.

The dude just inspires me! He’s a fantastic story-teller, and is incredibly passionate.

Why Are You Running? | Brian Fretwell | DisruptHR Talks from DisruptHR on Vimeo.

Based off of the Talks and conversations at your events, what do you feel are the areas with the biggest opportunity for disruption?

With all of the current talk around talent wars and culture and engagement and blowing up performance management, I think we’ve gotten away from benefits and compensation. Those things matter to all employees. I want to hear about THAT from speakers!

What excites you or frustrates you about the future of work, your career and/or DisruptHR?

In August of last year I left my traditional corporate HR career of almost 20 years to join this crazy startup non-profit. I truly loved my HR exec work, but I was tired of doing my best to support my talent team as they constantly pushed back on hiring managers who insist that every job requires 2 – 5 years of experience and a Bachelors degree. Despite my very best efforts…

So now I’m excited to see Colorado businesses really committed to growing their own talent by investing in 16 – 17 year olds joining their organizations as apprentices. Not just the trades – in tech, business operations, insurance, accounting, and advanced manufacturing. The impact is huge. It honors the knowledge and tenure of existing staff, it gives a student an alternate path to college, it fills the middle-skill gap, and has the potential to change the economic landscape. I’m so proud of what we’re doing!

Follow What’s Happening With DisruptHR Denver:

DisruptHR Denver Community Page

DisruptHR Denver Facebook Page

DisruptHR Denver Twitter Profile (@disrupthDENVER)

#DisruptHRden Twitter mentions

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