Introducing the Inaugural ATAP Board of Directors

In the Fall of 2016, the newly established Association of Talent Acquisition Professionals (ATAP) put out a call for self-nominations to the organization’s very first Board of Directors.  120 individuals expressed interest in being considered for the Board, and began a vetting process that narrowed the list to 30 finalists, and then to the final, selected 7 Board Members.

It is with great pleasure that we introduce you to the 2017 ATAP Board of Directors.

Tara Amaral
SVP, Head of Talent Acquisition
Fidelity Investments

Jim D’Amico
Global Talent Acquisition Leader

Tom Darrow
Founder and Principal
Talent Connections, LLC and Career Spa, LLC

Eric Dunlap
Global Talent Acquisition Leader
Previously leading the TA function at Baylor Scott & White Health

Allison Kruse
Sr. Manager, Social Media and Talent Acquisition

Robin Montri
Employer Brand Leader

Tim Sackett
HRU Technical Resources

This diverse, accomplished Board of Directors will start immediately and have the primary purpose of continuing the work of establishing ATAP’s infrastructure, as well as establishing the Association’s priorities and strategy for the remainder of 2017.  The Board will also work closely with ATAP’s Executive Director (who will be a non-voting member of the Board) and an Advisory Council to ensure that the Association is enabled to execute on it’s Mission, Vision and Values.  For more information on ATAP, please visit http://atapglobal.org.


ATAP Leadership Selected

The Association of Talent Acquisition Professionals (ATAP) Board of Directors held its first Board Meeting on Friday, February 3.  Among the many topics on the agenda were the formal selection of ATAP’s Executive Director and Board Officers, including the following:

Executive Director: Ben Gotkin

President: Tom Darrow

Vice President: Eric Dunlap

Secretary: Tara Amaral

Treasurer: Jim D’Amico

This experienced, accomplished leadership team will be focused on setting ATAP up for long-term growth and success.  With the mission of advancing the talent acquisition profession, the ATAP Board will meet again in March to define the strategic direction and priorities for the organization.  For more information on ATAP, please visit http://atapglobal.org.

Still-life of chairs in big stylish conferenceroom

ATAP Backstory: Selecting the first Board of Directors for ATAP

It would have been easy for the cabal…the 50 or so practitioners, consultants, analysts and vendors who have been exhorting each other for the last couple years to stop talking about the need for a new Talent Acquisition Association and just do it- make ourselves the board, launch  the damn organization already. Head down, full speed ahead.

We didn’t.

Systematically, we asked ourselves:

  • What are the triggers driving this need? We knew for example the frustration many professional recruiters feel when they look up their chosen line of work on Google and find that they are cursed at more than politicians, dentists, and lawyers combined…or, so it seems some days. We are proud of the work we do and the lives we add value to. We recognize there are folks who see it only as a job, to put food on the table. We wanted more than that and a way to make a distinction between those in it for the minute and in it for the career it offers.
  • What could an organized body do we can’t do for ourselves? We can build a platform where civil conversation, constructive debate and fewer unsubstantiated claims could be the order of the day. We can crowd source what’s working and why and hold each other accountable to do it fairly. We can lobby for what policies we need country by country to do our jobs well. We can outline the broad scope of what is and isn’t recruiting never forgetting that while it’s a moving target at the tactical level, it’s pretty clear at 20,000 feet what crosses the line.
  • What does it mean to be an ‘Inclusive’ association? We can eliminate the ‘classes’ of members while still preserving the difference between a trade association that fosters the business of recruiting and a professional association whose open source, willingness to share and learn from each other and collaborate on embracing the next generation of changes that advance the profession is paramount.
  • How do we govern without making the same mistakes many other associations have made in centuries past? We still don’t know but, we did realize that transparency, checks and balances and an association that worked more digitally in real-time would be better armed to avoid them. There is no substitute for internal diligence. We chose to seek a small board [7] to emphasize agility in decision making and insisted that 4 be current practitioners and 3 be ‘other’. We created and expanded an Advisory Council for the board that includes today many of the ‘inner circle’ and all of the finalists who self-nominated to be part of the board but who weren’t selected. We believe the work of the association will take place in the committees and look forward to populating them with the broadest possible membership.

We knew that eventually members would vote for the Board. And we needed a board to launch to get members. Chicken and egg. We resolved it by first having all the ‘inner circle’ first recuse themselves from being a board member. We asked for volunteers to self-nominate. I initially protested against self-nomination thinking that some of the best folks in our space might find it too awkward and fewer quality nominations would be had.

I was quickly over-ridden and in, the end, I was wrong. More than 120 top TA Leaders through including more than a dozen outside the U.S. nominated themselves during October and November 2016 and their profiles were simply amazing, their passion clearly focused on giving back and their capacity to lead demonstrated in every corner of their work, their communities and their families.

We had 9 volunteers each willing to interview a slate of 10-15 candidates during December 2016. Of the 120 we could easily have flipped a coin for more than ¾ of the group and been happy with the result. Instead we talked until it was clear that about 30-40 would be finalists we should get to know a little better. We asked them to answer 3 questions about themselves and their view of what an association for Talent Acquisitions should be up to in its first year by doing an asynchronous video through Hirevue (thanks Scot Sessions for stepping up).

Every Tuesday like clockwork we reviewed the candidates and by January 11, 2017 managed to agree on our 7. (Next year by the way when three are up for a vote, it will be the members who now nominate and choose the Board.) We love the differences embedded in this first board and, at the same time know that we’re missing representation from our International peers and colleagues in a couple key sectors like the IT industry, start ups etc. We will adjust within core committees focused on EMEA, APAC and other regions as well as the more arenas where the most pressure for TA success is evident.

It will still take time to see the difference an Association can make for recruiters who care more about seeing talent acquisition as career than a job but if you are among them I would encourage you to join now, play a role in making that difference and down the road being able to say you were then when it began.

Gerry Crispin, SPHR is a life-long student of staffing and co-founder of CareerXroads, a firm devoted to peer-to-peer learning by sharing recruiting practices. An international speaker, author and acknowledged thought leader, Gerry founded a non-profit, Talentboard, with colleagues Elaine Orler and Ed Newman to better define the Candidate Experience, a subject he has been passionate about for 30 years.

Gerry has also co-authored eight books on the evolution of staffing and written more than 100 rticles and whitepapers on similar topics. Gerry’s career in Human Resources spans is also quite broad and includes HR leadership positions at Johnson and Johnson; Associate Partner in a boutique Executive Search firm; Career Services Director at the Stevens Institute of Technology, where he received his Engineering and 2 advanced degrees in Organizational/Industrial Behavior.

Follow Gerry on Twitter @GerryCrispin or connect with him on LinkedIn.