EP. 118 The Grit and Growth Mindset that led to Making Work Work: Insights from HR Leader Deb Bubb

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Laurie McGraw is speaking with Inspiring Woman Deb Bubb, a strategic HR leader who spent decades leading the talent function at large, high growth, technology companies.  Her interest in human transformation began where she started, growing up in a single parent household where her mom was consistently making moves or taking jobs to gain a slightly better advantage for her and her brother – being closer to their school, a little more pay….

This upfront and personal view into “a grit and growth mindset” showed her what it looks like when you are out there competing with others who have different backgrounds, advantages, and privileges.  Given adversity, why do some people thrive, while others do not?   This central question led to her commitment to making work work better for people.

Hear Deb talk about:

🧐    The jobs landscape

  • Tech talent scarcity still exists despite recent big tech layoffs.
  • Employees: Look at the congruence of what your organization is saying v doing

🧭   Is loyalty dead?  “Loyalty is EARNED”.

  • Talent strategies for companies need to include:
    • Empathetic leaders
    • Inclusive behaviors
    • Investing in career growth for people
  • Allowing people to do their best work still means: investing in leadership, culture, and providing the context for diverse, inclusive and equitable conditions

🗽  Remote Work

  • The enormous experiment was successful. And now, we need to make thoughtful choices.
  • Remote Employees: Intentional connection needs to be a priority (for promotion seekers).

🧭. Career advice:

  • Being talked over: Physically stand up and take the floor (among other strategies).
  • $$: 1).  Educate yourself. 2) Set/align expectations with your manager (and more!)

🚀 Mid-career women professionals:  The road ahead is long.  Stay in it.  Make your impact.



Deb Bubb is a deeply experienced, human-centered executive HR leader. Today, she is advising SucceedSmart, a talent platform company disrupting traditional executive search, and the Neuroleadership Institute, as well as functioning as the associate editor of HR People + Strategy.

Previously, she was the chief people officer of Optum, where she led all aspects of human capital, including talent management, leadership and employee growth and development, rewards and recognition and organization development. She also served as chief talent officer for UnitedHealth Group, where she was responsible for developing and driving end-to-end talent strategy and ensuring the readiness of talent pipelines to support the growth of the business.

Prior to joining UnitedHealth Group, Bubb was vice president of leadership, learning and inclusion at IBM. She also served 16 years at Intel where she held strategic business partnership roles and led organizational and leadership development, as well as learning and HR operations.

Bubb holds a Bachelor of Psychology from Stanford University and a Master of Social Work from Smith College. She is married to Howard Bubb, and parent to 14 year old twins.

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