Pioneering the Future of HR with Lisa I. Perez, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

The 10 Most Impactful HR Leaders Pioneering the Future in 2024

In the constantly evolving space of human resources, few leaders stand out for their ability to overcome obstacles, motivate their teams, and deliver significant results. Lisa I. Perez, Founder and CEO of HBL Resources, Inc., represents such leadership. Her journey from humble beginnings to a respected human resources consultant is both illuminating and inspiring, making her one of the most influential HR executives of 2024. We explore Lisa’s entrepreneurial journey, the foundation of HBL Resources, and her forward-thinking perspective on the HR industry in this feature.

Seeds of Inspiration: From Brooklyn to Boardrooms

Lisa’s entrepreneurial spirit was ignited at a young age. Growing up, she was motivated by her father, who owned a small business. “I knew at the age of eight that I was going to own a business one day,” she recalls. This early goal paved the way for her future accomplishments.

Lisa’s career began in the legal profession, where she worked as a receptionist and legal secretary. Despite the promising start, she found the work unfulfilling owing to its lack of human interaction. “I wanted more people interaction, something beyond just paperwork,” she explains. This revelation prompted her to enter the hospitality sector, which brought her closer to her passion for working with people.

A Pivotal Leap into HR

The pivotal moment in Lisa’s career came when she stumbled upon a role in human resources. Working as an administrative assistant in HR, she found the perfect blend of people interaction and administrative tasks. “I fell into human resources and have loved it ever since. It was the perfect mix of people and paperwork, and it kept me engaged with new challenges every day,” she shares.

This discovery marked the beginning of her now, 34-year-long journey in HR, where she continuously honed her skills and adapted to the evolving industry landscape. From managing HR processes in hospitality to addressing employee needs with empathy and professionalism, Lisa’s career reflects her dedication to transforming HR practices.

The Genesis of HBL Resources: A Dream Realized

The entrepreneurial dream that started in childhood came to fruition in 2011 when Lisa founded HBL Resources, Inc. Despite early attempts and setbacks, her determination never wavered. “I knew I wanted to start my own business, but I needed the right skills and experience,” she recalls.

HBL Resources, Inc. focuses on providing comprehensive HR solutions with a mission of “Transforming the Human in Human Resources®.” “Our mission is ensuring that no matter how tough the conversation, every employee walks out of their manager’s office with their dignity intact,” she emphasizes. This philosophy underscores her commitment to maintaining empathy and respect in all HR interactions, a principle she believes is crucial for effective management.

Navigating the Entrepreneurial Storms

Entrepreneurship is fraught with challenges, and Lisa’s journey is no exception. She attributes much of her success to fundamental philosophies like prioritization and action. “First things first”, as Stephen Covey says. Prioritizing and shifting paradigms to meet the needs of various roles we play is critical,” she notes. Action, she believes, is essential for turning dreams into reality. “A dream without action is just a dream. Every day, do something toward your goal,” she advises.

Lisa also highlights the importance of asking for help and being resourceful. “If you don’t ask, you don’t get. It’s about reaching out for the resources and information needed to succeed,” she says. Her ability to navigate these challenges has not only shaped her entrepreneurial path but also reinforced her belief in the value of mentorship and support networks.

Navigating a male-dominated industry posed additional challenges for Lisa. Being a short, Afro-Latina woman, she often felt the need to prove her capabilities. “I made sure to stay top of game, know my industry inside out, and be best in class. It’s about earning credibility and providing value to those you support and serve,” she asserts. Her dedication to continuous learning and maintaining her HR certifications has been pivotal in establishing her authority and breaking through the career barriers.

Redefining Success: From Climbing Ladders to Building Bridges

For Lisa, the definition of success has evolved significantly over the years. In her early career, success was defined by climbing the corporate ladder and achieving professional milestones. “Early in my career, success was defined by professional advancement,” she explains.

However, her perspective shifted as she balanced her career with raising her children as a single mother. “There was a time when my family had to take a back seat to my career so that I could meet financial needs. Those sacrifices led to a deeper appreciation of success today,” she reflects. Today, Lisa defines success as achieving a balance between professional obligations and personal fulfillment. “Success is so much more personal than it is professional at this stage in my life. It’s about having the flexibility to meet personal needs and be there for my family,” she emphasizes.

Transforming HR: The Heartbeat of HBL Resources

HBL Resources, Inc. and its subdivision, The Complete Manager Makeover, are dedicated to bridging the gap in managerial skills. The company’s mission, “Transforming the Human in Human Resources®,” focuses on equipping managers with the necessary skills to handle tough conversations with empathy and respect while also ensuring legal compliance. “We aim to fill the gap between being good at a job and being able to manage people effectively,” Lisa explains.

One of the most profound moments in her career came during the layoffs after 9/11. “We had to lay off over 200 team members. One gentleman thanked me after I told him he was laid off. That’s the impact of handling tough conversations with empathy and dignity,” she shares, highlighting the importance of compassionate HR practices. Perez recalls, “Despite the difficult circumstances, we ensured that every conversation was handled with empathy. It’s about maintaining human dignity even in tough situations.”

Turning Crisis into Opportunity: The COVID-19 Impact

The COVID-19 pandemic brought unprecedented challenges to the HR industry, and Lisa’s response to these challenges highlights her adaptability and leadership. “The pandemic changed the way we work, and we had to adapt quickly to support our clients and their employees,” she recalls. This included developing new training programs and resources to address the unique needs of remote work and the mental health challenges posed by the pandemic.

Lisa also sees the pandemic as a catalyst for innovation in HR practices. “It forced us to rethink how we support our teams and leverage technology to stay connected and productive,” she explains. This adaptability and forward-thinking approach have positioned HBL Resources as a leader in navigating the post-pandemic workplace.

Milestones of Pride: Achievements and Accolades

Among Lisa’s proudest moments are personal accolades and initiatives like founding National Management Training Week. This initiative aims to promote management training and succession planning across organizations. “It’s about creating a culture of continuous learning and development to ensure managers are well equipped to lead their teams effectively,” she says.

Another highlight is her book “The Complete Manager Makeover”, which emphasizes the human aspect of HR. “The book was about putting the human touch into HR practices and ensuring that people managers never lose sight of that human element,” she shares.

Winning the Outstanding Manager of the Year award from the Florida Hotel Motel Association was another significant achievement. “It was a rare honor for an HR professional. I remember looking out at the audience and thanking them, realizing the sacrifices my children had made resulting in that achievement. It was a turning point in understanding what success truly meant to me,” she recalls, a moment filled with gratitude and reflection.

Tech-Driven Transformation in HR

Lisa acknowledges the transformative power of technology in HR. From the days of black DOS screens to advanced HRIS systems, she has witnessed significant changes. “Technology provides valuable insights and analytics that help us serve our team members better. It’s about leveraging data to improve processes and support employees effectively,” she notes.

She also sees immense potential in AI and big data for enhancing HR practices. “AI can assist managers by providing personalized feedback, analyzing emotional cues, and recommending skill development opportunities, enabling them to add a human touch in managing people,” she enthuses.

Lisa emphasizes the importance of staying updated with technological advancements. “Staying top of the game means understanding and immediately leveraging new technologies. Whether it’s AI, HRIS systems, or advanced analytics, these tools can significantly enhance our ability to support and engage employees,” she explains. “It’s also important to realize that HR practitioners can not allow the lack of availability to technology to hinder efficiency, analytics or progress.  Much can be achieved with other applications if you know how to use them in advanced ways,” she adds.  Her forward-thinking approach ensures that HBL Resources remains at the forefront of HR innovation.

Inside the Daily Hustle of Lisa Perez

As the CEO and Founder of HBL Resources, Lisa’s days are packed with business development initiatives, client fulfillment, and team management. “A significant part of my day involves serving and supporting clients, developing and delivering training programs, and ensuring that our products are up to date,” she describes. She also emphasizes the importance of mentoring and giving back to the community through volunteer work and training sessions.

Lisa is a firm believer in the value of biweekly RAP sessions, both as an HR practitioner and as a CEO. “Having constant conversations to keep things going, to have those touchpoints about how’s the project going, do you need additional insight or support but also how’s the family, how’s everything else,” she explains. These sessions help maintain a balance between professional tasks and personal connections with her team.

The Balancing Act: Life Beyond the Office

Striking a balance between personal and professional life is crucial for Lisa. Lisa finds joy in simple pleasures like gardening, crafting and spending time with her children and grandchildren. “I’m redoing my backyard into a beautiful container garden oasis. It’s my retreat, where butterflies, birds and squirrels have already come to visit.   I must make time for personal relationships too, I have an intimate group of girlfriends and am fortunate that my children enjoy hanging out with me too.  These moments are precious,” she shares, highlighting the importance of nurturing personal passions alongside professional commitments.

She believes in making conscious choices and prioritizing time for family and self-care. “Date night is a hard and fast rule, and I spend quality time with my grandchildren as often as possible,” she says. Balancing her various roles requires a conscious effort. “It’s about making the choice to step away from work, even when it’s enjoyable, to focus on other aspects of life,” she notes. This balance is key to maintaining her well-being and effectiveness as a leader.

Lisa’s perspective on balance is refreshing. “It’s not about having equal time for everything but making sure that the important things get the attention they deserve. Sometimes work takes precedence, and other times, family does. It’s about being flexible and making conscious choices,” she says.

Reflections from the HR Trenches

Throughout her career, Lisa has navigated numerous personal and professional challenges, each contributing to her growth and perspective as a leader. She reflects on the importance of adaptability and resilience in overcoming obstacles, acknowledging when something could have been done differently by being vulnerable enough to take a long hard look in the mirror. “There have been times when I had to pivot quickly and adapt to new circumstances. It’s all about being flexible and open to change, while learning in the process” she says.

Perez also emphasizes the value of mentorship, both giving and receiving. She believes in “Have a mentor and be a mentor”.  “Having mentors who guided me and being a mentor to others has been incredibly rewarding. It’s about sharing knowledge and helping others succeed,” she notes. This commitment to mentorship reflects her belief in the importance of community and support networks in professional development.

Vision 2024 and Beyond: Charting New Territories

Looking ahead, Lisa plans to expand “The Complete Manager Makeover®” into the e-course learning model and has already launched HR Support and Training membership programs. “We aim to bring our training and coaching to a wider audience and ensure that organizations invest in their people’s development,” she outlines. Scaling the message and impact of  National Management Training Week is also a significant focus.

Perez envisions a future where managerial training becomes an integral part of organizational culture. “It’s not just about training managers for a week and forgetting about it. It’s about implementing ongoing programs that continuously impact the organization over the short and long-term,” she emphasizes. This long-term approach aims to foster a culture of continuous improvement, progressive management training and overall effective people management.

Lisa’s vision for the future includes hiring additional trainers and expanding the reach of The Complete Manger Makeover curriculum. “We need to duplicate our efforts to make a bigger impact. Whether through licensing or consulting, the goal is to spread our message and methodology far and wide,” she explains. This ambitious plan underscores her commitment to transforming HR practices and the delivery of Management Training on a larger scale.

Words of Wisdom: Guiding the Next Generation

Lisa’s advice to aspiring leaders in HR is to stay top of their game and be a resource for their team members. “Know the trends, leverage technology, and always be prepared to support your team with the resources they need,” she advises. She also stresses the importance of maintaining the human element in HR. “We must support our employees with compassion and empathy, recognizing their whole selves, before the employee they are HUMAN first,” she concludes.

Her dedication to continuous learning and personal growth is evident in her encouragement to aspiring leaders. “Never stop learning, never stop improving. Stay curious, go to the primary source of information and be proactive in your development,” she advises. This mindset has been pivotal in her own journey and is essential for anyone looking to make a significant impact in the HR field.

Championing Global Water Access and Sanitation

The Complete Manager Makeover® is dedicated to achieving Goal 6 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which aims to ensure access to water and sanitation for all. These Goals call on all countries—regardless of income level—to promote prosperity while protecting the planet.

By joining The Complete Manager Makeover® or purchasing any of its products and services, you can contribute to providing clean and safe drinking water to children in Uganda and Kenya. Thousands of children in these countries suffer from diseases like diarrhea, typhoid, and dysentery due to contaminated water. Seeing children drink from puddles is simply unacceptable.

When Lisa learned that a colleague was raising funds and delivering water filters to schoolchildren in Kenya and Uganda, she felt compelled to join the mission. Providing clean water allows children to attend school, stay healthy, and receive the nourishment they need to not just survive, but thrive.

Shaping the Future: Legacy and Vision

Looking to the future, Lisa is focused on leaving a lasting legacy in the HR industry. “I want to be remembered for making a meaningful impact, for transforming the way we think about and practice human resources,” she says. This vision includes not only expanding her company’s reach but also influencing the HR field at large through initiatives like National Management Training Week.

Perez’s long-term goal is to create a more compassionate and effective workplace culture across industries. “It’s about ensuring that every employee feels valued and respected, and that managers are equipped to lead with empathy and competence,” she emphasizes. This vision drives her daily efforts and continues to inspire those around her.

A Legacy of Empathy and Excellence

Lisa Perez’s journey is a testament to the power of resilience, continuous learning, and the human touch in leadership. As she continues to pioneer the future of HR, her insights and experiences offer invaluable lessons for aspiring leaders. Through HBL Resources, Inc., and her unwavering commitment to transforming human resources, Lisa is shaping a more empathetic and effective HR landscape for the future.

In her own words, “Human resources has never been just about policies and procedures. It’s always been about people. When we begin Transforming the Human in Human Resources®, we create workplaces where everyone can thrive.” This philosophy encapsulates Lisa’s approach and serves as a guiding principle for her ongoing efforts to pioneer a better future in HR.