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October 31, 2012

Where Talent Matters | A Bold Faced Blog Series … Meet Ruth Ross

Posted 6 years 112 days ago by Alison Harrison

Our Ashton Associates are great at what they do – that goes without saying. But terrific consultants are so much more than the work they do and we love to find out what other talents and passions motivate them away from the office.

So tell us a little about your background and how long you’ve been a consultant. I’ve been a consultant for one year. Before that, I spent 30 years in corporate HR, with the last 10 as Executive Vice President HR for one of the divisions of Wells Fargo bank—I’m a recovering HR executive!

And what kind of consulting work do you do?  Over the years, my focus has centered on the role of the front line manager.  Every day, talented people get tapped on the shoulder and told, “Congratulations, you’re a manager”.  Well, now what? 

It doesn’t mean you just wake up the next day knowing how to manage.  It’s a passionate area of mine to work with people in this situation— I sort of think they’re the forgotten population in corporate America.

I’m really focused on working both individually and in teams.

Do you have a particular type of client? For me, it’s not about the size of company and it’s not about the industry, it’s about having a client that really gets why they’re doing this and seeks it out. The best client is the one who says, “I really respect and appreciate my managers and therefore, I want them to be their best.”

What’s the most enjoyable thing about your consulting work? I love that I can pick and choose the areas that I’m most passionate about and that the variety means I don’t get bored. There’s always a new challenge around the corner—which can be fun but also a bit scary since you never know what the next new challenge is going to be.

Any favorite assignments? Oh sure, that’s an easy one for me because I’m talking to her later this afternoon! I’m coaching a new head of HR for a growing company. She’s a very experienced manager who’s never been in HR before and what I love is that she is so open to the process and so thirsty for knowledge.

Best of all, my client is a real “lead from the heart” manager. She’s in a place where I can coach her on her behavior, on her communications, on all sort of things but  I cannot ever coach someone to have that heart.

Why Ashton212? What makes us a good fit for you? The first thing is that Sheila, Mary Ann and I have very similar values and beliefs and that is very important.

I also think Ashton gets it right when it comes to understanding the needs of a client and providing them with high quality resources. They’re sort of taking the traditional model and turning it on its head and I just think it’s fantastic.

I particularly love the team concept. When you become an independent consultant, you no longer have that group affiliation, which I miss. So Ashton’s Team Practice approach is a big selling point for me.

So what else have you been working on lately? I’m working on a book with a colleague about employee engagement. It’s a topic that’s out there quite a bit in corporate America, but just like Ashton turned the staffing world upside down when they looked at teams and individuals, we’re turning engagement on its head and focusing on disengagement.

I really believe that disengagement is the silent killer for corporations and that people need to understand the symptoms both in themselves and in their companies, the underlying causes of disengagement and how to diagnose it and treat it.

The book will combine our knowledge with real stories from people who have experienced disengagement and breaking free from it.  We’re already working with an editor—it’s very exciting.

Where would we find you when you’re not working? Playing poker. I just got back into it recently and I’m really pretty good at it. My dad had a home game every Monday evening with his friends and as a child who loved puzzles, I found it fascinating. I love how you have to use your brain and think it out.

If you were listening to music right now, who would it be and what song would be playing? I have Adele’s cd in the car right now—I love her music and her voice is incredible. Also, both my husband and I love jazz and we go to a lot of jazz concerts, so maybe some jazz.

What’s the boldest thing you’ve ever done? Waterski barefoot! I love waterskiing and even taught it, but skiing barefoot is the boldest thing I ever did. There’s momentary pain and then you get comfortable.

Tags: Ashton212 Associates associates author consultant Ross Ruth

Categories: categoryConsulting categoryWhere Talent Matters

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