Bill Pallett believes one of his biggest strengths as a human
resources leader comes from the time he spent with his
head in the clouds.
As an in-flight service director for Wardair in the early
1970s, Pallett learned the value of a strong operational back-ground.
When he moved into his next role recruiting and training
for the airline, that experience was crucial to his success and cred-ibility
as an HR leader.
“Still to this day, I think it behooves HR leadership to have a
real understanding of the operations of the business,” said Pallett
in a recent interview with HR Professional. “I think employees
know when people have walked a mile in their shoes.”
From Wardair, Pallett moved on to progressive human resources
roles with Canadian Pacific Hotels & Resorts, Rogers Communi-cations,
Four Seasons Hotels and Delta Hotels and Resorts.
In late 2014, he realized a long-time dream by founding WJ
Pallett & Associates, a Toronto-based consultancy specializing in
talent strategy and strategic planning.
Today, Pallett helps companies make a difference by encourag-ing
their commitment to human resources as a business enabler.
When did you decide you wanted a
career in human resources?
Bill Pallett: I backed into human resources just before I graduated
from university. During my last year of school, I was working part-time
in passenger services for Wardair. When I graduated from
my journalism program, I was offered a full-time position with
the Windsor Star. But I decided I really liked the airline industry,
so I stayed and got promoted. I moved through various depart-ments,
including flying for a year or two as a flight service director.
The airline was growing very quickly. They asked if I’d like to head
up recruiting and training for the eastern region, and that was my
first HR role. I took the job, and at that point I went to night
school to study adult education at the University of Toronto. I
headed up training and recruiting for a few more years and then
was approached by Canadian Pacific Hotels to head up their cor-porate
hr career path
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