Bruce Waller’s HR Super Stars Series… Meet Kris Dunn!

Sharing Leadership Lessons in an interview with Bruce Waller…

10 Answers from HR Leaders that make a difference! 

I once heard Sara Blakely, (CEO Spanx) say, “The more you experience in life, the more you have to offer others.”  Today, I want for you to experience more by learning from some Super Stars serving in HR! I am inspired by people every day who model great leadership for others through their daily actions in human resources. These leaders have common threads that include empathy, love and care for people. They value people and the importance of relationship building.

In this HR Super Stars interview series, I want to introduce you to some of the best of the best in HR! These leaders make impact and will share challenges, successes, and perspectives on their journey as a business leader and in their personal lives. My hope is each person will inspire you and challenge you to become more for others on your journey.  So, let’s get started and meet our HR Superstar!

Today, we are going to hear from my friend Kris Dunn, CHRO at Kinetix, founder of The HR Capitalist and Fistful of Talent, and author of The 9 Faces of HR. I recently saw Kris speak at the SHRM National Conference in Las Vegas this summer and he absolutely knocked it out of the park with his presentation on “9 Faces of HR“. I am super excited to share this interview to help you learn more about Kris, as well as share some of his great resources to help you in the workplace!

Now, let’s meet Kris!

  1. Where did you grow up?  Memphis, MO. Small town America in the heart of the Midwest.
  2. How did you get started in business/career? My career start was as an Assistant Basketball Coach at UAB. I exited that after 3 years, picked up my MBA and went to work for IBM Global doing marketing consulting for a couple of years, then entered the world of HR based on a referral from someone who thought I would be good at it.
  3. Do you remember a challenge or life lesson that you had to overcome early in your career which made you a better leader? Bad Bosses.  I’ve only really had one but it happened early, which made me much more empathetic for how people who report to me feel.  I’m not perfect, but I believe that result of that interaction is that I generally try to ensure people who report to me understand and care about their career and want to grow them for success – both inside and outside my company.
  4. What was that moment when you knew that you had found your lane, your purpose? The first time someone told me I “wasn’t like other HR people.”  Many HR pros have heard that, and it shows the impact you can have if you’re a problem solver in HR that seeks to say “yes” as much as you can. 
  5. What is your most valued achievement, and why? Still waiting on that.  Generally, never satisfied. 
  6. Is there any one person who inspired or mentored you along the way? I’ve had a lot of great mentors, including Don Sykes, Todd Gurley, Marilyn Brooks, Lisa Bryant, Scott Stone and my current partner and boss – Shannon Russo. All are incredible people with talent, patience and the ability to make you feel like they believe more in your than anyone else on earth.  That’s what I want people I manage and even help as an HR pro to feel when they interact with me. 
  7. Do you have a saying or creed that you live by? Do the work, live with the results.  That means if you prepped and practiced, whatever happens in this crazy world we live in – much of which you can’t control – you can live with the outcomes and look in the mirror and like what you see.  
  8. What book(s) are you reading or audio to help grow your leadership right now? Find Your Lane” by some guy named Bruce Waller.  LOL. I’m also almost done with the 800-page “Alexander Hamilton” by Ron Chernow, and next up is a book on Napster called “All the Rave” by Joseph Menn.  That last one probably more my norm, as I love non-fiction that takes me inside company culture – both great ones and train wrecks. 
  9. Can you share any of your daily disciplines that help you stay focused as a leader? I write pretty much daily at The HR Capitalist and Fistful of Talent.  I find if I have to develop points of view for the blogs/sites I run, it makes me a better leader with communication, positioning and strategy. 
  10. What advice would you give others to help them on their leadership journey?  Focus on one thing – being a career agent for those you lead. If you’re invested in the careers of those around you with a focus on developing them – not only in your company but for a future career outside your company – you’ll attract the right type of talent and develop loyalty and performance that people without the same approach can’t achieve.

Thank you for sharing your wisdom and insights, Kris. This was so inspiring! 

Some of my takeaways include… Growing up in small towns are the best! I never even knew there was a Memphis in Missouri! What a journey… Basketball to HR – you were born to coach – just in a different field! Bad bosses? We all can relate, but the takeaways are gold. Love the perspective “care about their career”. Self-awareness is critical. It sounds like you have some incredible mentors – and it’s a bonus when one is your boss. Mentors make impact in every area of our life. I like to share that it doesn’t matter if you are a mentor or mentee, just be one. Absolutely love your creed “Do the work, live with the results.” Great books to consider, especially the Find Your lane 😊! I am enjoying your book “9 Faces of HR” as well… The more we read, the more we can offer others. Definitely check out these blogs The HR Capitalist and Fistful of Talent. Love the fact that you include so many great contributors to add even more value. Writing daily gives you so much insight. Great daily practice. Great advice – Focus on one thing – being a career agent for those you lead.

Thank you for sharing Kris. We appreciate your insight and letting us get to know you better as a leader in the workplace and the HR community. You are an HR Superstar and inspiration to many because of the way you model leadership for others in the workplace! 

Congratulations to our HR Superstar, Kris Dunn You are making a difference!

What are your takeaways? Please share in comments below and check out his blogs HR Capitalist and Fistful of Talent, and pick up a copy of his book 9 Faces of HR too! If you have read it, post a review!

This interview was submitted by Bruce Waller, CRP, PHR, SHRM-CP, Vice President of Armstrong Relocation and Companies in Dallas, Texas. If you have questions, or would like to recommend someone to be featured in Bruce Waller’s HR Superstars Series, call 972-389-5673 or email You can also sign up for the weekly blog and read in “A Relocation Minute” at

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