Episode 109

Published on:

8th Sep 2022

Deborah Snow-Walsh on building a strong talent strategy for 2023 (Ep 109)

What does a strong talent strategy look like in 2022 and 2023?

It's easy to check skills boxes - it's harder to tell how well someone will adapt, collaborate, and evolve. Will they be able to play well with others in the sandbox of your organization? Some people are great with complex matrix organizations, while others thrive in small businesses. How do you know what your organization needs in terms of game-changing talent?

When looking to source new talent, we can start by looking at senior leaders and what they anticipate will be upcoming in terms of people leaving the organization, aging out of the organization, or wanting to grow in the organization. In any business, there are areas of "evergreen" talent. These refer to any areas of the business where we are always looking for talent to drive business and move the needle in a meaningful way. We are always hiring for the next impact player, aka someone who will bring change to the organization. This can mean Heads of Sales, Marketing Leaders, Production Managers, etc.

If you're wondering how to positively drive talent strategy in your organization, this is the episode for you. This week, we interview Deborah Snow-Walsh for her expert take on the future of talent development.

This week's episode is part of a 12-month long series, where Deborah Snow-Walsh will be a repeat guest on the show. Have a question you want her to answer? Drop us a line at denise.cooper@rllessons.com and we'll be sure to answer it later this year.


  • What does a good talent strategy look like? (4:14)
  • How does a business hire talent for 2-3 years out, when we can only see about. one year out? (7:20)
  • What is the risk of hiring for “culture match”? How is this affecting organization’s productivity and ability to adapt to changing world? (11:49)
  • We're finding some managers are still resistant to remote work, what would you say to them? (14:00)
  • How do we measure people's proficiency after being onboarded? (18:49)


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Debbie is a builder of organizations and a talent executive, focused on DEI in thought and view.  Those are her passions.  She has a unique background in sales, having successfully started her career selling large benefits packages to the Fortune 200, working for AXA Equitable.  She knew nothing about benefits, or the Fortune 200.   She was recruited to Lee Hecht Harrison, where she excelled in selling outplacement and coaching services to large, multi national organizations.  When she was recruited again into the search business, she was already focused on female and minority talent and made the decision to become an entrepreneur and open her own firm. 

Ultimately, her organization included ten professionals and served companies including IBM, JPMorgan Chase, the GAP, Pfizer, AXA Equitable, and Prudential among others.  In 2011 she was recruited to Zurich Insurance to run Talent Acquisition, University Relations and Diversity.  She enjoyed the opportunity to see talent in action and build an organization.  She returned to outside search and ultimately her own firm.  Her clients include those from her previous firm as well as CDW, Icahn Enterprises, Citizens Bank, Pet Supplies Plus, Bloomberg and AIG.

She focuses on everything Talent: acquisition, development, management, assimilation, experience and retention.  Debbie’s expertise is in consulting with corporations on their internal policies and practices to make them efficient, executive search and executive coaching.  She has been involved with HRPS, was co-chair of its annual conference and various planning committees.  She is part of the original CHREATE team, understanding and addressing the HR leadership of 2025.  She is frequent and popular speaker before business groups.

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Closing the Gap with Denise Cooper
Ideas to help you achieve more at work and in life!
Becoming a good leader requires a decision, a plan for honing your skills, and a relentless focus on getting better and better. Listen as my guests share their wisdom and lessons about leading and creating a high-performance inclusive culture. Connect with me on Twitter @Coachhr

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