Updated: Dec 5, 2018
Natasha Swan is a Senior Director within a Human Capital Division of a multi-billion dollar organization
with over 30,000 team members and a goal of growing by 30% within five years. In this role, her task is
to build a team and division to support the organizational growth needs by locating, identifying and
retaining elite talent.
After working in the health and fitness industry for nearly two decades, and being out of school for the
same length of time, she decided to go back to school and obtain an MBA with concentrations in Human
Resources and Customer Experience Management to go along with her BS in Health and Fitness
Starting out as a personal trainer satisfied her desire to help other people and it fulfilled her passion and
interests in sports and fitness. Soon after becoming a personal trainer, her natural desire to develop
other team members, manage a business, and lead teams, thrusted her into leadership positions such as
department manager, general manager, regional management and then a director. After spending so
much time dedicated to the operational side of the industry and winning awards and promotions for her
retention abilities, growth in revenue/profit and the development of other leaders, she decided to move
away from the operations of the business and focus on building a division and team that could catapult
her organization through talent.
Sitting down with Natasha was refreshing, entertaining and energizing. Her ability to listen and her
attention to every detail is best in class. It was a pleasure to learn from her and gain perspective on the
importance and growth of Human Capital in organizations.
What is Human Capital and why are so many organizations focused on it today?
In today’s business sectors, individuals define the business and not the business defining the individual. So forward thinking and modern companies are shifting the mindset and structure from Human Resources to Human Capital. With the generation of people leading the workforce today, typically being in the age range of 30-50, having influence and defining the business for them is more important than ever. No longer can an organization have a human resources team in place to protect the company and focus on data. Successful companies gain insight into what employees think and feel. They listen and they understand that their people are the most valuable capital that they have.
What are the top skills needed to attract the best talent into an organization?
It is important to have a nonthreatening approach with strangers. Being diverse in conversation and able to discuss a variety of topics such as Western Movies, Hip-hop music, the weather, current events and then having a deep knowledge about the position of interest is also important. Having the knowledge in a given field is critical. Something that is often overlooked is the ability to negotiate in a pleasant yet firm manner with the organization and the potential candidate. You represent the organization that you work for and in this case it is in the health and fitness industry so being fit and healthy goes a long way.
What is your personal mission in life?
To only take what I need from the world and give all that I have to it.
What type of problems present themselves when dealing with casting and retention for large
Sometimes great people do not always fit well and into great organizations. Respecting the culture and values of both are important. For example, our organization is open 365 days per year, therefore our team members work on weekends, holidays’, and in environments that operate 24 hours per day. Some people have personal obligations with religion, family or simply personal that causes conflict. There are also times when the business moves fast and some struggle with the pace or direction.
Over your career, what are you most proud of and why?
The growth of others has always brought me the most joy. Watching a 19 year old grow into a 30 year old with a family, buy a house and plan for retirement with a savings plan is a feeling that I am not able to explain to you. Knowing that I took a chance on someone and it worked out or looking back at so many of my mistakes that I was able to keep others from making brings a feeling of being proud. Personally it would be continuing to learn, grow and change when needed.
If you could change one thing about your current role, what would it be?
I travel 8-10 days per month. I love spending time with my family and friends and being at home. I’ve traveled at this pace for 10 years now. If I could be at home, sleep in my own bed and eat out of my own dishes every night that would elevate my work experience.
What is a threat or opportunity that keeps you up at night?
I sleep well at night and I go to bed at peace. If there is something that brings more concern than anything else, it would be the “Me Too Movement” and how to ensure that everyone in our organization feels valued and treated as an equal. Being a double minority (woman and African American), I see inequality and suppression for what it is with clarity. I see opportunities and I understand.
How do you spend your day?
I am on the phone and in meetings with external candidates, vendors andcolleagues 3-4 hours per day. I am online with email or research another 2-3 hours per day. I am also the business administrator for my division so I spend an hour or two each day with admin work and studying our projections, understanding stats and building our path forward.
How is your time spent away from work and fitness?
I live in Texas, so being outdoors every month of the year is an advantage. I love the outdoors and keeping active. Shopping online and watching sports are two things that I do a lot of.
What is your desired outcome if we decide to do business together?
Whomever I do business with, my goal is to learn and contribute to the overall collaborative goal. As for you specifically, you are highly skilled in facilitation and bringing out the full potential in others, so establishing a long-term partnership with you, where we can provide each other recommendations and provide a fluid approach to human capital would be the ultimate outcome.