Hanold Associates has helped another major brand fill an important role by recruiting Tchernavia Rocker as the Chief Human Resources Officer for Under Armour, a leading provider of high-performance athletic apparel, footwear, and digital solutions. At Hanold Associates, Jason Hanold, Katie Wolf, and Katrina Prospero were in charge of the initial search.
Ms. Rocker will be an excellent—and critically important—addition to the Under Armour team for several reasons. Here’s why:
Since July 2016, Ms. Rocker has served as Chief Human Resources Officer for the American motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson. Ms. Rocker was involved in planning and executing HR strategies for the company, a duty that she will also take on at Under Armour. She excels particularly in employee relations, HR policy development, and strategies to improve occupational health and safety and the workplace environment. Importantly, her experience is backed up by measurable results.
It’s extremely important for companies to find the perfect individual for the chief HR role, since HR strategy has a significant impact on corporate culture, efficiency, and therefore profitability. Ms. Rocker has demonstrated her ability to make intelligent, forward-thinking decisions time and time again, and her experience will be an asset for Under Armour.
Even a brief glance at Ms. Rocker’s achievements at Harley-Davidson reveals that she has the talent necessary to deliver excellent results for Under Armour. Even before she reached the position of Chief Human Resources Officer, she accomplished much for Harley-Davidson in several HR leadership roles at the company.
Ms. Rocker helped redesign Harley-Davidson’s HR organization to reduce redundancy of work by 25%, and enabled the company to save $15 million through her restructuring of various business units. She also served as the lead HR consultant for the company’s operations in Latin America, and in the acquisition and integration of an Australian manufacturing company. Additionally, she spearheaded the Board of Directors’ sponsoring of a $20 million renovation of Harley-Davidson’s 100-year-old headquarters. The redesign improved corporate identity, helped the company create a work environment that represented their brand, and increased collaboration and teamwork.
As Harley-Davidson’s Senior Director of Labor and Employee Relations, Ms. Rocker developed a labor relations strategy that yielded approximately $140 million in year-over-year savings; the facility she restructured was subsequently recognized as a 2013 Industry Week Best Plant. In addition, Ms. Rocker created an enterprise-level occupational health and safety management strategy that achieved industry-wide best-in-class performance within three years. The results were featured in ABC World News and the Wall Street Journal.
With these and other impressive accomplishments under her belt, it is no surprise the team at Under Armour decided she was the right candidate for their needs.
As this blog has pointed out in the past, when hiring someone to fill a C-level position, experience is not the only factor to keep in mind. Someone who is otherwise qualified for a role may not thrive in it if they don’t fit with the company’s culture. Fortunately, Ms. Rocker has experience leading HR at a company with a strong culture and widely recognized brand, like Under Armour. She has also established a relationship with its executive leadership. Hanold Associates CEO and Managing Partner Jason Hanold elaborated on Ms. Rocker’s traits:
“Tchernavia is an outstanding HR executive who possesses the perfect blend of leadership traits, wisdom and experiences with strong cultures, brands and results. Under Armour’s CEO Kevin Plank and Tchernavia have already forged a strong relationship through this fast-moving and diligent process. We expect that she will have a profound and lasting positive impact on Under Armour,” he said in the press release about the search.
To succeed in any kind of leadership role, experience, accomplishments, and a good cultural fit are necessary, but so are soft skills. The term refers to those skills and abilities that allow people to interact harmoniously with others. Ms. Rocker checks all the boxes in this aspect of leadership as well.
Specifically, she has excellent communication skills as well as the ability to adapt to different situations, and describes her leadership style as collaborative. In addition, she describes her approach to business as that of a “calculated risk-taker.” The best leaders often adopt this mindset—in business, you must take some risks, or you’ll miss out on lucrative opportunities and chances for your business to grow. At the same time, taking risks blindly, without considering the potential impacts of a decision, is obviously foolish and can put the company in danger. The calculated risk-taking approach represents a sort of happy medium between these two extremes.