By John Sumser

At a party the other night, someone said that Kris Dunn is so omnipresent because he never sleeps. Kris’s output is prodigious; he seems to be everywhere. There are very few VPs of HR who hold a candle to his insight and contribution. He is the quintessential next generation HR Leader.

If you’re not familiar with Kris and his work, he’s the Vice President of People (VP of HR) for DAXKO, a Birmingham, AL software as a service provider.

Step back for a moment and consider the credibility of that scenario… influential, HR leader, software company in Alabama. Ten years ago, that would have been strikes one, two and three. Today, in an internet driven economy, influence, innovation and insight can come from anywhere. Even, out of nowhere. If he is anything, Dunn is a man of his time.

The prolific blogger writes at The HR Capitalist and founded Fistful of Talent. The HR Capitalist is a plainspoken near-daily report from the executive front lines of Human Resources. Kris is quick to call a spade a spade. Fistful of Talent, built in a fascinating collaboration with Top 100 Influencer Jessica Lee, is an amazing destination site for HR insight. The team of a dozen or so content generators cover the HR waterfront. The site has a strong regular readership and in itself is a source of amazing influence.

Somehow, Dunn leads a small town life while driving the leading edge of thought about HR and its importance. When they say he never sleeps, they mean that output and consequence on this scale are nearly unimaginable for someone who holds down a regular job. People who generate this sort of impact usually work full time to do it.

Beneath the Jimmy Stewart, aw-shucks, I’m a small town guy veneer, lies the heart of a born entrepreneur. On his way to Birmingham, Dunn learned the HR ropes in IBM Global, Cingular, Bell South, Charter Communications (a Paul Allen Company) and a venture backed medical company. He learned big company management and startup styles while getting his MBA. He has experience as a project manager (shouldn’t all VPs of HR) and a rounded generalist.

Don’t look to Kris for the normal HR pablum. His insight is biting and direct. Here’s a soundbite:

“Let’s face it.  Even if you’re one of the best interviewers in the history of that scrum you call a company, odds are you’ve gone through periods where you just didn’t feel like bringing your A-game to the table when interviewing candidates.  It’s OK, it happens to everyone who interviews a lot for a living.  You’re human.”

It’s fair to say that Kris is not a cheerleader for any of HR’s professional associations. He believes that administrative work is elastic and expands to fill available space. He sees recruiting as the foundation of great HR.

If you spend some time with Dunn’s blog, The HR Capitalist, you’ll find a bounty of useful ideas built on deep personal experience. If he were just a VP of HR in a software company in Alabama, it would be an interesting story. Dunn is something much more. He’s the archetype of a local player who wields global clout. In doing so, he strengthens his company and the profession.

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