Santa Cruz Tech Beat


How To Identify & Retain Fantastic Talent with Kelli Dragovich Of Looker

By Kage Spatz
Authority Magazine

August 29, 2019 — Santa Cruz, CA

(Photo above: Kelli Dragovich, Chief People Officer at Looker. Source: LinkedIn)

Don’t just look at the last job, look at the overall journey. People are complex creatures. It’s the overall work progression that matters most rather than the last job and position they held.

As a part of my HR Strategy Series, I’m talking to top experts in the field to teach prospects what hiring managers are actually looking for, while also supporting business leaders in their hiring and retention strategies. Today I had the pleasure of talking with Kelli Dragovich.

Kelli Dragovich brings over 20 years of experience to her role as the Chief People Officer at Looker where she leads the recruiting, operations, places and HR business partner teams. She joined Looker to help scale the organization rapidly and smartly while also working across the company to build an inclusive environment for Lookers while protecting an already amazing place to work. Prior to Looker, she was the senior vice president at Hired where she led the team responsible for enabling the company to rapidly grow and scale effectively to hire over 400 employees globally. Her high tech HR experience also includes roles at GitHub, Intuit and Yahoo!. She attended Santa Clara University where she played Division I softball and graduated with a degree in Psychology, before going on to receive a Masters in Organizational Psychology from Alliant International University in San Diego.

KP: Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Kelli Dragovich (KD): Thank you for having me! Many people in HR don’t find their career path intentionally. I am more or less the same. I was pre-med the first two years of college, but I discovered I was not a fan of the academic/clinical component of psychology. I love the business aspect, but I was not into the balance sheets. I changed my trajectory for year three and then went to grad school for organizational psychology — I started my career in HR shortly after. I love this role because it’s a unique mix of responsibilities that blend people and business, and I really thrive in environments that are fast-paced, which early stage high-growth companies usually have.

KP: Can you share the most interesting or funny story that happened to you since you started this career?

KD: I have found that when people first start in their careers, they’re so eager to get all the experience possible to become the next “expert” in their field. I’ve always found it interesting that people think working a certain number of years makes you an expert. There is some truth to that I suppose, but I always laugh when people talk about it in the HR sense because when dealing with humans, it’s impossible for anyone to ever be an expert. I’ve often learned more from people in this role with two years experience than those with 20 years.

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