Ask anyone at Wray Ward their company’s greatest asset and they’ll tell you this: people. The agency is emphasizing this value, creating a talent development director position to focus on recruitment, development and enrichment for its dynamic and growing staff. Human resources leader Caroline Armstrong has been hired to the post.
“Our business depends on having exceptional talent across all of our services, and this new talent development director role will help us take a more strategic and thoughtful approach to people development,” said Wray Ward President and Chief Creative Officer Jennifer Appleby. “Caroline Armstrong’s dedicated approach to talent assessment and retention ensures we’re cultivating our extraordinary team members while recruiting the best new talent for the future.”
While the agency celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, it remains nimble and progressive, having evolved its process and launched four new service areas in the past five years and growing to almost 100 employees. With core service areas of client engagement, insights, connections and creative along with supporting services in operations and finance, the agency’s talent to serve those disciplines is increasingly varied in skillset – from designers who know no boundaries to researchers and accountants driven by facts; from storytellers who use video, photography and words for persuasion to developers who write only in code; and from account leads skilled at building relationships to search marketing specialists who are fastidious about algorithms and metadata.
“All of our employees are smart, collaborative and creative no matter their job, but they learn and grow and find successes in completely different ways,” Appleby said. “We are bringing the same creative thinking and strategic approach to performance management that we bring to our client work.”
Armstrong steps into the new post with more than 15 years of experience in human resources and talent development. She began her career as a training manager and internal communications director before moving to national retailer The Children’s Place, where she advanced to human resources director during a nine-year tenure. She managed HR areas including talent assessment and selection, talent management, performance management, employee engagement and employee relations. Her responsibilities included oversight of HR functions for the company’s creative resources group of more than 350 team members including designers, trend and color experts, and photographers. Armstrong most recently worked as a career coach, helping professionals find their passions and enrich their career experiences.
“Part of my job in HR and talent development is to enhance the culture of a company, especially when the culture is already special – like it is at Wray Ward,” Armstrong said. “I’ll be asking, How do we maximize talent? How do we stretch our own boundaries?
“I’m excited to engage with the team and evolve the performance management process so it reflects who and what Wray Ward is today and better empowers our people for success,” she said.
Armstrong holds PHR (Professional in Human Resources) and SHRM-CP (Society for Human Resource Management Certified Professional) certifications and is a national member of the Society for Human Resource Management.
“Caroline will be an incredible resource as we curate talent within ourselves and from within the industry,” said Patricia Propst, director of finance and operations for Wray Ward. “Her leadership will contribute to ensuring we consistently create better performing work that feeds our own passions for excellence and grows our customers’ brands.”