Posted by & filed under TalentTalk Radio Show.

Date: November 19, 2013

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Hosted by Chris Dyer, the CEO of PeopleG2.  TalentTalk Radio features engaging conversation with CEOs, thought leaders and HR executives.  TalentTalk connects professionals who care about talent-related issues. 

Today’s guests are Jamie Latiano, VP of HR, Thales Avionics; and Amelya Stevenson, President, e-Ventexe.

Attitude truly can be everything, and both Latiano and Stevenson are shining examples of this. Whether it’s adopting the confidence to strike out on your own in pursuit of your dream life, or scouting for talent that has the right demeanor more so than the right pedigree, attitude has shaped the trajectory of both of today’s guests.

 JAMIE LATIANO Jamie Latiano

Latiano is the Vice President of Human Resources for French-based Thales Avionics, a large global company with an office in Irvine specializing in in-flight entertainment. She is also the current president for National Human Resources Association in Orange County.

As a fast-growing company, Thales is transforming as they expand. “We’re trying to deliver operationally, but also need to make sure we leave space to have those strategic discussions…and not get sucked into the day-to-day,” notes Latiano.

Ten Careers with Thales

Latiano remarks on how committed Thales is to professional development. In fact, the company often encourages top talent with the slogan: “Have your 10 careers with us.” To accomplish this, she says the company takes specific actions, such as continually working on their value proposition to employees and proactively offering opportunities for mobility.

Latiano scouts for three key attributes when vetting talent for Thales. The overall approach is to “hire for behavior and attitude, and train for skill.” They seek out employees “who are resourceful, who want to learn new things, who have an ‘I-can-do-that attitude.’” Latiano also stresses business and financial acumen, both to her team and to the students she teaches as a professor. Last but not least is experience. Given that decisions are rarely black and white in HR, Latiano insists that “you need to have a strong toolbox of experience you can pull from at the right times.”

Getting Out of the Way

Her own talent was fostered by people throughout her career, and two in particular who stand out. She recalls them fondly, acknowledging that they had no obligation to guide her, but were committed to helping others achieve.

Latiano’s biggest leadership development was her “change from becoming strong individual contributor to becoming a strong leader.” Today, Latiano says: “My approach is really about setting the vision, providing the support and then getting out of the way so they can shine.” She believes allowing people to apply their creativity often produces better outcomes than her dictating a certain way of doing the work.

She encourages others to build actual relationships with people you can call upon when things come up, and recommends participating in professional organizations to build this true network.

What are You Reading?

Latiano is reading Daring Greatlyby Brene Brown, which is in part about “embracing your vulnerability and imperfection.”

How Can I Connect with You? Reach Latiano on LinkedIn or via


A studied psychologist, Stevenson left a senior role in 2000 for a Dallas-based steel manufacturer, where she grew an executive search division. She eventually bought this division, e-Ventexe, which she grew successfully with her husband. Today the e-Ventexe is a full-service HR consulting company providing outsourcing, employee management and leadership training solutions.

The journey has fulfilled Stevenson on two levels. Given the complicated nature of employee laws and talent dynamics, HR consulting drives real value for her clients. For her personally, she realized earlier in her career that she was missing out on being with her two young kids. Through e-Ventexe, she created a structure where she can still pursue her strong business drive while also allowing her time to be more involved in her kids’ lives.

Turnover from the Top

Stevenson notes that most of her clients come to her once they are already in trouble in an employee situation. There are companies, however, where the most senior executives get behind what HR can do for the organization and proactively manage such situations from occurring in the first place. Hence, Stevenson asserts that the leading driver for employee turnover are leaders.

Finding Confidence

Reflecting on her own development, Stevenson acknowledges that, “Sometimes in life people are afraid to take risks because they are afraid to fail…but they should somehow move through that so they can see they have great capabilities.” That’s why her most influential mentor is her husband and business partner, who instilled unwavering confidence in her abilities. “My biggest inspiration is my husband because he’s allowed me to follow my dream and he’s even come along with me.”

The biggest leadership hurdle she overcame was in her approach to others. Early on in her career, Stevenson was short and abrupt with people, having seen young women managers around her take this same demeanor in an effort to compete in a male-dominated business environment. After a mentor showed her a different way, she now naturally craves interaction and team-building.

What are You Reading?

Stevenson just finished Patrick Lencioni’s The Five Dysfunctions of a Team – a book that outlines a pyramid of dysfunction starting with lack of trust.

How Can I Connect with You? You can find Amelya Stevenson on LinkedIn or on her company website,

Tune into the show next week, and remember, do what you love….and show the world how talented you can be, today.