Happy New Year! Continuing the tradition of learning more about some of our HR colleagues, we’re starting off 2014 with a Q&A with my buddy and former CVS Caremark colleague, Loren (Palma) Sanders. “LP” is good people, you’ll see….

  1. You were president of the Northern Illinois SHRM branch for 4 years ~ what scandal forced you from office? You can tell us, promise.

Very good question John, no scandal really, I just feel like if you do the same thing for too long you stagnate. I feel like if people do not take the time to step back from “control” every once in a while that they will stop learning.  Don’t get me wrong, I still like to lead and do lead many things, but I know how to be on a team too and I think that is important for all good leaders. 

       2.   You were in recruiting roles for a long time, what’s the single best question you ever asked? 

My favorite questions have always been around someone really having to explain something that will indicate if they are just giving you BS or if they really know what they are talking about. I like to ask questions that show whether people can take accountability for issues.  I really don’t have a best question but one I do ask often is this:  Describe a time when you were working on a project team and things were not going well, what was the situation, what was the course of action and how was it resolved.  I like to find out whether the candidate blames others and appears to be the knight in shining armor that saved the day, or, if they can identify the part they played in the challenge and describe what they learned in the process.  If they are the hero, I usually ask them what they think they could have done differently or better.  That usually tells me a lot.

3.     If LinkedIn had the ability to play a theme song whenever someone viewed your profile, what song would we hear when accessing yours?

This is so not an HR response but so many ideas are shaped by my personal faith that I have always told my close friends that my theme song is “For the Moments I feel Faint by Reliant K, here is a link if you want to listen:


If I had to go more mainstream it would be “Live Life Loud” by Hawk Nelson


4.     CVS Caremark comes to you tomorrow & says, “Pick one objective you want accomplished next year, we’ll fund it.” What do you say?

Carte Blanche?  My soapbox is and has always been that everyone only understands their personal job and not how we impact each other.  I would start a rotational program based on work streams that work together in order to get specific tasks done.  For example, I currently work with the Implementation team.  This is the group that does new client on boarding, however, the role of the Implementation Manager interfaces with multiple work stream partners. I would like to create a rotational program where people in the Implementation work stream spend some time understanding the nuances of all of those work streams and vice versa by actually spending some time working side by side with someone in that role.

If someone wants to connect with you, where do they find you?

Come to the gym with me…or…You can find me on LinkedIn (duh), you can come to one of the conferences or educational sessions I am speaking at this year and/or you can also read the few things I have on my blog site.  I am a terrible blogger due to time, but I have a couple things out there and I am working on another (Loren365.com). My personal email is loren365@gmail.com, which is probably the best way to reach me…btw, I am also sponsored by Team Refuel and X-1 Audio for my athletic endeavors and those are basically my way of getting the word out for their products and are not really HR focused. But I can get you a killer discount on awesome headphones that are water and sweat proof if you send me an email. They can help you tune out some of the noise.