HRD Leadership Network - University of Houston
Skip to main content

HRD Leadership Network

Spring 2018 Forum TBA

Previous event held October 4, 2015 – Learning From Failure

Failure is considered essential to learning. Leaders of global organizations have come to the conclusion that those that have the capacity to learn from failure have a resilience that is necessary in the increasing complex conditions and markets in which we live and work. This has become significant for how we execute strategy in our organizations.

The University of Houston Executive Master's in Human Resource Development (ExHRD) program supports leaders in learning from their own failures in order to develop better change theories, frameworks, tools and approaches to achieve organizational learning effectiveness. The program uniquely develops participants to lead strategy execution by leveraging learning and change from a global perspective.

Introduced in 2009, the HRD Leadership Network, grew from a brown bag series hosted by the ExHRD program. The purpose was to create a learning space where discussions of "work" could be held using research and practice lens. Over time, the series of talks has engaged professionals from across the organization and industries on topics such as evidence-based HR, crew change, knowledge management, technical training, among other topics.

"Naming the series HRD Leadership Network, emphasizes our experiential learning and knowledge sharing tradition and vision," said Dr. Consuelo Waight, associate professor, and director of the ExHRD program.

Dr. Robert Hausmann, ExHRD faculty member, will moderate a lively discussion with John Sheptor, former chief executive officer of Imperial Sugar, and Bill Kirton, a former senior engineer at BP. Dr. Hausmann emphasized that both "are experienced senior leaders who have 'been there' and are well versed in how failures evolve, how to prevent failures in organizations, and how to manage risk effectively in complex organizations."

About the HLN Presenters

John Sheptor, former CEO of Imperial Sugar

A transformative leader and organizational strategist, John Sheptor is an experienced global chief executive and board member known for building the foundations for shareholder value gains at multibillion-dollar international companies. His career has included crisis management, start-up, turnaround and growth environments in the agribusiness, food and food ingredients, pharmaceutical, fine chemical, plastics, mining, automotive parts and health care industries. When a series of deadly explosions and resulting fires shut down Imperial Sugar Company's large sugar refinery at Port Wentworth, Ga., in early 2008, Sheptor took definitive actions to attend to the needs of the company's workers and families.

Bill Kirton, CEO Kirton Energy

As a major project manager in the Gulf of Mexico, in 2010, Bill was called into the Deep Water Horizon Crisis to build and manage a team of 100 people to design, build and execute the top kill, which was performed in late May 2010. Though the top kill was not successful in stopping oil flow the effort he led to build a team, design the equipment and perform an operation in 33 days (which in normal times, that would have taken BP 5 years to do) has been recognized in the industry as a leading model of innovation and learning during a crisis. Following that, Bill became the single point contact for the 300 lawyers representing BP in the Deep Water Horizon case.

Additional speakers will be announced. Stay up to date: http://www.uh.edu/technology/departments/hdcs/graduate/exhrd/leadership/