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About Me

Hi. I’m Jane. I was supposed to be an Anthropologist, but my interest in people and culture took me into human resources instead. I’ve spent 15 years in several different industries, always in roles that have allowed me to tackle complex organizational challenges through people strategies and practices.

I’m currently dividing my time between a senior role on the People team of a fast growing, inventive organization, a Master’s program in Human Systems Intervention at Concordia University, and my ongoing work related to sexual harassment via The Aperta Project.

I’ve been writing about people, organizations, culture, and the future of work on Talent Vanguard since 2012. I regularly speak on these and other topics.

In 2018, as the #MeToo movement gained momentum, I founded the Aperta Project, an initiative aimed at helping organizations rethink sexual harassment. I want to help leaders and the HR profession broaden our understanding of this issue to see it as a complex, systemic problem, invite employee voices into the conversation about prevention and support, and to recognize that our traditional approach (policies, compliance training, and investigations) is based on a legal compliance and risk mitigation framework, and will not prevent sexual harassment in our workplaces.

You can find our more about the Aperta Project, and my collaboration with researchers at the Cynefin Centre on the Toronto Tech Study here

Connect with me

Twitter: @JanewatsonHR


About Talent Vanguard

van·guard [van-gahrd] noun  1. the forefront in any movement, field, activity, or the like.   2. the leaders of any intellectual or political movement.

I started this blog because my friends and family got tired of listening to me opine about all things people and organization related. And I guess this is the part where I’m supposed to convince you that I know what I’m talking about… The thing is, the more I learn and experience, the more I become aware of how little I (and we, really) know for certain about humans and work. So instead, let me tell you what interests me:

  • Organizations as complex systems
  • Evidence based management
  • Power in organizations
  • Overt and covert group dynamics
  • The gap between knowing and doing (intention vs action) as a critical constraint on strategy, leadership, and engagement
  • The tension between needing structure/process (to deliver consistency) and needing to be flexible enough to react to unique and complex conditions
  • How organizations and individuals can cope and thrive in the face of complexity and information overload

Saying that work is changing rings a bit hollow; it’s always changing. Yet it’s true that we are grappling with new, exciting, and sometimes scary shifts in the economy, our society, and technology, and that these are having a significant and complicated impact on how we work together. It’s a fascinating time.

Some Important Disclaimers:

  • The opinions shared here are my own personal opinions. They don’t represent, or even always align, with the views of my employer or the organizations I am associated with.
  • I change my mind regularly when I encounter new information or experiences that cause me to reevaluate my viewpoints. So, sometimes I disagree with past posts I’ve written.
  • The best ideas are those that withstand dissection, rigorous debate, and educated disagreement. Sometimes I argue a point to decide if I agree with it or not. So don’t take things too seriously, and feel free to (respectfully) disagree with me.
  • I don’t promote ideas, sites, people, or books on this blog unless I decide to do so independently, for no personal benefit. Nor do I accept requests to profile services, products, or anything really (although if you want to send me a puppy, or some cheese I may reconsider).


3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Hi Jane – I saw this on LinkedIn front page and thought of you, given your background and interest in anthropology…

    March 15, 2013
  2. Dan #

    And!!! You should have mentioned, without being too specific maybe, that you have lived overseas! Wonderful to connect a bit with your Mom recently. Great hearing of your successes!!!

    August 8, 2013
  3. Jane, I don’t get to all of your posts, but I always enjoy your candid and fresh approach when I do. Of course, it helps that I generally agree with you. Too often discussions about culture fail to consider basic functional and process impediments to people making the contributions they would dearly love to make. I also find value in helping people see when people are wrapping themselves in the culture flag as a way to avoid tough choices or excuse simple bad behavior.

    July 17, 2017

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