Ron Cardenas

My name is Ron Cardenas, and I’m a passionate Human Resources Executive. For the past 11 years, I’ve worked at an agriculture holdings company in Omaha, Nebraska, progressing from Director to Senior Director to Vice President of Human Resources. During my tenure in Omaha, I led a team that developed and implemented employee retention strategies that reduced turnover rates by more than 50% in less than two years. As any knowledgeable HR professional will tell you, employee turnover costs can be detrimental to a company.

I’m originally from Colorado, and before making the leap to Nebraska, I had the pleasure of working at Anadarko Petroleum as Senior HR Manager and Employee Relations Manager. As Senior Human Resources Manager at Sun Microsystems, I created and launched talent strategies for 900 employees across the U.S., Europe, and Asia.

On a personal note, while I’m currently based in Omaha, Nebraska, I have deep roots in Colorado and see myself retiring to the Rocky Mountains when the time is right.

What has been one insight or lesson that has been most helpful in your career?

I think a couple of primary insights are that it’s important always to be learning. To be successful in any career, a person has to develop relationships and leverage the complementary skills of people in the company, whether an executive or an entry-level position.

Project forward ten years. How will your industry or field be fundamentally different then? What opportunities do you see?

I think the regulatory landscape will continue to evolve in a way that will add more obstacles and costs to employing people. Consequently, companies will have to stay ahead of those with people strategies that give them a competitive advantage.

What are some bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?

On the heels of COVID-19, I hear a lot of companies state that work-from-home is the wave of the future. While that may be effective for some industries and disciplines, for the most part, I believe in-person collaboration gives organizations a competitive advantage.

In the last two years, what have you become better at saying no to?

Doing projects or tasks that are better suited for others on the team with the ‘comparative advantage’ for doing those tasks.

What is the one book you recommend most often and why?

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People because the principles outlined in the book are proven, basic, and easy to understand. They also stand the test of time.

What advice would you give a smart and ambitious recent college graduate? What advice should they ignore?

The best advice would be to learn a breadth of skills and continue to build a ‘pyramid’ of knowledge.

What is your favorite quote, one you aim to live by?

Quote by Maya Angelou… “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”