Driving Growth Through Innovative Talent Development

How Right Management’s Tamar Lion inspires talent transformation for companies around the world

Tamar Lion Right Management
Tamar Lion, Right Management

Emerging from the last decade of economic hurdles and digital upheaval, Tamar Lion is at the forefront to reshape the world of work. As the vice president of talent management for Right Management, Lion is helping Silicon Valley leaders adapt to and prepare for a new environment that is increasingly dependent on the human factor.

“There’s an emerging social component frequently missing from a traditional business mind-set,” Lion explains. “These days, we learn so much from our interactions and experiences with one another that we need to cultivate and value these as contributors to our learning and development. We are focused on disrupting traditional views of training and creatively introducing contemporary solutions that match these new, emerging ways of working.”

As a result, Lion partners with global organizations and leaders to transform business results by creating a culture of ongoing learning and growth. She applies a strategic mind-set to the leadership development pipeline of an organization by building symbiotic relationships between an organization’s business goals and its talent strategy. When successful, that alignment leads to the right people ready for the right challenges at the right time.

Today, Lion has worked with more than three thousand leaders across various industries. A hallmark of her approach is partnering with various Fortune 500 companies to create sustainable business growth through people-first strategies that reshape the workforce and its leadership, which requires an ability to build effective individual relationships and trust quickly.

“Part of helping people evolve as leaders is homing in on how we can help bring forward their authentic selves and how they build trust and connection,” Lion says. “We all bring different stories and struggles to work that aren’t always obvious on the surface, but those experiences make us who we are and create opportunities to connect on a deeper level. When we do this, we know effective relationships grow, and our ability to inspire others increases. This is when meaningful transformation occurs.”

As a first-generation American, Lion credits her family as inspiration for her empathetic approach to leadership development. Her grandparents—both Holocaust survivors—walked for three months from Romania through Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Germany before reaching France to escape persecution. Lion recounts inspiring stories of how her grandmother, a seamstress, fashioned shoes from discarded tires found along the way, as well as her grandfather’s perseverance in the four labor camps he endured before he was twenty-one years of age.

But despite reaching France, their journey to escape persecution did not end there. They boarded a fishing ship to Palestine, and after twenty-nine days at sea, a British Army plane picked them up along with hundreds of others and brought them to a work camp in Cyprus. They remained there, sleeping in tents alongside thousands of others from 1946 to 1948 until the State of Israel was established and they were released.

Their remarkable journey has inspired Lion’s own strong work ethic. As a child, she helped out at the restaurant her grandparents opened in the United States before entering the workforce at the age of fifteen. Those experiences ingrained in her a sound understanding about the importance of independence and a strong work ethic from holding a variety of jobs—from selling used cars to working in retail stores to managing law offices and accounting firms—all fostering advanced people and leadership skills.

So, it only seems fitting that Lion landed at Right Management in 2001, as the talent and career consulting firm champions “people” as its first core value, followed by knowledge and innovation. It’s where she has spent the past eighteen years bringing out the best in people on an individual and organizational level as part of the global workforce evolution.

Since its founding in 1980, Right Management is the global career and talent development expert within ManpowerGroup, delivering outcome-based leadership assessment and development solutions at a time when talent shortages mandate innovative talent strategy. Supported by ManpowerGroup’s expertise in the future of work—combined with the capabilities of a vanguard leader—Right Management is known for scalable, global delivery in talent and career management, with responsive and flexible design and support. The company’s clients span industries such as financial services, healthcare, entertainment, technology, and e-commerce.

“I’m working on global talent development initiatives that inspire leaders to collaborate across large, matrixed environments and build successful organizations that scale and replicate,” Lion says. “I spend a lot of time connecting with my clients to understand the unique context of their culture in the global environment.”

As a lifelong learner, Lion embraces Right Management’s mission to inspire a culture of learning within each organization it serves, which fuels the agility that companies need to adapt to the evolving needs not only of its customers, but also its employees. “The face of talent is different today in terms of what people expect—how they want to feel rewarded or contribute to success,” Lion says. “Organizations are complex systems, but they’re still made up of people.”

Change management is essential in the talent and career management life cycle, says Lion, who collaborates frequently with heads of innovative organizations. Her partnership with senior business leaders includes facilitation, coaching, and advisory roles, all of which are designed to support and cultivate apt navigators of change with the right skills and strategic focus needed to embrace opportunities and lead their organizations into the future.

“Establishing trust with key leaders is fundamental,” Lion says. “Every engagement I work through is about understanding what’s important for the business and how we can help facilitate a pathway to success for realizing those goals.”

To do so, Lion brings clarity and prioritization to the leadership development pipeline of an organization by establishing a clear connection between business goals and the talent strategy. The puzzle begins with the diagnostic process, as Lion first identifies an organization’s big picture talent gaps and desired growth trajectory. Next, she works with the organization’s leaders to design specific strategies that mobilize talent in support of company objectives, from developing an engaged, skilled workforce to planning a stronger chain of succession.

In fact, she recalls a rewarding experience partnering with a global client encountering leadership skills gaps due to a rapidly growing business. Lion’s team created a series of targeted development initiatives to accelerate leadership impact of high potential people managers through enhanced coaching and cross-functional collaboration skills. As Lion explains, the client was seeking a strategic thought partner that could design and fully implement a progressive talent development approach at scale with a diverse global audience.

“I remember thinking, what a great opportunity my team and I had to make an impact on this thriving business and at an individual leader level,” she says. After providing more than 1,800 participants with a variety of leadership development opportunities, including assessments and coaching, impact studies showed an ROI of more than four to one per participant.

To this day, Lion stays connected with many of the leaders whom she has coached and supported along the way. She also cites the emails and LinkedIn notifications from leaders who continue to grow and evolve in their careers as the reward for her contributions. “Those moments underscore the impact and the power we have as people to empower and support others,” Lion says. “When someone is at a critical stage—whether in life, their career, or other times—we all have the opportunity to help them through those transitions in a
meaningful way.”

At Right Management, many of her initial client engagements have grown into much longer relationships with work surfacing throughout the organization—some of which last more than ten years. And with the help of Lion and her team, those companies are armed with the right “people-first philosophy” that will help them thrive as employers of choice no matter what the future holds.

Photo: Erin Wyatt