30 Under 30: Sarah O'Neill

Meet the Millennials who are leading HR into the future.

By Christina Folz Nov 23, 2016
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Sarah O’NeillSarah O’Neill counsels her former colleagues at Capstone Logistics LLC about HR, even though she left the company a year ago. “They still call me on a regular basis,” she says. Sometimes they ask her how to handle a certain manager; other times, they just want to share good news. “One woman I mentored let me know she got promoted to run the department after I left,” she says. “It feels good to have an impact.” The editors at Forbes take O’Neill’s advice seriously as well; she’s a contributing writer there and a founding member of its HR Council. 

Given how much the 27-year-old accomplished in three whirlwind years, it’s no wonder the folks at Capstone seek her out. During a tenure that started at Pinnacle Workforce Logistics, which merged with Capstone in 2015, she helped the third-party logistics company through a name change, an acquisition, a merger and a period of steep growth. Hired as one of two generalists in 2013, she was promoted to manage a team of six a year later. Then, shortly after the merger, she became manager of talent acquisition with responsibility for 19 recruiters and generalists, an $800,000 budget, and staffing 350 warehouses with rapidly changing labor needs.

Her current gig is as human resources director with Digital Trends, an online content provider in Portland, Ore., that highlights technology trends through reviews, how-to videos and guides, and new product alerts. As the 93-employee company’s first full-time HR professional, she implemented an applicant tracking system, a digitized time clock that feeds into payroll, and a module to standardize performance data and automatically link it to annual increases. 

What makes her proud 

“My project management ability as well as managing a team and priorities. I love helping people understand things while also enabling the company to operate better. My attitude is ‘Yes, let’s help employees, but let’s also help ourselves!’ ” 

What’s next

“I want to continue working in HR and learning and growing in my company. Ultimately, I’d love to get to the CHRO level.”

Millennial challenges

“Establishing credibility is something my generation struggles with. We have to prove we can use information in a strategic way and are not just doing paperwork.” 

Back to full 30 under 30 list.

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