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Director of HR, Ghertner & Co.
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When Dennis Stull’s daughter was diagnosed with a mental disability in second grade, his dreams of watching her perform in the high school musical or making the honor roll were dashed.
But he soon realized that she was capable of more compassion than many people.
“A few years later, when I sat down to tell her I was gay, she just patted my hand and said, ‘It’s all right, Dad. I already knew.’ No judgment. No negativity. Just compassion and love,” Stull recalls. “I realized that if I could look at the workplace and the world through her eyes, I could make a difference, not only in her life, but in the lives of others who are marginalized because they are different.”
Stull is director-elect of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Tennessee State Council and immediate past president of SHRM’s Middle Tennessee chapter, where he has worked to develop greater collaboration on diversity and inclusion issues. In 2013, the Tennessee State Council honored Stull with the James House Williamson Award for his contributions to HR. That year, he shaved his head to fulfill a pledge he made to encourage the Middle Tennessee chapter’s board to meet its stretch goals.
“One should never underestimate the power of goal-setting with volunteers,” he says.
What’s your work philosophy?
Give more than you take, provide superior service, help someone along the way, and above all respect people’s differences, even when they don’t make sense to you or are in conflict with your personal beliefs.
What special interests outside HR do you have?
Adjunct faculty work; photography; sharing musical experiences with my husband, William; and looking for “cloud creatures and characters” with my daughter, Kathryn.
Why did you decide to get the SHRM certification?
For the same reason I chose to get an MBA rather than a master’s in HR—because I needed to be able to tie HR competencies back to business objectives if I planned to gain credibility in the business world.
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