Not a Member? Get access to HR news and resources that you can trust.
Here is how HR can help prevent the missteps that could cost your company big in court.
Is your employee handbook ready for the changing world of work? With SHRM’s Employee Handbook Builder get peace of mind that your handbook is up-to-date.
60+ new SHRM Seminar dates in 10 U.S. cities and virtually.
Expand your influence and learn how to become an effective leader -- Join us in Phoenix, AZ, October 2-4, 2017.
Strategic HR Leadership Award
Liz Gottung has a unique resume for a chief HR officer. She took a detour away from HR and spent several years on the manufacturing side as a plant manager.
After joining Kimberly-Clark (K-C) in 1981 as an employee relations counselor, during her first 10 years at the company, Gottung held positions in labor relations, recruiting, training and safety in a number of Kimberly-Clark offices and manufacturing facilities.
But she also has an extensive background in manufacturing, having been a team leader for tissue manufacturing at K-C's Lakeview mill in Neenah, Wis. Shortly thereafter, she moved to another K-C facility as operations manager and, in 1993, became a plant manager in New Milford, Conn. In 1997, Gottung was named manager of the company's Nonwovens mill in Corinth, Miss., where she was responsible for a significant machine retooling. During this time, the Corinth mill was recognized by the governor of Mississippi for exceeding environmental standards and for an exceptional training and development program.
In 2001, Gottung was named Kimberly-Clark's vice president of human resources and was appointed to her current position in 2002.
How has her background as a mill manager helped in her top HR role? "I had been very quick to give advice and counsel to people who then would turn to me and say, 'Yes, but you know what, you don't have to implement this.' So when I had an opportunity to move from HR into manufacturing, I knew it would be a broadening experience that would add to my toolkit and provide insight that I didn't have. And that's exactly what happened."
Running a plant, she says, "is a great place to see where the human capital strategy of a company becomes real. It can drive engagement and business performance, or not. You have full line responsibilities, from the budget to employee safety and morale, community affairs, environmental and regulatory compliance. And when I came back into HR, I had developed a substantial network of people in different functions throughout the company. It gave me additional credibility and access, and provided a full-business perspective I could then bring back into HR."
Stephen Miller is manager of SHRM Online’s Compensation & Benefits Focus Area.
You have successfully saved this page as a bookmark.
Please confirm that you want to proceed with deleting bookmark.
You have successfully removed bookmark.
Please log in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Your session has expired. Please log in again before saving bookmarks.
Please purchase a SHRM membership before saving bookmarks.
An error has occurred
Recommended for you
Choose from dozens of free webcasts on the most timely HR topics.
SHRM’s HR Vendor Directory contains over 3,200 companies