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Linkage, Inc., a SHRM Company, Appoints Tamla Oates-Forney as Chief Executive Officer

ALEXANDRIA, Va – Effective April 1, Linkage, Inc., a SHRM company, announced the appointment of Tamla Oates-Forney as its Chief Executive Officer. Most recently, Tamla served as EVP, Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) for USAA, where as a member of the Executive Council she led USAA’s team of more than 500 HR professionals spanning talent development, talent acquisition, total rewards, HR risks and controls, and employee services for 37,000 teammates.  

“As part of the SHRM family, the Linkage product line plays a pivotal role in changing the face of leadership at all organizational levels. Tamla is ideally suited to lead our work to continue - and expand Linkage’s 35-year heritage of exceptional leadership development,” shared Nick Schacht, Chief Commercial Officer, SHRM.

Prior to joining USAA, Tamla served as Senior Vice President and Chief People Officer at WM (previously Waste Management). She spent the majority of her career at General Electric, where she held multiple leadership roles, including HR Leader for GE Africa, Chief Diversity Officer for GE Appliances and Lighting, and Vice President of HR for GE Energy Connections.

“I am profoundly honored to lead Linkage,” shared Oates-Forney. “Together, SHRM and Linkage ensure that HR professionals, business executives, and policymakers are better positioned to excel in the workplace with exclusive access to more data insights, business tools, and top-notch leadership development programming. Retiring as a 2X CHRO, becoming the CEO of Linkage is not only an honor, but a natural evolution of where my purpose, passion, and professional experience align. I stand ready to advance women and accelerate inclusion in leaders and organizations.”

Tamla is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. A renowned expert in her field, she has received multiple honors including being featured in The New York Times, Fast Company, The Network Journal’s 25 Influential Black Women in Business and Savoy’s 2020 Most Influential Black Executives in Corporate America. She is also a member of the Executive Leadership Council (ELC), a network of black CEOs and business leaders who support the development of diverse talent and the promotion of social justice.

About Linkage

Linkage is a global leadership development firm committed to advancing women and accelerating inclusion in leaders and organizations, trusted by more than 250 clients across industries. For more than 30 years, Linkage has been changing the face of leadership by impacting organizational effectiveness and equity. Through their work with more than one million leaders, Linkage continues to evolve their unique datasets, insights, and innovative products to create comprehensive solutions—empowering top organizations to solve their most pressing talent challenges.

About SHRM

SHRM is a member-driven catalyst for creating better workplaces where people and businesses thrive together. As the trusted authority on all things work, SHRM is the foremost expert, researcher, advocate, and thought leader on issues and innovations impacting today’s evolving workplaces. With nearly 340,000 members in 180 countries, SHRM touches the lives of more than 362 million workers and their families globally. Discover more at