CHRO Ginger Gregory sweetens the role of HR at the iconic brand by ensuring the best team is in place and ready to meet business needs.
Her real love was psychology, but Ginger Gregory was entertaining the idea of studying business in college; she credits a fateful phone call with her older sister for giving her the nudge she needed in that direction.
It was a good move. Her first few jobs doing analytical work and statistics revealed a passion for organizational effectiveness, and she earned a graduate degree in organizational and industrial psychology. After college she began working for a small boutique consulting firm in Chicago conducting executive assessments, executive coaching, team building and training.
“I loved it because I was very interested in human behavior and what motivated people to act in certain ways,” she said. “It was helping people understand themselves, giving them feedback and coaching and in many cases teaching people how to be more effective in the workplace.”
While she enjoyed it, consulting proved to be a bit mismatched for Gregory’s lifestyle; her son was young and, ready for a change, she was recruited to global biopharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb to work in leadership development.
A job as an HR generalist at health care company Novo Nordisk followed, and there she acted as the HR business partner to the president. The role enabled her to forge a close connection to multiple areas of the business. Rather than running one facet of talent management such as leadership development, she was able to take a business problem and see what aspect of HR could be used to fix it. “I liked having all the tools in my toolbox to help the business be more successful,” she said.
Gregory later gained other HR leadership experiences in the United States and Europe. Now, as senior vice president and chief human resources officer for Dunkin’ Brands Inc., Gregory leads the overall HR function, which includes supporting 665 internal corporate employees as well as 662 employees in the company’s field organization — field trainers, operations managers and field marketing. Dunkin’s learning organization also reports to Gregory, and it provides learning to some 2,000 franchisees and licensees around the world.