HR Passion Series  #11: Featuring Jessica Sica-Aviles, VP of Talent Management at The ALS Group

HR Passion Series #11: Featuring Jessica Sica-Aviles, VP of Talent Management at The ALS Group

September 4, 2018 | Rob Catalano

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Welcome to the HR Passion Series where we interview esteemed HR Professionals! They’ve been so gracious as to share their advice and insights, and also stories of their origins, successes, and failures. One reason we find this so fascinating is because these are undiluted, unedited perspectives from different individuals on the same HR-centric topics from which we can all learn and grow.

We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.


Today’s guest is Jessica Sica-Aviles, VP of Talent Management at The ALS Group.

The Interview

1. What was your journey coming up to your current HR role? Any milestone moments in your career?

My journey heading into HR came from my management career in retail prior to my current position. I helped source, build, grow, and train big selling teams for flagship locations and found a passion for this side of the business.


2. As an HR leader, what keeps you up at night, rounding out 2018 and looking forward to the next year?

As an HR leader, always making sure I can stimulate culture in a positive way for my team is what keeps me up at night. Keeping things in the environment interesting, motivating, and keeping the learning environment strong.


3. What are some elements of focus for your HR strategy in the coming 12 months?

Maintaining and growing the current team as we help as a unit to grow the business. Keeping a strong focus on a forward looking view.


4. What advice would you give someone going into an HR leadership position for the first time?

Make sure you love working with people because as you recruit, hire and have to have tough conversations you will meet all different personalities, get all different reactions. Making sure you are passionate about what you’re doing is important because every day, every candidate, every employee and every conversation is different. Your team will look to you for guidance and inspiration and you need to bring it to them every day!


5. Is there anything in your career you’re incredibly proud of?

Yes, I am proud of every step. Every position, every company and every environment has taught me something unique and it helps me in my current position today.


6. Is there anything you failed at? Any lessons learned?

There have been a lot of things, especially early on in my management career, that I fumbled on, but they were some of the best learning moments looking back. I try not to look at anything as a major failure because I had some pretty amazing mentors along the way to redirect my focus or coach me on something so I wouldn’t make the same mistake twice. In that respect, I was incredibly lucky.


7. Can you name a person who has had a tremendous impact on you as an HR leader? Maybe someone who has been a mentor to you?

There was a leader I worked below in my last management position in retail, and she probably taught me more in 6 months than some of my past leaders did in 3 years. She was understanding, she was stern, she was humble, and she was always “on”. She set a great example, and her team wanted to work hard for her– she was my biggest impact on wanting to go more into HR. Her passion was contagious.


8. What are you doing to ensure you continue to grow and develop as an HR leader? any resources you’d recommend to HR colleagues?

I read blogs, I talk to my team constantly, I observe the opportunities in my current organization, and my mind is constantly working on how to make things more profitable for my company and better for the team. I ask for feedback all the time, and I truly want it.


9. When you win HR Executive of the year soon, what song do you want playing when you walk up to the stage?

“I’ve Gotta Feeling”


10. What books or podcasts would you recommend to your HR peers?

In my opinion, there is nothing specific you can read or listen to in order to prepare you for a unique employee interaction, but a curious mind goes a long way in the HR profession.


11. Finally, give us three words that you would use to describe the HR profession.

Challenging, Rewarding, and Educational.


And that’s a wrap. We’d like to thank Jessica for joining us on the HR Passion Series.



Rob Catalano

Rob Catalano

Rob Catalano is WorkTango’s Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer. Rob has spent the last 17 years building HR Technology companies.