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    Horace Porrás: Leadership Beyond Boundaries.

    In the vast landscape of multinational corporations, few individuals stand as rockstars, their careers spanning continents, industries, and cultures. Enter Horace O. Porrás, a name synonymous with innovation and leadership in the realm of Human Resources (HR)


    As a Global HR Executive, Horace has left an indelible mark on esteemed organizations such as Schlumberger, American Tower, and Mastercard, threading his expertise across the Americas, Europe, Africa, and Asia. But behind the professional accolades lies a story of resilience and adventure, rooted in the vibrant city of Miami, Florida, where he calls home. Horace’s journey began in New Jersey, against the backdrop of the iconic New York City skyline, where his childhood dreams intertwined with the pulse of urban life. Yet, it was the call of professional exploration that propelled him across continents, from the bustling streets of Buenos Aires to the historic avenues of Brussels. Each chapter of his career unfolded amidst diverse landscapes and challenges, from navigating the complexities of the European Union in Milan to spearheading HR functions in the thriving cities of Bucharest and Rio de Janeiro. And now, settled in Miami for over a decade, Horace continues to redefine the boundaries of HR excellence, charting new territories in the realm of artificial intelligence solutions with his role as Global VP of Human Resources at Afiniti. Join us as we delve into the tapestry of Horace’s experiences, unveiling the wisdom garnered from a life shaped by diversity, determination, and an unwavering commitment to excellence. 

    Horace, you must have a fantastic journey, we would like to get to know you. What is your story? 

    I was born and raised in New Jersey, United States, fostering a deep admiration for New York City. Living just across the Hudson River, accessing Manhattan via the George Washington Bridge or the Lincoln Tunnel became a routine, allowing me to fully immerse myself in the city’s offerings. Later in life, circumstances led me to Buenos Aires, Argentina, where I embarked on my professional journey with Schlumberger, a global leader in technology solutions for the oil and gas industry. As head of HR for the South Cone region, based in Buenos Aires, I encountered unique challenges and rewards. Subsequently, I transitioned to Brussels, Belgium, overseeing global mobility for Schlumberger’s expansive workforce across 80 countries. Relocating again to Milan, Italy, I managed HR functions across 24 countries in continental Europe amidst the complexities of the European Union. Further professional growth led me to Bucharest, Romania, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, before receiving an offer from Cargill in Minnesota, marking a pivotal career shift to lead the Animal Nutrition Division for Latin America. Settling in Miami for the past 14 years, I have contributed to esteemed companies like Mastercard and American Tower, specializing in HR functions for Latin America. Most recently, I had the role of Global VP of Human Resources at Afiniti, focusing on artificial intelligence solutions for customer call centers. 

    We often hear about the importance of work-life balance, but as someone with a rich professional history, how do you personally navigate and advocate for a harmonious integration of career and personal life? 

    Achieving a harmonious balance between my career and personal life has been a significant aspect of my professional journey, though it is certainly no easy feat. Amidst numerous enticing opportunities and a genuine passion for my work, setting boundaries has proven crucial. Establishing clear distinctions between work and personal time, adhering to designated work hours, and consciously unplugging during personal moments are paramount, especially when prioritizing family and self-care. Engaging in activities like exercise, hobbies, and quality time with loved ones ensures I am energized and focused professionally. Efficient time management, particularly utilizing technology, has become increasingly vital, especially during the pandemic, where remote work has thrived. Embracing flexible work arrangements, including remote work and flexible hours, is essential, requiring both adaptability from companies and effective communication among colleagues, superiors, and remote teams, particularly when spanning different time zones. Delegating responsibilities and empowering others fosters a healthy work-life balance, and it is crucial for leaders to exemplify these principles, cultivating a culture where employees feel supported in maintaining their own equilibrium. 

    How do you perceive the current state of alignment between the human resources function related to employee’s development and the core business objectives in today’s globalized and diverse corporate landscape? 

    Certainly, the transformation of the human resources function over the years has been truly remarkable. It has evolved far beyond its historical role as the personnel department, primarily focused on payroll and administration, to now assuming the strategic mantle of a business partner. However, this evolution is an ongoing journey, with HR professionals actively taking a pivotal role in the organization’s success. To achieve this, they must immerse themselves in the intricacies of the business, understanding revenue generation, market dynamics, competitive landscape, and what sets their company apart within the industry. Physically visiting operational hubs, meeting employees face to face, and recognizing their challenges and talents is crucial. HR plays a critical role in crafting and promoting the employer brand, creating a workplace culture that attracts and retains top-tier talent. Identifying potential future leaders, building succession plans, and aligning initiatives with business goals fosters growth and sustainability. Importantly, HR must integrate into the fabric of the organization, aligning its strategies with the company’s vision to ensure effective contribution to business outcomes. Listening to employees’ expectations and perspectives is essential, respecting their needs and integrating them into HR strategies. 

    With your extensive background in global roles, could you share your opinion about a notable gap between the reality of business operations and the strategic focus of the human resources department? 

    Yes, unfortunately, what I have often noticed is that human resources sometimes lacks strategic alignment, meaning that it is not closely attuned to the overall direction of the business. Consequently, HR initiatives fail to directly contribute to organizational goals, creating a disconnect between HR efforts and the broader business strategy. This becomes particularly evident during strategic planning discussions where HR is not present at the table, risking the integration of HR efforts within the broader strategy and missing the opportunity to provide valuable recommendations. Given that companies rely on their people, HR’s absence from these crucial discussions results in a failure to address key business challenges proactively, which undermines HR’s relevance within the company. For instance, if an organization faces talent shortages or skill gaps, HR should be instrumental in developing strategies to address these issues and ensure alignment between the workforce and business needs. Additionally, there is often a lack of focus on future skills and workforce planning, hindering HR’s ability to anticipate the company’s trajectory and prepare for upcoming challenges such as expansion into new business units, locations, or markets. Consequently, HR must strive for visibility into the company’s future direction to effectively add value. Moreover, HR’s role extends beyond administering employee surveys; it entails creating opportunities for collaboration between HR and the business to ensure that employees are equipped with the necessary skills and training to meet future challenges. Given the ever-evolving nature of businesses and the external environment, HR must embrace constant adaptability and learning to remain relevant. Thus, bridging the gap between business operations and HR requires a concerted effort to align HR practices with strategic business objectives, anticipate future workforce needs, and foster a culture of continuous improvement and learning within the organization. 

    Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) has become a critical aspect of HR. In your opinion, how can organizations bridge the gap between HR-driven DE&I programs and their impact on the day-to-day experiences of employees? 

    Bridging the gap between HR-driven diversity, equity, and inclusion programs and their impact on employees’ day-to-day experiences requires an integrated approach. It transcends mere HR initiatives, demanding unwavering commitment and leadership from top management. This commitment should be reflected in embedding diversity and inclusion within the company’s core values and mission, supported by inclusive leader training and the establishment of employee resource groups. Partnering with organizations for surveys aids in understanding specific diversity issues across different geographies, enabling targeted action. Inclusive recruitment practices, including diverse sourcing channels and diverse representation on hiring panels, are vital for attracting and retaining a diverse talent pool. Through a comprehensive and integrated approach encompassing leadership commitment, employee involvement, and measurement, organizations can bridge the gap between diversity and inclusion programs and their real-world impact on employees’ experiences. Individual experiences, such as the one I had managing a diverse team in Brussels, underscore the transformative power of diverse perspectives and cultures in enhancing teamwork and achieving impactful outcomes. Ultimately, fostering a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion not only drives business success but also enhances employee satisfaction, positioning the organization as an employer of choice. 

    What does it mean to you to be a game changer? 

    Being a game changer means having certain qualities and demonstrating specific behaviors that contribute to successfully driving and navigating change within an organization or community. It also involves a combination of leadership qualities, such as effective communication, empathy, adaptability, and a commitment to continuous improvement. However, I believe that to be successful in driving change, it requires an integrated approach that considers both the human and strategic aspects of the transformation process.

    Who is Horace? 

    Where do you live? Miami, Florida 

    Do you have kids? I am a proud parent of two wonderful children, an 18-year-old son, and a 16-year-old daughter. 

    Pets? We have two Maltipoos 

    Favorite Food: Steak, BBQs 

    Hobbies: Traveling with my family; listening to great music; playing tennis. 

    Favorite place in the world: My Home, with my Family; otherwise, New York City. 

    Let’s Rock!  

    How would you describe yourself in one word? Reliable. 

    Favorite movie or TV Show: Despite comedy being my preferred genre, with “The Birdcage” with Robin Williams at the top, my other two favorite movies are “Dead Poets Society” and “The Devil’s Advocate”, together. 

    Favorite Book: “Man’s Search for Meaning”, by Viktor Frankl; “The Four Agreements”, by Don Miguel Ruiz; “Performance at the Limit: Business Lessons from Formula 1 Motor Racing”, by Ken Pasternak 

    If you could turn into an animal, what would it be? A dolphin. 

    Favorite music band or gender: Frank Sinatra, Rolling Stones, Barry White, Phil Collins, Aerosmith. 

    Do you like sports? Are you a fan of a sports team? I like football, soccer, and tennis, to play and watch. Big fan of the New York Giants, in the NFL. 

    What contribution do you feel you make to a better world? I am dedicated to uplifting and guiding others through mentorship and empowerment, striving to create a world where everyone can thrive and contribute positively. I advocate for diversity and inclusion, taking tangible actions to foster an environment where differences are celebrated, believing it leads to stronger communities. Additionally, I am involved in philanthropy with my family, volunteering and supporting organizations addressing social issues aligned with our values, aiming to make a meaningful impact on others’ well-being. 

    One piece of advice that you were given and would give: Be truthful, be honest, be respectful, be empathetic, help others, and always do your best in everything you do. 

    What activity makes you feel calm? Listening to music and sailing. If I can combine both, it will be much better. Enjoying the views from the top of a snowy mountain and breathing that fresh air is also wonderful. 




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