cover art for  Humanizing Human Resources: How Cardinal Health Prioritized People During the Pandemic

The Talent Economy Podcast

Humanizing Human Resources: How Cardinal Health Prioritized People During the Pandemic

Season 2, Ep. 23

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced all sectors to change, but perhaps none has been affected more than healthcare. To keep employees motivated, Cardinal Health, one of the country’s largest healthcare companies,  established a sense of belonging by creating a culture of transparency and communication. This led to a robust hybrid work environment, cohesive company mergers, and an increase in retention and diversity.

Ola Snow began her career with Cardinal Health nearly 20 years ago as regional director of the pharmaceutical segment’s human resources department. She continued to support other functions, including legal and public affairs, prior to becoming SVP of HR in the medical segment. After six years in this role, Snow became Cardinal Health’s CHRO in 2018.

In this episode, we discuss Snow’s passion for people that started, and continues, with her family. Her father ran local arenas and baseball stadiums and, as a child, she would accompany him to work. These experiences led her to embrace the power of vulnerability and authenticity—qualities that foster an inclusive workplace. Building on such personal anecdotes, Snow segues into Cardinal’s plans for diversity and inclusion, details how she has handled more than 25 mergers and acquisitions, and provides advice on preparing for the workplace of the future. 

Snow is also involved in many community organizations, including the Cardinal Health Foundation, Baxter Credit Union, Ohio State University’s Women and Philanthropy, and the Go Red for Women’s National Leadership Council. She speaks about her passion for Flying Horse Farms, a transformative camp for children with serious illnesses, where she presides as a board member. 

Some Questions Asked:

  • What are the biggest pivots you and your team have made since the pandemic started? (3:17)
  • How do you create a cohesive culture among people with such diverse roles and backgrounds? (9:12)
  • What is Cardinal Health doing to achieve gender parity? (12:29)

In This Episode, You Will Learn:

  • The power of listening to employees to increase employee engagement.
  • How to create a sense of unity when companies merge. .
  • How Cardinal Health’s “Midweek Moment” aids in retention. 


More episodes

View all episodes

  • 56. Warner Music Group: Working in Harmony

    HR leadership is the silent composer of a successful music industry. In this episode, Warner Music Group’s Masha Osherova discusses leading a company filled with creative ambition and shaping the future of music with HR.One of the “big three” recording companies in the music industry, Warner Music Group operates in over 50 countries and represents major artists such as Red Hot Chili Peppers, Dua Lipa, and Ed Sheeran. In 2021, Warner Music Group won the Diversity in the Workplace accolade at the Women in Music Awards.As Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer, Masha Osherova has been instrumental in crafting a culture that matches Warner Music Group’s creative aspirations. Since joining the company in 2006, Osherova has overseen all aspects of Warner Music Group’s people functions worldwide.On the podcast, Osherova joins Toptal’s Michelle Labbe to discuss curating a creative ecosystem that supports artists from breakthrough to stardom.Some Questions Asked:How does Warner Music Group support flexible work arrangements while continuing to foster an in-person creative culture among its employees?What innovative approaches has Warner Music Group taken to identify and attract top talent in a competitive industry?What music-related perks does Warner Music Group offer to its staff?In This Episode, You Will Learn:How a STEM education can provide the skills needed for success in HR.What challenges arise when trying to align the needs of creative professionals with the business objectives of HR.How to address employee mental health through proactive leadership.Links:Masha Osherova - LinkedInWarner Music Group - LinkedInMichelle Labbe - LinkedInToptal - LinkedInThe Talent Economy Podcast
  • 55. Upstart: Mission-driven Leadership

    HR leadership is evolving in the digital world. Upstart Chief People Officer, Becca Gelenberg, joins the podcast to discuss pioneering talent strategies that embrace AI, flexibility, and remote work. Upstart launched its AI-based lending platform in 2012 with the ambitious goal to improve access to credit for all. Its advanced technology helped the company win the 2022 National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions Services Innovation Award and earn a market capitalization of over $2 billion as a public company. With leadership experience from global tech companies including Google and HP, Gelenberg guides Upstart’s innovative approach to work and recruitment while ensuring her HR strategies align with the company’s business goals.Speaking with Toptal’s Michelle Labbe, Gelenberg discusses her commitment to employee empowerment and how Upstart retains a competitive advantage as the AI marketplace grows increasingly competitive.Some Questions Asked:How do Upstart’s HR management and business strategies differ from tech giants like Google and HP?Which AI tools does Upstart use for people operations and how does it impact the employee experience?How does Upstart’s “digital-first” company culture differ from other hybrid models?In This Episode, You Will Learn:How a liberal arts background can help with HR management and analysis of employee performance.What to consider in a strategic HR plan for scaling a company.Why the shift to remote work may influence traditional workplace hierarchies and leadership perceptions.Links:Becca Gelenberg - LinkedInUpstart - LinkedInMichelle Labbe - LinkedInToptal -
  • 54. Comcast: Leading With Integrity

    Founded in 1963, Comcast has grown into a leading global media and technology company with hundreds of millions of customers and viewers across its range of products and services. With its blend of innovative technology and captivating entertainment, Comcast provides a collaborative, forward-thinking work environment, which achieved ninth place on Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list in 2023.As Executive Vice President of Human Resources for the company’s connectivity and platforms division—including Comcast Xfinity, one of the largest Internet providers in the US—Bill Strahan has been at the forefront of delivering an ambitious employee benefits package and ensuring Comcast continues to innovate. Drawing on his three decades of HR expertise, Strahan speaks to Toptal’s Chief People Officer Michelle Labbe about the universal truths of his profession and how to lead the way with integrity.Some Questions Asked:How does Comcast contribute to fostering an innovative corporate culture?Why are Comcast jobs well suited for millennials and younger talent?How will AI innovation impact the HR function?In This Episode, You Will Learn:Why the most critical element of HR is “allowing people to reinvent themselves.”How Comcast’s Project UP aims to achieve digital equity across the US.How Comcast chooses the employee benefits to include in its range of work perks, including tuition reimbursement, theme park tickets, pet insurance, and employee assistance programs.Links:Bill Strahan - LinkedInComcast - LinkedInMichelle Labbe - LinkedInToptal -
  • 53. FedEx: People, Service, and Profit

    Founded in 1973, the FedEx corporation has become one of the world’s largest transportation companies. Delivering in more than 220 countries and holding a valuation of $90 billion, FedEx attributes its success to a simple philosophy of “People, Service, Profit.” These three words embody a cycle: Employees deliver on services that generate profits, and FedEx reinvests these profits into the workforce.Mike Lauderdale’s understanding of the company’s operations is invaluable. After 40 years at FedEx, he is currently serving as Vice President of Human Resources. In a conversation with Toptal Chief People Officer, Michelle Labbe, Lauderdale explains how the company culture has changed during his time with FedEx, and how it has maintained its people-centric mantra amid a rapidly changing industry.Some Questions Asked:How has FedEx’s culture evolved over the four decades that Mike Lauderdale has been with the company?How is FedEx using AI and robotics to optimize its operations?What strategies does FedEx employ to foster career mobility and development?In This Episode, You Will Learn:How corporate programs can improve staff retention.How to communicate a people-first philosophy that engages talent.How remote working can enhance connectivity across all company tiers.Links:Mike Lauderdale - LinkedInFedEx - LinkedInMichelle Labbe - LinkedInToptal - LinkedInThe Talent Economy Podcast
  • 52. Travel, Talent, and Transformation

    Spanning more than 220 countries and territories, provides millions of unforgettable journeys with its straightforward travel and accommodation services every year. A team of hybrid employees enables its customers’ adventures and has contributed to a thriving workplace. was recognized for providing the Best Leadership Teams and Best Global Culture in 2023 by Comparably, a site for employees to rate companies. It was also included on Fortune’s World’s Most Admired Companies list for 2024 and was named one of Forbes’ World’s Best Employers in 2023. As Chief People Officer and SVP, Paulo Pisano guides the exceptional work environment at Arriving at the company in early 2020—just as the pandemic began to cause significant upheaval in the tourism industry—Pisano helped employees navigate this turbulent period and flourish in a new hybrid work setting. Since 2021, he has also served as Executive Vice President and CHRO of Booking Holdings, the parent company for, KAYAK, OpenTable, Priceline and Agoda.Joining Michelle Labbe on The Talent Economy podcast, Pisano talks about what he has learned over the last few years, his expectations for the future, and how the experiences and cultural enrichment that provides to its customers plays into company culture.Some Questions Asked:What unique travel benefits and experiences does offer to its employees?How does maintain and promote a unified company culture across its diverse portfolio of brands?How does intend to utilize AI?In This Episode, You Will Learn:Why benefits from hiring early-career talent.How to coordinate a global workforce in a hybrid environment. How managing the HR of a parent company offers different challenges and opportunities than other HR roles.Links:Paulo Pisano - - LinkedInMichelle Labbe - LinkedInToptal - LinkedInThe Talent Economy podcast
  • 51. IBM: Fostering Innovation and Inclusion

    Founded in 1911, IBM has been at the center of the dynamic technology industry for decades. With more than 285,000 employees in over 175 countries, IBM maintains its position as a global leader and excels on the frontiers of hybrid cloud technology and artificial intelligence. The company's commitment to employee satisfaction has earned IBM a place on Forbes' Top 500 Best Companies for Diversity in 2023, a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index, and five stars on Newsweek's 2023 list of America's Greatest Workplaces for Diversity. IBM's dedication to innovation also extends to workplace culture, diversity, and inclusivity.Kitty Chaney Reed, IBM’s Chief Leadership, Culture, and Inclusion Officer, brings over 25 years of technology and business experience to the role. Chaney-Reed has consistently championed workplace diversity and inclusion, leading a global team in addressing societal issues that impact IBM employees and their communities. Her accomplishments include being an alumnus of the Distinguished Leadership Atlanta program, receiving the Georgia Diversity Council's 2015 Most Powerful and Influential Woman Award, and serving on IBM's Black Executive Council. Chaney Reed is dedicated to cultivating an inclusive environment and leveraging the strengths of a diverse workforce to create a workplace where employees can thrive.Some Questions Asked:How does a diverse workforce foster continuous innovation? How has a history of more women in meaningful roles affected IBM's culture?Will AI impact job opportunities in the future?In This Episode You Will Learn: How companies can address societal issues affecting their employees and communities.How a robust mentorship and supportive culture allows employees to connect with mentors and peers, aiding career navigation and personal growth.How AI will enable employees to upskill and engage in higher-value tasks.Links: Kitty Chaney Reed - LinkedInMichelle Labbe - LinkedInToptal - LinkedInThe Talent Economy podcast
  • 50. Instacart: The Recipe for Remote Success

    Instacart is a same-day grocery delivery service that seeks to make grocery shopping accessible to everyone. Founded in 2012, Instacart experienced exponential growth during the COVID-19 pandemic and became a household name as the general public turned to the service amid lockdowns and social distancing measures. During the first two months of the pandemic, Instacart delivered more food than Walmart. Today, Instacart serves customers across the US and Canada, offering an extensive network of more than 1,200 retailers and spanning more than 80,000 locations. Instacart’s people-centric company culture has been recognized as one of the best places to work in the Bay Area. With a flexible remote work policy, take-what-you-need vacation time, and a “Four Year Fill-Up” program that provides four weeks off after four years of employment, the company continues to be forward-thinking in its employee support and talent approach.Christina Hall joined Instacart in 2020 as the company’s first CHRO. With more than 20 years of experience in HR, she has worked with renowned tech leaders like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Intuit. At Instacart, Christina is instrumental in driving the company’s growth and well-being while ensuring a thriving work culture for its employees and independent contractors.Some Questions Asked:How have you seen the talent landscape change throughout your career?As Instacart’s first CHRO, what steps did you take to establish the role and the culture?What is Flex First and what tools do you have in place to support your Flex First workers?In This Episode, You Will Learn:How a company’s values can be centered around a love for food.How a bespoke well-being approach can rejuvenate employees.How the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically changed the landscape for Instacart.Links:Christina Hall - LinkedInMichelle Labbe - LinkedInToptal - LinkedInThe Talent Economy podcast
  • 49. LVMH: Preserving Heritage, Inspiring Innovation

    Gena Smith, Chief Human Resources Officer of LVMH North America, joined Michelle Labbe, Chief People Officer of Toptal, on the latest episode of The Talent Economy podcast.LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, is a renowned luxury goods conglomerate headquartered in Paris. The company’s diverse portfolio of brands includes household names such as Moët & Chandon, Hennessy, Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Fendi, Givenchy, Dom Pérignon, and TAG Heuer. LVMH operates as an ecosystem where each brand maintains its unique DNA and heritage while benefiting from synergies within the group.Smith plays a key role in fostering LVMH’s signature culture of creative excellence among the company’s 40,000 North American employees. Prior to joining LVMH in 2011, she spent more than a decade working closely with leading retail and luxury brands through notable industry consultancies. Based in New York City, Smith also serves on the board of the Fashion Scholarship Fund, a nonprofit association that supports young talent as they seek to realize their career ambitions in the fashion industry.Some Questions Asked:How is LVMH leaning into internal mobility?How do you make employees feel safe enough to take creative risks and contribute their ideas?How do you ensure that LVMH’s heritage brands remain relevant and inspire people today, while still honoring their history?In This Episode You Will Learn:The core values of LVMH and how they are honored.How LVMH manages talent and creativity by engaging the next generation of craftsmen in the luxury industry via programs like Métiers d’Excellence, DARE, internal mobility and much more.How LVMH maintains its dedication toward diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I).Links:Gena Smith - LinkedInMichelle Labbe - LinkedInToptal - LinkedInThe Talent Economy podcast
  • 48. VMware: Unlocking Human Potential With AI

    Laura Heisman, VMware’s Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer , and Michelle Labbe, Toptal’s Chief People Officer, met at Collision 2023 in Toronto to discuss VMware’s core principles and the latest developments in AI and the tech industry.VMware is a leading software company that specializes in virtualization and cloud computing solutions. With a keen eye on innovation, VMware has established itself as a trusted partner for organizations worldwide.As one of its leading lights, Laura Heisman has played a pivotal role in shaping VMware’s marketing vision and driving impactful initiatives. Heisman is a highly accomplished technology executive with more than three decades of experience in marketing and communications. Her leadership philosophy revolves around communicating effectively, unlocking human potential through generative AI, and fostering community. Heisman’s dynamism and commitment to innovation continue to shape VMware and drive its success in the tech landscape.Some Questions Asked: Should humans fear AI replacing jobs? How do Heisman’s three core principles of communication, human potential, and community tie into VMware's overall strategy?How does VMware create and foster a sense of community?In this Episode You Will Learn: How AI is an accelerant of human potential.Why companies such as VMware should focus on building communities rather than just marketing to developers. How job roles will adapt as AI continues its rapid progression.Links: Laura Heisman - LinkedInMichelle Labbe - LinkedInToptal - LinkedInThe Talent Economy podcast