Senior Alum Profile - August 2022

Tammy Heermann

I was a young kid from a small city in rural Canada, and LSE opened my eyes to the world.

 tammy pix

  • Programme studied: MSc Personnel Management and Industrial Relations 
  • Year of Graduation: 1997
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Tammy Heermann (nee Kramchynski) studied MSc Personnel Management and Industrial Relations in 1997 at LSE. Author, speaker, and leadership development expert that is reshaping opportunities for women in the workplace. Tammy is on a mission to do away with the age-old stereotype of ‘think manager, think male’ to Think Leadership. Think Female.

How was your experience of studying at LSE?

My time at LSE was transformational and changed how I view the world. I was a young kid from a small city in rural Canada, and LSE opened my eyes to the world. LSE allowed me to study global perspectives with international scholars, students, and prominent speakers. My thinking was challenged in ways I hadn’t experienced previously.

Tell us about your career journey after graduating.

For over twenty years, I have focused on the development of leaders and the past decade, specifically on women’s leadership advancement.

After LSE, I began my career at Midland Walwyn (Merrill Lynch), training newly hired financial advisors. Then I was enticed by the burgeoning technology sector and worked with organisations now known as Salesforce and Autodesk, where I built the employee and leadership development function from the ground up. Next, I transitioned to a Global Talent Management Consulting Firm where I worked with clients in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. There I held executive roles as Vice President, Global Leadership Development, Senior Vice President of Leadership Transformation, and Global Practice Lead for Women in Leadership.

After thirteen years in consulting, I decided to create my own practice focused on the advancement of women and the leaders that support them. I spend my days delivering keynotes, workshops, and high-potential programmes for women and the managers that support them.

What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve received?

I have been fortunate to benefit from the wisdom of several mentors over my career. But I will share advice that may help all the high-performing LSE alumni who may read this. Early in my career as a consultant, my boss said to me, “Tammy, your good, is most people’s excellent. You can’t do everything and need to learn where to spend your time.” It challenged me to keep perfectionist tendencies at bay, prioritise and delegate more, and stave off burnout. 

What’s the greatest challenge you’ve had to overcome?
Writing my book, Reframe Your Story: Real Talk for Women Who Want to Let Go, Do Less and Be More—Together, was my most significant professional challenge to date. Writing the book was intellectually challenging, but I underestimated how emotionally challenging it would be. The book focuses on the internal barriers to advancement that women face. As I wrote it, I relived my journey, my successes and shortcomings, and motherhood guilt, and all during the pandemic. It was a cathartic process, and I am proud of the outcome and the impact it has had.
What is your greatest achievement?
Several years ago, I was just getting started with my speaking career. My company got me a spot on a large event stage with over two thousand attendees. I was the only female speaker among five men who were quite well known. There were two top-selling authors, Tom Peters, one of the most influential business thinkers of all time, and Sir Ken Robinson, who was knighted for his contribution to education in the arts. And me. As I stood backstage waiting for my moment, I started to freak out completely. Then I pulled out my mantra—You belong here. What did those other experts know about my topic?  Nothing! Or very little. I belonged there. I had an important message to share with the audience too. When I finished, Sir Ken Robinson smiled and said to me, “you were really good.”
What is your fondest memory of your time at LSE?

Of course, there are the friends and epic parties, but I’ll share a newsletter-appropriate memory that shaped me to this day. I took a new course in the department that focused on the impact of global human resource strategies on business performance. It was a tough course led by a challenging professor. I came from a business background and thought I had an edge, but that wasn’t the case. The professor’s comment on my first paper was, this is nearly exceptional, but there’s not enough you. I knew how to research and write an excellent essay based on others’ thoughts. He didn’t care about that. He challenged me to write what I thought. I worked the hardest in that class, which subsequently became my highest mark. This class was about breaking new ground and exploring our theories. It pushed me to think independently and not fear voicing my point of view. I recall that paper’s comments often when I need to speak up and challenge current thinking.