In the constantly evolving space of human resources, few leaders stand out for their ability to overcome obstacles, motivate their teams, and deliver significant results. Lisa I. Perez, Founder and CEO of HBL Resources, Inc., represents such leadership. Her journey from humble beginnings to a respected human resources consultant is both illuminating and inspiring, making her one of the most influential HR executives of 2024. We explore Lisa’s entrepreneurial journey, the foundation of HBL Resources, and her forward-thinking perspective on the HR industry in this feature.

Seeds of Inspiration: From Brooklyn to Boardrooms

Lisa’s entrepreneurial spirit was ignited at a young age. Growing up, she was motivated by her father, who owned a small business. “I knew at the age of eight that I was going to own a business one day,” she recalls. This early goal paved the way for her future accomplishments.

Lisa’s career began in the legal profession, where she worked as a receptionist and legal secretary. Despite the promising start, she found the work unfulfilling owing to its lack of human interaction. “I wanted more people interaction, something beyond just paperwork,” she explains. This revelation prompted her to enter the hospitality sector, which brought her closer to her passion for working with people.

A Pivotal Leap into HR

The pivotal moment in Lisa’s career came when she stumbled upon a role in human resources. Working as an administrative assistant in HR, she found the perfect blend of people interaction and administrative tasks. “I fell into human resources and have loved it ever since. It was the perfect mix of people and paperwork, and it kept me engaged with new challenges every day,” she shares.

This discovery marked the beginning of her now, 34-year-long journey in HR, where she continuously honed her skills and adapted to the evolving industry landscape. From managing HR processes in hospitality to addressing employee needs with empathy and professionalism, Lisa’s career reflects her dedication to transforming HR practices.

The Genesis of HBL Resources: A Dream Realized

The entrepreneurial dream that started in childhood came to fruition in 2011 when Lisa founded HBL Resources, Inc. Despite early attempts and setbacks, her determination never wavered. “I knew I wanted to start my own business, but I needed the right skills and experience,” she recalls.

HBL Resources, Inc. focuses on providing comprehensive HR solutions with a mission of “Transforming the Human in Human Resources®.” “Our mission is ensuring that no matter how tough the conversation, every employee walks out of their manager’s office with their dignity intact,” she emphasizes. This philosophy underscores her commitment to maintaining empathy and respect in all HR interactions, a principle she believes is crucial for effective management.

Navigating the Entrepreneurial Storms

Entrepreneurship is fraught with challenges, and Lisa’s journey is no exception. She attributes much of her success to fundamental philosophies like prioritization and action. “First things first”, as Stephen Covey says. Prioritizing and shifting paradigms to meet the needs of various roles we play is critical,” she notes. Action, she believes, is essential for turning dreams into reality. “A dream without action is just a dream. Every day, do something toward your goal,” she advises.

Lisa also highlights the importance of asking for help and being resourceful. “If you don’t ask, you don’t get. It’s about reaching out for the resources and information needed to succeed,” she says. Her ability to navigate these challenges has not only shaped her entrepreneurial path but also reinforced her belief in the value of mentorship and support networks.

Navigating a male-dominated industry posed additional challenges for Lisa.

Being a short, Afro-Latina woman, she often felt the need to prove her capabilities. “I made sure to stay top of game, know my industry inside out, and be best in class. It’s about earning credibility and providing value to those you support and serve,” she asserts. Her dedication to continuous learning and maintaining her HR certifications has been pivotal in establishing her authority and breaking through the career barriers.

Redefining Success: From Climbing Ladders to Building Bridges

For Lisa, the definition of success has evolved significantly over the years. In her early career, success was defined by climbing the corporate ladder and achieving professional milestones. “Early in my career, success was defined by professional advancement,” she explains.

However, her perspective shifted as she balanced her career with raising her children as a single mother. “There was a time when my family had to take a back seat to my career so that I could meet financial needs. Those sacrifices led to a deeper appreciation of success today,” she reflects. Today, Lisa defines success as achieving a balance between professional obligations and personal fulfillment. “Success is so much more personal than it is professional at this stage in my life. It’s about having the flexibility to meet personal needs and be there for my family,” she emphasizes.

Transforming HR: The Heartbeat of HBL Resources

HBL Resources, Inc. and its subdivision, The Complete Manager Makeover, are dedicated to bridging the gap in managerial skills. The company’s mission, “Transforming the Human in Human Resources®,” focuses on equipping managers with the necessary skills to handle tough conversations with empathy and respect while also ensuring legal compliance. “We aim to fill the gap between being good at a job and being able to manage people effectively,” Lisa explains.

One of the most profound moments in her career came during the layoffs after 9/11. “We had to lay off over 200 team members. One gentleman thanked me after I told him he was laid off. That’s the impact of handling tough conversations with empathy and dignity,” she shares, highlighting the importance of compassionate HR practices. Perez recalls, “Despite the difficult circumstances, we ensured that every conversation was handled with empathy. It’s about maintaining human dignity even in tough situations.”

Turning Crisis into Opportunity: The COVID-19 Impact

The COVID-19 pandemic brought unprecedented challenges to the HR industry, and Lisa’s response to these challenges highlights her adaptability and leadership. “The pandemic changed the way we work, and we had to adapt quickly to support our clients and their employees,” she recalls. This included developing new training programs and resources to address the unique needs of remote work and the mental health challenges posed by the pandemic.

Lisa also sees the pandemic as a catalyst for innovation in HR practices. “It forced us to rethink how we support our teams and leverage technology to stay connected and productive,” she explains. This adaptability and forward-thinking approach have positioned HBL Resources as a leader in navigating the post-pandemic workplace.