Dian Emerson

This entry is part 17 of 69 in the series

Dian Emerson, SafewayDian Emerson

Safeway Inc.
Vice President Human Resources, Business Services and Diversity

Years with company: 19 years

Education degrees:
Degrees: B.A., University of California, Irvine; J.D., University of California, Davis

Professional/volunteer organizations:
Board Member, Network of Executive Women; Board Member, Safeway Companies Employee Assn.

Mentors and how have they assisted you in your career:
Finding others, inside and outside your company, who can offer their perspective and share experiences with you, is a key.  A mentor can be a colleague, a boss, a friend, an expert, or a family member.  I have been fortunate to have mentors in all of those categories.  My father was my most important mentor, and his advice to “always be in a job where you are learning something every day” had a big influence on me.

What are you most proud of in your career achievement? Do you have a defining moment of your career to date?
I have been in human resources for approximately three years, leaving a long career as an employment lawyer in private practice, a technology company and 16 years with Safeway in the Legal Department.  I was recruited to join HR, and it was a major career shift for me with new responsibilities – a defining moment to leave behind a well-traveled and rewarded career path and find success and a whole new level of job satisfaction in a new role.

Most challenging part of the job:
The most challenging part of my job is to juggle the competing demands of the broad scope of the HR organization I manage, while maintaining a strategic perspective and positively motivating my team and delivering on company and HR priorities.  It is easy to get lost in the small things, when as a leader; you need to keep perspective on the big picture.

Advice for upcoming younger executives:
For younger executives, strive to do more than you are asked to do and find ways to make yourself stand out and be known for something unique and special.  Doing great work is the “price of admission” for success.  It is the people who go above and beyond and create greater value for the organization that will stand out and advance.

Hiking, gardening, skiing, and collecting California antique pottery.