Next month, Human Resource Executive® will say farewell to Dave Shadovitz, as he departs LRP Media Group for retirement after a more than 30-year career with the company—during which he led the publication to become the industry standard it is today, while himself becoming a leader in the HR community.
For this special section, the staff at HRE spoke with HR visionaries and walked back in time through the many pages of the magazine to explore the wide-ranging impact Shadovitz has had on the publication and the field of human resources. Apart from his professional influence, Shadovitz has also served as a colleague, mentor and friend to hundreds of HRE employees throughout his decades with the organization, and his presence will be missed by all.
A Fond Farewell
I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to Dave Shadovitz, the founding editor-in-chief of Human Resource Executive®, on his retirement. Dave has been with HRE since the beginning and successfully steered the magazine through its many changes—alongside those in the HR profession —over the last 32 years.
Throughout his tenure, Dave has expertly spearheaded the editorial direction of HRE, publishing strategic, informative and thought-provoking content that shaped countless conversations in the field of human resources and beyond. His deep understanding of the issues impacting HR executives and practitioners, coupled with his commitment to journalistic integrity, have been vital to helping HRE develop into the award-winning market leader it is today.
Dave’s leadership and strategic mindset have enabled HRE to remain at the vanguard of innovation. He was integral in the launch and unprecedented growth of several of LRP Media Group’s industry-leading conferences and has successfully led the magazine through the ongoing evolution of the publishing industry. Thanks to the forward-thinking foundation Dave laid over the past 32 years, HRE is primed for continued success in our next chapters.
While we will miss Dave’s wit and warm personality, all of us at LRP are grateful for his remarkable contributions and the indelible mark he has made, both on our company and the entire HR community.
President, LRP Media Group
On the Leading Edge of Innovation
As one of the driving forces behind the publication of Human Resource Executive®, Dave Shadovitz puts in considerable time and energy behind the scenes—but that work has also required a deep investment outside the company, in the field of HR, evinced by his unparalleled impact on the profession.
“He really led the charge in terms of recognizing the value of the HR professional to an organization,” says Jeanne Achille, founder and CEO of the Devon Group and chair of the Women in HR Tech Summit at the HR Technology Conference & Exposition®.
“Previously, we didn’t have an editorial vehicle that was credible and sustained, and where HR professionals were being recognized for their contributions and their value,” Achille says. “To Dave’s credit, he stood that up.”
That process was largely fueled by Shadovitz’s commitment to staying on the leading edge of the field—helped along by the relationships he maintained and nurtured over more than three decades, says Fred Foulkes, director of the Human Resources Policy Institute at Boston University.
“He works hard to stay on top of best practices and what’s going on at all the major companies,” Foulkes says. “He knows what’s going on in the HR-tech companies—from the start-ups to the established players—and he has relationships with a lot of us in the academic world, as well as the leading thought leaders, consultants and gurus.”
From diversity to AI, Foulkes says, Shadovitz has kept his finger on the pulse of the HR community, which helped the magazine and, by extension, its readers “stay ahead of the curve and always be extremely current.”
Shadovitz has a keen ability to separate the “wheat from the chaff,” says Dave Ulrich, partner at the RBL Group and the Rensis Likert Professor at University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business—and that has enabled the magazine to “focus on what matters most, and filter and focus the ideas that have shaped our field.”
Jill Smart, president of the National Academy of Human Resources—who met Shadovitz, an NAHR Fellow since 1995, when she joined him as a Fellow in 2009—says the editorial direction Shadovitz brought to HRE has provided both actionable and thought-provoking content. “The combination of perspectives from individual HR professionals and pieces about specific organizations not only highlights best practices that can be used by readers, but also gives the reader food for thought on issues they may be grappling with.”
Technology has been a key part of that equation. Shadovitz was “early to recognize the impact of technology on the HR space,” Ulrich says, adding he used both the pages of HRE and the HR Technology Conference, which he helped found and co-chair, to advance the conversation industry-wide.
Conference sessions are set up long before each year’s event, notes Foulkes, and Shadovitz has had the foresight to identify trends, line up leading-edge speakers and ensure the conference offers content that is timely and relevant.
Before the conference, Achille adds, HR technology “was seen as back-office—more transactional than strategic. Because of Dave’s influence and all his heavy lifting, he’s helped catapult HR technology to where it is today.”
While Shadovitz has long been a “keen observer” of the HR field and is known for his “quiet, mild manner,” Foulkes says, he hasn’t been afraid to wade into the fray and use his monthly editorial—for which he’s garnered awards by organizations like the American Society of Business Publication Editors—to comment on controversial current events, or issue calls to action. “In his editorial, he calls it as he sees it,” Foulkes says, “and that’s appreciated.”
That approach has extended to his work fielding pitches, adds Achille, who’s worked with Shadovitz for more than 25 years, including on behalf of her PR firm. She jokes that she would be certain a story pitch she crafted was unique and sure to resonate, “and I’d put it in front of Dave and he’d graciously listen—and then just say something that totally killed it,” she laughs. “He’d say, ‘Well, that was done eight years ago.’ He not only has that intellectual capacity to remember every single story, but he also won’t just go for what you want him to write; there are people you can push around, but Dave’s not one of them—but he’ll go about it in a polite, gracious way.”
AOConsulting President Richard Antoine, an NAHR Fellow and the organization’s former president, calls Shadovitz the “consummate professional.”
“He is soft-spoken but always thoughtful and concise,” he says. “All of us in HR will miss him, but we wish him well in his well-deserved retirement.”
— Jen Colletta
Growing Careers and Conferences
Founding editor Dave Shadovitz has put up with me for longer than anyone but my mother!
Moreover, for the last 29 years, Dave’s generosity, professionalism and prescience have been responsible for the major inflection points in my career in HR technology. And I’m sure he’s helped dozens of other journalists, too.
In San Francisco in April 1990, the American Management Association’s Personnel Conference was in its last years as the oldest trade show in HR. My start-up monthly magazine, Computers in HR Management, was folded the month before by its corporate owners after just three issues. But the magazine had already paid for my airfare and hotel, so I was there looking for something new.
For months before, Dave and I had swapped publications and talked on the phone as editor-to-editor. Finally meeting face-to-face on the show floor, his first words were: “I hate my technology columnist. Do you want to do it?”
“Maybe,” I said. “How much?”
We agreed on a price and shook hands. That 10-second conversation in 1990 was our only agreement for 17 years, with 78 columns, published four or five times a year. Not until HREOnline.com was born did we sign our first written contract covering the next 147 monthly columns.
Surprise! Dave had a life in journalism before starting HRE—in a computer trade magazine. So he completely understood the perils of writing about technology for a general audience, which made him a great editor for nearly every one of my 225 columns.
Plus, he valued those with experience on daily and weekly newspapers and tried to hire people with that background—those who sweated the details, fast.
Last year, he himself displayed another useful editorial trait—an astounding memory: “I see you’re repeating yourself with this month’s column,” he said. “Whaaat?!” I replied.
“One of your earliest columns was about the same guy and the same subject,” Dave said, and he was absolutely right! It was my seventh column—in September 1991! I hadn’t even reread it first.
Four years after that early column had published, HRE became an editorial sponsor of a new HR-tech show called HRMS Expo. The organizers gave Dave a panel and, not being one for public speaking at the time, he gave it to me.
So in 1995, I recruited and moderated my first of what became 117 expert panels on stage. Afterward, the second-in-charge of the conference came up to say something familiar: “We hate our director. Would you like to program our conference?”
“Maybe,” I said. “How much?”
Two years later, I programmed HRMS/Expo ’97 at New York’s Javits Center. Afterward, the owners wanted to sell it. I put them together with Dave, who arranged for HRE to buy it, probably at some rock-bottom price since he was always a relentless money negotiator—the real Art of the Deal.
Then Dave turned to me: “We’re renaming it the HR Technology Conference & Expo. Do you want to continue programming it with me?”
“Maybe,” I said. “How much?”
Dave and I went on to create the world’s largest and most successful conference about HR technology. I stepped aside after 2013 to count my money, while Dave has continued on as co-chair.
I will miss him in my professional life, which he did so much to help create.
– Bill Kutik