What this former Twitter exec learned about HR at high-growth companies

Lynee Luque is a seasoned HR professional with more than 20 years of experience with high-growth technology companies, where she has built and scaled HR infrastructures, often during periods of hyper-growth. Collaborative, down-to-earth and fast-moving, she has demonstrated a proven ability to adapt and assume increasing responsibilities as business needs change.

Related: Why communication, flexibility will be key in the ‘new’ workplace

In 2018, Luque joined Envoy, a San Francisco-based workplace platform provider, as vice president and head of people, overseeing the workplace, talent acquisition, HR, IT and facilities teams. Previously, she served as global human resources director at Twitter; head of HR business partnership, engineering, product, design, analytics and G&A at Mozilla; and lead HRBP, infrastructure and security engineering at Intel. She began her HR career as an HR consultant for the Make-a-Wish Foundation and then completed an internship in the HR leadership program at Chevron. Prior to embarking on an HR career, she led global teams in audit and risk & advisory engagements at KPMG and PwC.

Luque earned a master’s of business administration from the University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business, a bachelor’s degree in finance and accounting from the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business and a coaching certificate from the Coaches Training Institute. Since 2019, she has served as a mentor and coach to the next generation of diverse leaders as a Bay Area chapter board member of Management Leadership for Tomorrow.

HRE: What was your first job?

Luque: I worked at Macy’s in their bridge jewelry department. People ask, “What the heck is bridge jewelry?” It’s not the obviously fake stuff, but it’s not the real stuff either. It’s bridge jewelry—bridging you from the multi-use, not a lot of investment jewelry, when you can’t yet afford the really good stuff.

HRE: What attracted you to HR?

Luque: I was in finance, in public accounting, but the thing I really appreciated was being part of a team. So much success was dependent on the team and the individuals that make up the team. I became interested in building and organizing successful teams, so I was like, “What department plays the largest role in the success of teams?” It consistently came back to a role in the HR department. That led me to do a career switch.

HRE: Why do you think so many women are drawn to HR?

Luque: There’s such a wide variety of opportunities and challenges in a field like HR. I think that women don’t back down from trying to tackle a wide variety of challenges. It’s also a field that’s not very binary, so it’s not right or wrong, ones or zeros. It’s a field where there’s a lot of nuance and judgment and gray area.

HRE: Before you came to Envoy, you spent six years in HR at Twitter. What do you bring from that experience to Envoy?

Luque: Resiliency. So much can change during a company’s growth stage, especially their hyper-growth stage. Find the fun in it, be creative, challenge yourself, but also manage your energy, so you can stay engaged and internally motivated. Also, broaden your definition of professional success. Earlier in my career, a linear progression was the only way I knew to grow. When I was hired at Twitter, my title was HR. We didn’t have levels. We didn’t have senior-this, lead-that, or director-this. It was, “Come in. We have lots of problems, lots of opportunities. Contribute.” I push Envoy [employees] to expand and broaden what their professional experience could be and not just tag it to a title or a linear progression.

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HRE: What are your most pressing short- and long-term goals for HR at Envoy?

Luque: We just announced that we are going to continue our work-from-home strategy through the end of the calendar year. The No. 1 thing we are talking about right now is how do we continue to make everyone successful when we are digging into a longer period of work from home? Secondly, how do we continue to set up systems and processes for scale? We had a dip and then a lot of success when we pivoted our focus to helping our customers return to work in a safe way. There is so much interest there. As we are entering into this remote environment and growing again, how do we do it in a way that’s respectful to diversity and inclusion?

Related: Why embracing long-term remote work is the ‘right thing to do’

HRE: What do you anticipate being the long-term impact of COVID on the workplace?

Luque: The way we work is going to be different. I’m bullish on people coming back into the physical workspace, but the reality is they are not all going to come back at once and they’re not going to come back in the same way. I think we are going to see a lot more flexibility in hybrid work situations. That’s a big topic we are all tackling right now, and it will have continued impact post-vaccine, which I hope comes soon.

HRE: If you could have dinner with any famous or infamous person, living or deceased, who would it be and why?

Luque: I was in the audience when Maya Angelou was speaking years ago, and I wish I could have a do-over and have a one-on-one with her instead. She was full of wisdom, not just wisdom from a practical standpoint, but also an artist and creative. I just love people who balance that pragmatic with the creative.

HRE: What advice would you offer to young people contemplating a career in HR?

Luque: I’m a fan of the HR career. It offers variety, challenge and exposure that very few roles get to have. My advice would be don’t just approach it from an HR perspective but from a business perspective. How can the HR agenda help achieve or accelerate business outcomes?

HRE: What activities or hobbies do you enjoy in your downtime?

Lucque: I used to love to travel. I’ve been to six of the seven continents. I always took two large international trips each year. In these pandemic times, I’ve switched my focus a bit and I’ve taken up gardening. I have some sunflowers growing, some tomatoes growing and various types of flowers. I’m doing the whole grow-them-in-a-pot and then transplant them to the ground. I’m having a lot of success in the pot, but it’s still to be determined how successful transferring them to the ground is going to be.

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