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“We try to operate exactly like a retained executive search firm – even though we are in-house.” So says Diana Barr, the Head of Global Executive Staffing at Boeing, the world’s largest aerospace company and leading manufacturer of commercial jetliners, global defense, space, and security systems. Diana joined them in 2019 to build an “internal search firm” as a fresh approach to their senior leadership staffing strategy including sourcing, assessment, diversity and inclusion, and succession planning across an international footprint.  Her unique career journey is the subject of Episode 26 of my podcast for Talent Leaders, Big Fish in the Talent Pool.

Having started her career as an HR generalist for Marriott International, she determined that recruiting – specifically executive recruiting – was the most challenging and enjoyable part of her day. She struck out on her own to focus and gain exec hiring experience, and later joined Heidrick & Struggles to refine her skills. She also spent time recruiting top talent for Private Equity firm Enesco and then the industrial e-commerce giant, Grainger, before joining Boeing.

For TA Leaders looking to increase their impact, Diana offers her perspective on the importance of knowing what you bring to the proverbial party. “Everyone has strengths and you really need to understand your own strengths as well as your passion to be able to focus on what it is that you have to offer.  For me, that’s being a connector, learning people’s stories, and developing relationships.”

As for the ability to attract executive talent to an organization that has been under scrutiny from the FAA for several years, Diana gives no excuses, only a great example of upholding the employment brand with a historical perspective. “This 104-year-old company has prevailed through all kinds of business cycles, wars, and many other challenges, and we’ll make it through this time in our history too.”  Diana shares her own personal learnings from the mistake of adding people who her team without thoroughly vetting their sourcing or “hunting” skills.  She transparently offers her own learnings and words of advice for those who aspire to be leaders, especially in a corporate TA setting.

We hope you enjoy the fast-paced chat on Big Fish in the Talent Pool – the podcast for Talent Leaders.  If you do, please be sure to rate and review us.  We’d love your feedback and it will help others find us.


Erin McDermott Peterson is a Partner with PeopleResults. She has led TA and RPO globally for some of the most successful organizations in the world including Accenture, Aon Hewitt, and Amazon and now serves clients with global recruiting interim leadership, RPO advisory, and ensuring a great candidate experience.  Follow her on Twitter @ErinMcPeterson, connect via or email at and listen to her Podcast for Talent Leaders: Big Fish in the Talent Pool on iTunes and SoundCloud, or wherever you access podcasts.



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