Debra Yarnall Global Talent Acquisition Sourcing Strategy & Infrastructure Leader at WarnerMedia

Tell me about your company – its work and projects…

WarnerMedia is a multinational mass media and entertainment corporation. Our brands are many and include Warner Brothers, HBO, HBO Max, CNN, DC Comics, TBS, TNT and so many more.

The HR industry is vast and often has its challenges, what are the challenges that most affect your business? Are you engaging in any kind of problem-solving?

I don’t feel like our challenges are very different from other companies. We compete for the same talent. It’s a hot market and the demand for talent is high everywhere.

The COVID-19 pandemic has mandated change in the way we go about business and operations. How has this time influenced you? What are the trends you see within the sector?

Keeping everyone safe is paramount. Thanks to technology, we have adapted well working from our homes. However, those that have to go to the office or studios are provided all the necessary help and guidance they need to do so comfortably.

What is your biggest objective as a speaker?

My biggest objective as a speaker is to teach something new to at least one person. I’ve been fortunate to be given a lot of amazing growth opportunities throughout my career. Having countless teachable projects has been a huge motivator for me.

Could you share with us the points of discussion (the input that you provided) during the conference you recently spoke at…

Diversity hiring must be intentional. To be successful you must have a dedicated team that is willing and able to advocate for diverse candidates.

As a leader, what are the factors both professional and personal that drive you? What keeps you going?

Challenge is a major factor that keeps me going.

In your opinion, do digital events give you a similar level of feedback/result vis-à-vis the live versions? What would you say were the biggest pros and cons of both formats? Which do you prefer?

I do feel digital events give me the same results as live versions, but the biggest con is not having the ability to talk to speakers on the fly. Yes, most are available to talk during digital conferences, but nothing beats live personal interaction.

What is your take on in-person events? Do you prefer in-person events as compared to hybrid or virtual? How soon do you think in-person events would return?

I love in-person events and do prefer them, but given our current health crisis, I understand the need to have more virtual events. I wouldn’t even want to guess when in-person events will return. I was wrong when I thought 2022 would finally bring back the in-person event.

In your opinion, what are the top 3 challenges to returning to ‘In-Person’ events? How could we mitigate risks?

There’s really just one; COVID. There’s no way around it unless you put everyone in a bubble.

Eventible has recently launched a B2B Interactive in Person Event Tracker, tell us what you think? Do you think this is useful?

I haven’t poked around it yet, but definitely looking forward to checking it out.

Given how review-driven our lives have become today, do you think reviews will bring in a level of transparency to the events industry? Would you rely on event reviews from other speakers if you had to make a speaking decision?

I do feel reviews will bring a level of transparency to events in general, but it shouldn’t be the only thing we rely on to understand the relevance and efficacy of how one speaker does over another.

Finally, do you have a favorite mocktail or drink? We’d be delighted to know.

Ooooh, a dirty martini is my favorite (extra olives!).

About Debra: Debra Yarnall is the Talent Acquisition Sourcing Strategy & Infrastructure Manager for WarnerMedia. Specifically supporting market intelligence, sourcing, talent pipelining, diversity sourcing, training, and recruitment efforts for HBO Max, CNN, WarnerBros., TruTV, TBS, Cartoon Network, Bleacher Report, Adult Swim, and many more amazing brands! Debra specializes in candidate generation, social media, advanced sourcing techniques, and training. She has national and international recruiting/sourcing experience with a global reach. She also leads a Global Sourcing Team, Develops and Coordinates Global Training, and manages multiple Talent Communities and Social Channels.

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