Management Consultant to Fortune 100 Companies including eBay, Oracle
Ned Roberts isn’t your typical Human Resources professional.
While most Human Resources (HR) workers handle the essential, largely bureaucratic functions such as payroll, employee benefits, recruiting, posting of regulations, and training, Ned Roberts found an HR niche that is holistic and proactive, which has given him an opportunity to work on interesting projects with several Fortune 100 companies.
Starting out in his first HR job at Crocker Bank in San Francisco in 1984, Ned quickly discovered routine Human Resources work to be ill-matched to his aptitudes and interests. “I was more interested in HR as a way to improve organizational culture,” says Ned, who graduated from MUM in 1981 with an MA in Higher Education Administration (he also has a BA in Psychology). “That’s what I wanted to do most.”
And he has done just that. Over a successful career, Ned has helped shape key Human Resources processes at top corporations including tech giants eBay, Oracle, and cNet in the Bay Area.
When Crocker Bank was acquired by Wells Fargo in 1986, Ned was working in employee relations, traveling often to bank branches throughout the Western U.S., interviewing managers and employees, identifying areas of potential risk. He excelled at it.
At his next employer, Citibank, he stepped up the career ladder as manager of HR information systems, where he developed a skill for data analysis and strategic reporting. His reports made their way up the executive chain of comment to top decision-makers at Citibank’s New York City headquarters. In addition, he was Human Resources director of several remote bank branches.
Forging Out as an Independant Management Consultant
Even with all his corporate success, Ned had started to feel stymied working in HR departments that he felt failed to understand their potential to make larger contributions to the organization. So, in 1994, he left the 9-to-5 world to become a full-time HR consultant. “I knew I could contribute more that way,” he says.
Ned specialized in performance management and competency modeling — ways to slice and dice mountains of data on employee performance and HR processes, and wring meaning from it all. He built competency management systems (competencies being traits related to employee success in various professions) for clients, many who went on to become Internet-era behemoths, such as eBay. “I was hired to build a performance appraisal system for them when they had about 200 employees,” he says. Today eBay is a multi-billion dollar company with more than 13,000 employees.
Over the years, Ned’s work helped to make organizations more effective at getting the most from their people.
Being smart, skilled, creative, and able to leverage new knowledge for each new job was key in Ned’s ability to land lucrative contracts and produce high quality work — as was the clarity he gained through his 30+ year practice of the Transcendental Meditation® technique, which he also did daily as a full-time MUM student.While at MUM, Ned was particularly impressed by the University’s well-structured curricula. “Many of the things at MUM are really done brilliantly,” he says. “I was in awe of many of the faculty there, and their dedication and knowledge. The way Consciousness-Based Education is taught at MUM is fantastic.”
In 2012, Ned returned to MUM to share knowledge gained from his years of work in the corporate world. He taught a course on strategic Human Resources as part of the University’s MBA program.
Today, Ned and his wife, Judi Green Roberts (also an MUM alumnus), live in Truckee, a charming mountain town in Northern California. “I’m retired now,” says Ned, even though he still consults on the occasional HR project — when he isn’t hiking or traveling with Judy, or singing in the OK Chorale, a six-person barbershop quartet (photo above, Ned in the red shirt).
Written by Warren Goldie