Meet Erika Migliaccio, the Founder and CEO of Upstream HR Strategies, an organization that expands the bounds of traditional HR with bold ideas and impact.
A Career Sherpa, Erika takes leaders and employees by the hand and guides them along the complex path of professional success. She inspires them with the courage, confidence, and skills they need to conquer their Boldest dreams and add value to the organizations they serve.
As a child, Erika was always searching for ways to keep her mind occupied and learn new things. School was fun for her, and she loved to help and teach others. This nature of helping those in need manifested itself through her organization, Upstream HR Strategies, and today, Erika helps people realize their dreams.
Before starting Upstream HR Strategies, Erika worked as an Executive HR Leader at GE for 20 years. During her 20 years in Corporate America, she grew increasingly frustrated with the lack of clarity in the career development process. Whether it was an employee who wanted to maximize their impact in their current role, an employee who wanted to progress into a management position, or a super-ambitious employee who had their sights set on the C-suite, there was no clear path or clarity around the skills they would need to succeed at each level. Elaborating on this issue, Erika explains, “People looked to senior leaders to understand what they did to succeed, but the path to career success — like the path up a steep mountain — is winding, uncertain and ever-changing. There is always more than one good route, and not all who reach the summit can clearly articulate exactly how they got there. They never passed down a trail map or clear direction to guide young talent journeys.”
Erika believes that she has “made it” to the top of Career Mountain. As an HR person, she has been guiding others up the mountain as well. Because Erika had a unique vantage point of being a decision-maker with input on promotional decisions, she felt a responsibility to create a trail map for others to use. So instead of sitting back and being frustrated with how things were, she decided to get to work and fix the problem. She says, “I jumped off the top of the career mountain when I left GE, and I’ve made it my mission to climb again – this time, as the Sherpa who holds other’s hands as they make the climb.”
Erika’s organization, Upstream HR Strategies, provides a variety of services that allow her to live her purpose of guiding others along the complex path to professional success. They offer executive assessment and coaching, leadership development, team development, career path development, and HR team development. According to Erika, “We ask lots of questions and listen intently. We blend deep domain expertise with innovation and creative courage to delight our clients with unconventional wisdom and unexpected solutions.”
Today, Erika is living her purpose of helping others chase and achieve their boldest dreams, but in her early years, she felt pressured to take her heart, bury it, and lead with data and facts. She says, “Having an edge was valued, and I felt a disconnect between my actions and my passion.” As a business owner, Erika’s greatest challenge today is in expanding her skillset. She elaborates, “I have plenty of domain knowledge and leadership ability, but success, as an entrepreneur, requires more than just the left and right hemispheres of the brain. It requires a “BOLD” Brain. The BOLD Career Compass(TM) is a tool that I have developed to help leaders, aspiring leaders, and entrepreneurs understand the capabilities they need for long-term success. For me, that means expanding my ‘Business Brain’, i.e., my marketing, finance, strategy, and product management, and my ‘Operating Brain’, i.e., metrics, leading indicators, and operating rhythms.”
By living her purpose and being clear about her passion for leading with her heart, Erika has attracted clients who value what she brings to the table. There is no disconnect between her work and her purpose, and she knows that people see that. Erika says, “I bring my whole, authentic self to my clients and my work, every day, and that is sweet success for me.”
Erica believes in leading, unapologetically, with heart. She says, “You cannot criticize someone into success. You give unwavering support, encouragement, and care to inspire change.”
For anyone who is looking to grow, Erica has a message. She says, “Do not allow yourself to be limited by your fears. Say “yes” to more things and do something every day that scares you!”