HRCI Champion Profile: Frank González, Ph.D., PHR

Frank GonzalezFrank González, Ph.D., PHR, is a leader in the DEIB space, utilizing 20 years of experience as a classroom facilitator, diversity professional, and instructional designer. He specializes in creating sustainable balance for stakeholders and employees through inclusion and diversity, employee engagement, and training, and is dedicated to influencing altruistic decision-making and process improvements that align with mission, strategy, culture, and organizational attunement. Dr. Gonzalez currently serves as Director, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Business Partner at Taco Bell.

  • Tell us your HRCI story: What motivated you to earn your PHR certification from HRCI?  

I was in workplace meetings where HR colleagues consistently led conversations with best practices, approachability, and practicality for leaders they supported. I heard from colleagues about the value a recognized certification provides HR professionals, which led me to HRCI time and time again. HRCI differentiated itself for me with the continuous learnings and recertification process that ensure HR professionals adapt to the most updated strategies. I self-studied the HRCI HRBoK and certified in 2019 with intentions to maintain certification so I can continue being a strategic partner to the business.  

  • When thinking of general HR practitioners, not just those working in a specialized area, what do you see as the greatest benefit of HRCI certification? 

A global cohort of HR professionals that encourages and motivates each other via various live and virtual channels. The benefit is a genuine global HR community dedicated to helping people. 

  • Let’s reflect on the journey of your career so far: Who or what has had the biggest impact on your HR career? 

In addition to earning my PHR certification from HRCI, the HRCInsights and Alchemizing HR webinars have been really beneficial as they have increased my exposure to industry experts while building community with other HR professionals. Ongoing learning is crucial in HR, so I find that attending these particular webinars are impactful.  

  • How has your HRCI certification journey contributed to your professional growth as a leader in the DEIB space? 

Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (EIB) evolves and adapts to human experiences. HRCI provides webinars and topics on various dimensions of diversity (seen and unseen). My HRCI certification keeps me updated with global strategies, models, and learnings from industry experts. 

  • What advice do you have for HR professionals seeking to elevate their leadership in equity and inclusion through HRCI certification and/or the HRCI D&I certificates? 

Create connections for your planned career trajectory: Connections before, during, and after your certification process with other HR professionals driven by similar curiosities and enthusiasm. This will enable your intrinsic motivations while ensuring the certification aligns with your plans and fosters lifelong partnerships making you the best partner possible for those you support.  

  • Are there emerging trends or challenges in DEIB you believe HR practitioners will soon face? 

In today’s climate, EI&B can feel like a complex and rapidly evolving landscape, with challenges arising from political, social, and economic pressures. These challenges require adaptive strategies and a deep understanding of the organizational and external environment to effectively integrate and sustain EI&B initiatives. 

  • How do you measure the impact of DEIB initiatives, and how can HR professionals effectively measure and communicate that impact? 

Data and analytics collected from a range of internal and third-party sources are critical to identify gaps, measure progress, and make informed decisions in driving meaningful change. My team has found success by setting clear KPIs, continuously collecting data, assessing and auditing our practices, and reporting on progress on a regular cadence.  

  • What challenges have you faced in integrating DEIB strategies?  

I work for a brand built on breaking antiquated processes and experiences. Taco Bell's approach to EI&B is an evolution with no end in sight. The critical key is bringing people along in understanding the why and the how and by ensuring EI&B is woven into business objectives and brand strategy across the entire organization. 

  • Where do you go from here? What are your goals for 2024 and beyond? 

I am fortunate to work for a brand that cares, that truly wants to create an inclusive culture where everyone feels like they belong while enabling #LiveMás. I’m looking forward to working with teams across our organization to continue implementing equitable strategic initiatives across our people and business practices to drive stronger inclusive outcomes within the company and beyond.  

Continuous learning and ensuring best practices for our brand, employees, and customers are ongoing priorities. I am enthused to explore and certify with HRCI in the SPHR and/or GPHR.