Cindy Carlisle

Cindy Carlisle (left) is recognized as one of 2019’s most influential women in corporate America in the July issue of Savoy Magazine. The magazine also highlighted Oprah Winfrey, Serena Williams and Gayle King.


Cindy Carlisle has a gift for knowing her co-workers. Carlisle not only knows the names of co-workers, but also the names of their families.

The vice president of human resources for Roche Diagnostics even remembers comments she hears in passing. Carlisle surprised Bridget Boyle, her boss, with a Ted Baker purse for her birthday after Boyle remarked Baker is her favorite designer.

“My face dropped, and I thought, ‘How did she know this?’” Boyle said. “… She takes the time, and to me that’s really special and unique. Not everyone is that way.”

In the July issue, Savoy Magazine recognized Carlisle’s success in HR and named her one of 2019’s most influential women alongside others such as Oprah Winfrey and Serena Williams. 

“It feels so amazing,” Carlisle said about the being featured in the magazine. “I feel honored, I feel humbled, and I feel nervous all at the same time.”

DiJeana Posley, who works under Carlisle, said Carlisle earned the honor because of her “emotional IQ.” In other words, Carlisle is skilled at reading people and identifying the best ways to motivate them. For example, she adds energy to team meetings through leading dance breaks for anyone who wants to join. 

“It feels great,” Posley said. “I love to dance, so it is actually very energizing. It changes the trajectory of the rest of the meeting. You have more energy. You’re more excited. It’s more of a fun atmosphere than a stiff one.”

Carlisle’s HR know-how proved useful in a change in the company. Until two years ago, Roche customers selected services a la carte from five different departments such as diagnosis of molecules and diagnosis of bodily tissue. Customers expressed a desire to work with Roche as one company instead of five teams, so the One Roche transformation created a singular point of contact for customers and condensed the five groups into one.

The transformation impacted many parts of Roche’s business structure. Carlisle oversaw HR changes such as fostering more communication between the different teams, making it so Roche’s HR staff worked with all of Roche instead of only one or two departments and ensuring everyone put the needs of the customer above all else.

“It required new jobs to be created, new compensation plans, and extensive communication,” Boyle said. “They had to look at how they assess the talent in the organization, and who goes into what leadership role. … Her contribution to that was extremely critical.” 

Carlisle’s biggest piece of advice for those working in HR is to have a genuine interest in people. Because Carlisle is interested in people, she takes the time to learn about them, which allows her to identify ways to bring out the best in every employee such as keeping their energy high through dance breaks. 

“Treating people with respect and having a genuine interest and learning about them and their potential is an important part of being successful and making people feel welcome and included,” Carlisle said. “All of those things help you then unlock the potential that lies within a person.”

Carlisle’s co-workers appreciate her approach. Boyle said she was initially surprised when she heard Savoy Magazine planned to highlight Carlisle, but the more she thought about Carlisle’s work, the more Boyle felt she shouldn’t be surprised. 

“Cindy is a rock star in my eyes,” Boyle said.  “She’s definitely driven. She’s extremely accountable. She has a nice way of holding her team accountable and stretching them, but yet they all feel blessed to work with her every day.”

Contact staff writer Ben Lashar at 317-762-7848. Follow him on Twitter @BenjaminLashar.

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