In our latest interview we caught up with Lorissa Garcia, passionate Human Resources (HR) Coach, Mentor and Facilitator in capability and culture.  She partners with People People (HR practitioners) as a Coach and Mentor supporting leadership, growth and development to build their profile and credibility as a trusted partner within their business. She works with leadership teams and team members across organisations to embrace diversity, a sense of personal leadership and to recognise contributions from everyone. 

Lorissa shares what inspired her to set up her own business, how starting an MBA and the learning that followed switched on a part of her brain that had never been so alive and expanded her curiosity about how Human Resources (HR) can better contribute to the outcomes of an organisation strategy and three tips she would give someone looking to improve their Human Resources (HR) initiatives in their own business. 

Tell us a bit about your business – Lorissa Garcia?  

As a Coach, Mentor and Facilitator, I work across two main areas in the people space – Capability and Culture.

In capability, I partner with Human Resources (HR) practitioners as a Coach and Mentor, helping them build the leaderships skills they need to be effective in their organisation. I act as a trusted advisor, translator and connector. I also work on developing leadership and management capability for non-HR people through individual coaching and group facilitation. 

In the culture space, I work with organisations around something relatively new; Emotional Culture. When we look at how people behave and interact in the work environment, the emotions that people are feeling have a large bearing on behaviours, outputs and outcomes. I partner to explore how organisations and leaders can help their people to feel more pleasant emotions and experiences in the workplace, to build cultures that enable their employees to bring their full selves to work.  

What inspired you to set up your business?   

A few reasons – I really wanted more flexibility around family.  My husband had been in his own businesses for some years and we wanted a lifestyle that gave us more time together.  

While I was on maternity leave with my second child, I started an MBA and the learning switched on a part of my brain that had never been so alive. It expanded my curiosity about how Human Resources (HR) can better contribute to the outcomes of an organisation strategy while still being fully human. I started to explore the ways to do this and landed at working in much more partnership-based work, as opposed to consulting. It’s allowed me a lot of variety and freedom to deliver online programs, coach and mentor people leaders globally, and be at the front of a room facilitating, which I secretly love! 

What type of clients do you work with?  

I work with a range of People Partners (Human Resources practitioners) from those in standalone Human Resources (HR) roles, or in small teams, to HR Business Partners and Managers who are looking to develop their leadership skills and progress in their careers. I am working with a group of practitioners at the moment who are undergoing my People Partner Mentor Program, which is group-based coaching and mentoring delivered virtually. The participants get to access development without having to travel or take too much time away from their jobs.  

In terms of corporate clients, it could be a team based in Melbourne or their counterparts internationally, or a national company with leaders and managers all over the country, or a mature startup who needs some help in getting their culture right before scaling.  

What’s been your biggest highlight / achievement for you and your business?  

I worked with a client based out of Berlin; an amazing experience – it really set the bar high for the standard of clients I wanted to work with. I started out doing some work around an engagement and culture survey, which then turned into coaching the Head of People and Human Resources (HR) Advisor, their management team and Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The client flew me out to Hong Kong for a week last year to do a full people strategy, which was an absolute highlight of being in business.  

You facilitate many events for Human Resources (HR) practitioners and people leaders to attend, in particular, the virtual HR Roundtables that are run each month. Can you tell us a bit about them?  

Back in 2008, I went out consulting and found it really isolating as there were no co-working spaces back then, and meet-ups did not exist. This meant that you had to fend for yourself – and drink lots of coffee to work out of cafes! 

When I went out ‘on my own’ this time around, I ensured that I built a support network of people around me. As I started talking to all of the amazing people I was meeting, I realised that they were talking about interesting topics that everyone in Human Resources (HR) should be hearing about, and so the Virtual HR Roundtable was born. It started out as three people on a call in November 2018, and by January 2019, we had 113 people registered for a roundtable on Human Centered Design in HR. Since then we’ve covered a range of topics from Positive Work Practices, Agile for HR Practitioners, Emotional Culture and Ethics and Moral Injury. We got an average of 60 registrations each month from every corner of the globe. This is a free event open to anyone and happens online on the 3rd Tuesday of the month. It makes learning much more accessible for those that are busy (most HR people!) and being interactive, provides social learning too. 

Find out more about Lorissa’s events here.

What three tips would you give someone looking to improve their Human Resources (HR) initiatives in their business?  

  • Invite participation:  it’s easy to install pool tables, provide beers on a Friday night and put fruit baskets in the kitchen, but these initiatives only engage the people that want that. Given the diversity in workplaces, we need to be smarter about the way we implement new initiatives and to do that, we need to be better at taking off our ‘expert’ hats and asking the very people that will benefit to help co-design initiatives. 
  • Collaboration = Contribution: I work with a lot of leadership teams that say they want their teams to collaborate more/better. My view on that is that people can only participate in collaboration when they can identify their contribution. Ensure that your people know why they are in the business, have clarity around their roles, their individual and team strengths and how to put those strengths to best use. 
  • Safety check: we need to enable workplaces that allow everyone to be comfortable, to be themselves, and to express that without fear. Before starting new initiatives – however small, start by taking a really hard long look at the safety in teams, and not strictly from a compliance perspective. Look at psychological safety, trust, the ability for people to be vulnerable, have a voice, or to show courage. New initiatives will have a much better chance of succeeding when your people can feel as though they truly belong.  

What’s next for Lorissa Garcia? 

That’s a big question! Running my own practice means I can experiment a lot with different offerings, and change pace or direction quite easily. This year has been about a series of experiments with public events and programs, corporate offerings, new tools, some study and of course, blending that with some great collaborations with experts in their fields. I’ll be extending the Coaching and Mentoring offering even further in 2020 with a new model, and I am looking to expanding on the work I do in the leadership and management development space.  

And finally, what song always gets you motivated and why?  

Motivation is not something I struggle with much – it’s more about focus for me! I ALWAYS have music on, I can’t concentrate with silence. I am a massive fan of David Grey so anything from him, or Leon Bridges for the more upbeat moments.  

Lorissa’s bio 

With an extensive career working in the people space, Lorissa is able to see and understand organisations from every angle and across many levels, from graduates to Chief Executive Officers (CEO’s).   

She has a Masters degree, holds qualifications as a coach, is Gallup trained as a CliftonStrengths coach, has a DISC accreditation and plenty of real-life experience to accompany her studies. She is passionate about working in the people space and the behaviours that drive success for individuals and collectively for organisations. Lorissa has recently completed an MBA in Innovation and Leadership which complements her career experience and understanding of organisations and leadership across all disciplines. When she’s having intelligent, authentic conversations about how the workplace can be better and supporting leaders and organisations to enhance their culture and capability, the hours fly by like minutes.

Find out more about the services and programs that Lorissa Garcia can offer. 


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