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Company: Progress
Category: Chief Human Resources Officer of the Year

Nomination Title: New Chief People Officer Enhances Company Culture



Katie Kulikoski is Chief People Officer for Progress and is responsible for all aspects of the company's global human resources function, including culture development, talent acquisition, retention, change management and process effectiveness.

She has spent more than 20 years leading people functions in growth- oriented technology companies. Previously, she led the talent strategy for Brightcove as its Chief People Officer and Senior Executive Vice President, Human Resources. In her tenure Katie reduced voluntary attrition significantly and successfully integrated an acquisition that resulted in double- digit inorganic growth for the year.

Katie has also held leadership positions at Optaros, CIDC and ConnectEDU, where she was involved in and implemented a variety of programs—from the creation of an entrepreneurship program to organizational and cultural reinvention. She is a longstanding member of the Northeast Human Resources Association (NEHRA) and the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM).

Katie earned her BA in Politics from the University of California at Santa Cruz.

Since joining Progress in November of 2019, Katie Kulikoski has made a tremendous impact on the employee experience for all who work for the company.

Within her first six months at Progress, she visited each major office to assess the employee experience, traveling to offices in India, the Netherlands, Bulgaria, and the U.S. While visiting each site, she made herself available to any employee who wanted to meet face to face. For employees who couldn’t meet her, she voluntarily recorded an introductory video to send to all employees. Being a fan of video communication, Katie is always ready to lead a virtual conversation or record videos for employees; from regional town hall meetings to candid conversations with the CEO, she will be camera ready.

Katie is also an active participant of our Corporate Social Responsibility program, Progress for Tomorrow, which is focused on inclusion and diversity, charitable giving and volunteering, and environmental sustainability. She has spoken at multiple Progress for Her events (an employee resource group), is reviewing talent acquisition practices to provide opportunities to a diverse talent pool, and she led the effort in selecting organizations supporting COVID- 19 and fighting racial and social injustices worldwide.

Most recently, Katie has taken the lead in employee engagement efforts during COVID, ensuring all employees have the information and resources they need to remain productive, mentally sound and healthy. From sending weekly emails, to building a comprehensive resource page on the company intranet, she made sure employees had everything they needed.

The achievements listed are significant because she completely opened up communication with employees and elevated the “Progress Proud” culture, which is something previous HR executives did not accomplish. For example, a lot of employees had never met the previous HR lead, and he was never present at the global All Hands meetings. Katie has made herself available from day one and is an active participant in the company culture. You can always find her engaging with employees on Yammer and offering her time to participate in employee driven events. She also is committed to building an inclusive and diverse environment where all employees receive the same level of opportunities.

Katie’s impact on the employee experience and company culture can be witnessed in the most recent AllSpark survey, a tool used to measure our organizational health while identifying our strengths and critical areas for improvement. Increases were seen across the board from the June 2019 survey (before Katie joined) to January 2020. For example, employees’ assessment that their ideas and opinions are respected increased by 17% and their feeling part of a team went up 13%. Additionally, confidence in leadership went up 5%, and the belief that CEO staff demonstrates that people are important to the success of the company increased by 5%.

In the supporting links and documents provided below, you’ll find both external and internal materials.

The blog post, Meet Katie Kulikoski, Chief People Officer at Progress, references Progress for Her events Katie attended in Hyderabad and Bangalore. The article, "Actionable ways companies can proactively empower their female workforce," outlines Katie's thoughts on how companies can support women in STEM, and the article, "Marlborough student wins major scholarship for Women in STEM" features Katie talking about the role Progress hopes to play in advancing the number of women in STEM. These resources showcase Katie’s commitment to inclusion and diversity.

In the Lean on Me music video, you’ll see a cameo from Katie toward the end. The music video was one segment of the employee driven “Progress’ Got Talent Show,” which highlights how quick Katie is to support employee initiatives that bring the company together.

Lastly, the excel file includes quotes from employees collected this spring when they were asked to answer the question of what makes them Progress Proud. Positive comments flooded in as soon as the initiative was launched, where most cited employees’ level of happiness with how the executives have maintained a positive culture at Progress during the pandemic.

Links/Support Documents: