Senior Executive, Human Resources, GE Africa
A native of Lincolnton, N.C., Tamla Oates-Forney discovered her “passion for people” at 15, during a summer job with North Carolina’s Employment Security Commission. That passion, and a desire to change lives, translated into a career in human resources. Today, Oates-Forney is the senior executive – human resources executive for General Electric (GE) Africa, leading her unit’s development of human capital strategy and enhancing the leadership pipeline. She’s responsible for buildings in the region, HR capability in talent acquisition, compensation and benefits, HR operations and learning and expertise in labor/HR risk management. “I never thought that I would be working for one of the world’s most admired companies, leading the human resources function on the continent of Africa. This role it has exceeded my expectations,” says Oates-Forney.
A 15-year GE veteran, Oates-Forney previously served as senior human resources leader for Sub-Saharan Africa with GE Energy, Oil & Gas, based in Lagos, Nigeria. Prior to relocating to Africa, Oates-Forney was the global diversity and engagement leader for GE’s Appliances & Lighting division. Before leading diversity and engagement, Oates-Forney held several leadership roles at various GE businesses throughout the US locations, including Kentucky, Connecticut, Georgia and North Carolina. As she reflects on her career at GE, she admits that she is most proud of her initiatives in Africa. “In anything that I attempted to do or was part of, I hoped to leave things better than how I found it.” Her time in Africa clearly illustrates this aspiration, having developed GE Africa’s Early Career Develop-ment Program, a training program for recent university graduates. The program combines hands-on experience with formal classroom training to prepare participants to become future leaders.
Oates-Forney is a graduate of the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. When she is not traveling, Oates-Forney spends time with her husband, Warren, and their two children.