Donna M. Boles

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Donna M. Boles  
Senior Vice President, Human Resources
Becton Dickinson & Co., Franklin Lakes, N.J.

Managing human resources activities for Becton Dickinson & Co., a $7.4 billion medical technology company is a serious business. Yet Donna M. Boles, the company’s senior vice president of human resources, says the secret to her professional success is not taking herself too seriously. “In the quake of tremendous change, you can’t be so serious that you get overwhelmed by the events,” says Boles. “There are moments in time that — like time — move on.”

Boles joined BD as a secretary in 1973 and took on positions of increasing responsibility before becoming vice president, human resources for BD Medical, the organization’s largest business segment, in 2001. In the senior position she has held since 2005, she is accountable for the strategic, operational and financial performance of the company’s global human resources function, covering 150 locations in 50 countries. She has found great pride in leading BD’s current global HR transformation effort to raise the level of expertise among the company’s HR associates and enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the organization’s innovation initiatives.

Boles earned a bachelor’s degree in HR management at Upsala College and an MBA from Pace University. Her immediate goal is to see BD’s HR transformation through to completion. In the long term, she would like to create a philanthropic organization of Black women who, like herself, are committed to helping others succeed. Boles is an executive coach for senior executives at BD, a mentor to college students and young professionals, and a “Big Sister” to a local 12-year-old girl.

With a demanding professional role, volunteer work and caring for her son, Boles works hard to keep all aspects of her life in balance. “It’s all about doing the right thing,” she says. “I choose to be where I am needed most at the appropriate time.”