Participant Story

Sabrina Burreal

sabrina burreal

Making an Impact Beyond HR

  • Role

    Senior Director of Human Resources, MD Medical Group
  • Industry

    • Health Care

The HR-Executive Suite Connection taught me to be curious and ask questions without prejudging a situation.

To Sabrina Burreal, Human Resources can do more than support an organization. It can also lead. And as the Senior Director of HR at MD Medical Group, she is driven to developing the knowledge and skills to make that happen. At the recommendation of her company's COO, she attended The HR-Executive Suite Connection at HBS, where she enhanced her leadership skills by learning to ask questions, listen, and nurture open and productive communication. In this interview, she shares some thoughts about her experience in the program.

How did this program influence your approach to leadership?

This program has made me think about my own brand and the value that I bring. I now realize that even if someone has the best intentions and does everything possible to be the best leader, others may not perceive it that way. I learned that feedback is extremely important to becoming a great leader, and it must be in a forum that is open, honest, and ongoing. Leadership skills need to evolve on a continuous basis, and programs such this help executives build the skills they need to reach their full potential. To be aligned with the business, executives must understand how HR can lead by example while being always linked, involved, and intertwined with the company's goals and objectives. We must be able to lead in a way that shows value, in-depth knowledge of every department, comprehension of the business model, the passion and drive to work with diverse executives, and an understanding of what they need to drive the business forward.

How would you describe the program's value to someone who's considering it?

The value of the HR-Executive Suite Connection program is in the high quality of the education, knowledge, and networking it provides. These benefits are priceless. The program offers as much knowledge as a participant wants to get from it, and the instructors and speakers are always very accessible. There is really no down time, so participants must stay constantly engaged to get the most out of the program. It is important to take notes, listen, and stay focused.

What impact has this program had on you in your day-to-day work?

The program's impact has been extraordinary. This learning experience taught me to be curious and ask questions without prejudging a situation; to build on conversations and encourage open dialogue by saying "and" instead of "but"; to self-reflect with the intent of being a servant leader; to stop whatever I am doing and truly listen with the intent of fully understanding; to lead with a purpose and be accountable for both successes and failures; to give and receive feedback; and to learn from mistakes, because not everything can be perfect.

What surprised you most about your experience in the program?

I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of networking opportunities and open discussions with faculty and guest speakers. Also, the diversity of the participants, who came from different backgrounds and industries, made the program even more impactful. It was a fascinating experience, and every aspect of the program offered valuable takeaways.

Featured Program

The HR-Executive Suite Connection