Interview with Workfront SVP of People & Culture

This article is part of a series featuring business executives who choose to live and work in Utah. If you know of an executive we should interview, please contact us.

Laura Butler is all about efficiency and productivity.

As Workfront’s SVP of People and Culture, she is charged with creating and reinforcing a contagious culture that thrives on getting work done and doing it right. She’s built a team focused on attracting, developing and retaining great talent.

Butler has spent that last two decades shaping global talent strategies for Fortune 500 companies such as Oracle and PG&E. She is nationally recognized for her leadership roles in workforce development and diversity and inclusion.

Workfront is a modern work management application that helps people do their best work so companies can thrive in a digital world. Its operational system of record is built for people, effortlessly connecting teams and easily integrating into existing applications and systems. The ability to see, measure and analyze critical factors such as resources, outcomes and priorities keeps everyone on the same page, with a clear understanding of why their work matters.

How did you get started in the industry?
I started in the hospitality industry managing corporate events. After many late nights and a lot of time-consuming paperwork, I was ready for a change. I went to a library and, believe it or not, checked out a VHS tape on how to write a database so I could better manage the many moving parts of my job. As a result, I was better able to manage scheduling and planning that resulted in significant efficiencies. I gained a new appreciation for technology and its ability to make work-life better.

What are the top two recent professional accomplishments you are most proud of?
I am proud of Workfront’s ability to grow leaders from inside the company. We continue to see double-digit growth in promoting director and above leaders from within. This means we hire employees with the right leadership potential and help develop that potential.

I am also proud of the systems we have in place to give clarity to the work employees do, providing the skills to do the work, and fostering pride in their accomplishments. At the end of the day, we all want to know our work makes a difference.

What drew you to Utah?
I have been pleasantly impressed by Utah from the moment I landed. Utah is beautiful physically, and the community is incredibly welcoming.

I am also impressed by how companies work collaboratively in Utah. We often compete with one another for talented employees, but there is this sense that there’s enough business for everyone and we succeed by collaborating.

What do you like most about living in Utah?
There are three things I love about living in Utah. First, the cost of living in Utah is great. Second, we are surrounded by beautiful mountain backdrops in every direction. Third, the energy, passion, and commitment to the community and helping one another.  

What do you like most about doing business in Utah?
The high number of talented employees and their high level of curiosity makes it a pleasure to do business here. I also appreciate that Utahns’ work hard, but understand work is better when your life is better. There is a positive emphasis on family, friends and service to the community.

What advice do you have for individuals considering starting a business, or relocating their business, to Utah?
Ask for help. This community is amazing. From the Governor’s Office of Economic Development to the many great organizations such as the Women’s Tech Council, many individuals work hard on your behalf to make working here easy. And, you will be up and running in no time!  

What is your primary challenge of doing business in Utah?
Grooming future leaders and diversity. We have great talent here; we need to make sure they are getting the right education, experience and exposure to other executives so when leadership opportunities open, they are ready. There is a lot of diversity in the state; we need to tap into it. It’s the only way we are going to meet our collective goals and make our businesses better.

Tell me a fun fact about yourself.
I am a certified scuba diver, and I love going to concerts. I go to 30-40 concerts a year.

Is there anything else you would like the reader to know about you?
Working with people, culture and technology is such a thrill. I feel lucky to live the phrase, “Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

Laura Butler has built a team focused on attracting, developing and retaining great talent. Connect with Laura on LinkedIn.