Interview with Anastasia Mizitova: A Journey Through HR Excellence

Interviewer: Anastasia, your career in HR and leadership development is truly remarkable. Could you share with us your career path and how it evolved?
Anastasia Mizitova: Thank you. My career has been a journey of continuous learning and evolving with the needs of the industry. It started over 25 years ago, and over this period my career has taken lots of shapes: from corporate consulting to setting my own business, from volunteering to speaking and writing. I have reimagined myself quite a few times. Whenever I feel that I am reaching the “ceiling” of my current occupation, I start expanding, finding new passions and challenges. The difficulty is that each time I need to start afresh, learning new skills, but the beauty is that I am becoming a well-rounded, multifaceted professional with multiple areas of expertise.

I guess the only constant focus throughout my career has been on helping leaders take care of their people. Over the years, I've worked with numerous top companies across the globe, enhancing their leadership capabilities.
Interviewer: What would you consider as your most important achievements in this journey?
Anastasia: There are several, but a few stand out.

First, I am very proud to be a faculty member for a number of highly reputable professional organizations, such as SHRM and Blanchard. It took me more than 20 years of constant dedication, practice and perfection to master the world class educational programs, teach them, advocate for them and set the highest standard in the profession. Being a member of faculty in such outstanding organizations means that I hold myself to the highest possible professional standard and I “walk the talk” when it comes to continuous learning. It also means that over the years I taught thousands of people across the globe, spread my motivation for people management and inspired people to pursue their career aspirations.

Second, I have become a Certification Director for SHRM Virginia State Council. This is a volunteering position, in the HR field one of the most reputable professional roles available. Members of the Volunteer Leaders Family (this is what we call ourselves), to which I belong, dedicate their time and effort to promoting the value of the HR profession, help young professionals pursue professional certification, manage the professional community and just set the globally recognized standard for what it means to be a People Leader. Does it take a lot of time and effort? Oh yes. Is it worth it? Totally. Volunteering is a great way of giving back, or even better to say “paying forward” – this is how I help grow the next generation of sustainable and conscious leaders.

Third, I have become a real trailblazer in HR education. At the start of my career I was fascinated by the best learning offerings by major international companies – by their depth and logic. This is why I became SHRM faculty, and I am still very proud to teach for them. Teaching is a two-way street: I help my students structure their knowledge, and they help me understand their insights and needs. Over 25 years of teaching I taught tens of thousands of leaders and HR specialists globally – each time listening to their feedback, concerns and questions. This helped me craft a number of unique programs that became bestsellers: from helping business leaders develop their employees’ careers to teaching HR business partners, from enhancing Executive Presence to teaching Leadership Coaching skills.
Interviewer: LinkedIn awarded you with the prestigious “Top Voice in HR” designation. What makes you the top voice in HR?
Anastasia: My extensive experience, proven track record, and the breadth of my work make me a credible voice in HR. My ability and willingness to speak up, write and share my expertise - likely makes me the top voice. Not only did I developed and delivered programs, but also I was at the forefront of thought leadership, speaking at major conferences and writing influential publications. My approach is always to add value and drive excellence in HR practices, which I believe resonates with many in the industry.

I am grateful to the community that awarded me with this significant designation, it gives me a lot of reinforcement and motivation for future sharing.

I also want to inspire others to take an active stance in sharing. There are so many incredible professionals who have accumulated tons of expertise, but feel too shy or too overworked to put their thoughts together and reach out to others. This is a great recognition practice and sharing could be an incredible source of joy for you.
Interviewer: That's impressive! What advice would you give to rising HR professionals?
Anastasia: A rising professional will have a long and fruitful career ahead of them, filled with achievements, falls, challenges and unimaginable twists and turns. Different capabilities will help them at different times, which means that the more skills and capabilities you have in your portfolio, the more sustainable you will be. Always be open to learning and evolving. Do not be afraid to slow down, start afresh or even downgrade. Sometimes taking a step down will serve you very well in building your new breakthrough.

The HR landscape is dynamic, and staying current is crucial. Focus on developing a broad skill set that encompasses not just traditional HR competencies but also leadership, coaching, and strategic thinking. Building strong relationships and a global network is also key. There is a great piece of advice that someone gave me years ago: never have your lunch alone! Whenever you have a chance, invite people for a quick chat or a proper conversation, seek advice from people who are well beyond your familiar circle. Ask the chief finance person how money is made in your company. Ask someone from operations to explain to you in simple terms the production cycle. Ask someone from another company how their process automation is going and what they are struggling with. Ask your client what they really think of your product and service.