05302017
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Starr Player: Starr Fowler has traveled the world championing humans (and their resources)

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 Starr Fowler's key to the perfect team? The right roles. "I've learned this lesson over and over again. When you have the right people in the right roles, the more effective your team will be," she says. "When I have delayed putting the right people in the right place, it hurts the individuals and it hurts the team — every time." (Photo by Dave Blackhurst/UVBizQ)

Starr Fowler’s key to the perfect team? The right roles.
“I’ve learned this lesson over and over again. When you have the right people in the right roles, the more effective your team will be,” she says. “When I have delayed putting the right people in the right place, it hurts the individuals and it hurts the team — every time.” (Photo by Dave Blackhurst/UVBizQ)

Starr Fowler is a woman of the people.

Throughout her 15-year career, the HR genius has been a coach, a strategist, a champion, a leader, and an employee game-changer.

“It’s funny, because everyone thinks when you go into HR, you do it because you like people,” says Fowler, who is the senior VP of human resources at Provo-based Vivint. “Of course I like people, but HR has nothing to do with liking people. HR is about problem solving.”

And Fowler has never met a problem she didn’t love to solve.

“I love challenges. I love creativity. I love developing talent,” she says. “The biggest rewards of my career have come when I took a leap and didn’t know what was on the other side. If there’s any time I can step outside of my comfort zone and build solutions, I’m happy.”

In short? Fowler’s career has been a whole lot of happy.

In good company

Fowler’s job history has spanned a variety of industries, titles, states and continents. Early on, she held HR positions at Honeywell and AMEC. Then she spent eight years at Boart Longyear, the world’s leading provider of drilling services and products for the mining industry. Three of those eight years were spent living in Australia as the HR director for Boart’s Asia-Pacific area — the company’s largest region for revenue and employees.

After Boart, Fowler joined Vivint, where she now sets the strategy and “people vision” for 9,000 employees. She reshaped the company’s HR function into a world-class organization by increasing employee engagement and implementing progressive programs and benefits.

“Vivint moves at a 100 miles an hour every day,” says Fowler, who has been at the home automation company for nearly three years. “I love it. And I love this size of company. It’s nimble, but it has the power and capital to impact real change.”

“I’ve gone fast enough to keep me excited, interested and challenged. But I’ve not gone so fast that I’ve hopped from job to job. It’s incredibly important to stay with a job long enough to live with the decisions you make for it. There are so many lessons that come from that. Commitments are very important to me. There are very few shortcuts in life, and people should be prepared to stay the course and persevere.” —Starr Fowler, senior VP of human resources at Vivint

Home runs

When it comes to balancing work and family, Fowler and her husband, Bill, have mastered the art of joint parenting for their three children. At different times in their marriage, they’ve evaluated what’s best for their family and each of their careers — however non-traditional the result may be.

When they moved to Australia for Fowler’s job at Boart, for example, her husband became a stay-at-home parent.

“It just made sense. We were in a new place, and we knew we wanted a parent at home to help with the transition,” she says. “Australia actually has quite the supportive network of stay-at-home dads. It was such a great dynamic for our family.”

The best part of their situation? Every decision is made as a team.

“I’m so incredibly lucky to be married to the man I married,” Fowler says. “We do everything we can to be supportive of each other’s dreams both in work and in life. There has never been a time where we’ve had to arm wrestle for what we want. Every choice is our choice ­­— made together.”

And when they got back to the states, that choice for her husband to be the stay-at-home parent continued.

“It helps that I don’t see him as the caregiver,” Fowler says. “I don’t have expectations of when dinner should be or how the house should look. We’re raising our kids in a partnership, and we view everything in our life as a partnership.” 

“I love challenges. I love creativity. I love developing talent. The biggest rewards of my career have come when I took a leap and didn’t know what was on the other side.” —Starr Fowler, senior VP of human resources at Vivint

Talk of the tech

The role of women in the tech world (and lack there of) is a reality. But Fowler is encouraged by the efforts to get more women at the table.

“Tech requires innovation. And in order to achieve innovation, we need a variety of ideas and perspectives. Technology needs diversity. Technology needs women. It just makes good business sense.”

For her part, Fowler actively participates on the Women Tech Council and mentors women within the technology and business communities.

“Before I joined the tech world, I didn’t realize how many women were looking for a role model in this industry,” she says. “I never saw myself as a role model, but I’ve enjoyed helping women and championing them in their chosen dreams. We need to start instilling in our young girls that their career options are endless. We need them to find their voice. We need them to dream big. We need them to have the confidence to lead.”   

This is one of five stories featured in the “Boss Ladies” section of Utah Valley BusinessQ. 

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