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Recognizing 100 CEOs & C-level Executives

Karen Viera

SVP, Chief People Officer

Church's Chicken

Location: Atlanta, Georgia

Founded: 1952

Industry: Restaurant

Achieving business results requires recognizing efforts, expertise and encouraging your teams to build upon their skills, says Karen Viera. “People drive business results, and the leaders that advance organizations by inspiring others, have the greatest long-term success in their careers,” she said.

As the SVP and Chief People Officer of Church’s Chicken, Viera has learned that communicating and engaging employees, so they understand how their contribution drives business results builds a sense of purpose and purpose inspires excellence. “To lead is not only to give direction, but also to instill trust,” Viera said. “Trust inspires a desire to be creative, to find solutions, explore and develop.”

Trust is at the core of what Viera does at Church’s Chicken, a food and beverage company that is all about big portions, bold flavors, warm welcomes and saving plenty of room for seconds.

She leads strategic planning, compliance and all HR functions, including internal communications. Prior to joining Church’s, Viera held Chief, VP and Senior level HR positions at Fortune 500 companies and has been successful with launching succession plans, officer recruitment tactics and leading a company of 6,000 employees in 11 states, successfully lowering turnover, establishing corporate cost savings and ensuring community across mergers and acquisitions.

Viera said she sees evolving technology and data analytics as a key role in strategy development moving forward. “Our people will remain the heartbeat of our organization and the strength of our brand,” said Viera. “They, too, will evolve to use technology in new ways and that includes leveraging guest feedback and connections beyond the walls of our restaurants in new and meaningful ways.”

Viera has served as the main architect behind a series of planned improvements, growth tactics and HR strategies to position Church’s Chicken for further leadership gains.

“Throughout the past two years, Church’s has invested heavily in forward-thinking human resource initiatives designed and implemented by Viera, including church’s innovative People First, Safety Always strategy to handle COVID-19, the Church’s Transformation Journey to manage organizational changes and the Our Texas Way HR strategy,” said her staff.

What makes Viera stand out from other leaders is that she is truly interested in what employees want and need to be happier at work, said her staff. “She wants employees to be at the core of the rebranding process and advocates for their needs.”

For her commitment to employee success and thoughtful leadership, Viera has been named a Titan.

Presented by:

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Did you know?

Karen began her professional career with a summer architectural internship. She quickly realized that she had a calling for working with people and business and decided to make a career change to human resources to align her future with her passion for people and organizational effectiveness.


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