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Karen Viera Church's Texas Chicken

Karen Viera

Global Chief People Officer & SVP

Church's Texas Chicken

Location: Atlanta

Founded: 1952

Industry: Hospitality | QSR

“‘Doing the right thing’ is such a simple values statement and yet it requires weighing multiple stakeholder objectives and desired outcomes through fair, inclusive and respectful actions with integrity,” said Titan 100 Hall of Famer Karen Brandenburg Viera.

This is the number one value that Brandenburg Viera uses as her moral compass as the senior vice president and global chief people officer 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.

Leading the organization through a CEO and 80% executive leadership change has been one of Brandenburg Viera’s proudest accomplishments. “It was an opportunity to demonstrate my own personal strengths and help our employees focus on the future,” she said. “I learned that human resources can not only have a seat at the table but also impact the strategy of the organization and sometimes be out front leading during times of change.”

Brandenburg Viera has also focused on providing support to individuals that are looking for opportunities to grow and learn. “My goal is to impact lives in three ways that include helping individuals find jobs, enhancing their education and improving their self-esteem,” she said. “These three areas are needle movers that make a difference in everyone’s life, and they matter.”

Part of her efforts include serving on boards in leadership and government organizations, as well as serving as the chairperson of the Workforce Board of Georgia helping returning veterans, the underemployed and the underskilled along with supporting a fresh start for returning offenders. “I feel blessed to have reached accomplishments in my life I never imagined, and I know it was with the help and support of the people I encountered along the way,” she said. “I never walked this path alone.”

When mentoring others, Brandenburg Viera said that it’s natural to worry too much about wanting to be liked and what others think of us when we are starting out in a career. “My advice is to focus on the goals that align with your personal values, work hard, treat others as you would like to be treated, lend a helping hand to individuals around you, view mistakes or missteps as learning opportunities and find joy in the journey,” she said.

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My goal is to impact lives in three ways that include helping individuals find jobs, enhancing their education, and improving their self-esteem.

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