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Meet the Rainmakers: Eryn McHugh, Head of Talent

Eryn McHugh

We recently sat down with Thunder Head of Talent, Eryn McHugh, to learn a little more about our principal people person. Here’s what she had to say!

Q. Eryn, tell us a little bit about your role at Thunder.

I serve as Head of Talent for Thunder, which was a “team of one” until the amazing Jordan (Spillers) joined us over the summer. My role includes talent acquisition and recruiting ops, and increasingly, “People Ops,” as we build out our talent management and learning and development roadmap.

Q. What made you want to join the Thunder crew?

I love the “build” and variety of an early-stage start-up like Thunder. Wearing multiple hats and tackling new challenges every day gets me up and going in the morning! Candidly, when I joined Thunder, I had another offer from a large global consulting firm, but I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to help shape a brand-new, culture-first business like ours.

Q. You’ve been in the talent acquisition game a long time, what past experiences have you had that help you lead recruitment here?

I’m kind of a “strange” People leader, in that I spent the first 12+ years of my career in executive search and as an entrepreneur. I came “in-house” to lead talent and recruiting about 5 years ago, so this is my third talent leadership role.

It was a huge adjustment to go from working for myself and a variety of clients across many sectors, to going “deep” with just one organization, one team – and it’s been incredibly rewarding because my role now goes further than “you’re hired.” I have so loved the challenge of rolling up my sleeves to figure out how we can improve our teammate experience, and engineering people strategies to stay current with the changing talent market.

Q. In addition to finding amazing candidates for Thunder, you help run our Culture and DEI efforts as well. What are some initiatives you are really passionate about?

Yes! Our DEIB (Belonging) efforts are what I consider the heartbeat of our organization – we want to be known as a safe space, where team members can be known, flourish, and be 1000% accepted, exactly as they are.

I share a vision with Carter (Thunder’s CEO) to give back to our community; to that end, we are excited to launch a Non-profit practice over the next year or so, and to better define our philanthropy strategy and what that looks like for Thunder.

Q. Speaking of passion, we hear you are quite the songstress outside of your day job… Tell us a little bit about MUNITIONS (which our audience can enjoy on Spotify!).

HA! I don’t usually *lead* with that – but as I’ve gotten older, I’m not as shy about this facet of who I am. I come by singing and writing honestly, because I’m a “preacher’s kid” – growing up in church, it’s basically required that you sing and play – and I come from a musical family. My grandmother, “Meme” was a Big Band and then Gospel recording artist, my cousins are opera singers, music producers, studio musicians, and church worship leaders, and my brother Evan is also a singer/songwriter here in Nashville). 

When I was early in my career, it didn’t feel super-professional to be like, “I’m an artist.” Now I really feel like it’s a strength and having this passion makes me a better professional. If only I could just find more TIME…! (laughs)

Q. Last one! As a leader at Thunder, what are you most excited about in the near future for the rapidly growing company?

I’m excited for us to potentially double in size again over the next year or so, with incredibly talented folks joining our already-incredible Thunder team. With that, I look forward to employing a lens for “continuous improvement” and traveling up the People Ops maturity curve. That will mean iterating on everything from our recruiting strategies and new teammate onboarding practices, to creating growth and learning opportunities and continuing to define (and refine) career tracks for our team! 

I’m perhaps most excited about the possibilities (my favorite quote is Emily Dickinson’s “I dwell in possibility” – if I ever get a tattoo, that’ll be it) and what isn’t known; that is, what culture-shifting innovation can we create together as we continue to grow?!

Want to know more about Eryn or our Talent team? Check out our careers page – it’s as easy as boom.