Human Beings First: Practices for Empathetic, Expressive Leadership - Publish Your Purpose
Human Beings First

Human Beings First

The way we live and work has changed since the COVID-19 pandemic and there’s no going back. Companies that will thrive in this new era are the ones that will evolve to adopt new ways of working and leading. In “Human Beings First,” Paul Wolfe reveals eight practices of empathetic, expressive leadership based on this fundamental truth: we are all human beings, first and foremost. We have full lives that can include coping with mental health challenges, caring for sick family members, raising children, and so much more. Leaders who create an environment where individuals feel valued and appreciated – and feel safe bringing their full selves to work – clear the way for their employees’ personal and professional success and development.

Wolfe draws upon more than twenty years of experience as a human resources executive at top companies in the world. He presents real-life examples of how leaders can embrace authenticity and foster empathy, trust, and inclusion. Vulnerability is scary because it exposes us, but it’s also one of the most powerful tools we can use to shift a relationship. Wolfe shows how leaders can forge deeper connections at work, better understand themselves, and inspire others to be more open and genuine. Effective leadership goes hand in hand with empathy and expression. It’s a vast responsibility to be a role model for your organization and your community, but it also reaps infinite rewards.
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Paul E. Wolfe

About Paul E. Wolfe

Paul E. Wolfe is a seasoned CHRO with over 20 years of experience. He is a Board Member at PayScale, as well as a sought-after speaker and advisor. Before his current endeavors, he served as Senior Vice President of Human Resources for Indeed, with a focus on growing, developing, and engaging Indeed’s talent while nurturing the company culture. Paul oversaw a multi-disciplined HR group that included HR Business Partners; Talent Attraction; Employee Development; Total Rewards; Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging; HR Analytics; HR Operations; Employee Experience; and Real Estate. Paul set the talent strategy at Indeed to ensure all current and future business needs were met. He helped them grow from one thousand to over eleven thousand employees in seven years. Paul was also at the forefront of leading the company and its global employee population through the pandemic.

Before Indeed, Paul served as a Vice President, Senior Vice President, and Chief HR Officer of several well-known companies, including, Orbitz, Condé Nast, and Ticketmaster. Paul holds a bachelor’s degree from Nova Southeastern University in Florida. He lives with his husband and their dogs in New York. Human Beings First is Paul’s debut as an author. Visit
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What People Are Saying

What People Are Saying

Leaders cast a long shadow, and their daily choices about how to lead the conversation about inclusion and belonging at work can make – or break – healthy workplace cultures. But how do leaders actually do this? How do they discover and then apply a new way of leading? Through sharing their most “human” selves. In this book, Wolfe wisely focuses on 8 ready-to-apply principles for how to do this, each vividly illustrated, as well as a strong call to action about how to challenge ourselves – because we are all leaders, at any level – to evolve towards a new definition of how to show up as ourselves, and for others – a way that illuminates the path for many, and focuses on unleashing the potential of cultures of belonging, where everyone can thrive. A must-read!

—Jennifer Brown, Founder, Jennifer Brown Consulting (JBC), and Best-selling Author, Inclusion, Beyond Diversity, and How to Be an Inclusive Leader

Human Beings First puts humanity back into leadership. Gone are the days when leaders could just focus on performance and revenue, treating employees as commodities who should be grateful for a job. Leaders – the good ones – are focused on empathy, belonging, and psychological safety, knowing that’s the greatest way to get the best out of employees. Paul Wolfe’s book Human Beings First gives a dynamic look into understanding people at a biological, psychological, and emotional level as a tenant of leadership in an enlightening and refreshing way. His deeply personal and profound experience of using an empathetic and expressive leadership style acknowledges all the feelings one might exhibit especially in challenging times. Feelings are fact and in fact, they are biological responses and as the book notes they “are the messenger of needs”. Every single leader who wants to truly invest in their people should read Human Beings First.

—LaFawn Davis, SVP, ESG at

When I think of Paul, I think of someone who has built and scaled great cultures; a passionate advocate of DE&I; a pioneer in the future of work. For those reasons alone, any leader can learn a tremendous amount from the insights he’s collected during his impressive career.
What Paul surfaces in Human Beings First is so incredibly important: We are in a new era of leadership, and that requires new skills and capabilities. It requires vulnerability and putting our humanity first. And what I love about this book is that it offers tangible ways to do that. As an executive recruiter, I speak with dozens of leaders every day from early-stage startups to the Fortune 100. I know what qualities companies are looking for and what makes leaders thrive. And I assure you, what Paul shares in his book is critical to it.

—Jana Rich, Founder and CEO, Rich Talent Group

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