Carmen Canales, Senior Vice President & Chief People Officer, Novant Health

Carmen Canales drives the people strategy for more than 35,000 team members across the Novant Health system. She has progressive experience in all aspects of human resources and talent management, including 15 years at the executive leadership level. She is a results-oriented visionary who focuses on organizational impact, maximizing talent, and building a resilient workforce. Her areas of expertise include:

  • Culture Development and Transformation
  • Operations Excellence
  • Leadership Development
  • Talent Acquisition, Engagement, and Retention
  • Diversity, Belonging, and Inclusion Consulting

Carmen’s experience includes leadership roles in the healthcare, higher education, consumer goods, banking, and professional services industries. Prior to joining Novant Health, Carmen served as the Chief Human Resources Officer at Wake Forest University, and as the Chief Talent Officer at the law firm now known as Womble Bond Dickinson, a role in which she held firm-wide responsibility for people and culture. Prior to her work at Womble, Carmen held positions in Human Resources at Wachovia (now Wells Fargo) and Pepsi-Cola.

A native of Michigan, Carmen has lived in North Carolina for most of her adult life. She enjoys involvement in the community in which she works and lives. Most recently, Governor Roy Cooper appointed her to the Forsyth Technical Community College Board of Trustees and The Governor’s Advisory Council for Hispanic and Latino Affairs. Prior Board involvement includes roles with the Enrichment Center, The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, River Run International Film Festival, Victory Junction Gang Camp, The Hispanic League, Goodwill Industries, and the Bethesda Center for the Homeless.

Carmen is bilingual in English and Spanish. She has been recognized as CHRO of the Year, Non-Profit, by HRO Today, one of the Top 100 HR Professionals by the National Diversity Council, a “Woman Worth Watching” in the Profiles in Diversity Journal, an Al Día 2021 Woman of Merit, and a “Leader in Diversity” by the Triad Business Journal. Additionally, she led Novant Health to be named the “Most Admired Employer Brand” in Healthcare by HRO Today. Carmen has a Master of Labor and Industrial Relations degree from Michigan State University and is a Gallup Strengths Coach. She is also a talented and experienced speaker who connects with a wide range of audiences on topics related to people and culture.