Executives Spotlight stories appeared on this website starting in 2001. Some of the executive's professional experience may have changed since they were published.
Spotlight - March 29, 2007
Director of Human Resources, Houston Texans
Why is it that Southern women are so attractive?Eyes turned at a sports marketing conference I attended in 2001. She had an elegance and grace that caught their attention. It didn't hurt she was blond!
Glenda Morrison took over the human resources operation for The McNair Group and the Houston Texans after the sale of Cogen Technologies, a Houston-based independent power company owned by Bob McNair, upon his selling it to put down hundreds of millions of dollars to purchase the rights to the 32nd NFL team in 2000. She has remained head of human resources for the football team ever since. They've hired many executives and part-time workers. It was in Houston that we launched our online recruiting software, TeamWork Online, and Glenda has been a champion of the product for years. She was there at this conference to tout its benefits to other potential clients.
While working with Glenda to help recruit her front office staff, I became acutely aware of the differences between Northern women, like me, and Southern women, like her. Northern women would describe our presentation as "genuine" or "authentic." I know I confuse "authentic" with the "just-got-out-of-bed" look I openly sport to the grocery store. We're brash, out-spoken, boldly independent, and wear such little make-up I'm sure the cosmetics firms have to lose money on us. We're not afraid to challenge our men intellectually or athletically. We open our own doors and pull out our own chairs. Our heroes are Gloria Steinem and Betty Freidan. And we live by the motto of Laurel Thatcher Ulrich that "Well behaved women rarely make history."
There are few unattractive Southern women. And when they're blond, they're even more eye-turners. They are soft-spoken, graceful and appropriate. Their purses match their pumps. They are well-mannered. Their hair is coiffed. They respect their elders. They are schooled in etiquette. Their face make-up withstands every ray of burning sun, sheets of rain and whipping wind. They encourage their men to open the door for them, pull out their chairs and gaze in their eyes telling them how pretty they look. A Northern woman might declare that same man to be a stalker and smack him!
I constantly had to apologize for my Northern behavior to women at the Houston NFL 2002 team. By 2pm in the afternoons the ladies' bathroom of the office building in which the team shared space was lined with women in front of the mirror who almost in syncopation lifted their mascara wands and flicked additional black sap on their eyelashes, patted more powder on their noses, and frosted more gloss on their lips. I'd pry between them, look in the mirror, check my face and with water on my finger tip smear what resembled eye black under my eyes. Then I'd throw up my hands in surrender. "I didn't bring my make-up," I'd confess. "I'm from the North. We put it on at 7:00 am and never again thereafter!"
The presentation of these genteel, delicate Southern women though belies their steely strength and Scarlet-O'Hare-composure in compartmentalizing life's pains. Glenda was no different. The face-make up of a Southern woman may in fact serve as a better shield to conceal hurt more than us Northern, unprotected types
Glenda and I got to know each other during those 2 months in Houston while I was recruiting their staff and building their online recruiting program. One noon we shared a chicken salad sandwich, and I spilled my guts about how my father's pre-mature death helped launched my executive recruiting business. I keep thinking the pain will dissipate the more I share it; but that seems to expand it. Many people know about my father's death which was now 20 years ago this April. Deaths, you never get over. You just learn to live with them. But behind her graceful demeanor, Glenda eked out her own life's altering experience. I was humbled.
In the 17 years my son has survived me; I'm embarrassed to confess that I've totally disappointed my fellow Northern women. On a recent vacation my husband, son and I shared in Asheville, North Carolina we took a water ski ride with another young boy and his mother. The mother, most likely in her late 40's, was a nurse from Georgia, and of course blond. She strapped on her slalom ski, popped out of the water and crisscrossed the wake with ease. My son glared wide-eyed at me. My womanhood, motherhood, and Northern-ness were being challenged. Not long thereafter, my son admitted that when he grows up, he will marry a woman who is an athlete, a nurse, of course blond and ... from the South. Now where have I gone wrong?
- Buffy Filippell
"Of all the human resources directors I've known, Glenda by far is one of the best there is."
--John Vidalin, Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Houston Texans
What I do...
Glenda is responsible for all human resources and employee benefit operations for approximately 400 staff members including Houston Texans front office full-time and part-time employees and the employees of The McNair Group, made up of other business entities owned by Texans owner, Bob McNair. She is responsible for the administration of player benefits at the club level as well.
HOW I GOT HERE...
HOUSTON TEXANS; Houston, TX; 2000-present
Director of Human Resources; 2006-present
Manager of Human Resources; 2000-2005
COGEN TECHNOLOGIES; Houston, TX; 1993-1999
OLYMPIA ENTERPRISES, CONOCO OIL, ARAMCO, VINSON & ELKINS; 1976-1992
Various Administrative positions