With an interest in leadership development in education, Levensaler went to Georgia State University to earn a master’s degree in human resource development. While in graduate school, she spent six months as a human resources consultant with Deloitte, where she began to learn more about issues facing the corporate world.
After grad school, Levensaler began her professional career in organizational development at the American InterContinental University. There she helped hire and assimilate faculty and staff from private colleges around the globe into a new model of education, where the goal was to optimize faculty and facilities to reduce the length of time and cost of higher education, and to prepare students for jobs in technology.
“Early in my career, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to operate at the intersection of business, finance, and HR,” she says. “I saw firsthand how innovative people practices dramatically impact business performance.”
Levensaler grew increasingly interested in technology to enable the recruiting, onboarding, communications, and development of an organization’s global workforce. Before corporate intranets were common, she created the American InterContinental University’s global HRWeb using a combination of her HTML, database, and networking know-how.
“I was hooked,” she says. Levensaler went on to hold technology-focused leadership roles at enterprise learning companies SmartForce and SystemLink Enterprise Solutions. Then, in 2005, she joined Bersin & Associates as principal analyst and director of talent management research.
HCM Technology Consultant Naomi Bloom of Bloom & Wallace recalls Levensaler’s research paper about the talent management market that analyzed and rated vendors and products based on certain critical characteristics. “It was a brilliant piece of work; in subtle but important ways, quite different,” says Bloom.