Tamara Bray

Chief Human Resources Officer, DCP Midstream

People Success Insight

Harnessing an employee-created culture to drive business transformation

Tamara Bray has had a diversity of experiences in her career as an HR leader, but her most meaningful challenge is the one that stands before her today. As CHRO at oil and gas leader DCP Midstream, she’s helping direct the transformation of the business from old-school to innovative — an evolution that will be propelled by the company’s culture.

DCP Midstream is one of the largest natural-gas processing companies in the U.S. In 2014, the organization launched DCP2020, a five-year strategic plan “to become the safest, most reliable, low cost mid-stream service provider, sustainable in any environment.” The plan focuses on improving operational excellence – efficiency, reliability, and risk management.

Tamara and other DCP leaders agree they won’t accomplish this massive undertaking without the ideas, commitment and unified vision of all their employees. To change their company, they recognized that they needed to change the way they work together.

 “This is the first time where I’ve been in an organization that absolutely declared, ‘We’re going to have a strategic priority around our culture,’ ” she says. “We’re going through such massive transformation that we know this is the enabler.” 

To guide the new direction, Tamara and team used feedback from everyone from corporate leaders to field workers across the country to define five organization-wide values:

  • Trust: Everything begins with trust
  • Connect: Collaboration, working across boundaries in agile and iterative ways
  • Inspire: How we connect with and support the people we work with
  • Solve: Applying new solutions to old problems, driving innovation in new and different ways
  • Achieve: Reflecting the team’s desire to be a part of a winning team and deliver great results

“We’re now on this journey to define our future both from an innovation, technological, [and] digitization perspective, as well as from a culture-enabling perspective. After all the years of great, cool, fun learning experiences, I’m actually having the greatest time of my life because now I’m doing what I think HR is really meant to do.”

“Most companies get this wrong because they don’t attend to the culture at the same time, instead they start their transformation process, she says. “Therefore the outcome isn’t as successful. To me, this is where the rubber meets the road. And this is where HR can really have a profound impact on the business.”

Tamara is proud of the business results she’s advanced by focusing on the relationship between people strategy and organizational success. At the same time, she sees a deeper meaning in her work.

“I’m so grateful to be in a career that allows me to touch people’s lives in such meaningful ways,” she says. “I get to help them achieve their aspirations, grow, and be better than even they might have envisioned.

“And I am a different person as a result. I’m working to be more empathetic than I might have been had I chosen a different career path and to have a deeper compassion for helping people. Hearing the excitement and seeing the smiles on their faces and knowing that they’re experiencing something very rewarding…well, there’s just no way to describe how it feels to know that you’re a part of that in some way.”

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