Speaker, Author, Advisor, CHRO Executive, Non-Profit Board Member, Military Veteran



Steve is an experienced C Level executive with a broad perspective based on 20 years experience as a Chief HR Officer with the World’s leading food and pet food company, after a number of great foundational assignments to include four years as an Army officer. Steve also serves on multiple non-profit boards out of a sense of obligation to help others; Steve advocates service to everyone and believes it’s a path to making everyone and everything a little better off.

Steve is available for advice and consulting.

Steve began his next chapter in 2023 and is currently writing a book intended to help professionals navigate the craziness of organizations, bosses, hierarchies and many other topics with a mix of sage advice and sometimes biting humor. Look for it in the fall of 2024. Meanwhile you can book Steve for speaking engagements where he’s sure to meet the moment with great stories, good humor and recommendations on how to be your best as a professional.


Steve spent a career speaking in large meetings, to large audiences at company and external events, in promotional videos and more. He knows how to bring an audience along with him utilizing stories, humor and a humble style. Steve knows how to put himself in the audience’s shoes because he’s worn them.

Steve specializes in addressing the tough aspects of managing a career, namely the need to deliver results, build effective relationships and manage one's reputation actively. Steve can address these topics regardless of the background and expertise of the audience. He’ll bring a spark and positivity to your next conference.

Steve can consult with you on a myriad of HR topics from Labor Relations to benefits plans to leadership development and succession planning. His views and capabilities are based on 30 plus years of pursuing best practice in a premiere global organization.

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Steve Degnan is the rare breed of human resource professionals who is capable of leveraging the talent function into a strategic competitive advantage. He understood that competition can copy just about anything and even find work arounds to intellectual property but a culture of excellence is what truly drives long term sustainable performance and is by far the hardest thing that others can replicate.

Steve was also able to effectively play at the global level and helped me create a first class global leadership development program and global talent pool and succession planning function. These were key to transforming Nestle Purina from a predominantly regionally run business into a truly global business and driving business performance worldwide in one of Nestle’s highest priority global product categories.

Beyond the business, Steve possesses a high moral character and bullet proof trustworthiness that allows him to speak his truth when others are not capable of going there , getting leaders to focus on the real core issues.

If I had to go to battle, Steve would be my first recruit.

Steve Degnan is what you get when you combine a perpetual US Army lieutenant with a seasoned Chief Executive. Passionate, irreverent, and hilarious, Steve's ability to influence, shape, and transform the entire enterprise, from CEO to the director level, is his unique gift. How he wound up running HR, I'll never know, but his force of nature and drive in that role allowed him to transform the Purina team from a hierarchical, big-box store focused organization to a faster, more resilient e-commerce business where decision-making was encouraged at the lowest level. Working with Steve and the executive team on Project Agility was a privilege, and I am proud to call him a trusted friend.

I have had the distinct pleasure of getting to know Steve Degnan through the Board of Trustees at La Salle University where he has become a trusted leader, trustee, and resource for me and our institution. During this time, I have witnessed firsthand Steve's exceptional command of complex issues related to governance, management, human resources, and legal affairs where his clear thinking provides the appropriate guidance for all involved. I highly recommend Steve for his expertise in guiding any organization.

Steve is not your typical HR Leader but he is who every HR Leader should aspire to be. Steve has a keen knack for cutting through the bureaucracy and he doesn’t shy away from being a disrupter when change is required. If you get the privilege to work with Steve, you will quickly learn he is smart, curious, engaging and a thoughtful listener. What I know for sure is that when you spend time with Steve there will be lots of laughter and you will also leave with a list of book recommendations.

What I admire most about Steve is his ability to create connections with others and his relentless pursuit to be of service in both business and with the charities he supports.

As a former member of Steve’s Senior HR team, I am lucky to call him a mentor, inspirational leader and friend.

I enjoyed watching Steve lead the people efforts for Nestle Purina business in the US and in many ways he established trends for the rest of the Nestle Group to study and imitate where possible. Steve’s knows talent management as well as any HR professional I have come across and his leadership was critical during the pandemic in particular, when I took advantage of his advice. And yes, Steve is also fun and engaging to work with for anyone considering his services

Steve Degnan is a model of resilience, adaptability, and unwavering commitment to excellence in the corporate world. During my time as CEO of Guardian Angel Settlement Association in St. Louis, MO, I had the privilege of working closely with Steve, who served as a board member, leader, advisor, and champion of our mission. Steve's strategic thinking, exceptional leadership, and deep passion for service were instrumental in driving our organization forward. His wisdom and practical advice have guided countless professionals to success, and his legacy of dedication and service continues to inspire everyone he connects with. Steve Degnan—a true leader and visionary whose impact extends far beyond the boardroom.

Steve Degnan is a rare breed—that guy who drives large scale change while somehow making everyone involved feel seen and respected. I've relied on his insight more times than I can remember as we've planned, pitched, and performed against ambitious new goals for the cause we serve. Steve's a big picture, strategic thinker, a natural connector, deeply caring, and consummately conscientious—exactly what a CEO needs from Board leadership. Above all, Steve's a delightful human being. His warmth, wry wit, and lively mind make time spent with Steve a treat.

Susan Lee Vick (she/her)
Chief Executive Officer, Joybound People & Pets

Steve’s experience and knowledge are hard won, unique and authentic. During my time as CEO, I relied on Steve to plan and execute the largest transformation of our approach to people and culture in the 125+ year history of Purina. It’s never about Steve. It’s about what is right for the business and culture. That’s one of the best parts of working with him. If you hire Steve as speaker or consultant, you won’t get an HR person. You will get a savvy and strategic business competitor who possesses a truly unique skillset when it come to people and culture with a willingness to help you get to the next level and have fun while doing so.

Joe Sivewright
CEO, Nestle Purina Americas, Retired

It isn't just Steve's pragmatism and ability to see all situations through the prism of common sense and fairness that make him the first person I consult when I encounter a challenging situation. It's the fact that his motivations as a professional, philanthropist and friend are born out of a genuine sense of goodness and kind intent. You hear a lot of people that claim to be 'selfless' but with Steve it's really never about HIM. He's smart, thoughtful and compassionate and I am one of many who count him among my most trusted colleagues.

Steve Degnan possesses a remarkable talent for cutting through the noise, pinpointing core issues, dissecting them into manageable components, and motivating a team to develop and implement solutions. Before working with him, my perception of Human Resources professionals was largely negative, as I often found them creating more obstacles than answers. Steve is a refreshing exception. Rather than immediately dismissing ideas with "why we can't do something," he leads with "how we can do something the right way."

In too many organizations, the right products, services, and strategies are overshadowed by the failure to identify the right people and properly align them with common objectives. This is often the result when companies view Human Resources as merely a cost center for prescreening candidates, handling complaints, and obstructing progress, rather than an integral part of strategic planning and execution. Working with Mr. Degnan has made me a better leader by demonstrating how to effectively manage human capital, not just theoretically, but practically. He excels at building cohesive teams and developing Human Resources professionals who not only mitigate legal and reputational risks but also contribute directly to revenue and margin growth.

My first encounter with Steve was nearly two decades ago when we were assigned to the same MBA team. Initially, I was skeptical upon learning of his Human Resources background. My first thought was “the last thing we need is another up-tight HR guy to suck all the fun out of the room.” I was flat wrong. Not only did we have the most fun, but our team quickly became the most creative and highest performing in the program. Not only will Steve challenge all your preconceived notions about Human Resources executives, but he will inspire you to cultivate his lateral thinking and collaborative leadership style throughout your organization.

Scott Carver
CEO, FirstSpear

As Chair of the Board at Starkloff Disability Institute, Steve brings invaluable business knowledge and a heartfelt passion for helping others. His commitment is evident in the wholehearted devotion he shows to our mission. Steve has provided exceptional guidance, ensured accountability, and fostered an environment where fellow board members are supported and actively engaged during a pivotal stage of growth. Steve is a mentor, working closely with me from my days as a Development Director, all the way up to CEO. Steve carefully balanced governance with empowering our team, allowing us to grow our impact and succeed. Anyone fortunate enough to work with Steve can expect nothing short of excellence.

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