For Melissa Kremer, Target's Chief Human Resources Officer, there has never been a more exciting time to be in HR in the retail space. The COVID-19 pandemic only reinforced how critical employees are to Target's strategy and success. "I don’t believe the role of the leader is going back to what it was like before the pandemic," Kremer said in a recent interview. "The CHRO is becoming even more central to the success of the business. Skills like general management, broad-based business acumen, strategic mindset, and emotional intelligence are going to remain non-negotiable for the CHRO job."

In addition to her CHRO title, Kremer is also Executive Vice President and a member of Target’s executive leadership team. With two decades of experience in retail and business services, she leads the overall HR functions such as recruitment, development, diversity and inclusion, engagement, and total rewards for the organization’s global team of more than 400,000 employees. During her lengthy tenure at the company, she's has been instrumental in driving the HR strategies behind Target’s organizational transformation, delivering large-scale structural and operational changes, and building global HR teams.

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Kremer joined Target in 2004 as a recruiter. Later, she became responsible for enabling organizational performance for business units such as merchandising, marketing, digital, and strategy and innovation. Over the years, she’s held various positions of increasing responsibility in HR supporting Target’s largest commercial businesses, and has also led the key talent functions of recruiting, learning, leadership development, talent management, and strategic workforce planning.

Before Target, Kremer held HR positions at Cargill for over 4 years. She earned her bachelor’s degree in communications and public relations from the University of North Dakota; serves on the board of the HR Policy Association; is a member of the Center on Executive Compensation, the Center for Executive Succession, and the Gallup Retail CHRO Rountable; and serves as Governing Body Co-Chair of the Evanta CHRO Executive Summit. In addition, she is a member of HR50x (part of World 50, Inc.) and the FORTUNE Most Powerful Women Next Gen.