Carmen Canales is the Senior Vice President, Chief People & Belonging Officer at Novant Health. As CPBO, she is accountable for driving the people strategy for more than 37,000 team members by fostering an inclusive culture, maximizing talent, and building a resilient workforce.
Canales has diverse industry experience, including leadership roles in the healthcare, higher education, consumer goods, banking, and professional services industries. She previously served as the chief human resources executive at Wake Forest University and at the law firm now known as Womble Bond Dickinson. Earlier in her career, Canales also held human capital leadership roles at Wachovia (now Wells Fargo) and Pepsi-Cola.
She is an engaging and sought-after speaker and storyteller who connects with a wide range of audiences on topics related to talent and culture. Canales is bilingual in English and Spanish.
She often is recognized for her remarkable contributions to the human resources profession. Canales was named a Woman Worth Watching in the Profiles in Diversity Journal; an Al Día2021 Woman of Merit; one of the Top 100 HR Professionals by the National Diversity Council; a Leader in Diversity by the Triad Business Journal; and CHRO of the Year, Non-Profit by HRO Today. She led Novant Health to be named the 2021 Most Admired Employer Brand in Healthcare by HRO Today and one of Forbes’ 2022 Best Employers in North Carolina.Additionally, under her leadership, the Novant Health People & Culture department was recognized as one of the 2022 Most Innovative HR Teams by HRM America.
Canales holds a Master of Labor and Industrial Relations degree from Michigan State University. She was appointed by North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper to the Forsyth Technical Community College Board of Trustees, and serves on the Governor’s Advisory Council for Hispanic and Latino Affairs. She also serves on the board of the Center for Exceptional Children, with previous board appointments with the Enrichment Center, The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, River Run International Film Festival, Victory Junction Gang Camp, The Hispanic League, Goodwill Industries, and the Bethesda Center for the Homeless.