Students Learn from Leaders of One of the World’s Best Brands: Mercedes

Sep 19, 2018 | All School, Build People Up, Impact, Innovation Diploma, Upper School News

At the Upper School Business & Entrepreneurship Club’s first meeting of the school year with one of the largest crowds the club has ever seen, students welcomed Lars Minns, Head of Human Resources, NAFTA Region at Mercedes-Benz USA.

Speaking about his college and early job experiences, Minns shared his journey including his life moments of failure and success. Students learned that through a large scale transformation, Minns and his team successfully onboarded 300+ new employees – the largest 1-year hiring the company has experienced in its 50+ year history.
In addition to hearing from Minns, students had the opportunity to meet Paul Lafata, the CEO of Lab 1886, the newly launched corporate incubator for Daimler-AG. In March, Mercedes announced it would put a Lab1886 innovation center in Atlanta — the company’s fourth globally. The Atlanta hub will allow Mercedes to tap into the entrepreneurial instincts of its employees, who are encouraged to come up with new ideas, which are generally not related to car design. Mercedes has similar labs in Stuttgart, Berlin and Beijing.
After attending the meeting, Minns and Lafata spent time speaking with Innovation Diploma students and teachers as they observed design thinking in action. In the coming months, representatives from Lab 1886 and Mercedes will collaborate with MV students on a design brief. At Mount Vernon, a design brief starts with a creative conversation and ends with an impactful relationship. Through this process, Innovation Diploma students exercise their expertise in design thinking and human-centered problem solving to create better solutions that meet the specific needs of their clients. We ask our partners to share their ideas with us. It’s our student’s job to make it a reality, by doing real-world work now.
More about Lars Minns
Minns is currently the Head of HR for Mercedes-Benz, USA’s with responsibility for the US, Canada, and Mexico. He joined the company in March 2015.  He currently leads the organization in designing, implementing, and executing HR strategies that directly align with the company’s strategic objectives for the Sales, Marketing, and Distribution of passenger cars in the United States, Mexico, and Canada.
Prior to joining MBUSA, he served as the Senior Manager of Talent Acquisition for The Home Depot’s At Home Services commonly referred to as the “Do it For Me” business.  He led his team in executing talent acquisition strategies for the company’s fastest growing business segment.
Lars spent 10 years with The Home Depot and served in roles of increasing responsibility.  Most notably serving as the Sr. Mgr. of Talent Management for Operations, Services, Finance, and IT.  Early in his tenure with the company, he led the design and execution of the Company’s Executive Coaching program, the CEO’s Merchandising and US Retail focus groups, various Exposure and Leadership development programs, along with other enterprise-wide initiatives.
Before joining the Company, Lars held various roles in IT consulting sales and recruiting during the .com and Y2K eras.
Lars is a sought-after presenter and facilitator and spends considerable time communicating the importance of cultivating the right talent for business success. He is a current board member of Page Turners make Great Learners.
Lars earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from Hampton University in Hampton, VA. A native of Nassau, Bahamas, he is married with three children.