SHRM Young Professional Advisory Council

Jan 1, 2017
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The Young Professional Advisory Council (YPAC) serves the interests of SHRM Young Professional members and provides guidance on building a community for the next generation of HR leadership through social media, membership and networking activities.


  • SHRM member
  • 30 and younger
  • Participate in at least 75% of YPAC webinars and sub-group conference calls/webinars
  • Actively participate in discussion during webinars, conference calls and in online forums 
  • Lead or be involved in the development of resources to advance the SHRM YP initiative 
  • Provide a quarterly YPAC Member Participation Report to demonstrate your contributions 


  • January 1 through December 31
  • There are 15 YPAC members who serve on this team
  • Service is one year, and can be extended for one additional year (for a maximum of two years) provided that certain requirements are achieved

Application Process

  • 2018 application process is now open
  • 2018 finalist are announced in November 2017

2017 Members

Aaron Abel
Sr. HR BP & Talent Manager
Tronox Alkali (formerly FMC)
Philadelphia, PA

Aaron Abell is an accomplished global Human Resources professional, analyst, and business leader. After staring his career in an HR generalist/analyst capacity, he quickly gained success in various other aspects of Human Resources. He helped develop and led enterprise-recruiting efforts, improving results while reducing costs and lead times through the implementation of lean strategies and new technologies. These achievements were not only recognized internally at Hillenbrand, but also externally – sharing his story and successes at the fall ERE Expo. 

After several years building experience in Human Resources, Abell gained Merger and Acquisition experience working on the Corporate Strategy Team – assisting with due diligence efforts for the $545 million purchase of Germany-based Coperion Capital GmbH. Following this experience, Abell joined the Lean Business team – leading global Lean training and development activities to optimize business performance of current and future companies. Today, Abell oversees corporate talent management for Tronox Alkali in Philadelphia.

Kirsten Benzaquen
Talent Acquisition Specialist
Durham, N.C.

Kirsten Benzaquen is a Talent Acquisition Specialist with TrialCard in Morrisville, NC. In this role, she works with internal teams and hiring managers to fulfill internal and external hiring needs, develops recruitment strategy, works with hiring managers and teams to refine job descriptions and success profiles as well as manages the onboarding process for new employees.

Growing up as an army child, Benzaquen moved all over the world, but she calls Fayetteville, N.C. her hometown. In the five-plus years since she earned her HR degree from William Peace University in Raleigh, N.C., Benzaquen has advanced her career through HR jobs in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries. She has been involved with training and development, total rewards and now corporate recruiting. Through it all, she has found opportunities to volunteer her expertise and organizational skills to a wide range of local organizational entities.

In addition to her duties as a Talent Acquisition Specialist for TrialCard, Benzaquen volunteers with her local SHRM chapter, Raleigh-Wake Human Resources Management Association, as the Associate Vice President of Programs. She also serves as President of William Peace University's Young Alumni Council and as a voting member of the school's Alumni Board. She obtained her Certified Benefit Professional (CBP) and Certified Compensation Professional (CCP) through World at Work in 2013 and recently obtained her Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification through HRCI in July 2015. Benzaquen will also finish her Master's Degree in HR Development this May, 2017. 

Benzaquen currently resides in Durham, N.C. and enjoys traveling, ballet, music, and spending time with the people she loves. 

Jillian Caswell
Operations Director
Alaska Executive Search, Inc.
Anchorage, Alaska

Jillian Caswell joined Alaska Executive Search, Inc. (AES) in 2010, and she has been providing remarkable service quality to her clients since then. After completing her BA degree from the University of Alaska, Southeast in Psychology and Sociology, she continued to progress her career with AES as an Associate Recruiter in the Executive Search Division. After a year of mentorship with veteran Senior Executive Search Consultants, Caswell joined our Technology & Engineering Division to round out her recruitment experience before bringing her knowledge and recruitment capabilities to lead the Office Staffing Division as Division Manager.

Caswell offers her clients a solid understanding of the Anchorage and Alaska labor market. Her expertise in online recruitment and networking, coupled with her social media savvy enhances her ability to effectively leverage our vast database of professionals and her ability to expediently source, prescreen and place candidates. As AES expands upon its business legacy of strong client and candidate relationships in the Alaska community, Jillian will continue to work closely with clients to identify their staffing needs and requirements.

Brad Dalton
Human Resources Business Partner
Cisco Meraki
San Francisco, Calif. 

Brad Dalton is an HR Business Partner for Cisco Meraki in San Francisco and has a background in human resources, and financial and operations leadership. His career has included experience in organizational development, process improvement, change management, talent strategy, and program management. Dalton obtained his Bachelor's degree in Management from the University of Florida and his Master's in International Business with an MBA exchange program from the Hong Kong University of Science & Technology. He's worked for organizations such as Wells Fargo, Verizon Wireless, Aramark, and the City & County of Denver before transitioning to strategic HR planning and support for an industry leader in the IT space. Dalton is passionate about aligning business needs with people strategy, and helps manage both big ideas and individual tasks. With family extending from South Africa to Japan, Dalton also likes to travel as much as possible in his free time.

Erica Davis
HR Manager, Midwest Region
Chicago, Ill.

Erica Davis is a passionate, versatile HR professional that brings over five years of experience to the 2017 YPAC.  She began her Human Resources career in 2011 at Soldier Field with Delaware North Companies, and she continued to develop her HR management skills during her time with Aramark and Big Ten Network.  She is now enjoying her new role as the Human Resources Manager for Airgas, supporting the Midwest region.  In her current role, she is responsible for partnering with regional leadership teams to provide Human Resources guidance and execution in talent acquisition, compensation, benefits administration, training and development, employee relations, labor relations, and talent management.

Davis graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago in May 2012 with a B.A. in Psychology and Minor in Sociology.  She joined SHRM in May 2013, earned her Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification in May 2014, and earned her SHRM-Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) certification in January 2015. 

Davis volunteers on the SHRM Foundation Scholarship Judging Committee and serves as the Special Events Volunteer Lead for American Red Cross of Chicago and Northern Illinois.  She enjoys hiking, traveling, spending time with her family, and spoiling her dog, Brody.  Davis is thrilled to be a part of the 2017 YPAC and is looking forward to positively influencing the community for the next generation of HR leaders. 

Connect with her on LinkedIn.

Jessica Gofforth
HR Manager
Bemis Company, Inc
Dubuque, Iowa

Jessica Gofforth is a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa and holds a degree in Business Management, with an emphasis in Human Resources. Gofforth has been very active with SHRM since her early college days. She has held various leadership positions, including President of the student SHRM chapter at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI-SHRM), and College Relations director for the Iowa SHRM State Council. Gofforth is currently the Director of YP Activities for the Iowa SHRM State Council and Chair of the College Relations Committee for her local chapter Tri-State Human Resources Association (TRIHRA). Gofforth was a guest speaker for the 2013 North Central SHRM Student Conference, and has been featured in the SHRM HR Magazine and UNI Alumni Magazine.

Gofforth is currently the HR Manager for Bemis Company, Inc., a Fortune 500 company that specializes in flexible packaging solutions, headquartered in Neenah, WI, where she oversees the site HR team for a plant in Southwest Wisconsin. Gofforth has previous experience in talent acquisition, college relations, leadership development and employee relations in the manufacturing, supply chain & logistics, and aviation & defense industries. 

She resides in Dubuque, IA where she enjoys spending time with her two dogs, as well as being a volunteer and mentor within her community. She’s excited to join the SHRM YPAC team and hopes to use her own experiences and career development to provide opportunities to further develop other young HR professionals!

Tatiana M. Hernandez, MSHR
Regional Human Resources Representative
ACCO Engineered Systems
Glendale, Calif.

Tatiana Hernandez is a HR Professional dedicated to the advancement of Young Professionals entering the Human Resources field and is passionate about training and personal development. Tatiana holds a Bachelors in Business Management from California State University Northridge (CSUN) and a certificate in HR Management from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She recently received a Master's degree in Human Resources (MSHR) from Pepperdine University and next she plans to attain her SPHR/SHRM-SCP credentials.

In her current role, she is a Regional HR Representative at ACCO Engineered Systems, a Mechanical Contractor Headquartered in Southern California. In her role, she provides HR support to the corporate office and satellite offices throughout Southern California as well as offices in Idaho, Nevada, Texas, and Washington.  In her role, she is actively involved in talent management including talent acquisition, onboarding, employee relations, benefits, wellness initiatives, employee engagement, leaves of absences, performance management, compliance and special projects assigned by the executive team.

In her spare time she likes to travel, spend time with family, and volunteer. Hernandez is actively involved with HR Young Professional (YP) groups through SHRM and PIHRA. She is currently on the SHRM Young Professionals Advisory Council (YPAC) for a second term and was recently appointed the Chair for PIHRA YP's in the Southern California region. 

Connect with Hernandez on LinkedIn.

Dan Higham
Sr. HR Generalist
Charter Communications
Rochester, N.Y.

Dan Higham is a Sr. HR Generalist at Charter Communications. As an HR business partner, his primary focus is on employee relations. Higham started with the company in May 2011. He currently works in Upstate New York at the Company’s Rochester, NY location and supports the direct sales team in the Northeast Region.

Higham is an active SHRM volunteer. He served as the Membership Chairperson for CNY SHRM (450+ member local chapter in Syracuse, NY) from 2013-2015. He served as the Membership Chairperson for STAHR (100+ member local chapter in Binghamton, NY) from 2014-2017. Since 2015, he has served in the role of New York State SHRM Council Membership Director.

Higham received his B.S. in Human Resource Management from SUNY Oswego. In 2014, he earned his PHR certification and in early 2015 he successfully earned his SHRM-CP. Higham enjoys fishing, playing golf, and spending time with his 1 year old nephew!

Meigelle Lapos
Assistant Director of HR
Four Seasons Jackson Hole
Teton Village, Wyo.

Meigelle Lapos comes to us originally from the north woods of Minnesota, and moved to the Twin Cities upon completing high school, and attended the Art Institutes International where she received her Bachelors Degree in Hospitality Management. Her career in HR began with Carlson Hotels as an HR intern. She has been in Hospitality for over 10 years and HR for just over 3 1/2. 

Her first management role in Human Resources began with a large dental practice. After a year in health care she made her way back into Hospitality where she was the Human Resources Manager in charge of overseeing the Human Resources department for a luxury hotel in Washington D.C., The Hay Adams. There she oversaw all of employee relations, learning and development, investigations, recognition programs, and had her first exposure to labor unions. Enjoying the work managing 4 labor unions and their contracts, she made the decision to go back to school and will be graduating in August of '17 with her Masters degree in Human Resources, with a concentration on Employment Law.

Recently she joined the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts in Jackson Hole, Wyoming as the Assistant Director of Human Resources. There she oversees an HR Manager and Coordinator, manages Learning and Development initiatives for the Four Seasons property, benefits, and employee relations. In her spare time Meigelle enjoys cooking, wine, re-purposing furniture, and designing home decor for her Etsy shop. She is also incredibly excited to take advantage of the ski and snowboard season while living in Jackson Hole.

Ashley Leveque
Senior Manager, HR Consulting
Carrollton, Texas

Ashley Leveque is a well-rounded HR young professional with experience ranging from not-for-profits to Fortune 500 global organizations. She is currently a Senior Manager, HR Consulting for Hilton Corporate supporting the Hilton Reservations and Customer Care group. Ashley has her B.B.A. in Management from Texas State University (Go Bobcats!) and has served on the McCoy College of Business Human Resource Management Advisory Board since 2014. She has also has both her M.S. in Human Resource Management and her M.B.A. from the University of Texas at Arlington. Selected to participate in SHRM’s pilot testing program, Ashley was a part of the first group of HR professionals to test for and pass the SHRM-CP examination.

Ashley is happy to be a part of the YPAC so she can give back to the organization that has aided her in her professional development.

Staci McArter
Human Resources Generalist
Carrollton, Ky. 

Staci McArter considers herself the luckiest HR professional in the world. After graduating with a Bachelor's Degree in Human Resource Management from Northern Kentucky University, she was able to land an amazing position as an HR Generalist at Genscape, Inc. and is the current Director of College and Community Relations with the Louisville SHRM chapter. Both roles allow her to practice her passion of promoting and supporting professional development on a company and city-wide basis while meeting and working with amazing people along the way.

When not supporting her community with high-impact programs, McArter currently pursues her MBA at the University of Louisville where she has been elected as the President of her cohort. As a living testament to the benefits SHRM provides, McArter is ecstatic at the opportunity to connect young professionals with an amazing organization and continuing promoting professional development for all she encounters. She would love to connect with you so feel free to look her up on LinkedIn. 

Lauren Randall
Human Resources Manager
Homeside Financial
Columbus, Ohio

Lauren Randall is currently the Human Resources Manager at Homeside Financial, a privately held mortgage company located in Columbus, Ohio. As one of Homeside's first employee's in 2014, Lauren carried through the development of the Human Resources department. Randall handles the full array of HR responsibilities including benefit administration, policy creation, performance management, compliance, and employee relations. Within less than three years Homeside has grown from 15 employees to a staff of over 350 employees in 12 different states.

Randall received her Bachelors of Business Administration from Ohio University in 2013 and obtained her SHRM-CP in May 2016. In her free time she enjoys being a member of her local SHRM chapter, Human Resources Association of Central Ohio, traveling and spending time with friends and family. 

Max Rickard
The Walt Disney Company
Orlando, Fla.

Max Rickard has worked in the HR field in various capacities. Currently, Max is employed as an Associate Human Resources Business Partner at the Walt Disney Company. In his role he supports the corporate segment of the enterprise in all things HR: talent strategy, performance management, organizational development, etc. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Mount Saint Mary’s College, in Newburgh, NY and a Master’s in Business Administration from the State University of New York at New Paltz. Rickard is an active member of the Greater Orlando Society for Human Resource Management (GOSHRM) chapter. He previously served as the VP of Marketing and Public Relations for the Mid-Hudson Human Resources Association (MHHRA) chapter and most recently the Workforce Readiness Director of the New York State Society for Human Resource Management (NYS SHRM). Rickard is also certified by the Human Resources Certification Institute as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and holds a Certified Professional (CP) designation through SHRM. Connect with Max on LinkedIn.

Veronica Castaneda Sauza
Culture and Change Management Coordinator
FEMSA Corporation
Jalisco, Guadalajara, Mexico

Veronica Castaneda Sauza is a passionate professional for Human Resources and Organizational Development. She began her professional career at The Hershey Company in Mexico as a generalist (her sweetest professional experience), after performing in areas of communication and development in the same company.

Sauza currently works as Coordinator of Culture and Performance in the headquarters of FEMSA, a Mexican company with more than 200000 employees, and multiple business units, present in over 11 countries.

Sauza has a degree in psychology and is currently pursuing a Master of Organizational Development at the University of Monterrey. Sauza is also Alumni of AIESEC, an international organization dedicated to developing the potential of the young, with whom she was volunteer during few years in their own country and participated in development experiences in Canada and the Czech Republic.

Sauza is very excited to be part of YPAC and contribute with the objective of SHRM, of working in order to stimulate the development of HR professionals.

Stevie Sprague, PHR
Sr. Specialist, University Recruiting
Union Pacific Railroad
Omaha, Neb.

Stevie Sprague received her BS in Business Administration from Buffalo State University and MBA from Bellevue University. She completed her PHR certification in November 2015 and is currently the Senior Specialist in University Recruitment at Union Pacific Railroad.

In her role, Sprague has responsibility for program management of Union Pacific’s University Recruiting Program, which includes recruiting managers and interns from various campuses across the United States. In addition to recruiting she also manages the strategy, analytics, benchmarking and training as it pertains to university recruitment. The most rewarding aspect of her role is recruiting and attracting young professionals into the organization and watching them progress throughout their careers.

When she is not at career fairs recruiting the future leaders of Union Pacific, Sprague enjoys traveling, movies, yoga, and playing with her Siamese cat, Loki. She has been a SHRM member since 2011 and also active with her local SHRM chapter. Sprague is very excited to join the SHRM Young Professionals Advisory Council and is looking forward to continue to develop the program in 2016.

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