HR Disciplines Panel Members

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Panel Member Biographies

Joseph Adler, SHRM-SCP, SPHR 
Montgomery County Office of HR
Bowie, MD 

In November 2002, Joseph Adler was appointed to head the Office of Human Resources for Montgomery County, the largest jurisdiction in the state of Maryland. In December of 2006, he was reappointed by County Executive Isiah Leggett.  In this position, he oversees all aspects of human resources management for more than 10,000 active and 4,000 retired employees and their dependents.  The Office of Human Resources has over 80 employees in such functions as EEO Compliance; Recruiting; Staffing; Classification and Compensation; Benefits Administration,  Occupational Health and Medicine,  Labor Relations, Change Management  and Training and Development.  Adler also oversees the County’s collective bargaining process, and is the County Executive’s main point of contact with the three unions representing County employees.

In 2006, the Montgomery County Office of Human Resources was recognized by the International Public Management Association for Human Resources (the largest public HR professional organization in the United States) as the best large public HR office of the year for its leadership, innovative programs and use of technology.

Prior to working for Montgomery County, Adler served for eight years as Director of the Office of Personnel and Labor Relations (OPLR) for Prince George’s County, the second largest jurisdiction in Maryland.  In this position, he successfully oversaw a unique public-private partnership which allowed for the centralization of recruitment efforts  and background check processing of over 10,000 applicants for public safety positions at a greatly reduced cost and  substantial reductions in the time it took to clear an applicant to enter the training academy.

Adler has held a number of other positions in the field of human resources, including Deputy Secretary and subsequently, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Personnel - responsible for providing human resources services to over 60,000 employees.  Prior to his management positions, Mr. Adler was Executive Director of the Maryland Classified Employees Association (MCEA) - representing over 20,000 state and local government employees, and served as Assistant Director of Research and Collective Bargaining Services of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) in Washington DC.


Rodney Alvarez, SHRM-SCP
Senior Director, Human Resources 
Attivio 
Jamaica Plain, MA 

Rodney Alvarez is an HR professional with over 10 years’ experience mostly working in technology companies.  He holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles and has held senior HR roles at FAST (now Microsoft), British Petroleum and Attivio.  His areas of expertise include recruitment and recruitment marketing, employee recognition, compensation and performance management.  Alvarez is currently Sr. Director of Human Resources at Attivio Inc, located in Newton, MA.


Thomas M. Anderson, SHRM-SCP
Director Employee Relations
Houston Community College System
Houston, TX 

Thomas M. Anderson, JD, SHRM-SCP, SPHR, is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SHRM-SCP, SPHR) and an attorney admitted to the State Bar of Texas.  He is currently the Director of Employee Relations at Houston Community College with responsibility for Employee Relations domestically and internationally.  He holds a BS from Purdue University, MA from DePauw University and JD from South Texas College of Law.

He has worked in both the public sector as the Director of HR with Ft. Bend County and private sector with Reynolds Metals Company, Tredegar Corp., and Diamond Shamrock. Prior to working in HR Tom was a Marine Corps officer and pilot.  He also previously coached football and baseball at the college level.

Anderson was appointed by the Governor as Chair of the Texas Commission on Human Rights (TCHR); recipient of DePauw University Community Leadership Award; recipient of HR Houston Tom Burke Distinguished Professional in Human Resources award; SHRM Panel of Experts; SHRM Workplace Safety and Health Committee Chair; Board of Directors and Past President, HR Houston; Board of Directors State Council for SHRM; and a member of CUPA-HR.

He is married with 2 children and 2 grandchildren.  Tom plays golf and flies as a commercial pilot with instrument rating.


Phillipa Brown, SHRM-SCP, SPHR
Director of Asst/Assoc Director
McKeldin Library, University of MD
Mitchellville, MD   


Terleen Cheslock, MSMOB
Senior Employee Services Manager
Boldt Company 
Appleton, WI

Terleen Cheslock has worked in the HR field for 20 years. She currently works at Bolldt Construction Company as the Senior Employee Services Manager.  Terleen has her Master’s Degree in Organizational Development and Behavior from Silver Lake College. She also is an Adjunct Instructor at Fox Valley Technical College where she teaches classes in Human Resources to students.  In her free time, she likes to spend time running with her son and Harley riding with her husband.


Jaime M. Churchill, SHRM-CP, CEBS, MBA, PHR
Specialist 
Lake County 
Waukegan, IL


Sylvia Victor Francis, SHRM SCP, SPHR
Manager, Total Rewards 
Regional Transportation District- Bus, Light Rail & Commuter Rail
Denver, CO

2011-present

Responsibilities include: Managing benefits, compensation, HRIS, employee relations & performance management.

Previous Employment

1993-2010

Arapahoe House, Inc.

Centennial Peaks Hospital (subsidiary)

Director of Human Resources- Both organizations

Volunteer Information

2013-2016- State Director- Colorado SHRM

2013-2016- SHRM Special Expertise Groups

Technology & HRM 2013/2014

HR Disciplines 2015/2016

Local Chapter- Mile High SHRM

PDG Co Chair, PDG Director, Vice President, President, Immediate Past President


Valerie P. Keels, SHRM-SCP, SPHR
Head of DC Office Services
Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance
Washington, DC

Valerie Keels is a dynamic HR practitioner with extensive experience in adult education, including designing, managing, and facilitating leadership development programs.  She has proven success in creating cultures of collaboration, and implementing change to achieve workforce excellence. Valerie possesses experience in several aspects of human resources including: recruitment, employee training, incentives, benefits and payroll. She has a track record of coaching in the areas of transformational leadership, intercultural communication, team building, and managing change, with proven success in international recruitment.  She holds a master’s degree in Organizational Leadership as well as advanced HR certifications. 

At Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, Keels serves as the HR representative for the DC office, which includes: planning, developing, and directing the administration of all HR functions; facilitating compensation analyses for DC based on local market conditions; oversee training and development programs; and implementing the performance appraisal process.  Additionally, Keels ensures that policies and procedures are properly applied in the DC office in accordance with the overall Gavi HR strategy mandated by its’ Geneva headquarters, while complying with US and local laws and requirements.


Joey Kolasinsky, SHRM-SCP, SPHR, CCEP
Sr. HR Manager
Esri, Inc.
Redlands, CA

Joey Kolasinsky is currently a Senior HR Manager overseeing the areas of Global HR Operations, Compensation & Benefits, Employee Safety, and HR Compliance.  She has over 15 years of experience in all areas of Human Resources including talent engagement strategy, total rewards, performance management, employee wellness and safety, and employee training. Her industry expertise includes retail, distribution, engineering, and technology.  Kolasinsky has served on the local SHRM Chapter Board of Directors, Inland Empire SHRM, as a Board Secretary, VP of Membership, and is currently serving as the President-Elect.  She earned an MBA from the University of Tampa, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Florida Institute of Technology.  She has also achieved the designations of SHRM-SCP, SPHR, and CCEP (Certified Compliance & Ethics Professional).  


Mary Jo Lavorata, SHRM-SCP, SPHR
Vice President of Human Resources, North America
Micro Focus, Inc. 
Rockville, MD

Mary Jo Lavorata, SPHR,SHRM-SCP has 20+ years of global, business-based HR experience, and is currently the Vice President of Human Resources, North America, with Micro Focus, a UK based technology company.  As the HR subject matter expert for North America, her expertise is in both operational and strategic HR practices. Overseeing all aspects of human resources management she establishes and develops Human Resource teams and infrastructure for global technology companies to effectively support rapid business growth.  She also has extensive mergers and acquisitions integration experience.  Lavorata is an active member of several industry panels and has held her SPHR certification since 1998.


Jeff S. Luttrell, SHRM-SCP, SPHR
Director of Talent Acquisition
Alorica
Apex, NC

Jeff Luttrell received his BA in Journalism from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He started his professional career in the publishing and advertising world and after 8 years, he made a career change. Jeff has been a recruiter in the Raleigh/Durham area for almost 20 years. He has both staffing industry experience and corporate recruiting experience including international recruiting.  He has led teams for large hiring projects, niche and specialty roles and executive recruitment. 

Luttrell is currently Director of Talent Acquisition with Alorica, a business process outsourcing company based in Irvine, CA.  He leads teams of recruiters throughout the US.  Previously, he was a Recruiting Manager in Global Talent Acquisition and Staffing with Xerox in the outsource services division and an Area Manager for Kelly Services.

Luttrell has been a Board member with Raleigh-Wake HRMA for the past 8 years including Treasurer, President and SHRM Foundation Director. Luttrell is also NCSHRM State Council Director for 2016-2017. Luttrell co-chaired the Pinnacle award winning HR on Call for RWHRMA and co-chaired the 2011 NCSHRM State Conference.  


Parker C. McKenna, SHRM-SCP, HCS, SPHR
Chief Human Resources Officer
Springfield (Missouri) Public Schools 
Springfield, MO

Parker McKenna is the Chief Human Resources Officer at Springfield (Missouri) Public Schools, where he is responsible for overseeing the development and implementation of human capital strategy and service delivery. 

Joining Springfield Schools in 2005, McKenna began his tenure with the District managing the employee benefits function.  In 2007, his responsibility expanded to include human resources operations and service delivery to the nearly 4,000 employees of the District.  In 2011, he was selected to serve as the head of the District’s HR Division and a member of the Superintendent’s Cabinet.  Before his time in education, McKenna had a private sector HR background in the retail industry.

In addition to his work with Springfield Public Schools, McKenna has served in a variety of roles on the board of the the Springfield Area Human Resources Association (a SHRM affiliate chapter) and the Missouri State Council of SHRM.  In his spare time, McKenna enjoys spending time outdoors with family and friends. He lives in Springfield, Missouri, with his wife, and three dogs.


Vivian Rank, MA
Supervalu, Inc.
Eden Prairie, MN

Vivian Rank has honed her expertise in Talent and Performance Management practices with Fortune 100 retailers including Best Buy and Walmart.  Rank currently oversees Performance Review, Talent Review/Succession Planning, Employee Engagement, and Executive Coaching for SUPERVALU Inc. Passionate about the people that bring organizations to life, Rank is known for taking a complex process and making it simple.  Rank has her Master’s Degree in HR and Change Leadership and is currently completing certification in Executive Coaching.  


Evelyn Riffenburg, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
Human Resources Manager
Medtronic
Chicopee, MA

As a seasoned Senior Human Resources leader and business partner, Riffenburg has used her strong human resources background and a blend of experience in various positions within private and publically-traded sectors to affect positive change in the organization's where she's worked.  Effectively balancing big picture thinking and strategic planning with hands-on execution has allowed Riffenburg to combine decisiveness, strong business acumen and formal education to achieve objectives both professionally and personally.


Ronda L. Wakefield SHRM-SCP, SPHR
Human Resource Manager
Nomad GCS, Inc.
Kalispell, MT

Ronda Wakefield is the Human Resource Manager at Nomad Global Communication Solutions, a manufacturing company in Kalispell, MT, that builds emergency communication platforms.  Practicing human resources in a variety of industries (manufacturing, staffing, restoration and landscaping) and serving many years in the role of ‘HR Department of One’ has provided her the opportunity to work in all areas of HR including recruiting, onboarding, training, employee relations, performance management, leadership training and development, workers compensation, benefits, and safety.  

Outside the office Wakefield serves as an independent HR consultant, teaches HR classes at the local community college and is very active in SHRM, serving on the Board of her local SHRM Chapter (2006 – Present) and on the Montana SHRM State Council (2016 Workforce Development Director).  

Wakefield has a BS from Montana State University as well as the SHRM-SCP and SPHR. 


Areas of Expertise

Employee Health, Safety & Security Emphasis 

  • Background investigations
Employee Relations Emphasis

  • Absenteeism
  • Alternative dispute resolution – nonunion
  • Attendance
  • Attitude surveys
  • Becoming an employer of choice
  • Codes of conduct
  • Communication
  • Competencies (also staffing)
  • Conflict resolution
  • Corporate culture
  • Corrective action
  • Counseling
  • Dress code
  • Employee engagement / involvement
  • Employee privacy rights – other than monitoring (also under technology)
  • Exit interviews
  • Harassment / Sexual harassment prevention
  • Internal job movement (demotion / promotion / transfer)
  • Investigations
  • Military
  • Open door policy
  • Performance appraisals
  • Performance management
  • Policies and practices/employee handbooks
  • Recognition programs
  • Retention
  • Termination/Resignation
  • Turnover
Organizational Development Emphasis

  • Career planning/development/paths
  • Change management
  • Coaching – executive, leadership, management, supervisor
  • Communications – corporate, employee, all
  • Corporate governance
  • Cost/benefit relationship of OD and Training
  • Employee training and development
  • Evaluation of OD and Training Initiatives
  • Generational issues affecting the workplace
  • Leadership development
  • Management development – delegation, etc. 
  • Mentoring
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • New employee orientation
  • Organizational culture integration
  • Organizational structure/charts
  • Reengineering
  • Restructuring
  • Strategic planning (also in workforce staffing and deployment)
  • Succession planning 
  • Work teams, virtual teams
Talent Acquisition Emphasis

  • Affirmative action/ Federal contract compliance
  • Competencies (also may be employee relations)
  • Downsizing/Rightsizing/Reductions in force/Layoffs
  • Employment contracts
  • Employment-at-Will doctrine
  • External candidate sourcing
  • Federal, state and local employment laws
  • Forecasting
  • Interviewing techniques
  • Job Analysis (also C&B)
  • Leased and contingent workers, independent contractors, interns
  • Marketing the organization as a great place to work
  • Medical and drug testing (also HSS)
  • Orientation programs (also OD)
  • Outplacement
  • Quantitative analysis required to assess past and future staffing
  • Recruitment - employee referral, job posting, other practices
  • Recruitment outsourcing (also Consulting & Outsourcing)
  • Reference checking/Background investigations (also could be security)
  • Relocation practices
  • Re-recruiting/Retention (also employee relations)
  • Selection, testing reliability and validity of test instruments and tools
  • Severance (also C&B)
  • Staffing Technology (ATS, Hiring Management, Succession, Referral, Employee Bidding)
  • Succession planning (also OD)
  • Title VII,  EEO, ADEA, Veterans Employment, FCRA, WARN, EEOC Uniform Guidelines (most of these also ER)
  • Turnover (also may be employee relations)
  • Use and interpretation of selection tests
  • Visa and immigration laws, I-9 forms (also global)
  • Work opportunity tax credit program
  • Workforce planning
Total Rewards/Compensation & Benefits Emphasis

  • All FLSA issues
  • Auditing the compensation function
  • Benefits including:
  • Board compensation
  • Bonus
  • Budgeting for and auditing compensation programs (i.e. internal equity)
  • Cafeteria/flexible benefits
  • COBRA, ERISA
  • COBRA, ERISA, HIPPA, FMLA
  • Commission
  • Communicating value of total rewards
  • Comparable worth
  • Compensation and benefits plan design - general
  • Compensation including:
  • Cost containment
  • Cost/benefit analysis for benefit plans
  • Deferred income
  • Dental
  • Design
  • Developing a pay structure that enhances the goals of the organization
  • Disability management
  • Disease management
  • Domestic partner benefits
  • Equal Pay Act 
  • Equity compensation
  • ESPPs
  • Executive compensation
  • Expatriate benefits (global)
  • Expatriate compensation (global)
  • Federal contractor compensation issues
  • Group/Team rewards
  • Health care
  • Health plan design (HAS's, HRAs)
  • HIPAA, FMLA
  • Incentives
  • Job analysis/Evaluation and descriptions (job analysis also under workforce staffing)
  • Leave administration
  • Life and other types of insurance
  • Long term
  • Mergers & Acquisitions / benefits integration
  • Mergers & Acquisitions / Compensation integration
  • Merit pay/pay for performance plans (performance appraisals under employee relations)
  • Non-monetary rewards (recognition also under employee relations) 
  • Other benefits like tuition, flextime, etc.
  • Outplacement (also included in workforce staffing and deployment)
  • Paid Time Off (PTO)
  • Payroll
  • Pension portability
  • Performance share plans
  • Phantom stock
  • Profit sharing plans
  • Relocation programs (WSD)
  • Retirement plans, defined contribution and defined benefit pension
  • Salary reduction plans
  • Salary surveys and other external comparisons
  • Sales-based pay
  • Severance pay (also included in workforce staffing and deployment)
  • Short term
  • Sick leave
  • Sign-on bonuses
  • Skill-based pay/Competency-based pay
  • Stock plans
  • Telecommuting
  • Unemployment/Workers’ comp
  • Vacation leave
  • Variable compensation
  • Vision
  • Wellness (EHSS)
  • Work/family and work/life programs
Workplace Diversity & Inclusion Emphasis

  • ADA/Disabilities (also Workforce Staffing)
  • Building intercultural skills (also OD) 
  • Business case for diversity
  • Civil Rights Act, EEOC, Uniform Guidelines, ADEA (also Workforce Staffing)
  • Conducting diversity surveys (also metrics/measures) 
  • Conflict resolution (also Employee Relations) 
  • Cultural integration 
  • Cultural Relations
  • Diversity Training (also OD)
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Employee Networks/Forums/Councils
  • Gender, age differences
  • Glass Ceiling 
  • Inclusive Work Environment
  • Individual Differences and Similarities
  • Interviewing for Diversity (also Workforce Staffing) 
  • Managing Diversity
  • Mentoring in a diverse workplace (also OD) 
  • Organizational Capability
  • Organizational Culture 
  • Race, ethnicity differences
  • Religious differences 
  • Sexual orientation 
  • Stereotyping, prejudice, discrimination 
  • Structural and Informal Integration of Difference
  • Sustaining diversity commitment
  • Transsexualism, transgender issues 
  • Workforce demographics (also Workforce staffing)

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