SHRM Young Professional Advisory Council


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.

The window for accepting new applications for the YPAC is now closed. Please check back this fall for an opportunity to apply for 2021!

2020 Members

Marquis H. Barnett
Human Resources Manager
City of High Point, North Carolina
Winston-Salem, NC

Marquis H. Barnett is a generalist-trained Senior Certified Human Resources professional with more than 10 years of progressive HR experience in both the public and private sectors. He holds a Master of Sciences Degree in HR Development from Villanova University, and a Bachelor of Sciences Degree from Howard University. He has completed all coursework and is a candidate for the Doctor of Education Degree in Organizational Learning and Leadership at Vanderbilt University.

Marquis is the Vice President his local SHRM affiliate, the HR Association of Greater High Point, and he chairs the Board of Directors for the Winston-Salem Urban League. In 2020, he was named one of Business Insider’s Top 20 Most Inspiring HR Leaders Who Are Changing How America Treats its Workers. As a self-proclaimed culture curator and professional disruptor, Marquis hopes to assist the Young Professionals Advisory Council in shaping better workplaces.

Professionally, he is the HR Manager for the City of High Point North Carolina and a speaker and facilitator. He and his wife Deniece are the proud parents of two children.

Marquis represents and services the Southeast Region membership council. 

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Elliott Battles
The Creating Equal Opportunity Group
Birmingham, AL

Elliott Battles joins the Young Professionals Advisory Council (YPAC) with ten years of diverse Human Resources experience spanning multiple industries including retail, manufacturing, healthcare, and supply chain. Elliott has been a professional member of SHRM since 2014 and a member of the Birmingham SHRM local chapter since 2017.

Elliott earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology with a concentration in Social Psychology and Child Development and minor in English from The University of Alabama. Elliott also earned a Master of Science degree in Human Resource Management from the H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business at Nova Southeastern University. Elliott earned his SHRM Senior Certified Professional Certification in 2019.

Elliott is a dedicated HR Professional committed to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Employer Branding, Employee Health and Wellness and Employee Engagement. With this passion guiding his career, Elliott has led corporate initiatives and organizational change around these areas. Additionally, Elliott is the founder of The Creating Equal Opportunity Group (The C.E.O. Group) which provides career coaching and preparedness for under-privileged communities. Additionally, Elliott has served on the St. Clair Economic Development Council and has volunteered his career services to the youth of the Boys & Girls Club of East Alabama and the St. Clair County Jail for Women.

Elliott currently resides in Birmingham, Alabama and enjoys traveling, cooking, fitness and anything surrounding the performing and visual arts in his spare time.

Elliott represents and services the Southeast Region membership council. 

Amanda Brunson, SHRM-CP
Global HR Business Partner
Radixx, a Sabre Company
Orlando, FL

Amanda Brunson is employed as a Global HR Business Partner by Radixx, a Sabre Company in Orlando, FL. Amanda has been an active volunteer with SHRM since 2014 in many capacities. She's held several leadership positions for the Rollins College SHRM Student Chapter and the Greater Orlando SHRM (GOSHRM) Chapter. Currently she is the 2020 HR Florida Conference Ambassador on behalf of GOSHRM. Amanda joined the SHRM Young Professional Advisory Council (YPAC) in 2018 and is enthusiastic about her continued involvement in 2020. 

Amanda received her Master in Human Resources Degree from Rollins College in May 2016. She holds an Advanced Leadership and Management Certificate from West Virginia University at Parkersburg. Additionally, Amanda obtained her SHRM-CP certification in January 2018.
Amanda is passionate about advocating for the Future of HR. She does this by sharing her knowledge and experience to aid others in attaining their goals. Amanda co-founded a weekly blog called "The Future of HR" where she writes to make a difference, influence change, and support others. Amanda is also a contributor on the SHRM blog.

Amanda currently resides in Orlando, Florida and enjoys bowling, scrapbooking, and visiting Walt Disney World in her spare time.

Please connect with her on LinkedIn and on Twitter @TheHRPanda.

Amanda represents and services the Southeast Region membership council. 

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Brad Dalton
People Partner
San Francisco, CA

Brad Dalton is a People Partner at Google in the Bay Area and has a background in Human Resources, Talent Management, Organization Development, and financial and operations leadership. Brad was previously the Director of Talent Management at Cisco Meraki, and his career has included experience in workforce planning, people strategy creation, employee engagement, talent brand, leadership development, compensation, coaching, onboarding, consulting, and performance management. Brad 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 lead Talent Management and HR at various tech companies. Brad is passionate about aligning business needs with people strategy and making work better for everyone. With family extending from South Africa to Japan, Brad also likes to travel as much as possible in his free time.

Brad represents and services the Pacific West Region membership council. 

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Kayla Despres
Senior HR Business Partner
Bilfinger Inc.
Bismarck, ND

In her current role, Kayla Despres leads and manages an HR department for a 3,000 strong industrial construction company. She is a motivated and focused HR professional with a people-first approach, able to successfully transform company goals into HR initiatives that improve performance, profit, growth, and employee engagement and retention.  In her nine years of HR experience she has worked in many industries including medical, manufacturing and retail becoming apt in HR focuses of:

Succession Planning
Leadership & Development
High Performing Cultures
Business Restructuring
Business Objectives
Leadership Liaison
Full Life Cycle Recruitment 
Compliance & Quality
Strategic Planning

Kayla believes in collaboration and teamwork, understanding that human capital is every organization’s greatest asset. She is passionate about sharing her knowledge and experiences with others and is looking forward to positively influencing the next generation of HR leaders through the opportunities provided by YPAC.

Kayla is a graduate of the University of North Dakota and University of Mary, holding a B.A in Political Science and Public Administration, along with an MBA with emphasis in Human Resources. She is an active member of SHRM. Proudly holds a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification and a SHRM-Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) certification. 

Kayla resides in Bismarck, ND where she is a member of the local chapter Central Dakota Human Resource Association (CDHRA), volunteers as a Junior Achievement mentor and YMCA volleyball coach. 

Connect with her on LinkedIn.

Kayla represents and services the North Central Region membership council. 

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Crystal Granger
HR Benefit and Wellness Specialist 
Harsch Investment Properties 
Portland, OR

After graduating from Portland State University in 2016 with a double major in Human Resources and Management & Leadership I now find myself primarily in benefits and wellness. Over the last year learning these new roles at Harsch they fit together seamlessly. What I enjoy about benefits is vendor relationships, traveling for Open Enrollment presentations, and the 1:1 service I provide to employees. When couple that with a year-long wellness campaign that includes an Activity Challenge, Self-Care, and Adopt-A-Family Giving. I get to be creative, active, and help other focus on aspects of their lives outside of work.

Crystal represents and services the Pacific West Region membership council. 

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Kinyata Gray
Employee Relations Manager
St. Bernards Medical Center
Jonesboro, AR

Kinyata is currently the Employee Relations Manager at St. Bernards Medical Center in Jonesboro, Arkansas. In her role, Kinyata oversees all employee relations matters in the St. Bernards Healthcare enterprise of over 3,000 employees. Kinyata enjoys serving as an adept resource to leaders in employment policies and practices, and as an advocate for employees in workplace concerns. Kinyata is also passionate about driving change, and therefore has been instrumental in leading several inaugural Human Resource initiatives in her organization including spearheading St. Bernards first affinity group to promote diversity and inclusion efforts.

Kinyata is originally from Searcy, Arkansas where she graduated from Harding University in 2011 with a Bachelor of Business Administration majoring in Health Care Administration. To continue in her quest for personal and professional growth, Kinyata attained her Master in Business Administration from the University of Central Arkansas in 2018. 

Kinyata proudly holds the SHRM-Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) and the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certifications which she earned in 2015. She has served on the Northeast Arkansas SHRM (NEASHRM) board in communications and legislative affairs volunteer roles since 2016 and most notably as Arkansas SHRM’s Young Professionals Director since 2018. In this role Kinyata created a Young Professionals blog in which she chronicles her professional and personal experiences to connect and educate young professionals around her state.

Outside of her time in the Human Resources arena, Kinyata enjoys traveling, attending concerts, rooting for her beloved Chicago Cubs and most famously acting. She held a featured extra role in the number one Hallmark holiday movie of 2018, Christmas at Graceland. 

Kinyata represents and services the Southwest Central Region membership council. 


Schyler Houck
Director of Human Resources 
Saratoga Casino Hotel
Saratoga Springs, NY

Schyler is the Director of Human Resources and Labor Relations at the Saratoga Casino Hotel where he leads the HR team in driving employee and guest relations. Schyler Houck has a MBA from Clarkson University and a BS in Marketing and Management from Siena College. He is certified as a Senior Professional of Human Resources (SPHR) through HRCI and SHRM-SCP through the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Schyler has been recognized as a leader within his profession and was selected as one of the "Top 30 Under 30 HR Professionals" by SHRM in 2016. Schyler is involved in various organizations within the community and currently serves as President of the Capital Region Association for Talent Development, member of the Capital Region Human Resource Association's Workforce Readiness Committee and on the Capital Region Chamber of Commerce's Executive Mentorship Committee. Schyler is dedicated to progressing the profession and addressing the needs of the HR community and is currently serving SHRM as a second-year member of the SHRM Young Professional Advisory Council.

Schyler represents and services the Northeast Region membership council. 

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Lina Le
Enterprise HR Director
Y. Hata & Co., Limited
Honolulu, HI

Lina Le was born and raised in Hawaii. Her parents are first generation immigrants from Vietnam and decided to call Hawaii their home for the last 35 years. Lina started her HR career in Benefits, Compensation, and Retirement. She's worked in a variety of industries including hospitality, airline, education, and food distribution. Along the way, she's been a part of system integrations, outsourcing, mergers and acquisitions and company wide reorganizations.

Lina joined Y. Hata & Co., Limited, Hawaii's oldest and largest locally owned food distributor, in 2015 and now serves as the Enterprise HR Director overseeing all HR, Training and Safety. In this role, Lina constantly seeks to include the employee's experience into perspective when providing solutions.

In addition, Lina is involved with her local SHRM chapter, SHRM Hawaii, and is on their first Young Professionals Committee that kicked off in summer of 2016. She also supports the local college chapter, SHRM Aloha. She is also on the Board of Governors for the Hawaii Employers Council and has been volunteering with the Hawaii People's Fund, a local nonprofit for social justice.

Lina earned both her Master's and Bachelor's degree from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. In addition, she has earned both the SHRM-SCP and SHRM-CP Certifications.

Connect with her on LinkedIn.

Lina represents and services the Pacific West Region membership council. 

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Andrew Marcotte
Sr. HR Business Partner
Blain's Farm and Fleet
Janesville, WI

Andrew is currently a Sr. HR Business Partner at Blain's Farm and Fleet, a specialty discount retailer with 42 locations throughout Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, and Michigan. In this role, Andrew directly supports store operations, store management, and automotive service teams across all 42 locations. This enterprise role allows for a strategic partnership with store management teams to deliver tactical HR support on all HR processes, programs, and practices.

Andrew graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from Olivet Nazarene University in May 2016, where he was influential in launching their SHRM student chapter and served as President for two years. Soon after graduation, Andrew earned his SHRM- Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) certification.

Andrew is an advocate for helping young professionals find their passions. Over the past several years, Andrew has volunteered in numerous positions with local SHRM chapters and state councils, most recently as President Elect with his local SHRM chapter, Blackhawk Human Resource Association.

When not at work, Andrew enjoys spending time with his sons Michael (2.5) and Levi (1 mo.) and wife Sara. He also enjoys spending time with his 18 nieces and nephews.

Feel free to reach out to Andrew directly on LinkedIn.

Andrew represents and services the North Central Region membership council. 

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Claire Petrie, SHRM-CP
Sr Manager, Talent Acquisition 
Buffalo, NY 

Claire Petrie is the Sr Manager, Talent Acquisition at Unifrax, based in Buffalo, NY. She has over seven years of successively diverse human resources management and recruiting experience with privately-owned and publicly-traded global leaders. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in HR from the University at Buffalo and an MBA from Niagara University. In 2018 she obtained her SHRM-CP certification. Prior to entering the HR career field, she worked at her local animal shelter (SPCA) for six years in the adoptions department!

She is an active SHRM member and SHRM blogger and serves on the Buffalo Niagara Human Resources Association (BNHRA) Board of Directors as the Professional Development Director. Claire is also a professional development events facilitator at both of her alma maters, a Board Member and Camp Counselor for Empower Camp and an Organizer of DisruptHR Buffalo. She was also honored as a Buffalo Niagara Spotlight Professional in 2019. 

She has used LinkedIn and Twitter to build her personal brand and uncover new opportunities for herself and the companies she’s worked for. She loves to help others do the same! She is also passionate about networking and sharing her experiences to help the next wave of HR Professionals be successful and get ahead.

Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter

Claire represents and services the Northeast Region membership council. 

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Alexander C. Pullen, Sr., SHRM-SCP
HR Manager
The George Washington University
Washington, DC

A native of Chicago, Illinois, Alexander brings with him almost eight years of experience in Compliance and in Human Resources. Alexander holds a B.A. from Howard University, an M.A. in Human Resource Management from The Catholic University of America and is currently pursuing a Doctor of Education in the Human & Organizational Learning at GW. His research interests include organizational resilience and transformational leadership. Alexander is not only well versed in HR regulations, standards, and best practices but also has and applies his passion for process improvement and organizational development to his work within and outside of the workplace. Alexander is a proud life member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. 

Alexander loves networking with other HR professionals. Feel free to connect with Alexander on LinkedIn.

Alexander represents and services the Northeast Region membership council. 

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Rebecca Rowe
Human Resources Manager
People’s Food Coop
Winona, MN

Rebecca is employed by People’s Food Coop as the Human Resources Manager based out of La Crosse, WI and Rochester, MN. Rebecca has been an active volunteer with SHRM since 2012 in multiple capacities. Rebecca started her volunteer work while enrolled in the Human Resource Management program at Western Technical College where she served as Secretary. Since then, she has held several leadership roles including VP of Membership and President-elect. Rebecca continues to serves as the Volunteer Director for the Minnesota State SHRM Conference in 2018, 2019 and 2020. Rebecca is currently serving as President for her local chapter, Winona Area SHRM. Rebecca also serves on the Winona State University HR Advisory Board which focuses on the current curriculum for Human Resource students and what improvements can be made to the program to ensure that qualified candidates are entering the workforce.
Rebecca received her Associate’s degree in Human Resource Management in 2012, her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Human Resources in 2015 and her Master’s in Training and Human Resource Development in 2018. Rebecca obtained her SHRM-CP certification in July 2018.
Rebecca is passionate about working with students and young professionals to help them use their voice, advocate for the Human Resources profession and develop themselves as professionals. She also advocates for volunteer work with SHRM to help aid in the development of young professionals. She does this by lecturing at the local university on topics including: (1) resume building, (2) interview etiquette, (3) total compensation and (4) negotiating pay as a young professional. Rebecca has also participated in an episode of Honest HR to advocate for volunteer work with SHRM.
Rebecca currently resides in Winona, MN with her fiancé and enjoys camping and hiking her way through the entire Minnesota State Park system. She also enjoys traveling as often as she can.  
Please connect with her on LinkedIn and on Twitter @RebeccaMNHR.

Rebecca represents and services the North Central Region membership council. 

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Jazzmine Woodard
Diversity, Inclusion & Talent Acquisition Strategy Advisor
Enbridge Inc.
Houston, TX

Jazzmine holds a Master of Science in Human Resource Management from Mays Business School at Texas A&M University and has five years of experience in Diversity & Inclusion, HR Compliance, Employee Relations, and University Relations work. She is a native Houstonian currently active in her local SHRM chapter, HR Houston, specifically its University Liaison committee. Jazzmine holds PHR and SHRM-SCP certifications and, in addition to her HR career, runs a lifestyle blog dedicated to helping women master the art of #adulting.

Jazzmine represents and services the Southwest Central Region membership council. 

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Kirk Wyman
Human Resources Manager
Longmont, CO

Kirk Wyman is the Human Resources Manager for Cambrex.  In addition to working with local staff, he regularly participates in global company HR initiatives. He has a people first approach to HR which has been developed through his passion for implementing best practices and utilizes data to help make informed decisions. 

Kirk possesses a deep educational background in HR. He holds a double Bachelors from University of North Dakota in Human Resource Management and Psychology. Additionally, he will receive his MBA in July from University of Wyoming. Kirk also holds multiple certifications including both the SHRM-Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP), and Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) from HRCI. 
Kirk has previously been involved with SHRM at multiple levels to include: collegiate, local and state and is excited to take on a national role. Additionally, Kirk is partnering with his previous educational institutions to serve as a mentor for students seeking careers in Human Resources. In his spare time Kirk enjoys participating in ice hockey where he plays and has served as a youth hockey coach. 

Connect with him on  LinkedIn

Kirk represents and services the Southwest Central Region membership council. 


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