Executive

President, Executive

Theresa Velykis, PHR, SHRM-CP

Theresa is currently the Director of Human Resources at Mastery Charter Schools in Philadelphia, promoting the Mastery mission and serving as a Business Partner for a subset of Mastery Charter Schools, in Philadelphia, PA and Camden, NJ.  In her role, Theresa ensures that Mastery Human Resources supports an employee-focused, high performance, outcomes driven organizational culture. Theresa is responsible for the delivery and management of key HR functions of employee relations, performance management, benefits, compensation, certification and compliance.  She works with school-based leadership staff to address employee needs, manage personnel issues, and implement a performance-based compensation system.  As the Director of Human Resources, Theresa is outcomes driven, organized, customer friendly and committed to the Mastery mission.

 

Theresa has provided Human Resources support for both non-profit and for-profit organizations. She began her Human Resources career with ARAMARK in the company’s Human Resources Representative program. During her time as a Human Resources Representative, Theresa worked with Human Resources leaders in the Sports and Entertainment business providing HR support and guidance during large scale events.

Theresa later accepted the role of Human Resources Coordinator for one of the top symphony orchestras in the world, the Philadelphia Orchestra, where she assisted both administrative staff and orchestra musicians in all areas of employment.

In 2012, Theresa joined St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, a leading pediatric facility in Philadelphia, as a Human Resources Generalist for. In this role, Theresa worked as an advocate for healthcare professionals and provided support in all areas of Human Resources. Theresa was a Six Sigma Lean Leader for St. Christopher’s and worked to implement process improvement initiatives throughout the hospital.

Theresa is a graduate of Temple University’s Fox School of Business and Management where she obtained her Bachelors of Business degree in Human Resources Management and her People First certification. She has been an active member of Philly SHRM since 2009 and has worked on the Programming, Emerging Leaders, Philly SHRM Symposium committees.

Theresa lives in Northeast Philadelphia with her husband Jason, son Jacob, and Labradoodle Duncan.

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Immediate Past President, Executive

Jackie Linton, MBA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

With more than 20 years of executive leadership experience, Jackie Linton is the President of JL HR Solutions, LLC, a full-service HR consulting firm focusing on talent management strategies; HR strategic planning; HR policies and process improvements; diversity and inclusion training and improvement strategies; and executive coaching.

During her career, Jackie has held leadership roles in operations, engineering, and human resources with a primary focus on process improvements in each of these areas. She has created enterprise-wide solutions for various companies using a systems approach, grounded in thorough analysis and clear metrics. This work has been proven to significantly impact and improve operating results. She has created and implemented HR strategies designed to attract, develop, and retain top talent including creating policies, processes and procedures, training, and development, recruiting and establishing practices to ensure legal compliance, all in support of business goals. She advises business leaders in the areas of change management, diversity and inclusion, performance improvement, strategic planning, and talent management to ensure sustainable results.

Before starting this HR practice, Jackie was the Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for HR&Talent for the City of Philadelphia. In this role, she focused on improving the operation of City departments and agencies through strategic human resource activities such as training and development, employee engagement, diversity and inclusion, recruiting, onboarding and process improvements through internal consulting engagements. Prior to joining the City of Philadelphia, she held executive level HR positions including the Chief Human Resource executive for Synagro, the Vice President of Organization and Leadership Development at ARAMARK Corp. and the Vice President of Human Resources at Intracorp, a subsidiary of CIGNA Corp.

Jackie is a firm believer in giving back to the community and she has demonstrated this in her volunteer work. She is the past president for Philly SHRM, the Philadelphia chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management and was nominated for the 2017 HR Person of the Year. She is also a project executive working closely with MBA students at the Fox School of Business at Temple University as they complete their capstone project. Her volunteer experience also includes membership on the board of Career Wardrobe, participation as a counselor for SCORE, a small business support organization and participation as a tutor for adult learners with the Lutheran House.

She holds a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) certification from the Human Resources Certification Institute, a Senior Certified Professional certification from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM-SCP), a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Technology from Southern Illinois University and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Illinois.

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Vice President, Legal, Executive

Timothy M. McCarthy, Esq.

Timothy M. McCarthy is an associate attorney in the Philadelphia office of Jackson Lewis P.C. His practice focuses on representing employers exclusively in workplace law and employee relations matters, including management training, litigation defense, and preventive advice and counseling.

 

 

Mr. McCarthy graduated magna cum laude from Rutgers University School of Law-Camden in 2014 and earned his Bachelor of Arts degree, cum laude, from Loyola University Maryland in 2011. While attending law school, Mr. McCarthy was an executive editor of the Rutgers Law Journal, was a Michael Young Scholar for his participation in the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project, and served as a judicial intern to a United States Magistrate Judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

 

Prior to joining Jackson Lewis as an associate, Mr. McCarthy was a Summer Associate in the firm’s Morristown, New Jersey office, and served as a law clerk to the Honorable Joseph L. Yannotti, N.J. Superior Court – Appellate Division. Mr. McCarthy is currently admitted to practice law in the state courts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, as well as the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the District of New Jersey.

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Vice President, Finance & Analytics, Executive

Ryan Smith

Ryan Smith is an Investment Representative and Financial Consultant with AXA Advisors, LLC in Bala Cynwyd, PA. As a Financial Consultant, Ryan takes pride in breaking complex planning scenarios into smaller more manageable pieces, to assist his clients in understanding how their investments, insurances, and tax/legal obligations* all play a part in their long term financial situation.

Ryan has extensive knowledge and experience in the employer sponsored arena. He has expanded his knowledge to become a Retirement Benefit Specialist of tax-sheltered plans. Throughout his career Ryan has built a diverse client base consisting of educates, self-employed individuals, small business owners, schools and non-profit organizations.

Ryan is a Philadelphia native and former all-public basketball player. Ryan carries the same ethics of hard work, integrity, and zeal learned on the basketball court to his business. Ryan has obtained several production awards including, District Leaders’ Corps. He continues to refine his processes and update his planning knowledge to achieve the highest level of service.

Ryan attended Clarion University of PA to earn his Bachelor Degree in Finance. He currently resides in Willow Grove, PA with his wife Michelle and their two children, Ryan Jr. (6) and Mirya (10).

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Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, Executive

Joanna Vazquez, Ed.D, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Dr. Vazquez is the Director of Organizational Development at Children’s Crisis Treatment Center (CCTC), a private non-profit agency dedicated to assisting children and their families coping with the impact of behavioral health issues, traumatic events and other challenges that have an effect on childhood development.

During her tenure at CCTC, she has successfully designed and directed the agency’s professional development program which prepares staff to meet the challenges of serving the emotional and behavioral needs of at risk children and families. Dr. Vazquez supports the strategic vision of the organization and drives programs to support workforce development, employee engagement, leadership development, succession planning and other related programs with measurable outcomes that demonstrate achievement

Dr. Vazquez is the recipient of the 2015 Delaware Valley HR Person of the Year for Medium-sized companies. She holds a Doctorate in Education from Gwynedd Mercy University.  Her research and dissertation focused on the preparation and education of future HR professionals. She also holds a Master’s Degree in Human Resources Management from Saint Joseph’s University. She has been SPHR certified since 2006 and SHRM-SCP certified since 2015.

Dr. Vazquez has been a member of Philadelphia SHRM since 2006 and currently serves as Executive VP of Strategic Initiatives on the Board. Previous Board roles include VP of Day Programming 2017 – 2021 and Co-Director of Symposium Programming from 2014 – 2017.  In partnership with the Emerging Leaders Committee, she also helped launch and implement the HR Development Series from 2009 to 2012. The series provided valuable career information for current, aspiring, and in transition HR professionals who wanted to establish a definitive plan for progression within the field relative to their interests and goals.

An avid runner, Joanna recently finished her 10th Broad Street Run 10-Miler for Team CCTC and second Half-Marathon.  She is currently training for her next half-marathon and Spartan Race

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Vice President, Chapter Services, Executive

Catherine Preim, SPHR, SHRM-CP

Catherine is currently a Sr. People Solutions Manager with Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, one of the top full-service accounting and advisory firms in North America.  Serving as part of the Talent Management Business Partner team, she is the main point of contact for the leaders of the Pennsylvania Business Unit. In her role, she helps support leadership with the execution of their people strategy and advises on various people related matters including employee relations, performance management, compensation and compliance.

 

Catherine is currently a Sr. People Solutions Manager with Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, one of the top full-service accounting and advisory firms in North America.  Serving as part of the Talent Management Business Partner team, she is the main point of contact for the leaders of the Pennsylvania Business Unit. In her role, she helps support leadership with the execution of their people strategy and advises on various people related matters including employee relations, performance management, compensation and compliance.

Prior to joining Baker Tilly, she held increasingly responsible roles in the architecture, engineering, and construction industry. Touching on everything HR and Talent related from recruitment and talent acquisition, project management, employee relations, training, to immigration.

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Vice President, Programming, Executive

Maria Downs, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Maria Downs is a Human Resource Project Manager at the Vanguard Group. She manages various projects within the organization that include both operational and strategic initiatives for performance management, workforce planning, payroll and leadership development departments within the organization.

 

Maria Downs is a Human Resource Project Manager at the Vanguard Group. She manages various projects within the organization that include both operational and strategic initiatives for performance management, workforce planning, payroll and leadership development departments within the organization.

She began her career at Vanguard after graduating from Saint Joseph’s University in June 2000. She has had experience in various areas, first as a client service associate for a department specializing in small business retirement plans. She then transitioned to various leadership roles as well as those focused on process improvements through data and process analysis.

Maria became interested in Human Resources while obtaining her Master’s degree. Her career in HR began as a supervisor leading the Data and Reporting team. As a result of her strong project management, she led a project looking to redesign the current reporting tools and develop the strategy for human resource reporting.

Maria has received her Master’s in Business Administration from St. Joseph’s University. She also has her SPHR, SHRM-SCP and recently obtained her Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification. She enjoys spending time with her husband Ryan and two daughters Allison and Liliana. In her free time, she enjoys running and exercising.

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Certification

Vice President, Certification

Margeaux Bernhard, MS-HRM, SHRM-CP

Margeaux Bernhard is currently the Human Resources Generalist at Parker McCay P.A., a full service New Jersey business and local government law firm. She has several years of HR Generalist experience and previously worked for Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence Region in Philadelphia. She is a member of the local Non-Profit Human Resources group and served on the Philly SHRM Symposium Committee. In addition to her professional work, she is a small business owner and co-founder of Makers Club, a NJ-based art club.

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Vice President, Certification

Karla Hill, MS, SHRM-SCP

Karla Hill currently serves as the Deputy Director for Human Resources and Administration for the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Planning and Development. She  has over 28 years of Human Resources Management experience with the City of Philadelphia. During her career, she has served as the HR Manager for the Department of Public Health, Offices of Fleet Management, Behavioral Health and Housing and Community Development.

Her experience includes  leading a team of professional and administrative staff responsible for labor relations, recruitment, career development and payroll, conducting job audits, writing class specifications and administering civil service exams.  Karla holds a BBA in Public Administration from Baruch College, a MS from Chestnut Hill College, and is an Adjunct Professor at Eastern University. Her mother moved from Limón, Costa Rica to New York City to pursue a career in nursing where she met her father, an entrepreneur from South Carolina. A native New Yorker, Karla attributes her passion for educational and economic inclusion to her upbringing and exposure to immigrant and diverse communities. She currently lives in the Northwest section of Philadelphia and enjoys spending her free time with her husband, two sons and mother.

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Workforce Readiness

Vice President, Workforce Readiness

Dawn Bruno, PHR, SHRM-CP

Dawn Bruno is the Vice President of Human Resources for McCormick Taylor, Inc., a full-service civil engineering firm providing creative design, planning, and environmental solutions primarily to the transportation and energy sectors. Her focus is on the company’s most important asset—its people.  Advocating for staff development and training, and managing a comprehensive benefits program are among her priorities. From employee benefits to employee relations and retention, Dawn oversees the life of an employee at McCormick Taylor.

With over 20 years of experience, Dawn leverages the insights she gains through working with ownership, management, and employees to help shape the strategic direction of the organization. Her blend of experience with business management and employee relations gives her a unique perspective that she brings to our firm’s leadership team.

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Vice President, Workforce Readiness

Kena Sears-Brown, MBA

Kena R. Sears, is Director, Continuing Professional Education and Workforce Initiatives at Goodwin College of Professional Studies. Kena is an accomplished professional with over 15 years of experience in advertising, marketing, and business development. For over 6 years, she held the position of Continuing Education Representative at Penn State Abington.

In this role, her exemplary strategic planning and natural interpersonal and communication skills were an asset to dozens of clients and students with professional development needs. Kena is an alumna of Penn State University, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and a Master of Business Administration. She resides in Philadelphia with her husband and two children.

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Marketing and Communications

Vice President, Marketing and Communications

LaRhonda Green, SHRM-SCP

LaRhonda Green, SHRM-SCP is a visionary human resources professional with over 10 years of experience partnering with senior leaders to sustain and grow organizations through people and culture. LaRhonda earned her bachelor’s degree in HRM from Temple University and continued her studies at La Salle University obtaining her master’s degree in Human Capital Development.

She currently works as a HR Business Partner for Merck & Co in the Merck Research Laboratories division, where she serves as a strategic people partner for her clients in the Global Regulatory and Clinical Safety space. LaRhonda focuses on partnering with senior leaders to build and sustain high quality talent through talent acquisition and retention, talent management, career development, diversity and inclusion, and organizational development strategies, . Before joining Merck’s HR team, LaRhonda worked in the Higher Education, Retail, Industrial Manufacturing and Behavioral Health industries. In addition to her daytime profession LaRhonda is an Adjunct Professor at Temple and Drexel University; as well as a wife, mother and phenomenal baker, she enjoys creating treats for her family and friends during the holiday seasons and beyond.

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Vice President, Marketing and Communications

Ragine Williams, M.S.

Ragine Williams, M.S. is the Chief of Staff, Global Diversity and Inclusion Center of Excellence for Merck & Co., Inc. Her first gig was at Smoothie king, and she approaches her profession the same way today as she did then: with a positive outlook, commitment to teamwork, and a hunger for knowledge. She is the ultimate HR Geek!

Ragine is passionate about embedding new perspectives of Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace. She is a graduate of La Salle University, with a Master’s Degree in Human Capital Development. Ragine attended Penn State University, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Labor and Employment Relations. Ragine was a finalist in the Rising Star Award for the 2021 HR Person of the Year award ceremony. As a Human Resources Professional, her goal is to put the Human back into Human Resources, making sure that every employee feels valued and appreciated. Ragine is dedicated to making the workplace an equal and safe environment for all employees—expanding her reach. Ragine is continuously thinking of new and innovative ways to embed Diversity and Inclusion into everything that she does! She teaches Strategic Human Resource Management as an Adjunct Professor at Drexel University. Ragine is also a volunteer with various nonprofit organizations in the Philadelphia area. She is a current and active member of Society for Human Resource Management Philadelphia Chapter. Ragine is a lifelong learner who enjoys exploring the world.

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Communities and Partnerships

Vice President, Communities and Partnerships

Danita Jones, PHR, SHRM-CP

Danita Jones is an accomplished HR Professional and has competently established herself as a leader. With her progressive experience, Danita is responsible for managing staff recruitment/retention, performance management, policies and procedures, employee relations, and compliance. Danita has successfully implemented human resources management strategies which include streamlining on-boarding, enhancing employee engagement, and development of HR communications.

Through her many accomplishments, Danita was nominated for the Delaware Valley HR Rising Star Award in 2018. Danita is currently Director of Human Resources and Engagement at The Family Practice & Counseling Group.

Danita holds a BA in Psychology from Temple University and is a certified Human Resources Professional (PHR) and SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP).

 

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Vice President, Communities and Partnerships

Kristina Syvarth

Kristina Syvarth is the Talent Development Program Manager for Gift of Life Donor Program. In this role she manages leadership development training and talent processes. Kristina earned her bachelor’s degree from University of Delaware in Foreign Languages and Literature and a master’s degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Toronto.  She is passionate about advancing non-traditional educational and training models designed to build engagement and meet the unique needs of learners within an organization.

 

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Thought Leadership

Vice President, Thought Leadership

Melissa Sims

Melissa Sims is the Regional Chief of Human Resources for the Northeast Region of the National Park Service.  In this role, Melissa oversees the HR staffing and advisory services branch, learning and development and the policy and security contingent.

Melissa is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, where she was commissioned as a Medical Service Corps Officer in the United States Army.  Melissa served as a hospital administrator for a field medical unit, a personnel officer at both the Battalion and Brigade level, the Chief of Human Resources for a large Army hospital and as a personnel officer for the Surgeon General of the Army.

Melissa began her career with the National Park Service as a Management and Program Analyst at the National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington, D.C. in 2010.  She has served the Northeast Region as both a Partnership Specialist and, most recently, as the Regional Employee Development Officer.

Melissa has a Bachelor of Science in Sociology and Systems Engineering.  Melissa also holds a Master of Science in Human Resources, as well as an MBA.  She is currently pursuing her PhD in Communications.

Melissa is the interim Country Lead for Change Management Institute, USA and is a Founding Member of the Greater Philadelphia Area’s Association of Change Management Professionals.  She is also an active volunteer for New Story, a charity that provides life-changing homes for families around the world.

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Vice President, Thought Leadership

Dennis Paris

Dennis is a marketing strategy professor at the Fox School of Business, Temple University. Having received several teaching awards, he has piloted and continues to teach an experiential curriculum to professional and global MBA teams who conduct market analysis, strategy and planning for live problem and client firms. Dennis also coaches and consults to businesses on how to increase their brand value through gap analysis and internal organization alignment with market strategies and execution, in addition to improving innovation and new product development processes.

Client industries have included Healthcare System, Municipal Economic Development, Military Contracting, Pharmaceutical Packaging, Manufacturing and various other diverse product and service organizations.

Dennis’ experience includes instructing, speaking, consulting, and coaching on new venture, product strategy and execution planning to a variety of domestic and international businesses, including non-profit organizations. In his early career for the Dutch conglomerate Philips, Dennis had responsibility for developing international strategies that were integral to a disruptive technology shift of the global computing marketplace.

Subsequently, he led and contributed to numerous international strategic marketing initiatives for a multibillion-dollar Japanese technology company in the planning and start-up of a new technology division, the turnaround of a maturing product division and a South American business unit, including the start-up of Mexico and Brazil subsidiaries.

Dennis has served in advisory capacities to the Pharmaceutical-Drug Exchange (PDE), the Manufacturing Alliance of Philadelphia and Peirce College in Philadelphia. He is a Board Director with the Economic Development Corp. of Gloucester Township, NJ, and with Philly-SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) as Vice President of Thought Leadership.

Dennis earned his MBA from the LeBow School of Business at Drexel University, and a BBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He received training at the Center for Creative Leadership in Boulder CO and INSEAD Business School in France for organization-management.

Dennis served in the United States Air Force Reserves for 11 years, and with a love for choral arts, has performed internationally with the Philadelphia Boys Choir & Men’s Choral, as well as the Greater South Jersey Chorus and Chamber Singers.

 

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Membership

Director, Membership

Alexander Simpson, SHRM-CP

Alex is a Benefits Associate with Affirm, where he is responsible for scaling the company’s benefits offerings and providing HR solutions for stakeholders’ inquiries. Alex has several years of Talent management/generalist experience in previous roles working for Aramark and Takeda Pharmaceuticals.

Vice President, Membership

Noel Ridlon, M.A., SHRM-SCP

Noel Ridlon received her undergrad degree at Northern Illinois University and her MA in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from West Chester University. Noel has been working in Human Resources for almost 10 years, and has held a variety of positions in both non-profit and for-profit organizations. She also serves as an HR consultant for non-profits in the Philadelphia area.

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Vice President, Membership

Debby Derricks

Debby is currently the Director of Development for The Veterans Multi-Service Center, headquartered in Old City, Philadelphia. She serves organization in a dual capacity by management of communications and development efforts.

Before joining the VMC, Debby worked in both the private and public sector, including diverse projects within political campaign management, communications consulting and strategic marketing.

Her experience led her to be appointed to communications coordinator for the Philly Vets Home coalition, a community-wide, collaborative, and inclusive effort to end homelessness among Veterans in Philadelphia by Veterans Day 2015 and driven by an unprecedented collaboration between the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development, two City offices, the Housing Authority, and four non-profit organizations committed to ensuring the success of the campaign.

Debby is also a Leadership Philadelphia 2015 Fellow. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Psychology from New York University.

If given the opportunity to boast, she will definitely mention her most beloved pit bull, Kennedy.

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Sponsorships

Vice President, Sponsorships

Pamela Cinelli

Pamela has more than 15 years of experience assisting CFOs, CEOs and HR professionals in streamlining their employee benefits processes. As Client Development Specialist with Corporate Synergies, one of the Philadelphia-area’s largest employee benefits consultants, Pamela onboards new clients, anticipates HR needs and facilitates client communications. An excellent relationship builder, Pamela supports the account management team and ensures client satisfaction at every level.

Pamela has more than 15 years of experience assisting CFOs, CEOs and HR professionals in streamlining their employee benefits processes. As Client Development Specialist with Corporate Synergies, one of the Philadelphia-area’s largest employee benefits consultants, Pamela onboards new clients, anticipates HR needs and facilitates client communications. An excellent relationship builder, Pamela supports the account management team and ensures client satisfaction at every level.

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Vice President, Sponsorships

Guy Cook

An introverted people-person, Guy has spent 20 years in the hospitality industry and has over 30 years of experience as a Senior Executive and Business Owner. Guy is the co-founder and owner of the Philadelphia-based corporate housing company Cook City Suites where he focuses on inventory management, corporate relationship building, and financial reporting/accounting. Under Guy’s leadership, the company has built a strong reputation for customer service and quality accommodations. He brings a wealth of managerial and leadership experience to his ventures and seeks to bring out the best in others.

Throughout his extensive career, Guy has proven himself to be skilled in people management, operations and financial management, negotiation, budgeting, and sales. He has served on the Rider University Finance & Economics Advisory Board, Chaired the Trustees Committee at Grey Nun Academy, and Chaired the 85th Annual live juried art show for Phillips Mill Community Association. He has a BA from Loyola University Maryland in Liberal Arts and an MBA from LaSalle University. Guy and his wife, Mary Ellen, have raised three children and currently reside in Washington Crossing, PA.

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Programming

Director, Day Programming, Programming

Richard Foronjy

My name is Richard Foronjy and I am a Sr. HR Associate with the Talent Acquisition team at Philadelphia Insurance Companies. My primary responsibilities include assisting PHLY’s Talent Advisors with our recruitment efforts, onboarding and working on various talent acquisition projects. Additionally, I am currently a member of PHLY’s DEI Council where I serve as the Council’s Secretary. I began my PHLY career in June of 2019 after graduating from St. Joseph’s University in May of 2019 with a double major in Managing Human Capital and Spanish. I enjoy playing soccer, going on hikes and traveling on my free time. During the pandemic, I have been able to practice and enhance my cooking and baking abilities. I look forward to serving as the Director of Day Programming for Philly SHRM.

Vice President , Programming

KimberlyAnn Huegel, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Kim is the Senior Manager of Talent Acquisition at Philadelphia Insurance Companies (PHLY), a premier national Property/Casualty and Professional Liability insurance carrier that designs, markets and underwrites commercial products and services.  Kim leads the Talent Acquisition organization in identifying, recruiting, selecting and placing qualified candidates for management, professional and technical positions.  She is also responsible for developing and implementing strategic recruitment programs and identifying best-in-class recruiting practices to drive the Organization’s growth strategy.

Prior to PHLY, Kim spent time as the Sr. Mgr. of HR/Talent Management at CTDI, a full-service, global engineering, repair and logistics company providing best-cost solutions to the communications industry.  Kim led the development and implementation of strategic talent acquisition campaigns and owned the evaluation of CTDI’s recruiting function, strategies, and procedures while building strong relationships in a rapidly and constantly evolving environment.

Prior to CTDI and for the majority of her career, Kim was an HR Manager in a Global Shared Services organization at The Vanguard Group, managing a multi-site team responsible for all domestic recruiting operations and HR sponsored events. Kim was with Vanguard for 20 years, spending time managing teams in Leadership Development and HR Data & Reporting and also managed the strategic development and implementation of Vanguard’s Performance Management program.

Kim has extensive people leadership, HR, and business knowledge coupled with creative ideas for designing and implementing new processes and training with a solid history of success. She has strong operational leadership and planning skills, combined with the ability to coordinate the efforts of many to meet organizational goals.

Kim has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Human Performance Management from Immaculata University and has served on the PSHRM Symposium planning committee since 2012.

Kim enjoys spending time with her husband Patrick, their two children Toni and Michael, and is a devoted “Drama & Swim Mom” spending her free time attending her daughter’s musical performances and her son’s swim meets.

 

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Director, Webinars, Programming

Shakema Appleton

Shakema Appleton is a diversity and inclusion professional at Cozen O’Connor, a full-service law firm that has more than 750 attorneys in 27 cities across two continents and ranked among the top 100 firms in the country. Shakema is a highly effective, results-oriented strategic visionary that inspires a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion beyond compliance and onto skill and competence. In her current role, Shakema is responsible for tracking all diversity metrics – analyzing and generalizing data to show trends and impact across the firm; helping to enhance diversity and inclusion education efforts such as the development and facilitation of training/workshops, tools and resources; and researching, benchmarking, developing and executing the ERG strategy through project plans, communications, stakeholder engagement, timelines and milestones.

 

Prior to joining Cozen O’Connor, Shakema gained a unique blend of experience in various areas such as legal, diversity and inclusion, risk management, HRIS, finance, procurement, training and development. Shakema holds a master of arts in industrial and organizational psychology and is working toward a doctorate in human and organizational behavior concentrating on organizational leadership. Shakema is a mission-driven individual who is passionate about organizational effectiveness, development, change management, collaboration and organizational behavior.

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Symposium

Chair, Symposium

Mikal Harden

Mikal has been immersed in the talent + HR community in Philadelphia for more than a decade building the area’s leading talent solutions firm, Juno Search Partners. She has served as Board Chair for Delaware Valley HRPOY, co-founded the DisruptHR Philadelphia and Princeton chapters, served on the Philly SHRM Board, serves on the Campus Philly Board, the Philly Start-Up Leaders Board, and donates time and money with various other non-profits across the region. In 2020, Mikal and her business partner launched a sister company, Juno Capital, as a vehicle to inject capital back into the Philadelphia region by investing in local start-ups. To date, Juno Capital has made 7 investments and has a keen eye on continuing to identify high potential local entrepreneurs with brilliant ideas. Mikal also sits on the Board of LifeBrand, a social media background check technology company, in addition to acting as an advisor to Juno’s other portfolio companies.

 

 

If Mikal ever did a TED talk it would be on the power of your network, advocating for a 3 day work week, or how talking about yourself in the third person while writing your own bio is ridiculous.

Mikal joined an elite group in 2013 when she was upgraded to the role of a twin mom. She lives in Wynmoor (not Wynnewood) with her wife and their 8 year old boys, Jack and Finn. Her biggest accomplishments to date are keeping them alive and not getting a divorce during the toddler years. She loves watching her kids play tennis, hearing them play the piano and drums, and reminding them that it doesn’t matter what they enjoy, it’s all about her.

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Symposium Programming

Vice President, Symposium Programming

Juliette Finney, PHR, SHRM-CP

Juliette is currently the Director of Human Resources at F.A. Davis Company. F.A. Davis Company, an independent publisher since 1879, has been publishing titles to meet the needs of generations of health care providers. In Juliette’s role, she is responsible for the overall management, administration, and coordination of all HR functions. Juliette completed her Master of Science in Human Resources Management from West Chester University.

Juliette started with F.A. Davis in 2012 as an HR Associate. She quickly grew her role within the company and was promoted to an HR Generalist in 2013 and in 2016 became a Human Resources Manager. In her current role Juliette has been a key contributor to growing the department and adding new systems to F.A. Davis. She successfully implemented the company’s first HRIS, was a strategic leader in the move to a self-insured medical plan, created and now leads the wellness program, and developed and provides upkeep on the company’s first compensation plan.

 

Juliette currently serves on the board of the Philadelphia Society of Human Resources Management (Philly SHRM), which is a Super-Mega chapter of SHRM National. Prior to being on the board Juliette volunteered for the Symposium Day Programming Committee and Pre-Conference Symposium Committee for three years as both a member and lead. In 2018 Juliette won the Delaware Valley HR Rising Star of the Year Award.

 

Before her shift into Human Resources, Juliette was a teacher for elementary age students.

Juliette lives in Philadelphia, enjoys cooking in the kitchen, being with her friends and family, and getting down to the shore as much as possible.

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Director Pre-Conference, Symposium Programming

Edward Rogers, SHRM-SCP

Edward Rogers is a director for the United States Department of Labor (DOL) since 2011. In this role, Ed oversees reviews of EEO/AA compliance, compensation, talent selection, onboarding and employee engagement as well as all facets of investigations and analysis.

Prior to working for DOL, Ed spent 12 years with the PA Human Relations Commission (PHRC). Before leaving the PHRC, Ed was the Director of Compliance responsible for all dimensions of training and development of the staff and reporting monthly to the commissioners.

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Director, Symposium Programming

Dominic Micali

Dominic Micali is Vice President, Employee Benefits, for NFP.  NFP is a global leader in brokerage and consulting services in the areas of Employee Benefits, Retirement, Property & Casualty, Individual Wealth Advisory & Executive Benefits.   Dominic helps oversee NFP’s regional new client development and marketing initiatives, with a focus on employee benefits consulting and brokerage services for mid-large employers. His creativity and client focus have been instrumental in attracting and retaining client-partners over the years.  Since joining NFP in 2013, Dominic has played a significant role in helping grow NFP into the largest privately-held employee benefits firm in the area, offering best in class client service and support to over 320 mid-market clients

Dominic is actively involved in numerous charitable organizations, including Melmark. As a board member for the Schoemaker Classic, he leads fundraising efforts for Melmark, an organization with a focus on individuals with special needs. He also sits on committees for PSPS Bux-Mont and the Eastern Pennsylvania/Delaware Chapter of CUPA, HR.  Dominic resides in Yardley, PA his wife, Rachel, son, Jace, and daughter, Susannah.

More About Dominic Micali

Emerging Leaders

Vice President, Emerging Leaders

Kaela Blanks, SHRM-SCP

Kaela’s core belief is to make an impact by empowering people to thrive. Kaela is currently the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategist at Wawa, where she can put that core belief into action every day. She ensures people feel Seen & Heard, Included & Involved, while Connected & Supported through her work on the DE&I team. This includes empowering Wawa’s Innovation Networks (WINs), advancing opportunities to make Wawa even more of a place of belonging, and amplifying the impact Wawa can have within its community and for its customers. She passionately cares about people and is grateful to be able to channel that passion through her work.

Kaela’s core belief is to make an impact by empowering people to thrive. Kaela is currently the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategist at Wawa, where she can put that core belief into action every day. She ensures people feel Seen & Heard, Included & Involved, while Connected & Supported through her work on the DE&I team. This includes empowering Wawa’s Innovation Networks (WINs), advancing opportunities to make Wawa even more of a place of belonging, and amplifying the impact Wawa can have within its community and for its customers. She passionately cares about people and is grateful to be able to channel that passion through her work.

 

Prior to Wawa, Kaela drove the DE&I strategy at Aramark as the Global Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Manager, which included overseeing 11 employee resource groups and advancing the organization’s DE&I brand. Kaela also has a background in various HR functions, including talent management, HR systems and analytics, communications, and employee engagement.

 

Kaela holds her master’s degree in Organizational Leadership with a focus in Human Resources from Northeastern University and is an alum from Temple University with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She’s also a Senior Certified Professional from the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM). Kaela serves on the Board of the Philadelphia chapter of SHRM, Professional Women’s Roundtable, and the IDEAL Board Committee for the Drexel University Academy of Natural Sciences.

 

She was nominated as an HR Rising Star in 2020 by the Delaware Valley HR Person of the Year Awards and named Philadelphia’s Top 40 Connectors and Keepers by Leadership Philadelphia in their class 2021. True to her passion, Kaela loves to travel to new cities and explore new foodie dishes to learn more about the cultures of others. She also geeks out on sci-fi and space travel and can easily get lost in a good book, movie, or tv show. Feel free to get connected with her on LinkedIn.

 

More About Kaela Blanks | View on LinkedIn
Vice President, Emerging Leaders

Ryan Colomy, SHRM-CP

Ryan Colomy is a Senior Analyst – Total Rewards, with Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP. In this role, he is responsible for the support and analysis of Morgan Lewis’ total rewards strategy and implementation as it relates to all U.S. HR benefits. Prior to his current role, he was a Senior Compensation & Benefits Analyst with The Glenmede Trust Company, an investment and wealth management firm headquartered in Center City Philadelphia.

 

 

 

Ryan received his Bachelors of Business Administration from Temple University’s Fox School of Business in May 2016, majoring in Human Resources and minoring in Legal Studies. Ryan also received his Associates Degree from Bucks County Community College, majoring in Business Administration. Ryan is currently pursuing his MBA from La Salle University and also holds the SHRM-CP designation.

More About Ryan Colomy | View on LinkedIn

Fellow

Fellow

Paige Liscka, PHR, SHRM-CP

Paige Liscka, PHR, SHRM-CP is an HR Business Partner at TMNA Services, LLC, a mid-sized professional services organization that supports insurance companies under the Tokio Marine Group.  In her role, she is responsible for handling Employee Relations, Onboarding and Offboarding, Performance Management, Corporate Social Responsibility Activities, Rewards and Recognition, and Internal Policies and Communications.  She also leads her company’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Team and Employee Engagement Committee.  Paige is passionate about HR because she loves helping others.  She believes that HR professionals have the amazing opportunity to positively influence leadership, workplace culture, and overall employee engagement.  She finds no greater joy than watching others succeed and truly be happy at work!

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