This is a test post. Please leave a comment!
This is a test post. Please leave a comment!
Many thanks to the seven members of our CHRLS Alumni Association Board of Directors whose two-and three-year terms are ending this spring: Kate Andrews, Rob Klee, Larry Morgan, Susan Otto, Alex Smith, Lizhen (Mandy) Zhao, and especially our President, Eva Treuer, who cheerfully added a fourth year of service to the Board. Because of their hard work and dedication, the Board continued its mission of strengthening the relationship among alumni and the CHRLS, the Carlson School, and the wider University community. Warm wishes, and please keep in touch!
A Memorial Tribute by Professor Emeritus Mario F. (Mike) Bognanno
Jack Flagler, an enduring and valued colleague, passed away on April 25, 2020, at the age of 93.
In 1957, with degrees from Syracuse University and Cornell University, Jack joined the faculty of the business school at the University of Iowa where he was director of the UI’s Center for Labor and Management. In 1963, Professors Dale Yoder and Herb Heneman, the Industrial Relations Center’s first and second directors, respectively, recruited Jack to be director of the IRC’s Labor Education Service (LES). For the next 30 years, Jack worked double duty as LES director and as a professor of industrial relations. Under Jack’s leadership, the LES conducted countless conferences, institutes, and short courses for Minnesota’s labor movement, produced videotapes for documentary and classroom use, and published reports. Like his professional staffers, Jack was a labor educator extraordinaire. LES’ programming objectives were enhancements of the legitimate and fair rights of employees, while protecting the prerogatives and productivity of employers. On point, sometime during the 1980s, Jack, his Employer Education Service counterpart, Tom Donaldson, and I would arrange for the Washington, D.C.’s Bureau of National Affairs, to bring its annual economic and industrial relations conference to the Twin Cities. Enrollment was usually in the neighborhood of 300 or so of Minnesota’s labor, management and legislative leaders.
As LES director and as a labor educator, Jack was a frequent guest of Minnesota Public Radio and Television. Jack represented the IRC’s interests when the University of Minnesota’s budgetary officials would lobby the state legislature in support of its requested biannual appropriation. To the best of my recollection, the IRC’s “Labor Education Fund,” with Jack’s fortification, was never cut throughout his years as LES director. Jack’s presence at the state capital was most prominent during 1970-1971 when the state legislature and Governor crafted Minnesota’s 1971 Public Employment Labor Relations Law.
Throughout Jack’s directorate, the LES hired scores of MA-IR and PhD-IR graduate students as research assistants, and Jack taught IR courses in both the IRC’s day and evening MA-IR programs. His teaching was always celebrated. Labor relations, negotiations, mediation and arbitration were lead subjects in Jack’s skill set; he was a nationally recognized expert on such matters. Over his years at the IRC, Jack was a visiting professor at Tel-Aviv University, The Technion at Haifa and at the University of Oregon. He was on the U.S. delegation to the International Labor Organization, United Nations; in 1978, he was invited to membership in the prestigious National Academy of Arbitrators, an organization on whose Board he later served as an elected Governor; he was a recipient of the American Arbitration Association’s “Crystal Owl Award for Distinguished Service;” he was recognized by the IRC’s Alumni Association for “Distinguished Service;” and the Minnesota Institute of Legal Education recognized him as a “Distinguished Lecturer in Labor and Employment Law.”
As the foregoing suggests, for 30 years, Jack Flagler was an LES and IRC cheerleader and gifted colleague. When he retired in 1993, the IRC recognized his years of LES and classroom service. We told him that his collegiality, his laugh and his friendship would be missed. Now, with his passing, our sense of loss is elevated, higher than ever.
A long-time interest and passion for unions and the labor movement led Fred Crandall, ’75 PhD-IR, to the University of Minnesota and an illustrious career in academia and consulting. “I remember learning about unions and the labor movement during my undergraduate studies at UC Berkeley and my initial graduate studies at UCLA” he recalls. “I asked the Dean at the UCLA School of Management whether I could sit in on labor negotiations or get some kind of hands on experience.” The Dean arranged for Crandall to interview for a job with a union to get some practical experience. As a result, he soon became part of the union movement. “I got an interview with a union in LA; I was a research assistant on union history; and I landed up running 100 picket lines in a major strike/lockout in southern California,” he says.
After earning his master’s degree at UCLA, Crandall decided to pursue his doctorate degree at the University of Minnesota. “I knew nothing of the Midwest, and had never seen snow. I was there for four years and made lifelong friends. I now live in the Chicago suburbs,” he says, where, post retirement, he serves as an adjunct instructor at Northwestern University.
He began his career at the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. He collaborated with fellow alumnus Marc Wallace, Jr., who at that time was at the University of Kentucky School of Business. He and Wallace, a 1973 PhD-IR alumnus who passed away in 2012, later founded The Center for Workforce Effectiveness, a management consulting firm specializing in human capital strategies. “It was a gift we had from our degrees at Minnesota because of the program’s tremendous reputation as a voice of honesty and fairness in the world of union-management relations,” he says. “We were accepted around the country and could sit at the table with both union and management.”
Crandall and Wallace published numerous academic journal articles and book chapters, and also co-authored three books, including The Headcount Solution: How to Cut Compensation Costs and Keep Your Best People; Work & Rewards in the Virtual Workplace (SHRM Book Award), and Administering Human Resources (with Charles Fay).
After almost seven years with Willis Towers Watson, consulting with the world’s largest companies on global labor force issues, Crandall retired and now consults with closely held companies in the Chicago area.
“The most enduring things about the University of Minnesota’s program,” Crandall says, “are the values being firmly implanted about the importance of work in one’s life and in society. I remember the wonderful time I had in the program; it was a tremendous experience. I owe so much to the IRC (the former name of the CHRLS) for the gift of education and a set of values that supported the greater good for people and business,” he says.
Crandall recalls how influential former IRC librarian Georgie Herman and the Reference Room was during his studies in Minnesota. “She was very important to me; she always found a way to get me the resources I needed,” he says. “I started thinking about how I wanted to support the University and the HR community, and decided that’s where I wanted to make my contribution.” As such, Crandall has pledged his generous support to the Georgianna E. Herman Reference Room Fund over a five-year period.
“I want to be supportive of future generations of practitioners and academics,” he says, “to foster, maintain, and reimagine what culture and values can be in future workplaces.”
He encourages other alumni to support their alma mater, as well. “There comes a time in everybody’s life where we have to decide what kind of mark we want to leave on the world,” he says. “For alumni, and for me, it can be something just like this.”
Ann Marie Powell, 1991 MA-IR, is the Chief Human Resources Officer at Bristol Myers Squibb. We sat down with her in January to talk about her experience in the program and her philanthropic support. Here are excerpts from that conversation.
I was pre-med at Iowa State for three years. In my junior year I took a labor economics course, and for the first time was energized about the content of my course. At the end of the semester I spoke with my professor who pointed me toward the field of I/O Psychology and Industrial Relations, which led me to research the best graduate programs. I chose the University of Minnesota because…well, it’s the best!
An early and scary challenge was moving to and living in a large city (I grew up on a remote cattle ranch in Iowa). Through a local newspaper ad, I found and rented a bedroom in the home of a U of MN employee who worked on the St. Paul campus. At the end of my first semester, however, I was having trouble making ends meet financially. I was buying ramen noodles, at 8 packages for $1 on sale, and eating them 2-3 times a day as meals. I was seriously contemplating leaving when I ran across a research assistant opportunity on a bulletin board at the U of Minnesota’s Labor Education Service, writing papers and doing research. That’s what kept me at the University. To this day, I don’t eat ramen noodles.
I loved the course content of the curriculum at the U. I especially enjoyed and sought out the night classes. I was in awe of the people who were already working in the HR field; they were so intelligent and had real-world experience. They asked tough practical questions to the professors. I still remember how impactful and rich those discussions were.
I would not change anything about my decision to go into the study of HR. It’s fast-paced, strategic, and has a critical impact on organization performance. It’s important to keep this business-focused profession alive and populated with the very best talent. The HR field is foundational in shaping culture and engaging workforces to perform at their very best. More recently, the COVID_19 virus and the implications to our workforce and different ways of working are significant and challenging. The leadership role of HR in directing this work to protect the safety and health of our workforce has never been more critical.
What motivates me to give back philanthropically to the University? I have such gratitude to the University. It gave me so much more than a degree. The U helped me build friendships and professional networks. I found that professors, employees and classmates at the U really cared, even post-graduation. They were there to offer support, resources and guidance as I found my feet externally in the business world. I feel a real sense of responsibility to give back.
What do I hope comes out of my donations? The world is moving at a pace that’s difficult to keep up with. That’s not going to change – it’s the world we live in and change is good. Student curricula and programs are successful by staying both current and connected. Helping to shape culture, how work gets done, how organizations are evolving and understanding the needs of the workforce are critical – all while driving higher levels of engagement, performance and results. I trust my financial donations can help support the research and expertise needed to keep the U’s curriculum fresh and relevant in preparing the next generation of HR leaders around the world to excel and drive change.
My advice for other alums is to get involved! I feel a real desire to ‘pay it forward’. Many years ago, I was granted the gift of a degree by the U in this exciting and growing field of study. We now have an opportunity to positively shape the future and impact of our profession. I feel a desire and sense of responsibility to do so. It’s not difficult – there are so many ways to get involved. It really does start with us. Choose to make a difference and don’t wait for tomorrow.
An occasional series highlighting a member of our alumni community, a current student, and a member of our staff or faculty.
Alumnus Gregg Peterson, ’94
Where are you currently working?
I am currently the Vice President of Human Resources at Horton, Inc. Based in Roseville, we manufacture cooling systems for diesel engines. We have approximately 500 employees and we have plants in South Dakota, Indiana, South Carolina, and Germany.
What’s your favorite part about working in the HR field?
I’m intrigued with people at work. How to make them more effective, and how to solve problems to help our business grow. That has not changed with the COVID-19 situation. We’ve seen a dramatic decrease in our business. We are also assisting our employees deal with a situation unlike anything we have ever seen. The focus on HR and people issues are more important than ever.
What was your favorite part of the MA-HRIR program? Did you think the program prepared you well for the real world’?
I think I was somewhat prepared, but there is no way to be completely prepared. The MA-HRIR program provided a great base to build on. I did not realize it at the time, but needing to do research, especially for group projects was a critical skill to develop. There was no “Global Pandemic 101” class, so most HR leaders (especially me) are researching and analyzing a ton of information. We then use that information to make the decisions that need to be made in this trying time.
What’s a hobby or something fun you like to do when you’re not working?
It’s a little difficult right now, but I like to golf and go to movies. We also like to camp and hike as a family. I’m also a runner. Not very fast, but I enjoy it. Especially in new places – when I’m travelling, etc.
Do you have any advice for current students?
Get to know the students around you. The relationships you form can last your career. I am still in contact with several people I went to school with, and I draw on them both professionally and personally.
Recent MHRIR Graduate Telile Regassa
Why did you choose to attend the Carlson School’s MA-HRIR program?
I was looking for an opportunity to help me grow both personally and professionally. I knew the Carlson School’s MA-HRIR program would provide me with these opportunities. The program has empowered me with classroom and real-world experiences that I need to be a contributing member of society. I am grateful for the chance to expand my horizon, learn, and be around like-minded individuals.
Where did you go for your undergraduate degree, and what was your major?
University of Minnesota – Twin Cities
Major: Human Resources Development
Do you have any work experience?
Yes, 3 – 4 years of work experience in the technology industry before starting the program.
What were your favorite parts of the program?
My favorite things were building relationships with my peers and growing as an HR professional.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I like reading books, working out, and spending quality time with family and friends.
Staff Member Susan Suchy
When did you start working in Carlson School’s CHRLS?
I started working for CHRLS in 1978. At that time it was the Industrial Relations Center. I worked one year in the main office, and then I moved to Labor Education Service for three years. Then I came back to the main office with duties focused on students.
What tasks does your job consist of?
Working with students while they are in the program, helping them with registration and keeping track of their progress, so that they will graduate on time.
What’s the most satisfying part of your job?
Getting the students into the classes that they want and having enough credits for graduation.
What’s a hobby or something fun you like to do when you’re not working?
I enjoy being with family and friends, and keeping active by doing crafts, voluntary work, or playing games.
Is there any little-known fact about you that people might be surprised about?
My family and I were on vacation and had two vehicles. We had to deliver a message from one car to the next. This was before we had cell phones. My brother dropped me in the middle of nowhere. I had to wait by the side of the road until my dad came by so that I could relay the message.
We love to stay in touch with our HRIR alumni to hear about their careers since leaving the program. We had the chance to connect with alumna Priya Priyadarshini, ’05, who is now general manager of global early careers program at Microsoft. She shares her journey with us.
First, can you tell us a little bit about your educational experience? How did you come to choose to attend the University of Minnesota to earn your Master’s at the Carlson School? How would you describe your experience in our program?
I wish I had a fancier story to share, but the bottom line is that I really wanted to have a career in HR and was super interested in learning the craft. I looked at several options, and two schools had programs that piqued my interest. The reason I chose HRIR at the Carlson School is that it gave me the “best of both worlds.” Not only did I have access to world-class professors in the fields of Industrial Labor Relations and Comp, but I also had access to MBA courses, peers, and the career center.
What has been your career path? How did our program impact and prepare you for your career?
My career in HR started with the Carlson School. I was fortunate enough to get an internship with Microsoft and eventually got a full-time role at Microsoft. Fourteen years later, I am thriving at Microsoft and am currently in my 9th job at the company. Microsoft is huge and global; we have professions that range from software engineering to sales, marketing, finance, business development, hardware engineering, and business. Time has flown by; I guess you can say that when you are constantly learning, thriving, being challenged, and growing.
In the world of HR, I have worked in talent acquisition, to being an HR business partner (HR generalist), to helping with acquisitions and integration, to currently leading a global development program for all early-career hires across the company. I have spent a significant portion of my time as an HR business partner. I see it as a pivotal role in enabling the growth and transformation of businesses through strategic influence.
I have been blessed with amazing opportunities. A lot of it is serendipity, and a bit of it is me saying “yes” to things that came my way. I have moved through the HR function from an individual contributor to a people manager to now being a manager of managers.
Two things about the program helped me the most: The first was the access to leaders and companies and how they operated,. The second was the start of a network of faculty, peers, business leaders, and alums that I never had, as I had grown up in a totally different country and came in as an international student. It gave me a community that I still tap into to date.
Are you connected to other alumni or professors from the program?
Yes, I am. There was this guy who was an alum who had recently joined Microsoft, and he was the force behind Microsoft coming to campus for the first time to hire some fresh graduates. His name is Chuck Edward, and Chuck is a Corporate Vice President at Microsoft. He was the one who hired me and is still plays a significant role in my life as mentor, and sponsor. Also I am still in touch with several of my classmates, and a few of them have become my closest friends. They are all doing amazing things at fortune 100 companies, but are only a phone call/text away; distance and time don’t get in the way. I know that they are there for me. Professor John Budd has been another constant pillar of support, and we still hang out when I am in Minneapolis, or he is in the Pacific Northwest. Recently I had the good fortune and honor to meet [current Carlson School Dean] Sri Zaheer, and it just goes on to tell that “building community” is a core tenet at Carlson. It gave me a family and support system that I cherish to date.
Have you lived or worked abroad during your career? If so, can you share some of your experiences?
Before coming to the USA, I grew up in India, and now that I look back at my life, it’s divided into two phases: first half of it was in India and the other half here in the States. I appreciate the contrast and the perspectives that living and being exposed to different cultures provides us. In a world that is so connected and hyper globalized, it is helpful to have a broader context and perspectives as well exposure to polarities—whether it’s in culture, education, beliefs, or societal norms. [This exposure] has pushed me to find my own equilibrium and compass and made me more open and accepting of differences on almost all fronts. I tend to not see things as black and white; I always push myself to think about things in the context of a “system” and trying to be more empathetic. This outlook and experience has really allowed me to be a better HR professional and leader. I have not moved outside of the US for my role at Microsoft, but I do have an extremely global role, and that means I am constantly connecting with people from around the globe; my team is highly distributed: at one point, I had someone based in Romania, Ireland, UK and China.
What are your thoughts on the role of HR during the COVID-19 Pandemic?
It is a moment that will matter for HR: this is the time we can truly influence the employee experience in a positive way. Employees all around are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, grief, uncertain. This is not the time for HR to act as a police, but rather be advocates. If I were to recommend three things that HR can do:
What goals do you hope to accomplish?
I recently read this book that our CEO shared at a recent town hall. It’s called The Second Mountain by David Brooks. In essence, the “first mountain” is the one that defines “worldly success”, “career”, “financial security”, and “education.” I want to get ready for that “second mountain,” which is to really tap into my true calling and think about what life would be in the service of others as opposed to a life in my own service and fulfilling my career ambitions. At the risk of sounding too pedantic or “monk-like,” I do not imagine this to be an off-beaten path where I have to disconnect from society or work. The thing that I want to ask myself and push is, “What is my true calling?” What is the higher purpose? How can I fundamentally take all that I have to make a positive impact –it’s a journey and I realize that it starts my taking one small step at a time.
How do you like to spend your free time?
I am a learner; I have a curious mind and so the act of learning anything is the most luring and satisfying thing. I read a lot…a Lot. It’s pretty non-traditional in the sense that I can start with a LinkedIn post, which takes me to an article, then to a book or a YouTube video, then a documentary or a talk. I also spend a lot of time on mutual mentorship, especially with people who are early in career. I learn so much from them and it keeps me current and offers me a different perspective.
I also love to travel—especially with my son. I like to take him to different places and experience, explore, and look at things with wonder through his eyes. I guess if I really think deeply about my love for travel, it ties back to learning, adventure, and exploration.
What advice would you give to current students?
Be kind and patient with yourself. Know that you are enough. Don’t pretend to be someone else and try to fit in a box; make your own custom box or lounging place if you really need to. Spend time getting to know your superpowers. We often dwell on our weaknesses and development areas, and I would encourage everyone to not lose sight of what you have already accomplished so far. What are your strengths that have brought you to where you are now, and how can you apply, maximize, and practice them more?
Don’t try to be perfect or be someone else. I recently watched Kenji Yoshino, and he talks about this notion of “covering,” and it occurred to me that all of us are trying to cover some aspect of our life, work, or who we are to fit into some “perfect stereotype.” I am certainly guilty of that. It is tiring, unpleasant, and burdensome to cover. I have tried to cover my accent, the fact that I like Bollywood music, and many other parts of my heritage to fit in and not stand out, just to sort of assimilate and be “normal,” and it’s done me no good. I realize that I am not setting a great example for my son and others around me. Embrace who you are with respect, kindness, and humility.
Alumna Heather Lindberg, ’97, recently organized a virtual happy hour with former classmates of the MHRIR program. Here she shares her thoughts about the experience:
In the early stage of the COVID 19 pandemic and “stay at home” orders, I like many others, realized I needed a strategy to keep safe AND sane. For me this involved identifying an activity for each day where I could interact with others whether it was an University webinar, an online meditation class or book club or shared movie night with family. Then I remembered my grad school days cohorts and how we would often meet up for happy hour. Working with Mina Ozturk, we put together a list of invitees for our trial run and then complied contact information with additional help from Anne Obst at the Center for Human Resources and Labor Studies (CHRLS).
Ten of us showed up for our first zoom happy hour. It was a wonderful opportunity to catch up personally and professionally. It is one thing to read about family activities on Facebook or other social media and another to ask “in person” about accomplishments of children and spouses, how people were adapting to the stay at home orders, balancing work and family life. It was also an opportunity for professional networking discussing current roles and changes in the workplace.
What we learned from this initial effort is timing is the first “hurdle.” At least three classmates let me know it would not work for them; people live across the U.S. and overseas. But most people could make a 6 pm Central call. Other than that I heard from many participants that they were glad for the opportunity to reconnect. Sanity saved. Here’s to keeping in touch!
If you would like to organize a similar virtual alumni happy hour, please contact us at email@example.com for assistance.
For the past six years, the MHRIR program has celebrated the end of the school year and the graduation of our students with a spring celebration dinner, typically held the evening before the Commencement Ceremony. It was always a wonderful opportunity to get the program together, give out the teaching award for the year, and celebrate with the students who were completing their education in both our full-time and part-time programs.
“It was immensely disappointing when we couldn’t have dinner this year due to the coronavirus,” says Stacy Doepner-Hove, director of the MHRIR program. “This was the one time each year we could meet the family, friends, partners and loved ones of the students we all had worked so closely with over the past few years. We wanted to try to have something similar for the students that could supplement the official virtual graduation ceremony from the University – so, we went virtual as well,” she says.
“Having people join us from all over the world to support our students and our program was amazing. We scheduled a time that we hoped would work for our major time zones across the US and Asia and were thrilled to have so many people Zoom in. We had over 180 unique viewers during the celebration.
“Hearing from the students, faculty and alums live – even if it wasn’t in person – was such a blessing. And while we couldn’t watch them walk across the stage and I didn’t get the chance to shake their hands (my favorite thing of the year), watching their pictures go by in the slideshow and hearing the faculty and staff messages of good will and good luck still made me smile and brought a tear to my eye.
“There is nothing as heartwarming as seeing how many people are supportive of our students. It is wonderful to see and enjoy such a special moment each year. It might not have been exactly the same this year – but it was special none-the-less.”
A recording of the MHRIR Spring Celebration is available here.
The Labor Education Service at the University of Minnesota is pleased to announce the addition of two new labor educators to its staff:
Cassie J. Williams joined Labor Education Service in 2020. She earned a B.A. in Literature and Creative Writing and a M.A. in Education from Southwest Minnesota State University (SMSU). With a passion for education, she has an extensive background in student affairs, diversity, equity and inclusion. Her background includes teaching human relations, global studies, and facilitating workshops focused on cultural competency, equity and inclusion. She was also a member and corresponding secretary for MSUAASF at SMSU. Through her involvement in multiple art and rural community based organizations, Cassie has a special interest in how art is used to address social and racial inequalities as well as rural and urban partnerships. Her experience and passion for others led her to commit to empowering union workers to challenge inequities in the workplace, strengthen union bonds by creating spaces of support, and to promote professional growth and leadership by providing workers with tools needed to fight for social and economic justice. When she is not teaching and advocating for the rights of others, she enjoys spending time with her family and writing poetry with aspirations of one day completing multiple works of poetry.
Sasha Yunginger came to the Labor Education Service with an interest in working with unions and marginalized workers. Sasha holds a BS in Corrections and Sociology and a Master’s of Arts in Education. While working with incarcerated people, Sasha learned in more detail the complications of the criminal justice system and continues to have a passion to change it. Sasha taught special education in public schools for ten years prior to coming to LES. While teaching, Sasha was an active member of the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers, Local 59, MEA, AFT, and NEA. Sasha served as site steward and held a position on the special education labor management team as well as the restorative practices labor management team. She was sent to the Labor Notes conference on behalf of her local as well as served as state delegate. Sasha wants to continue to help union members find their voice within their union. In her free time, Sasha enjoys traveling with her partner, reading, gardening, and fostering animals.
Welcome, Cassie and Sasha!