Four Retiring Staff Members: What We Remember and the Things We’ll Miss

Congratulations to the four CHRLS staff members who will be retiring this fall! We asked them to share some of their experiences with us before they leave. We wish you all the best as you begin the next chapter of your lives!

Jennifer Clement, CHRLS Herman Library Assistant

How long have you worked in the IRC/CHRLS?
By December I will have been here for almost 35 years.

What job(s) have you had during your tenure? 
I started out being a clerical worker and have since been in a library assistant position.

How many different buildings did you work in?
I have worked in Blegen Hall, the Humphrey Building and the Carlson School of Management.

Can you share some interesting/funny memories about your time here?
Most of my memories are getting to know all the different students from all over the world. It has been so interesting getting to know so many people from different cultures as well as in the United States. Being around so many young people has made me feel more young myself.

What will you miss the most?
I will mostly miss all the nice professors, students, and staff that I have really enjoyed working with all these years.

And, what plans do you have after retirement?
Going for lots of walks with my husband and dog, and travelling somewhere warm for a month or two in the winter months.

Howard Kling, LES Labor Education Specialist

How long have you worked in the Labor Education Service?
I have worked at LES since June, 1991, so almost 30 years (29 years and 4 months?)

What job(s) have you had during your tenure?
I was hired as Director of the Labor Education Service Telecommunications Project (LESTP), a position I have held since 1991. In the beginning, LESTP was essentially a video production collective focused on issues of work, organized labor, and social and economic justice. My work as LESTP Director meant providing leadership and also included doing all the tasks associated with video production. As communications technology developed, LESTP expanded its work and mission to include computer-based media and then online, web-based media production, including Workday Minnesota which was launched in 2000 as the first on-line labor news service in the U.S.  I and LESTP also played a key role in creating Workers Independent News, a national commercial radio project, and the Twin Cities Daily Planet, an on-line community news and information publication. I became Acting Director of LES as a whole in 2000, and became the first elected Director of LES in 2001, serving 3 terms until June, 2010.

How many different buildings did you work in?
Two: LES was housed in the Management and Economics Building next to Blegen until CSOM occupied its new and current building.

What will you miss the most?
For sure all the people I’ve known and worked with at LES and the IRC/CHRLS. Many have already left the U but there are plenty who are still here. How strange that on a certain day I will no longer have an office to go to and the shifting tableau of all these wonderful people won’t grace my life anymore. Sigh, I guess Covid has actually been quite a good teacher. Ugh.

I will also miss my work, the joy of creating a video that is well received, teaching in our union leadership program, all the schemes and initiatives and experiments I got to participate in, the freedom to dream and try things, the camaraderie with my fellow LES staff, and in particular our very innovative LESTP collective and the amazing working relationship we developed together. I will miss feeling useful and helpful, especially during those times of trouble for LES. I will miss the privilege of knowing, interviewing and videotaping so, so many working people whose courage and articulate words have inspired me all these years. And I will miss the support I have always, always felt from the IRC/CHRLS.

And, what plans do you have after retirement?
I will be working with John See, and retired LESTP staff member Randy Croce, to finish digitizing and archiving 35+ years of video programs and historic raw footage. I have some potential video projects with friends in San Francisco as well as Buffalo, NY. I plan to start doing creative writing again.

Cook more. Drink wine. Work on our house. Hang out with friends (which will hopefully be possible sometime soon!) Visit our daughter and her wife in Brooklyn and my son in Ely more. Read more books. Listen to more music. Play my guitar (not very well). Eventually move back to Buffalo, NY, my hometown.

Anne Obst, External Relations Coordinator

How long have you worked in the IRC/CHRLS?
I will have completed a full 15 years with the CHRLS when I retire on November 2.

What job(s) have you had during your tenure?
I was fortunate to be hired in as External Relations Coordinator back in 2005, and have kept the same title since then. However, my responsibilities definitely expanded over the years into the varied, challenging, and enjoyable position I have now.

How many different buildings did you work in?
All of my time has been spent working in the Carlson School building, but I have to say that once the coffee shop in Hanson Hall opened up, I’ve spent a quite a lot of time over there!

Can you share some interesting/funny memories about your time here?
I’ve had the privilege of coordinating 15 separate HR Tomorrow Conferences during my tenure, and each one had their own challenges. From the early days when one of our breakout session speakers developed food poisoning and drove himself to the hospital (he ended up to be fine), to the year we almost cancelled due to a raging snowstorm (and one of our attendees rented a car with a stranger and made a middle-of-the-night drive up from central Iowa to get here in time), to actually cancelling this year’s event due to COVID-19, each conference has had its own personality and quirks – and each conference was definitely exciting and satisfying to put on.

What will you miss the most?
By far and away, it will be the people: my amazing co-workers, our extraordinary faculty, my supportive departmental partners across the college, and all the remarkable alumni I’ve had the honor to meet, build friendships with, and hopefully keep in touch with!

And, what plans do you have after retirement?
Volunteering, reading, traveling, and spending time with my grandchildren are at the top of the list. Everyone says I’ll be busier during retirement than I ever was during my working years, and I’m eager to test out that theory!!

Susan Suchy, Student Services Specialist

How long have you worked in the IRC/CHRLS?  I started working in March 1978.  Previously, I was at the Boynton Health Service for almost three years.  My first few years I was able to be around when Herb H. Heneman was a faculty member and not the director at that time.

What job(s) have you had during your tenure?
After working in the main office for one year, I took a position in the Labor Education Service and worked with Jack Flagler. After three years my position was being eliminated. They asked if I would be willing to move back to the main office and work with the students instead of the staff. I’ve been able to work with students to the present time.

How many different buildings did you work in?
The building I first started in was the Management and Economic Building (which now is Heller Hall). I moved into the Carlson School once the building was built.

Can you share some interesting/funny memories about your time here?
The changes that happen within 42 years. Having students line up before the door opened to be put on the waiting list for classes. I would need to hand write a permission slip to each of the students for each class. They would come and pick up the permission slip and go to the registrar’s office to register for the classes. They also needed to wait in line. I would also answered faculty phone calls and left messages in the mailboxes. The faculty didn’t like the change that messages would be on voice mail. Thank goodness for computers and cell phones.

What will you miss the most?
I will miss the people. I worked with great people. Doing the job for so many years, every Fall felt like I was starting a new job, with getting to know the new students. The first 25 years I really knew the students. Someone would say the student’s name and I would be able to know if they were students of ours.

And, what plans do you have after retirement?
Plan to travel and do things I was unable to do while working.

Posted in Labor Education Service, News, Staff | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Please Join in Supporting 75th Anniversary Social Justice Fund

Thanks to a generous lead gift from Professor John Budd and his wife, Gwen, the CHRLS is pleased to launch the first philanthropic effort within the Carlson School to actively recognize social justice work with the creation of the “75th Anniversary CHRLS Social Justice Fund.”

This effort acknowledges the social justice contributions of CHRLS faculty, staff, students, and alumni. As far back as the 1920s, the precursor to CHRLS offered courses in labor problems and social insurance that highlighted the needs of workers for fair treatment, dignity, and voice. Several decades later, Professor Herb Heneman was chair of the St. Paul Fair Employment Practices Commission which is now its Human Rights Commission, and today our research, curriculum, and alumni still trumpet the importance of dignity, empowerment, equality, diversity, and inclusiveness.

But knowing there is still much more to be done, we also want to commemorate the social moment that coincides with our 75th anniversary. We hope the Fund can symbolically remind us of that convergence into the future, while also concretely providing funds for student fellowships and other initiatives.

This fund is being flexibly designed to allow program leaders to tailor specific expenditures most effectively as needs change and will include fellowship support to recruit outstanding Master’s students, including those from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds, as well as initiatives that we can’t currently foresee.

You are invited to join John and Gwen Budd in this important effort by making a gift or pledge now.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

HR Tomorrow Conference to Be Held Virtually on April 23

Mark your calendars to join us for the 41st annual HR Tomorrow Conference, HRReimagined, which will be held virtually on Friday, April 23, 2021. The popular professional development event for HR practitioners will offer a half-day or full-day option, and will focus on Embracing COVID Learnings #workdifferent and Equitable Outcomes #DEI.

Interested in sharing your expertise with conference attendees? The Request for Speaker Proposals is now open; please submit your application before December 1.

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Help Us Capture 75 Years of Excellence!

2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the Center for Human Resources and Labor Studies (formerly known as the Industrial Relations Center.) While we won’t be able to gather in person to celebrate this momentous milestone, we’d love to hear from you nonetheless!

We are collecting “75 Reasons to Celebrate the CHRLS” and hope you will take a few minutes to fill out this survey. Feel free to answer any, or all, of the questions. We would love to receive your responses before October 23. Thanks for sharing your memories!!

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Join Us for Mentor Monday at Noon on October 19th!

Join Us for Mentor Monday to hear from Nick Christenson, VP of HR at Polaris: October 19 at 12:00 noon.

2020 has brought many challenges but also many opportunities to engage differently as HR students and professionals. The Carlson HR & Labor Studies Alumni Association has operated no differently, pushing ourselves to find new ways to connect current students and alumni. One of the innovations we will be implementing this year is a virtual speaker series called Mentor Mondays. Mentor Mondays will be held monthly and will be about 30-45 minutes in length. The speakers will focus on many topics impacting both students and alumni today, as well as leaving time for Q&A.

The first speaker in our Mentor Monday series will be Nick Christenson. Nick is the VP of HR for the Off-road Vehicles and Snow businesses at Polaris Inc., based in Plymouth, MN.  He previously led the Talent Management function at Polaris and lead HR for the Polaris Parts, Garments and Accessories business.  Prior to joining Polaris in 2014 Nick was most recently HR Director at Club Car, a division of Ingersoll Rand, based in Augusta, GA.  He also held previous positions of increasing responsibility at Ingersoll Rand and Doosan/Bobcat.  Nick graduated as part of the 2005 MA-HRIR program cohort and received a Bachelor’s in Psychology from the University of Minnesota. Nick has been an active supporter of CHRLS Alumni Board activities, serving on the board of directors from 2016 to 2019 including the final year as the board’s president.  He is currently a member of the Carlson Executive Education board of advisors.

Nick will be presenting on how to approach your career as a journey, which will including examples of how, through his own career, he’s balanced his professional and personals goals to get to where he is now. This session will be held on Monday, October 19th at 12:00pm CST and is open to both current students and alumni of the MA-HRIR program.

We will not be sending out registration for this event, so please make sure to add it to your calendar with the below Zoom information:
Meeting ID: 978 0256 6896
Passcode: cdugR1

Posted in Alumni, Events, News, Students | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“I’m not throwing away my shot!”

Alumnus Russ Lee, ’14, shares below how his experience in the HRIR program taught him much of the essential skills he uses in his daily career, and he expresses gratitude to his peers for their positive impact on his life. These valuable experiences motivate him to give back to the program.

What has your career path been since graduating from the HRIR program? 

My career path after graduating in 2014 from the HRIR program has been up, down and all around! After completing my summer internship at Chevron, I accepted their full-time offer and joined their leadership development program for HR employees. I completed four rotations in my first two years. We lived in Texas, Louisiana, California and Nigeria. (Russ shares more about his experiences in Nigeria in an article from 2016. Click here to read about his adventures!) This program was fast-paced and essential in learning how a large oil conglomerate did HR in the US and across the world. I graduated from the program and moved to Bakersfield, CA to fill a position as a labor relations specialist. A year later, I moved to Houston to fill a role as an HR business partner in the Chevron Information Technology group. On January 1, 2020, I accepted an HR business partner role at a refinery in Richmond, CA. This is where I am now, and I’m enjoying learning the oil refining business. I have a high respect for the operators and engineers of these massive and complex modern marvels. We live in the Bay Area and now have four beautiful children. Life is busy for us, but it is extremely rewarding.   

How has your educational experience at the University of Minnesota impacted your career?  

I constantly reflect and rely on my experience in the HRIR program. I have kept most of my textbooks and use them from time to time when I start a new role or have an issue to research. I will be in meetings at work and recall case studies and lessons discussed in my courses to help me give sound HR advice and direction. I have reviewed thousands of spreadsheets and data sources and can find colorations that assist in making data-driven decisions. I was not able to do these things effectively before starting the HRIR program. Because of the professors and coursework at Minnesota, you can receive one of the best educations in human resources.  

What motivated you to donate to the HRIR program? And, what was the process like?  

I was taught early in life to donate financially to organizations I believe make the world a better place. I have donated monthly to the HRIR program starting from my first week at work. Chevron also matches all my charitable donations to the school. I have it automatically deducted from each paycheck.  I believe in the HRIR program. It gave me an opportunity to have a successful HR career. I learned many life skills from my peers and professors that opened my eyes to my own biases and challenged my thinking. I intend to keep donating, both financially and with my time, to support this program that gave me so much.  

What do you hope your gifts will help the program accomplish? 

I would hope that my donation is being used to help current students enjoy their experience. Those two years go quickly, and it can be a stressful time as a student. I trust and believe the leadership in the program is wisely delegating the use of my donations for the benefit of the current students.  

What do you hope for future students of the program?  And, how do you think your philanthropic support will help with that? 

I love the song from the famed musical, Hamilton “…I’m not throwing away my shot!” This is your shot! Keep going, stay hungry and give it your best. Navigating your time in the HRIR program can feel daunting at times as you work, study and do interviews. What you learn will prepare you for what is to come. I give financially to the HRIR program because it helped my career dreams come true, and I know it can do the same for you. Be like Alexander Hamilton and the many alumni before you, and don’t throw away your shot! 

What advice do you have for other alumni who might be considering supporting the program financially? 

To the alumni, thank you all for being open and friendly to me and my classmates. I wish the best for all of you and hope you are finding fulfillment in your life and career. If you feel you are at a place to start sending donations to the HRIR program, please do it. My donations are small, but they are consistent. You don’t have to wait until retirement to start donating. Give a little now, and together we can make a difference.  

Is there anything else you would like to share with us? 

To the alumni of my 2014 class, I have lost contact with most of you since graduating. I want you to know you changed me. Your examples influenced me to recognize my biases and become, what I think, is a better human being. I would hope that if or when we meet again you would meet and see a person who is less closed and more open, less insensitive and more friendly. It was my privilege to study alongside each of you!  

Posted in Alumni, Alumni Features, Driven, Features, News | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Making Moves and Fulfilling Dreams

Excited to join the CHRLS Alumni Board as an opportunity to give back to the community and help out current students, Jessica Hooper, ’14 MA-HRIR, shares her thoughts about her journey after the program.

Why did you choose to attend the HRIR program at the University of Minnesota?

I graduated with my BS in Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin, River Falls. I choose to attend the University of Minnesota directly after my undergraduate degree in part because it was listed among the top master’s programs for HR in the world. The two-year MA-HRIR program was an important step for me as it truly set me up for success in my future career. In those two years, I learned much more than the standard HR knowledge; I also learned how to be a professional. Participating in the MBA courses was a huge plus for me in the program. I left the program with a better grasp on business than when I started, as well as the skills I needed to find a fulfilling position in a challenging job market.

What’s been your career path since graduating? How did the program impact and prepare you for your career in human resources?

The day after graduation, I packed my car and moved to California. After some contract work in HR, I moved into my first serious HR position at TE Connectivity. The network that I had through the MA-HRIR program is what allowed me to move into that role. One of the MA-HRIR alumni actually recruited me for this first HR business partner position. At TE Connectivity, I learned what it means to be an HR business partner for a manufacturing plant. After some time, I moved to working at Stitch Fix, an e-commerce/fashion company in San Francisco. While at Stitch Fix, I learned a lot about working in a young business and had the opportunity to create processes and procedures that truly impacted the business. The team that I supported grew from 1,500 employees to over 3,000. Following nearly three years at Stitch Fix, I moved abroad to Cyprus (a small island nation in the eastern Mediterranean). After a pause from work, I took on a position as the first HR manager at a small technology start up, Techlink. This position has challenged me in a variety of new ways and allowed me to fully use what I learned from the HRIR program. In the first six months, I added another HR officer to my team.

Are you connected to other alumni or professors from the program?

From my time at the University, I met my future husband (from the MBA program) and made several friendships that will last a lifetime. 

Have you lived or worked abroad during your career? If so, can you share some of your experiences?

As I mentioned, I’m currently living and working in Cyprus. As a country in the European Union, it’s important to have a firm grasp on EU labor regulations and practices. I’ve also learned that being able to speak the local language is super important, especially for an HR professional. 

What’s your favorite part of working in the HR field?

Every day is different and each decision that you make can have a lasting impact on your organization and on people’s lives. I see a lot of meaning in the work that we do.

What are some of your proudest accomplishments, and/or what is a project that you are a part of and passionate about?

I’ve had a lot of opportunity over my career to work on many interesting projects. My current focus is on expanding the benefits offering of my company and ensuring that our employee value proposition is compelling for current and future employees. I also am proud of several projects that I worked on at Stitch Fix, which included creating a process for handling maternity leave for up to 300 employees at a time in several different states. 

What other goals do you hope to accomplish?

One of my longest running goals was to become the first/only HR professional for a new company, and that is the current position that I’m in. I’ve also endeavored to live abroad and am currently realizing that dream as well. 

Why did you decide to join the CHRLS Alumni Association Board of Directors?

I was excited about the opportunity to give back to the alumni community and help current students. It is also a great way to stay connected to other interesting professionals and UMN.

What are your thoughts on the role of HR during the COVID-19 pandemic?

I think HR professionals had an opportunity to stand out as leader’s in the crisis. Personal connection, communication, and change management are more important than ever in the current situation and HR people have a big influence on all three of these areas.

Do you have any advice for current students?

This is the same advice I would give anyone. Know yourself first. Take time to truly understand your motivations and passions. What gives your life meaning? If you don’t know what you want, you’re not very likely to find it.

How do you like to spend your free time?

I love learning, swimming, reading, animals, and traveling.

Posted in Alumni, Alumni Features, Features, News | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Connecting with Alumni: Renee Konzelman and Jeff Wehling

The opportunity to connect with our alumni after graduating from the program is an important mission to us! Each one shares incredible experiences they’ve had and inspires us as we look forward to our future graduates. We had the chance to connect with alumna Renee Konzelman, ’05, and alumnus Jeff Wehling, ’00. They share their stories below.

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 really liked how the University of Minnesota was geographically located inside a huge corporate marketplace. The corporate partnerships and investment in my education was clear – from the names on the classroom plaques to the track record of internships and full time placements – I knew I was going to join not only a strong academic program, but also gain connections professionally that would last my entire career. 

What has been your career path? How has it shifted over the years since graduating? How did our program impact and prepare you for your career?

I worked in HR generalist capacities during all my internships, which started with an unpaid internship before graduate school, and working while also going to Carlson. After graduation, I joined a rotational development program with Bristol-Myers Squibb which allowed me to live internationally and experience different parts of the HR function. I’m eternally grateful for my time at Bristol-Myers Squibb in the rotational program because it also solidified for me that my career path should stay in the HR Generalist / HR Business Partner skill area. I’ve had roles of increasing responsibility across different industries throughout my career – with one constant – I am able to do strategic work that my clients value and make a difference for our employees.  The program prepared me for my international career specifically because it set the tone that to be a global leader you have to think and operate differently – I’ve kept these lessons close throughout the year.

Are you connected to other alumni or professors from the program?

Getting involved in the student organizations while I was in school has been infinitely rewarding. My connections to other alumni can mostly be traced back to times we were working together on activities and programs for the student organization, which was called IPX at the time.  

Have you lived or worked abroad during your career? If so, can you share some of your experiences?

I was lucky enough to study abroad in Italy when I was in college, so I got the bug to live internationally early in my life. I had the opportunity to live in Singapore during my Bristol-Myers Squibb rotational program. Since then, my responsibilities have been more and more global – and I travel everywhere. I’ve been to Asia, Europe, Russia, the Middle East – all in an effort to see my team and build relationships with my team and employees. Last year I went to Saudi Arabia and Dubai, which was a memorable experience to visit a location with such a different culture than America. It’s very humbling to explore how my colleagues live and embrace the diversity of the global Honeywell organization.  

What are some of your proudest accomplishments, and/or what is a project that you are a part of and passionate about?

In my current role, leading HR for Honeywell UOP, I’ve been able to do some very strategic organization redesign work. This has been a highlight of my career because it’s allowed me to bring together a foundation of strong HR fundamentals – but also be super creative in how we reimagine how the structure of our organization supports our business strategy. The second part about why my current role has been so fun is related to my team – developing other HR professionals is a passion of mine and right now, I believe I have one of the strongest HR teams out there – so that makes me super proud when others are successful around me. 

What advice would you give to current students?

My advice to current students is to roll up your sleeves and demonstrate resilience and the ability to juggle competing priorities as soon as possible. Get a job. Even an unpaid internship will give you experiences that will ultimately set you apart from the competition as you look for your full time role. Second piece of advice –  be flexible! I picked up and moved to New Jersey after my time in the midwest after grad school and was also open to live outside the US. I believe that by being geographically flexible earlier in my career, I have always been able to differentiate myself since. It was totally worth being super uncomfortable at the time.

How do you like to spend your free time?

These days, I’m doubling as a kindergarten teacher and 2nd grade teacher with e-learning! I’ve got a husband and three kids and we are involved in volunteering with our church and spending time with friends and family as often as we can. I’m a reality TV junkie and also enjoy digital scrapbooking. Lately, I’ve also become a soccer mom – and I love it!  

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 earned my Bachelor’s degree in economics and Hispanic studies from St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN.  Four years later and after falling into a human resources role by accident, I discovered that I had found my true passion and decided to immerse myself in the discipline by pursuing an advanced degree.  Researching my options, the Carlson School was the logical choice – it allowed me to attend one of the top programs of its kind in the nation while continuing my full-time position at my then-current employer and remaining in the Twin Cities. Having the opportunity to enroll in a part-time evening-based program was perfect.

What has been your career path? How has it shifted over the years since graduating? How did our program impact and prepare you for your career?

I began my HR career more than 25 years ago working as a staffing coordinator at a locally-owned staffing agency.  From there, I quickly moved into Corporate America, joining a Fortune 1000 direct marketing company as a recruiter and then as a generalist for a large call center. About eight years later and shortly after completing my MA-HRIR, I joined a Fortune 200 risk management firm as an HR manager responsible for managing the HR function at the Minneapolis branch office.  After carrying out a reduction force, the enterprise HR model changed, and local HR branch positions were eliminated.  Fortunately, I was intuitive and sensed that significant change was coming, so I had already begun an external search, which landed me at a mid-sized financial services and printing company first as senior HR business partner for the company’s flagship, multi-function call center and then as regional HR business partner for half of the company’s call centers. Hungry for greater challenge, I joined my current employer as HR business partner, then moved into several different non-HR roles in business operations to broaden my skillset and increase my business intimacy and acumen, and just re-entered HR three months ago.

Are you connected to other alumni or professors from the program?

Having graduated from the program 20 years ago, I still remain in contact with several classmates with whom I shared a number of courses and group projects, and I also stay in periodic contact with one of my dearest professors.

Have you lived or worked abroad during your career? If so, can you share some of your experiences?  

I have not lived or worked abroad, but I have worked with colleagues in India and Ireland, and in the Summer of 2020 I was fortunate enough to travel to Ireland to conduct two site visits and meet my colleagues.

What are your thoughts on the role of HR during the COVID-19 Pandemic?

HR has played a critical role on several fronts during COVID-19, including but not limited to employee communications, benefits design and administration, flexible work arrangements, return-to-work strategy, employee wellness, and occupational health and safety, serving as the connective tissue that joins and aligns all corporate functions while also being to go-to source of information.

What are some of your proudest accomplishments, and/or what is a project that you are a part of and passionate about?

To date, some of my proudest accomplishments include in-sourcing bilingual call center work from expensive outsourced service bureaus; completely overhauling and upgrading the HR service delivery model and team for improved effectiveness and client satisfaction; quickly and effectively opening, expanding, and closing multiple call centers; and driving heightened organizational effectiveness and increased business value through difficult conversations, leadership coaching, change management, organizational design, and talent management.

What other goals do you hope to accomplish?

I accepted my current role three months ago so that I could gain valuable experience and deliver material value in the M&A space, working to integrate companies that had been purchased several years ago.

What advice would you give to current students?

(1) Network, network, network – and not just for the purpose of landing a job; always keep your network active and growing, and recognize it as being a mutually-beneficial relationship; (2) Get a mentor and be a mentor; (3) Keep learning, growing, and moving – don’t stay in any one job too long; (4) Constantly grow your business acumen – HR knowledge and skills alone won’t cut it and will limit your effectiveness and opportunities; (5) Finally, obsess over adding value – focus on how you will make your organization better than it was when you joined.

How do you like to spend your free time?  

In my free time, I enjoy traveling, golf, music, architecture, hiking, walking, and cars. I’m also an aspiring voiceover talent and enjoy serving as a mentor to CSOM undergrad and grad students as well as working as a contract career coach in the CSOM Graduate Business Career Center (GBCC) with Master’s HR and MBA students and alumni.

Posted in Alumni, Alumni Features, Features, News | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Welcome, New Alumni Association Board of Directors!

The CHRLS Alumni Association is pleased to welcome seven new members to its Board of Directors: Jessica Hooper, Michael Jacobs, Sarah Merkle, Crystal Sequeira, Jodell Swenson, Melissa Weisse, and Lindsay Wenzel. Thank you for your commitment and interest in giving back to your alma mater.

We also welcome back and thank our 14 returning members: Josh Arbit, Heather Besikof, Mary Kate Bisek, Kevin Brennan, Melissa Bryan, Melis Candir, Leo Cardoso, Jon Cermak, Kelly Dahlman, Kelsy Martin, Francis Sadac, Padma Tamma, Rachel Yates, and Lisa Zajac.

The Board is already hard at work planning the annual HR Tomorrow Conference, presenting a series of mentoring activities to support current students and alumni, and building engagement opportunities for alumni to stay connected to the program.

To share your comments and suggestions, please contact the Board at

Posted in Alumni, News | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Georgianna E. Herman 1931-2020

Georgianna E. Herman, 88, of Saint Paul, died July 26, 2020, of complications from COVID-19.  “Georgie” was born in St. Paul December 12, 1931, to George Washington Herman and Grace Martineau Herman. She attended Horace Mann in Highland Park, University High in Minneapolis and then entered the University of Minnesota where she earned a degree in Business Administration. 

Georgie had excellent grades in college but upon graduation in 1953 she already realized the management ladders in the corporate world at that time were not exactly wide open to women.  She had been working as a part-time librarian in the University’s Industrial Relations Department.  When she graduated, that job was offered to her on a full-time basis.  She took it and turned it into a career.  When she retired in 2001 the Carlson School of Management, “in tribute for her 48 years of dedicated service developing a premier collection used by faculty, students and professionals,” renamed the library the Georgianna E. Herman Reference Room.  Georgie once said, “I know I don’t look like a person who has a library named after her but you can’t imagine how much fun that is.” 

Indeed, although Georgie and her family knew some hard times—her father died suddenly in 1940 when Georgie was still in elementary school–Georgie was a free spirit who managed to find fun in almost everything she did.  Her sunny disposition remained the hallmark of her personality throughout her life.  Until moving to Sunrise Senior Living in Roseville last October, Georgie had lived happily since 1936 in the home her parents built in Highland Park.  Like her mother, who died in 1983, Georgie enjoyed entertaining and hosting dinner parties. She was an avid miniaturist and amassed a large collection of doll houses and furnishings. Her greatest pride and joy, however, was her garden.  Her annual garden party was a tradition.  In her last decades, with the help of her longtime landscaper, Jim Rantala,– “My Jim” she called him–she oversaw many improvements that turned her large wooded back yard into a uniquely secluded Eden. 

In her youth Georgie had spent many summers in St. John, a small town near the North Dakota/Canada border, to which her grandparents on her mother’s side (Martineau) had migrated from Quebec in the 1880s. Georgie’s grandparents were prominent pioneer settlers in St. John.  They started North Dakota’s first telephone company, ran a general store and resort hotel for many years and raised a large family.  Georgie was proud of her French Canadian heritage, habitually sprinkled her conversation with French phrases, and longed to revisit the area where she had learned so much in her youth.  She credited that early experience of small town life with helping to equip her for the life she intentionally set out to live as an independent woman.

Expressions of gratitude are merited for a great many who helped Georgie navigate the final leg of her earthly voyage, including the staff and care givers of Sunrise of Roseville, Touching Hearts at Home, Home Instead and the Highland Block Nurse Program, with special mention for the home team of Mister B, Randi, Julie, Susie, Jim, Hilary and others without whom it would have been impossible for Georgie to have remained in her home for as long as she did. 

Georgie was preceded in death by her parents and one younger brother, Karl.  She leaves many friends, including special friend, Hank Borg (Barb), of Roseville, who served with Georgie’s brother in the U.S. Army, and who has been a faithful brother to both Karl and Georgie ever since.  She is also survived by a host of Martineau cousins, descendants of her pioneer grandparents. 

Services have been held. 

To learn more about Georgie’s impact on the HRIR program, read Georgianna Herman Plants Seeds for Growth and Vitality through Support of Library.

Posted in Alumni, News, Staff | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment