Spotlight on…


Alumna Delphine Barringer-Mills

Delphine Barringer-Mills, ’08 MA-HRIR, works as a senior talent acquisition advisor for Mercy Corps in Belgium. Here she shares what living abroad is like.

What was appealing to you about working internationally?
I really love the multicultural dimension. Especially working in recruitment, it’s not only the assessing a candidate in an interview but the element of connection between someone of another culture, which I love.

In my new job I am working on building Mercy Corps’ employment brand in Europe. In this role I will need to think through what elements of the organization are most interesting to a European audience, and what the nuances are in connecting and bringing our brand here while remaining genuine to who we are as an organization.

Do you speak any foreign languages?
I speak French, Italian, Spanish, and some limited Arabic (enough to connect with people and make them laugh).

How has your career unfolded throughout the years?
I worked as an international recruitment manager with Land O’Lakes before moving into my current role. At Land O’Lakes’ international development division, my role was recruiting, but also designing the teams and team structures for our proposal efforts. In the world of USAID (US Agency for International Development), organizations like ours would respond to “requests for proposals” and essentially compete for funding with other comparable organizations.

Since leaving Land O’Lakes I have gone back for a degree in executive management at the business school here (Solvay School of Economics and Business).

What benefits and challenges have you faced?
I am half Belgian and spent a lot of time here growing up. I did struggle in trying to recreate my Minnesotan life here. Each culture is different and you need to adapt. With work the struggle is, I keep finding remote roles and I would love to work in an office.

How often do you return to the United States?
With work still over in the United States, I come back often, about two to three times per year.

Professounnamed-1r John Budd

Professor John Budd joined the Carlson School in 1991. Here he answers a few questions about his teaching and research.

Can you tell us about research that you’re excited about?
While my book “Employment with a Human Face: Balancing Efficiency, Equity, and Voice” is now 12 years old, it’s still exciting to me because of the number of compliments I continue to receive. Faculty from around the world have indicated that it’s useful in their teaching (the latest from the Philippines, just this month), and many PhD students have commented on how useful it’s been for them to organize their thoughts for their dissertations (the latest from Italy, just this month). Currently, one project I’m working on uses data from workers in 27 European countries to analyze the extent to which workplace-level employee participation practices enable individuals to be more engaged in the political arena, by creating a sense of empowerment and by sharpening deliberative skills. I think this is exciting because the connections between what happens in the workplace and what happens in civil society are often overlooked. So what HR leaders do can be even more important than we think.

What will you be teaching this academic year?
I am teaching “Using Metrics and Data in HRIR” and two sections of “Personnel Economics.” It’s fun teaching data and metrics in the first year core again. That was the first course I taught in the program many years ago, but it’s been a few years since the last time so I’m playing catch-up a little.

Do you have any advice for current students?
One piece of advice for students is to talk to your professors. We are here to help. And it’s fun getting to know you.

What do you like to do in your free time?
I like to do a little of this, a little of that. Recently this has included traveling (I had a conference Milan and I went a little early to explore Lake Como), dealing with a kitchen remodel, and watching sports (especially football and soccer, plus looking forward to the start of hockey season). And once the remodel is done, I’ll enjoy cooking again, too.

What are you currently reading?
Since I was traveling to northern Italy, I just finished two Commissario Trotti mysteries.I also just finished reviewing a book-length manuscript for Stanford University Press called “Models of Labor Markets.” Now I need to read a forthcoming book called “A Fight for the Soul of Public Education: The Story of the Chicago Teachers Strike” so that I can write a brief endorsement that will appear on the back cover. I’ve also been meaning to read “Cubed: A Secret History of the Workplace” but other things keep coming up.

Is there any little-known fact about you that people might be surprised about?
I’ve driven a train and a 213-foot Coast Guard ship.



chris-morrisonFirst Year Student Chris Morrison

Chris Morrison joined the full-time MA-HRIR program this fall, and shares a little about his pathway to the program.

Why did you choose to attend the Carlson School’s MA-HRIR program?
Two reasons. The first is the reputation of the program and the Carlson graduates. The program has been around for a long time, and is well known for producing the most qualified professionals in the field. The second reason was the warm welcome I received from the HRIR program. From getting a phone call about my acceptance, to current students and staff reaching out to help me with the transition to Minneapolis, I knew the program was the right fit for me.

Where did you go for your undergraduate degree, and what was your major?
I graduated from Idaho State University in 2011, with a Bachelor of Business Administration, Business Management.

Do you have any work experience?
My work experience between my undergrad and Carlson was with the United States Marine Corps. I served four years with 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines, stationed in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. I went on two deployments to the Asia-Pacific region, and now I am looking to apply that leadership experience to a career in Human Resources.

What’s been your favorite part of the program so far?
The diversity of the COHORT is absolutely incredible. I’ve been fortunate to travel and work with people from all over the world, but I have never had the opportunity to work so closely with so many different cultures and professional backgrounds in one small group. For example, I am working on a project in Business Principles with group members from China, Ukraine, Russia, and the Maldives. The diversity of the class is an amazing experience so far.

What do you like to do in your free time?
My wife and I are avid stand up paddle boarders so we’ve been exploring the lakes around Minneapolis. However, the surf tends to be a little smaller here than in Hawaii so we’ve been exploring the bike trails around Minneapolis as well.



Where in the World Wednesday? Featuring Bruce Henderson

36e598cBruce Henderson, ’08 MA-HRIR is currently an HR Director for Honeywell International supporting a line of business that focuses on Residential products and generates $900M annually. He has been with Honeywell International for the past five years. Prior to that, Henderson was doing two roles as an HR Director supporting a line of business that he helped create as a result of a recent acquisition, and as an Integration Leader driving integration activities in the United States for Honeywell’s largest acquisition in the past 13 years.

Henderson believes that as an HR leader for a global business he has the fun challenge of helping drive business growth across multiple geographically dispersed employee populations, which he considers exciting. Henderson also says that this aspect of his job is one of the many reasons he loves working in the HR function and this is something that makes going to work extremely fun.

When he’s not working, Henderson enjoys traveling to countries and experiencing different cultures. Over the past 3 months he has visited Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia & Vancouver-Canada!

Congratulations Graduates!

As the sounds of Pomp and Circumstance filled the air on May 16, close to 700 students filed into Mariucci Arena as current Carlson School of Management graduate students and marched out as alumni! Seventy of those students earned a Master of Arts in Human Resources and Industrial Relations, and two earned a PhD in Business Administration with a concentration in Work and Organizations.

Dean Sri Zaheer inspired the emerging leaders to embrace business as a means to shape a brighter world.

“At its core, business is truly about creating new ideas for the future. It’s about enabling consumers, employees, and people to improve their own quality of life and contribute to improving that of others,” she says. “Part of why I’m so optimistic for the future is that I’ve seen you all embracing these principles while at the Carlson School.”

Keynote speaker Barbara Mowry, ’75 MBA, CEO of GoreCreek Advisors, shared advice and encouragement from her decades’ experience as a corporate executive, entrepreneur, and corporate board member. “This will likely be the last time you graduate from a formal degree program,” she says. “You are now transitioning from a formal education process to a self-directed course of continuous learning – and now the real education begins.”

As our newly-minted alumni leave campus to begin new careers, pursue additional schooling, enjoy travel and family time, or embark on any number of other great adventures, we wish them all the best in whatever the future holds.  (We’ve posted a selection of photos from this momentous occasion here.)

Congratulations, graduates! Best of luck, and please stay in touch!

MA-HRIR Alum Embraces Global Career in Lagos, Nigeria

f72dfe41-0a3c-45fa-ac54-ac2d2cddb55fRuss Lee, ’14 MA-HRIR, joined Chevron immediately after graduation and recently began a six-month rotation in Lagos, Nigeria.  Read on to find out what life is like so far for him in Lagos.

Why Lagos?

-I am in Lagos, Nigeria for six months as part of the Chevron HR Development Program (HRDP). Chevron sees value in sending all their development program members on an international rotation sometime within their first two years at the company. Other alums have rotated through Nigeria while on HRDP with Chevron. They have all done great things here, and I hope to carry on their legacy.

How long have you lived in Lagos?

-1.5 months.

What has been the most interesting experience for you so far?

– My most interesting experience was flying on a helicopter for the first time. This one held 18+ people and it was a smooth ride to and from an off-shore platform on the Atlantic Ocean. I spent the time looking out at the vast ocean and writing in my journal to self-reflect about my experience here, my family and life goals.

What does working in a city like Lagos entail?

-I mainly work in Lagos at the Chevron office buildings.  I recently did a two-day trip to one of our off-shore platforms. There, I was involved in supervisor engagement sessions, new leader assimilations and other HR meetings. My next business trip will be to our Escravos gas-to-liquids plant located near the Niger Delta. I am able to learn and understand much more about our business and our workforce when I can physically be at the location. I appreciate these opportunities and try to make the most out of each experience.

What’s a benefit and challenge of living or working in Lagos?

-We love it here. I am accompanied by my wife, Adri, and two daughters, Sophia and Grace. We live in a company expatriate neighborhood where over a dozen different nationalities are represented. We spend time participating in community events around Lagos and car traffic can be really heavy at times. My most difficult challenge: the main language spoken here is “Pigeon” English. At first, I struggled to understand the English words spoken by locals. One Nigerian co-worker remarked, “Russ, you really need to learn our English language here.”. We both laughed. I am getting better.

Were you nervous or excited to move to such a foreign place?

-No matter where you live in this world, you will find differing opinions. When we first told my side of the family about moving to Nigeria, they reacted with concerns for our safety. When we told my wife’s family, their response was, “Wow! We have never been there, when can we come visit you?” Overall, we were excited to come, but we also tried to be realistic in what to expect when we arrived because it is very different than the U.S. and very much still a developing country. By the time we boarded the airplane, we felt prepared for what was next, and so far so good. I hope to see more HRIR graduates join Chevron and carry-on

Where in the world Wednesday? Featuring Christina Spriggle

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAK0AAAAJDZiMjA0NTdiLTQ2ZjctNDc3YS1iN2EzLTVjZjA3YjkxYmU3NQChristina Spriggle, ’04 MA-HRIR recently took on a new title as HR director for a professional medical liability company, Constellation, Inc. in December 2015. Spriggle’s past experience includes working at UnitedHealth Group Inc.

She now lives in Woodbury, MN with her family. Last August, she enjoyed planning a family vacation where they ventured by plane, train, and automobile across five New England States: Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and ended the voyage with a 3 day visit to New York City.

Where in the World Wednesday? Featuring Alexandria Smith

alexAlexandria (Crump) Smith, ’05 MA-HRIR, now lives in Memphis, Tennessee with her husband and 3-year old-daughter where she works as the chief of human resources for Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland’s administration. Before settling down in Memphis, however, Smith had lots of experience in the HR world all around the country. With jobs at Microsoft Corporation near Seattle, Target Corporation in Minneapolis, and serving as director of human resources at Brightstar Device Protection in Miami, Smith has learned important lessons that she continues to use in her career. “Every one of those cities had a unique diversity,” Smith said. A Duke University undergrad, Smith always thought growing up that she would work on Wall Street. However, after a college field trip there she realized it was not for her, which then compelled her to attend the University of Minnesota to get her master’s degree in human resources and industrial relations.

HRIR Alumna Remain Connected through Book Club

book club

 Trading in their textbooks for the latest best-selling novels, a group of MA-HRIR alumni began a book club more than five years ago as a way to keep in touch after graduation.

The group, which has close to 15 members, first met while enrolled in the Part-Time MA-HRIR program. After graduating between 2009 and 2011, these former classmates now bond over books as part of this longstanding and enjoyable get-together. Two of the original members have moved away from the Twin Cities, but join the gatherings when they find themselves back in town.

The group meets roughly every six weeks to socialize, network, and discuss the most recent book selection. The host for each gathering suggests several book options and the group discusses and votes on the next reading assignment, which has included a mix of fiction and nonfiction selections.

“We’ve read a lot of great books and ended up not liking quite a few, too. But that’s OK,” says Heidi Meyer.

They’ve built genuine friendships among their fellow HR practitioners. In between discussing the current book, they talk about family and friends, share photos of recent vacations, and bounce work-related ideas and questions off each other.

“I’ll often ask the group if anyone has run into a particular HR issue. I find it’s just become a great network for all of us, both personally and professionally,” says Tara Miller-Hochhalter.

They’re also never too far from their HR roots: while reviewing the most recent book, members discussed the lack of strong leadership one of the main characters displayed and the negative consequences the rest of his team experienced because of it.

Their paths first crossed as graduate students in the MA-HRIR program and their shared experiences keep them in touch today. But the program is never far from their hearts: even while focused on their current lives and careers, they still talk about “school stuff,” and reminisce about their days in the program.

Pictured above: Christine (Wagenknecht) Gast, Sarah Cheever, Tara Miller-Hochhalter, Kara Zetzman, Debbie Holzgraefe, Heidi Meyer, and Michelle (Willey) Hemming