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2021-22 Board of Directors

Board Chairs

Board term expires in 2023

Sarah Waite

Sarah Waite is the VP of Talent Management for Abra Auto Body and Glass. She is passionate about building integrated, practical talent strategies thatincrease employee engagement and accelerate business results.Sarah has over 25 years of HR experience in a number of different HR functions and industries including G&K Services, Medtronic, and Target. She speaks regularly in HR forums including TCSHRM, Disrupt HR, and ERE. Sarah also co-teaches an undergraduate HR course at St. Thomas. She also authors the blog “The Business of Talent.” 

Vice President
Board term expires in 2023

Sherrie Kronforst, M.A., SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Sherrie’s portfolio in human resource leadership runs broad and deep including leadership development, organizational health & culture change, talent management, performance consulting, and employee and labor relations.  Sherrie joined the University of Minnesota in January as a consultant and is leading special projects for the Office of Human Resources.

Sherrie’s career path includes progressively responsible leadership roles in the hospitality, supply chain, retail, and printing industries.  Most recently, she was the Sr. Director of Human Resources for Comcast/NBU Universal where she received national recognition for developing a transformational Diversity & Inclusion strategy.  In 2015, Sherrie was awarded Region of the Year for her work in advancing employee engagement.  

Sherrie has served as both an internal and external human resource consultant partnering with leaders to identify and drive strategic priorities to elevate organizational effectiveness, build workforce capability, create high-performance cultures, and foster employee engagement.  She has particular interest and expertise in organizational design and change management.  Sherrie is a collaborative servant leader eager to optimize cultures where leaders and employees are enabled and inspired to do their best work.

Board term expires in 2023

Ruth Gutierrez Hafoka
As chief human resources officer, Ruth Hafoka is responsible for all functions within human resources, including compensation; benefits; talent acquisition, talent strategy; learning and performance management programs; payroll and HRIS; and employee relations.

Hafoka has more than 20 years of human resources and talent management leadership experience. Immediately prior to joining Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota in 2014, Hafoka was at New York-based Ally Financial, where she was responsible for defining strategies and designing solutions that enabled the company to attract, develop, engage and retain top talent. Throughout her tenure, Hafoka’s leadership attracted a mix of new talent while managing a workforce reduction in response to industry changes. Hafoka’s career path also includes leadership positions with GMAC ResCap in Bloomington, Minnesota.

A graduate of Concordia University, Hafoka earned a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership and communications. She is a proud recipient of the Ally Financial Distinguished Leader Award. Hafoka serves on two non-profit boards including Make-A-Wish Foundation Minnesota Chapter, and College Possible.

Board term expires in 2022
Janis Hardie
As the VP of Talent Management for Agiliti, Janis leads the recruiting, training and talent practice areas.  Janis is a strategic and execution-focused leader with a proven track record of designing and implementing integrated talent solutions to ensure an organization has the capabilities needed to achieve results and improve engagement.  She is intrigued by people, their potential and what gets in the way.  With over 25 years of HR experiences, she has led teams and impacted leadership development in a number of different industries including Target, Accenture and Heitman Financial. In her personal time, Janis enjoys travel, reading, the outdoors and spending time with her family.

At-Large Board Members

Marketing/Social Media Committee Member
Board term expires in 2023

Dr. Mia Mulrennan, Psy.D.
Dr. Mia Mulrennan has worked as an organizational psychologist and consultant for over 20 years in a variety of roles and settings, including a high-profile list of Fortune 500 companies. Mia is CHRO of Star Restaurant Group (headquartered in Washington, D.C.) - and has been CHRO at Edmentum and Chief Talent Officer at Sun Country Airlines.   

After working in outplacement consulting in her hometown of New York City, Dr. Mulrennan moved to the Twin Cities, where she spent close to ten years developing and implementing models for top-notch service delivery and talent practices in the hotel and hospitality industry. She worked at Marriott City Center, and at two exclusive luxury properties: The Whitney Hotel and The Saint Paul Hotel.  While at The Saint Paul Hotel, her efforts directly led to the property earning 3M Corporation’s Service Excellence Award for five consecutive years.

Marketing/Social Media Committee Member
Board term expires in 2023
Julie Thiel

Julie Thiel has been the Vice President of Talent Management leading talent, recruiting, culture and learning at Schwan’s Company since 2015. Based on her ability to drive strategy and change, she led post-merger culture integration following Schwan’s acquisition by the Korean lifestyle company, CJ Chieljedang and is driving the HR process transformation needed to support a new Human Capital Management system. Julie has more than 20 years of multi-industry experience, which includes human resources leadership roles with companies such as Target Corporation, McGladrey and Analysts International.

 No matter what her role, you will find Julie helping organizations amplify their current talent and develop the next generation of authentic leaders. She brings her enthusiasm and personal stories to the podium and is a frequent speaker on the topics of authentic leadership and change management. Julie received her bachelor’s degree in psychology and master’s degree in human resources from University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.  As an active member of the Ramsey County Workforce Innovation Board, Julie is fully engaged in local workforce development and providing an employer perspective on how to better connect candidates with great opportunities. She was recognized as one of the 2020 Top Women in Business by Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal.

When not at work, you will find Julie cheering on her daughter, Grace, at a fastpitch softball game or enjoying a long walk with her two labradoodles, Sam & Toby.

Membership Committee Chair
Board term expires in 2022

Lorri Anderson
I’m a strategic and transformational HR executive who is fascinated by business and by human behavior. I’ve found my most fulfilling work in helping leadership teams identify where their business needs to be in the future, align around that vision, understand the transformation it will take to get there, and then impact the culture to drive that transformation. I love being the force that maintains a balance between the needs of the business and the needs of its human stakeholders. (The humans matter most. Always.)

Currently in transition, I’ve participated on executive teams and led HR teams in a wide variety of industries including financial services, travel, manufacturing and technology. Whatever I do next will have two critical components, allowing me to contribute to my maximum potential, and forcing me beyond my comfort zone to keep stretching and growing.

I have an undergraduate degree in Psychology and an executive MBA. I hold a current SHRM-SCP certification as well as lifetime SPHR certification.

I’m also part owner of an active dairy farm, a mother and grandmother, and an avid reader, gardener, crafter and animal lover. I never miss an annual trip to the Boundary Waters. I’m proud to serve on the board of a twin cities philanthropic organization that provides grants to non-profits in the areas of education, health and human services. And among my some-time hobbies, I make homemade liqueurs. Because, why not?

Membership and Programming Committees

Board term expires in 2023
Dale Fruehauf, M.S., SPHR

Dale Fruehauf is the former Chief People Officer for Avamere Health Services, based in the greater Portland, Oregon area. Here Dale led all aspects of Human Resources for this senior living organization, driving transformational change in areas such as talent acquisition and retention strategies, DEI, total rewards and key engagement initiatives. Prior to Avamere Dale was the Site Head of Human Resources for Genentech/Roche, a Fortune 75 pharmaceutical company where he led HR for a rapidly growing bio-tech manufacturing campus, where Dale and his team quadrupled the headcount with key talent, enabling licensure and further expansion. Dale just recently relocated back to the Twin Cities with his family after 12 years on the west coast. Prior to leaving Minnesota Dale held senior HR leadership roles at Ceridian (VPHR) and at United Health Group via Salo, where he led talent acquisition for Ingenix, now part of Optum.

Dale is passionate about translating business needs into people solutions, through strategic and operational excellence. He regularly helps others via career coaching (pro bono) and enjoys volunteering in the senior living community.

Nomination Committee Committee Member
Board term expires in 2022

Rebecca Ervasti, MBA, SPHR
Rebecca Ervasti has over 30-years of human resources leadership experience.  As a Director and Vice President in Fortune 500 companies and mid-market organizations, and as President of her own consulting practice, HR Strategy Partners, LLC, Rebecca has led at both operational and strategic levels.  She led organizational change efforts, leadership development, succession planning, and acquisition integration work at American Express Tax and Business Services and General Growth Management, and led employee relations, development and succession planning at Rollerblade Inc.  Rebecca has also served in leadership roles at Deluxe Corporation and Boise Cascade Corporation. Currently Rebecca is the HR leader in a nonprofit organization, Metropolitan Area Agency on Aging, and their subsidiary company Innovations for Aging.

Ms. Ervasti holds undergraduate degrees in psychology and industrial relations, and a master’s degree in business administration.  She is a certified MBTI consultant, a Predictive Index Practitioner and a strengths-based coach.  Rebecca is a co-author of a book on the Americans with Disabilities Act, and a presenter on a variety of human resources leadership topics.

Ms. Ervasti is globally and civically minded serving on faith-based, civic and nonprofit boards, most recently at Springbrook Nature Center Foundation.  She has led mission-based teams to Mozambique and has a passion for social justice and antiracism concerns.

Program Committee Chair
Board term expires in 2023

Heidi Grange
Heidi Grange is the SVP/Human Resources Officer for NorthMarq and is a member of the company’s senior leadership team. Heidi joined NorthMarq in 2020 and is responsible for all aspects of the HR function, including talent acquisition and management, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) strategy, and the overall employee experience.  

Heidi has over 20 years of human resources experience, including various business partner and HR leadership roles in large and smaller organizations. Prior to joining NorthMarq, she spent most of her career at Thomson Reuters. While at Thomson Reuters, was a HR leader involved in M&A activity, change and transformation initiatives, talent and succession planning and DEI. Most recently, Heidi was the SVP of HR at an engineering and manufacturing firm in the medical device industry located in the Minneapolis area. 

Heidi is an active member of the local MSP HR community, serving on the Board of HR Executive Forum (HREF) and involved in various HR professional groups. She has a BA in Psychology and MS in Human Resources Development and Training.

Program Committee Member
Board term expires in 2023
Patricia M. Jesperson, MBA

Patricia Jesperson is Chief Curiosity Officer, EmployeeEXP, co-Author of Reversing the Ostrich Approach to Diversity: Pulling your head out of the sand, and most recently is enjoying the opportunity to spend time in the classroom as an adjunct faculty member in Augsburg University's MBA programWith more than 25 years working on the people-side of the business, she specializes in working with employers to Create Better Employee Experience Outcomes.

A naturally curious individual, she has spent the majority of her career exploring how to maximize the talent experience. This drive for exploring “what if’s” lead her to create The EmployeeEXP 8 x 9 Box Communication AnalysisTM, and the Inclusion MatrixTM

A frequent speaker, she enjoys presenting on her favorite subject areas, Equity, Inclusion and Diversity (EID) and Total Rewards. Recent and upcoming sessions include: ISCEBS 38th National Symposium, Forum on Workplace Inclusion 2019 National Conference, IABC Sympoisum, McGough's Women Build Together Women’s Initiative Symposium, JA Counter Outside the Box client symposium. She has also enjoyed the opportunity to serve on numerous boards and committees e.g. Augsburg University, Alumni Board, MN Association of Health Underwriters, Chair of the Workforce Development and Education Policy Committee for the MN Chamber, and SHRM State Council, Chair of Diversity & Inclusion.

Program and Nominating Committee Member
Board Term expires in 2023
Tamara Tasche, M.S., L.P.

Tamara has over 20 years of experience working with leaders throughout the full employment experience – from executive onboarding to coaching and development, and through transition to new employment. As an executive coach, she leverages solid assessment abilities, a talent for structuring process and action steps, a systems perspective, and well-honed coaching skills to inspire growth and to support her clients in selecting and implementing purposeful behavior that will produce desired results.

As the VP of Executive and Transition Services for CPI Twin Cities, Tamara leads the executive coaching, onboarding, assessment, and transition practice areas. She is a warm and engaging leadership development consultant, coach, and educational speaker. Recognized as a thought leader in creating meaningful coaching and transition experiences, Tamara develops and delivers customized and personalized services that are differentiated in the marketplace and lead to success. She works with clients from small, privately-held enterprises to Fortune 500 companies. Previous employers include Personnel Decisions International (PDI), RSM McGladrey, and Edison Brothers Stores.

Tamara is currently a member of the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee for Avinity Senior Living. She is also a member of the Board of Directors for the Minnesota HR Executive Forum.

Tamara is a Licensed Psychologist in the state of Minnesota. She earned a Master of Science degree in Psychology from St. Louis University and has completed considerable postgraduate education in Organizational Psychology. She obtained her coaching certificate through New Ventures West. She is a Certified 360 Reach Personal Branding Coach. She has been trained in and has developed expertise with numerous assessment tools, including several 360-degree feedback instruments.

Sponsorship Committee Member
Board term expires in 2023

Kristin Gaarder, SPHR

An international human resources executive who creates business value through engaged employee base. 

I am known as visionary transformer who orchestrates sustainable change and leads enterprise-wide initiatives leveraging data and analysis. I have been recognized for transforming human resources departments into strategic functions that are credible business partners. 

As the Vice President of Human Resources for Nilfisk, I led the redesign of the HR Function that led to increased employee engagement and financial performance. Because of the success, I was tapped to lead a P&L for a fast-growing acquisition. I led the integration of two business units where we successfully created a new culture and grew the business.

Previously, as the Head of Human Resources at Novartis, I led the HR function for 21 countries in Central and South Europe. I envisioned and executed a talent management and employee engagement strategy that led to promotions of senior leaders and reduced turnover.

Known for my ability to deliver results, I remove barriers to ensure that conditions exist for every team member to achieve success. Described as decisive, I create a clear purpose and inspire the team to action. I utilize strong communication skills to effectively work across functions and with all levels.

My broad background includes leadership roles in medium to large companies, both public and PE owned, across the manufacturing, pharmaceutical, technology and financial sectors.

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