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2019-20 Board of Directors

Board Chairs

President
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.  

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.


Vice President
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.” 




Secretary
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.



Treasurer

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.


Membership Committee Chair
Diane Kozlak

Diane Kozlak continues her successful career as an entrepreneur and business development leader as the EVP of Business Development at Navigate Forward. She has broad industry experience including leadership roles in the professional services, technology, hospitality and education sectors having worked with clients in both Fortune ranked organizations and smaller companies. Formerly, Diane was SVP for Lee Hecht Harrison, a global firm specializing in organizational performance and career transition. She has also held top roles at Modern Survey, Menttium, Capella University as well as Co-Owner of Kozlak’s Royal Oak Restaurant.

Diane is energized by helping executives live and work with passion at every stage of their career. She has established an extensive network and loves connecting people in support of individuals realizing their full potential and organizations developing their talent.

Like everyone at Navigate Forward, Diane believes strongly in community service and giving back. Her community involvement includes non-profit boards, professional associations as well as serving on State of Minnesota Commissions. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Common Hope as well as the HR Executive Forum. Past non-profit board service includes Community Health Charities, Interact Center, ARC, MN Restaurant Association and Twin Cities HR Executive Network.

Outside of work, Diane expands her horizons and fulfills her passion for life by connecting with people in other cultures around the globe. You may find her dancing tango in Buenos Aires, biking in Costa Rica, or hiking in Croatia, Portugal or Turkey. She believes in living to the fullest at every stage of life and finds renewed purpose by making a difference in the lives of others.


Nomination Committee Chair
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.




At-Large Board Members
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.



Heidi Grange
Heidi Grange is the Senior Vice President of Human Resource at Nortech Systems, Inc. Heidi was most recently the VP of Human Resources with Thomson Reuters and has held various global positions across the Legal business, working with leaders in Technology, Finance, Sales and Account Management, Global Product, Editorial and Marketing. Prior to Thomson Reuters, she worked in a HR Specialist role at ProColor in Minneapolis. In various leadership roles, Heidi’s focus has been: change management, engagement/culture, talent acquisition and management, M&A, executive coaching, HR and business model development (org design/org effectiveness).

Heidi holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Master of Science degree in Human Resources Development and Training. She currently resides in Lakeville, MN with her husband Marshall and daughters Gabby (14) and Savannah (12). Her personal interests include fitness and being active outdoors, reading, volunteering and attending many, many of her daughters’ basketball or volleyball games!



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



Steve Schad

As the world of work changes toward the gig economy, professionals need new ways of thinking about and driving career growth and professional development. 

At the same time, every business needs to be able to access the right people from this growing pool of flexible talent at the right time and at the right cost to achieve their business objectives. And, while large companies are driving the trend toward gig work, the flexible model serves nimble small and mid-sized companies well.




Mary Ann Slipka

About me; people describe me as a leader on and off the field who is multifaceted, relationship driven, creative, analytical and agile. As a leader, I'm highly inclusive, lead by example, possess a high degree of integrity, enjoy coaching and mentoring others and have an exemplary work ethic. Right, wrong or indifferent, I'm as comfortable working virtually in an airport in midst of chaos, leading a global meeting, executing a project plan or being lost in London, Beijing or San Francisco. 

With over 15 years of professional business experience, my first job "corn de-tasseling” was an "eye opening" experience that set me up with a strong work ethic for life. Playing sports; from volleyball, softball, broomball and floor hockey - taught me the importance of the "team" that translated to my business career. While playing golf taught me the importance of focus and precise execution, training for my first Triathalon and 5K resulted from planning, tenacity and discipline. 

Starting my career in the Commodities Markets with Pillsbury in Minneapolis then Kansas City, I built an unique business in a highly competitive marketplace while thriving on building and managing relationships with clients across the U.S. 

Quite unexpectedly, my Talent Management career started in the bullpen at Robert Half Minneapolis. While I came for the Sales, I fell in love with Staffing which led to a career adventure like no other in Talent Acquisition. Today, my passion is leading teams, developing and mentoring with others while working with companies to resolve their talent challenges in the competitive talent landscape. Always learning, always striving to do better, I've been fortunate to work with some and recruit some of the best & brightest talent in the world. 



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.

Education and Coaching Certifications:
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.

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