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2018 Conference Speaker Bios
TCSHRM 2018 Spring Conference Speaker Bios
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Conference Speaker Biographies

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Keynote Speakers

Deirdre Maloney

Deirdre Maloney, Momentum LLC

Kick off the day at our opening session with Deirdre Maloney! Deirdre helps organizations exceed their goals and helps their people sleep better at night. She does it through her work as a published author, international speaker, and proud president of her training, facilitation and marketing company Momentum LLC. Deirdre has used her brand of “mild audacity” to inspire positive change around the country, presenting keynotes and workshops for organizations like the Boeing, National Association of Women Business Owners, and Vistage International. Deirdre’s books include Bogus Balance, Tough Truths, and The Mission Myth. Her popular blog on all things leadership is regularly featured on In addition to running her own company, Deirdre’s experience includes serving as CEO of a multi-million dollar non-profit organization, and teaching marketing at the University of San Diego. You can learn more about Deirdre at

Steve Browne

Steve Browne, LaRosa's Inc.

Steve Browne has devoted 30+ years of his career to human resources, currently as executive director of human resources for LaRosa’s Inc., a regional pizzeria restaurant chain in southwest Ohio with 14 locations and more than 1,100 team members. Prior to LaRosa’s, Browne held various HR management positions in the manufacturing consumer products and professional services industries. An active member of SHRM for more than 15 years, Browne has held several leadership roles, including serving on the Membership Advisory Council, serving as state council director and state conference director, and currently serves on the SHRM Board of Directors. He is very active in social media, authored the book "HR on Purpose !!" and has a nationally recognized blog—Everyday People—and he often ranks among the 100 most influential HR voices on social media. He has a bachelor’s degree from Ohio University in Athens.


When he is not speaking or training, you can find him reading a book, spending time outdoors, cheering on all Wisconsin sports teams, or spending time with his wonderful wife Katie, daughter Emma, son Zachary, and their Yorkie Jazz. We're excited to have Steve join us for the lunch session!

Amy Dee

Amy Dee, Motivational Keynote Speaker

Amy Dee has more than 20 years of experience as a professional motivational speaker. Based in the Midwest, she has earned a national reputation for keynotes, closing programs and breakout sessions featuring her signature brand of side-splitting humor to explain how to harness the science of behavior. She encourages attendees to remember their power to choose everything from how they deal with difficult people at work, to how they maintain positive relationships at home. A first-rate comedian, Amy Dee is also a powerful motivational speaker with a deep understanding of behavioral science. She uses her hilarious “we’ve all been there” stories to help audiences connect, laugh and open up to the science of how we behave and the power we have to make different choices about how we treat each other (and ourselves). Audiences never forget Amy Dee’s stories. That’s why they never forget the messages behind those stories: We have the power to choose our attitude. We’re accountable for our choices. Obstacles can be problems or opportunities. We can use negative emotions as fuel for positive changes. And kindness always matters … especially in today’s rapidly changing and often frightening world. Audiences leave laughing, ready to make profound changes in their life at home and at work. What a remarkable arc of experience—all from one delightful session! Amy Dee has lived all kinds of lives: author, musician, life coach, Psychiatric RN, Stand-up comedian, entrepreneur, voice over artist, and more! You won't want to miss her closing session!

Learning Session & Workshop Speakers

Melissa Albers, The Authentic Leader

Melissa Albers

As a certified John Maxwell speaker, trainer and coach, Melissa’s workshops and consulting range from executive relationships to all employee development. Clients and workshop participants also learn about different personality and communication styles, and how to manage those within their respective roles to assure the organization’s plans and strategies will actually work. Drawing on twenty years of people development, coaching and consulting, Albers has delivered 1000’s of assessment feedback sessions, and 100’s of seminars, speaking engagements and trainings. Melissa focuses exclusively on four primary areas: People Development, Teambuilding, Strategic Planning, and Hiring and Selection.

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Jennie Antolak, Learning Journeys, The International Center of Coaching

Jennie Antolak

Jennie Antolak is co-founder and President of Learning Journeys, a coaching certification school committed to protecting the standards and ethics of coaching through transformational education. At the school, she developed a practitioner (ACTP approved), mastery level coaching certification, and a narrative certification. Jennie holds a master's degree in Organizational Leadership from St. Catherine's University and is a Master Certified Coach through the International Coach Federation. While, the credentials and experience are important, what Jennie is known for is her creative way of weaving stories throughout all of her teachings so the coursework comes alive and is engaging every time.

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Betsy Baker, Solution Design Group (sdg)

Betsy Baker has been with sdg close to 10 years. Most of her career has been spent in HR and has filled different roles as HR Administrative Assistant, Office Manager and now Resource Manager. Betsy has seen the company grow from 40 to now 175 employees. Betsy has also served on many committees within the sdg organization Employee Experience, Health and Wellness, Communities of Practice and Events. She has a passion for helping people and creating a work environment that is fun for everyone! Betsy was a collegiate athlete receiving her degree from Southwest Minnesota State University in Sports Management and a Coaching Minor.

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Kate Bischoff, tHRive Law & Consulting LLC

Kate Bischoff

Kate is an enthusiastic management-side employment attorney and SHRM-SCP/SPHR-certified HR pro. She advises organizations in a wide range of industries on employment law and human resources issues, from recruitment and workplace culture to terminations. Kate is passionate about improving company culture and using technology (social media and data analytics) in the workplace.

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J. Forrest, Employee Strategies

J. Forrest

J. Forrest believes that toxic workplace cultures kill us slowly. J. and the team at Employee Strategies work to improve workplace cultures across several industries. J. has more than 20 years of experience working in Organization Development. He has been employed by the two-time World Champion Minnesota Twins, St. Olaf College, in SOURCE HR Consulting and Xcel Energy Inc. In 2006, he started his own organization, Employee Strategies. In 2011, he started as a software firm Alignamite to take the pain out of performance management. Forrest holds a bachelor's degree from St. Olaf College in Political Science and Speech Communication & a Master's degree from the University of Minnesota in Human Resource Development.

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Lanet Hane, Workforce Satisfaction Solutions

Lanet Hane

Lanet Hane is a Millennial who has worked with the Millennial population for 13 years. She has performed the role of manager, supervisor, director, and volunteer coordinator in a variety of settings, from national corporations to small start-up businesses. She has been the youngest staff member on her team, been part of Millennial-only teams, been the supervisor of Millennials, and been a connector between Millennials and older generations. She has interacted with the Millennial population in higher education, professional settings, and K-12 public education. Her undergraduate and master's degrees are both in the area of youth development. .

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Professor Leondra Hanson, Hamline University

Professor Leondra Hanson

Hamline Legal Studies Professor Leondra Hanson is an educator and lawyer who has represented clients in sexual assault and harassment litigation, developed professional training on a wide range of legal issues, and taught undergraduate and graduate students in classes ranging from Civil Litigation to Women and Law. She has also served as an assessment director, supporting faculty across academic disciplines to examine the effectiveness of their programs, courses, and lessons.

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Jessica Hofrichter, Ceridian HCM

Jessica Hofrichter

Jessica Hofrichter advises on employment-related compliance issues that impact the development of HCM products and services. In her current role, Jessica leads Ceridian's U.S. product compliance team - a group of dedicated compliance attorneys and professionals who help Ceridian integrate HCM compliance into its technology and services. Jessica has 10 years of experience providing advice on all aspects of HR and employment-related compliance.

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Janel Holden, Learning Strategist , Pinnacle Performance Group

Janel Holden is a Human Resource Development professional with over 17 years experience in the learning and development field. She is passionate about helping organizations strive towards performance excellence. Her experience ranges throughout multiple industries including, technology, health care, government, nonprofit, and financial services. Janel holds a M.A. in Human Resource Development with a certification in Organization Development from the University of St. Thomas. She is the 2014 President of the American Society of Training and Development - Twin Cities Chapter.

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Leslie Holman, CEO, Pinnacle Performance Group

Leslie Holman, CEO

Leslie's career has focused on performance improvement in companies of varying industries and sizes.  She brings diverse expertise from setting corporate strategy in the board room, to leading change at the front lines. Leslie has significant knowledge in developing and delivering distinctive customer experiences, and a passion for holistically approaching change within organizations. Leslie's prior experience includes leading change though various leadership and board roles with private equity backed companies, developing strategic direction for large companies with McKinsey & Company, and designing and implementing robust and repeatable solutions at Ford Motor Company. She holds an M.B.A. from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota, and a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Leslie was named a 2017 Women in Business Honoree by the Minneapolis/St. Paul business journal.

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Teresa Hopke, Life Meets Work Inc

Teresa Hopke

As senior vice president of Life Meets Work, Teresa specializes in developing custom solutions that help people thrive in both the workplace and their personal lives. Teresa leads the company's coaching programs for working parents and emerging leaders, designs and develops women's leadership programs, and heads up the leadership well-being experience. Teresa has a MA in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from MN State University. With more than 15 years of experience, Teresa has received the AWLP Work-Life Rising Star award and featured in many outlets such as CNBC, the CBS Morning Show, NBC Nightly News, NPR, Wall Street Journal, and HR Magazine.

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Jennifer Huber, Dale Carnegie Training North Central US

Jennifer Huber

Jennifer Huber is the Market Director of Dale Carnegie Training in the North Central US. In her role, Jennifer acts as the firm's conduit for large project conversion and uncovering new business development and marketing opportunities. She formerly managed the Dale Carnegie client development team as well as oversees all public programming and community relationships. As a brand advocate and supporter of internal and external clients, Jennifer partners with clients in multiple areas. Jennifer started with Dale Carnegie in Chicago. In both markets, she won National Sales Awards and was a top 10 sales manager worldwide for Dale Carnegie Training.

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Shirley Lerner, Littler Mendelson

Shirley Lerner

With extensive litigation experience and a record of courtroom success, Shirley O. Lerner focuses her practice on defending and advising employers and offers an in-depth knowledge of employment laws, human resources administration, and business practicalities. She has successfully defended a wide variety of employment law claims in state and federal courts and agency proceedings, including matters involving:

  • Discrimination and sexual harassment
  • The Family and Medical Leave Act
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act
  • The Fair Labor Standards Act
  • State wage and hour laws
  • Class and collective actions
  • Breach of employment contracts
  • Whistleblower claims
  • Defamation
  • Competition and confidentiality violations
  • Independent contractor claims

Shirley works with local, national, and international businesses in a diverse range of industries, including:

  • Manufacturing
  • Technology
  • Retail
  • Hospitality
  • Food service
  • Real estate
  • Professional services

Office managing shareholder of Littler's Minneapolis office, Shirley is also a frequent lecturer at continuing education and management events.

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Bruce Miles, Big River Group

Bruce Miles

Dr. Bruce Miles is the owner & CEO of the Big River Group, LLC. He was an Assistant Professor & taught Graduate & Doctoral coursework in the areas of leadership, research, planning, finance & personnel. He is a national-level presenter and trainer in the areas of strategic planning, organizational improvement, organizational conflict, & difficult employees. Bruce has worked as a consultant for the past thirty one years and works with more than 8,000 participants/110 organizations each year in the areas of: Strategic "Chainsaw" planning, Succession Planning, Leadership training & Followership training, Workplace climate issues, Reducing organizational conflict, Personnel selection & onboarding, Hiring & firing, Resistant employees, and Differentiated coaching

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Clare Pitera, Solution Design Group (sdg)

Clare Pitera

Clare Pitera has been a Human Resource professional for over 20 years. She has experience in almost all areas of Human Resources, including recruiting, employee relations and HR management. The last 8 years of her career have been with sdg where she focuses on her passions of employee engagement, mentoring and retention. Clare also helped launch the Employee Experience Committee and manages the design and implementation of sdg’s internal employee sites. She was a University of St. Thomas graduate with degrees in Human Resources and Marketing Management.

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Christine Pouliot, CPCC, ACC, Evocent Coaching Inc

Christine Pouliot, CPCC, ACC

Christine is a trusted executive coach, organizational change & transformation consultant and a passionate builder of global leaders. Christine has led large global teams (300+) of IT staff, supervisors and managers spread across 6 continents and managed multi-million-dollar budgets. As a believer of "Evoking the Possible," Christine builds confidence in her clients and helps them achieve the success they desire during periods of transition and change. Providing one on one executive and leadership development coaching, career coaching, leadership development training and workshops for individuals and companies who are looking for a partner who has been through the trenches. Christine is a strong connector and deeply experienced in building powerful, lasting connections in cross-cultural and virtual organizations.

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Mike Scott, Dale Carnegie Training North Central US

Mike Scott

Mike Scott is the General Manager and Executive Vice President of Dale Carnegie Training in the North Central US. Mike is a Dale Carnegie master trainer and addresses a variety of mission-critical leadership and development needs for the firm's Fortune 500 clients. His areas of expertise include workplace collaboration, leadership without authority and in cross-functional/matrix organizations, HR/business alignment, organizational redesign and change readiness. Mike is adept at training needs analysis, talent management, leadership presence training, employee engagement, executive coaching, and presentation skills development. Mike's has earned a National Sales Award twice, top 5 Sales Manager Award and is ranked among the top 35 trainers in North America.

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Julie Showers, University of Minnesota

Julie Showers

Julie Hagen Showers is the Director of the Office for Conflict Resolution at the University of Minnesota. In that role, she functions as an independent resource for non-represented faculty, staff and student employees who confront conflicts in the workplace. Her responsibilities include oversight of formal and informal dispute resolution processes, including skills building, facilitated dialogue, mediation and arbitration. The Office also provides programming designed to increase comfort and competency in managing conflict, improve communication, and develop leadership. Prior to joining the University of Minnesota, Julie was a partner at FordHarrison, a national labor and employment law firm, where she advised clients on a wide range of human resource and employee relations matters and also served as an adjunct instructor in the Masters Program in Strategic Human Resource Management at St. Mary's University. Earlier, Julie worked in various capacities at Northwest Airlines for over 17 years, including seven years as Vice President of Labor Relations and two years as Senior Vice President of Inflight Services. As Vice President of Labor Relations, she served as the chief negotiator in multiple rounds of bargaining, including those necessitated by the airline’s bankruptcy. As Senior Vice President of Inflight Service, she led 10 domestic and 11 international flight attendant bases, and was responsible for hiring, training, regulatory compliance, scheduling, and performance management within the context of a $600 million budget. Julie was also responsible for global catering and inflight entertainment, as well as an innovative culture change initiative focused on customer-facing employees. Julie retired after the successful integration of Northwest Airlines' inflight operations into Delta Air Lines in 2009 and returned to private practice. She graduated from Stanford University and the University of Minnesota Law School. Julie is currently an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota Law School and also serves on the Board of Trustees of Hamline University.

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Callie Taralson, Solution Design Group (sdg)

Callie Taralson

Callie Taralson is a Resource Manager at sdg with 10+ years of HR and Management experience. She is passionate about HR strategy, employee development, process improvement, and creating an energetic and open culture for employees. Callie also served as the Employee Experience committee chair and helped lead some of sdg’s benefit and health and wellness initiatives. She graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in Communication Studies. She is a mom to 1 year old daughter, Isabel, and currently surviving on black coffee.

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Sarah Waite, ABRA Autobody and Glass

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 that increase 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, Target, and the Warnaco Group. She speaks regularly in HR forums including TCSHRM, MN SHRM, and ERE and is co-teaching an undergraduate HR course at St. Thomas. She also authors a blog "The Business of Talent."

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& Awards

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