Member Spotlights

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 Shawna Weaver

 Human Resources Specialist

 Bender Insurance Solutions

 

 Briefly describe your organization, role, and how long you have been involved:

Bender Insurance Solutions is one of the largest independent brokers in the Sacramento area. Our company focuses on enhancing and influencing strategies to support the growth and success of our clients through a comprehensive suite of business and personal insurance products. As the Human Resources Specialist, I have the responsibility of developing strategic HR initiatives to support challenges that the industry faces, such as talent and succession gaps. In addition to the strategic overview of my position, I also manage the day to day HR transactions that serve our employees. 

How many years have you been in HR? What do you enjoy about the industry?

While I've only been in an HR role that holds a true HR title for just over a year, what attracted me to the industry was a desire to solve problems caused by common organizational behaviors. Problems that stem from lack of proper training, recognition, and motivation. I've been in roles where leaders implemented a program or change that negatively affected employees. Now I love having a role that gives me the opportunity to be an advocate for employees' voices while also contributing and adding value to a business's success. 

How long have you been involved with SAHRA?

I have been a member of SAHRA for one year. 

How has membership with SAHRA affected you and your career?

Being a part of SAHRA allows me to develop a network of peers who I can learn from and bounce ideas off of. Being an HR department of one can be challenging, but with the support of relationships I build through SAHRA I'm better equipped to face and handle challenges in my role. 

What challenges do you believe will face the HR industry in the future?

While this might sound like a broken record, I think we will always face the challenge of motivating and attracting talent in any industry. The use of technology and fast-paced environment that we face is going to make us continuously evaluate how we motivate and incentive our workforce. In addition to that challenge, I think anyone who works in insurance knows that we are also facing a talent shortage. There are certain stereotypes of the industry that make it difficult to attract talent, so the rebranding and breaking down myths of those stereotypes is going to be one of my biggest challenges. 

In your spare time, what do you do for fun?

I love dancing. I take a Zumba classes four times a week and anytime I can have a girl's night out where there is great music and a big dance floor I'm there. 

What is one thing most of your colleagues don’t know about you?

When I was in high school I joined an Aztec Dance Club. It was a great experience and gave me a new appreciation for the Aztec culture.  


Karen Mora

Human Resources Representative

University of the Pacific

 

Briefly describe your organization, role, and how long you have been involved:

University of the Pacific was established July 10, 1851, as California's first chartered institution of higher learning. It was founded by pioneering Methodist ministers and remains the only Methodist-related university in California. Originally located in Santa Clara, the university later moved to San Jose and, in 1924, moved to Stockton, making it the first private four-year university in the Central Valley. The university earns widespread recognition for its deep commitment to teaching and learning, its history of innovation and the accomplishments of its alumni. I work in the Sacramento Campus serving students, faculty, and staff as the Human Resources Representative and have worked in this campus for almost two years. 

How many years have you been in HR? What do you enjoy about the industry?

I have been working in HR for three years. Within the past year, I have had the opportunity to work in different functions of Human Resources. What I enjoy most about this industry is the ability of making an impact in people's lives. I find my job rewarding in many ways. 

How long have you been involved with SAHRA?

I have been a member of SAHRA for one year. 

How has membership with SAHRA affected you and your career?

I was recently part of the SHRM certification study group and it was a great experience. I met HR professionals working in different industries and learned from each of them. The study group was very beneficial. I also attend the SAHRA conferences, which I have always enjoyed. 

What challenges do you believe will face the HR industry in the future?

I believe the trends and challenges HR will face in the future involve recruitment through the use of social media, leveraging people analytics to improve organizational performance, more transparency in total rewards, and improving the employee experience. With new generations entering the workforce, HR will have to find creative ways for increasing employee retention. Technology will also augment the way many of our jobs are done. These areas are all opportunities for HR to contribute and make a positive impact to organizations. 

In your spare time, what do you do for fun?

I love spending time with my family and two dogs. I also enjoy listening to podcasts on HR trends, motivational empowerment, and mystery cases. 

What is one thing most of your colleagues don’t know about you?

I really love animals, specifically dogs. If I could, I would rescue all dogs and create a fun safe place for them to live in. 


 Alexis J.D. Greene, MHR, PHR, HRM

Director of Administration and Human Resources

Coact Designworks

 

Briefly describe your organization, role, and how long you have been involved:

Coact Designworks specializes in the planning and design of exceptional environments for clients in the education, healthcare, and commercial/retail sectors. We are a full-service architecture design firm with a heritage of distinctive building designs and customized service. Established in Sacramento in 1945, Coact Designworks has been serving clients throughout Northern California and Nevada for the past 74 years. Through research and design thinking, we stay on top of emerging trends within our markets and partner closely with our clients to integrate evidence-based design concepts into our so-lutions—improving outcomes for learning, healing, and living. Our decisions are guided by the belief that great design is measured not merely by how it looks but also by what it achieves.  I am Director of Administration/Human Resources and I have been with the firm for at least 2 years now.  

How many years have you been in HR? What do you enjoy about the industry?

I have currently been in the Human Resources Industry for a little over 19 years. Serving from the Corporate Real Estate Industry, Warehousing, Construction and landing my feet into the mechanical minded world of Architecture. I most enjoy helping people to grow and find their leadership abilities. I love the training world of HR, being able to recognize one potential and nurture that by placing them in their field and watching them mature into their talent! 

How long have you been involved with SAHRA?

I have been a member of SAHRA as far back as I can remember moving to Sacramento in 1996, however juggling multiple email addresses has made it difficult to keep my membership consistent. 

How has membership with SAHRA affected you and your career?

Membership with SAHRA has always kept me apprised of the continual changes and updates in HR laws and policies. I have had the ability to meet and keep in touch with new people and other HR professionals.

What challenges do you believe will face the HR industry in the future?

I do not believe I will face any challenges rather maintaining the most comparable certification is my concern. 

In your spare time, what do you do for fun?

I sing and mentor the Youth in our community and love to prepare them for college and their career path that lies in front of them. I also love time with my family and Sorority Sisters. 

What is one thing most of your colleagues don’t know about you?

One thing most of my co-workers don't know about me is that I hate being alone. 


 

Rachel Sloss

HR Administrator

VSP 

SAHRA Member since 2017

 

Tell us about your employer and your role. 

I work for VSP (Vision Service Plan), a vision insurance company located in the Sacramento area. I am an HR Administrator and my role supports the HR Business Partner team. I am involved in the administration of many HR Business Partner processes and serve as a backup for compliance and client audit support. I have been in the role for 2 years. 

How many years have you been in HR? What do you enjoy about the industry?

I have been working in HR post-graduation for about 3 years. What I enjoy most about HR is that there are a lot of different paths to take and the field is always changing. I also like that HR is now considered a strategic partner within organizations and is involved in many business decisions. 

What challenges do you believe will face the HR industry in the future?

In the future, the HR industry is faced with more rapid technological advancement, flexible work schedules, increasing compliance regulations, and recruitment and retention of younger individuals who are not as loyal to organizations as generations before them. 

How long have you been involved with SAHRA?

I have been involved with SAHRA for about one year.

How has SAHRA helped you in your professional growth?

I have been given access to learning and networking opportunities with people in the HR field who are local to the Sacramento area. For somebody like me who is new to the industry, it is great to be able to learn from people who have been working in the field and in the area for many years. 

In your spare time, what do you do for fun?

I am passionate about health and fitness! I love to run and play soccer in my spare time. I also like to read and watch The Office. I love to travel and often find myself planning vacations to new places, to be taken sometime in the future. 

What is one thing most of your colleagues don’t know about you?

Most of my colleagues don't know that I have lived in the Sacramento area my whole life and have a very sarcastic sense of humor!


 

Serena Tsan

HR/Safety Administrator

Royal Electric Company

SAHRA Member Since 2017

 

 

Tell us about your employer and your role.

As the HR/Safety administrator for Royal Electric Company, I provide support to both our HR and Safety Departments. Royal Electric Company provides electrical design, construction and service to builders, contractors and facility owners. Some of my key accountabilities include benefits and leave administration, health and safety, HR compliance, and onboarding.

What are some challenges you see in your role or in the HR profession today?

 As an emerging HR professional, a challenge for me is learning to “juggle” as I’m building my HR foundation. When I was first starting out, I felt like I hit the ground running. HR is so broad and there’s so much you need to know. You must keep current with employment laws/court litigations, understand “best practices” in HR procedures, deepen your knowledge of the business, and ways to apply this knowledge to the workplace.

At the end of the day, I’m proud of being in the HR field and can consistently tell people, ‘I’m always learning something new.’

How has SAHRA helped you in your professional growth?

SAHRA has been substantial to my professional growth. Prior to my current position, I was an HR Department of one for a “49-er” company. After joining SAHRA, I wasn’t depending solely on the internet as a resource anymore.

SAHRA connected me with experienced professionals and helped build my HR network. I have professionals in my network I can reach out to if I have any questions about HR. I was paired with a mentor who gave me guidance on my previous role and advice on the path I wanted to take. I met Preet who helped me find my current position and it was exactly what I was looking for in my next role. SAHRA has helped me develop myself in the HR world.

Three SAHRA events and programs I’ve taken part of and would encourage emerging professionals to attend is SAHRA’s Annual Conference, SAHRA’s Mentoring Program, and HR Insights.

What is one fun fact your colleagues may not know about you?

I’m a big fan of podcasts and NPR. Podcasts on my list include: “More Perfect”, “By the Book”, “HR Happy Hour”, and “Coaching for Leaders.” 


 

 

 

Tish McNorton

HR Partner

Cerner Corporation

SAHRA Member Since 2017

 

Tell us about your organization and your role.

I am currently an HR Partner. I am the liaison between Cerner and Adventist Health within the revenue cycle. The functions I support are Patient Access, HIM, Patient Financial Services, Compliance, and Coding, as well as consult management which includes quarterly budgets, organizations, structures, employee relations, retention, and facilitating dialogue to generate positive workforce outcomes.

How long have you worked in HR? Discuss some of the highlights and challenges you’ve experienced.

I have been in HR for more than 10 years. Some of the recent challenges I’ve faced include the acquisition and onboarding of almost 2,000 employees all across Northern CA, Southern CA, and the Central Valley, combining two different cultures (faith based and non faith based organizations), and being sensitive to employees that were employed with the acquired organization for more than 30 years.

You have volunteered with SAHRA. What did you get out of the experience?

Yes, I volunteered as a SPHR/PHR facilitator. I learned different practices/processes currently being utilized in HR within different organizations, and how it may apply to my current work.

What’s one thing your colleagues don’t know about you?

Here are some quotes from my colleagues: “Tish’s demeanor and ability to respond to concerns has been instrumental in de-escalating situations that could have become out of control. She has a sincere approach that helps individuals look at situations differently or consider alternative approaches.” Or “Tish also has the utility to deliver impactful and meaningful messages through written communication. Her skills helped me to proactively manage my team when we anticipate the possibility of adverse reactions to changes within my organization.”


 

 

Lori Raderschadt

VP Organization Development

Buzz Oates

SAHRA Member Since 2009

 

 

How long have you worked in HR? Discuss some of the highlights and challenges you’ve experienced.

I have over 25 years in HR and Organization Development.  Most of my experience has landed in high growth organizations going through change.  Bringing out the strengths in employees has been my focus, as well as helping those manage the stress the change has brought about.  I spent nine years in banking, three in an IT start up, nine in commercial real estate, and 20 years with Traits Plus (my change management consulting company). 

You have volunteered for SAHRA on sponsor outreach. How has this experience been beneficial for you?

The biggest benefit was getting to interact with other SAHRA members and SAHRA supporters..meeting new people and developing professional relationships.

Why should others volunteer their time to assist with SAHRA programs?

Connections!  It is all about people and working together.

What’s one thing your colleagues don’t know about you?

I grew up in an entrepreneurial home (in South Dakota) – we provide wholesale/retail fireworks and firework shows; we were all expected to work long hours during the “harvest” season.  I think the first summer picnic I ever experienced (about 12 years ago) was when I moved to California and was in the audience watching the firework show.


 

 

Antoinette Joy

SAHRA Member Since 2009

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Explain your background in HR and where you hope to see yourself in the

future

 

I started my HR career with various HR related internships while attending college. I pursued a Business degree but it was my HR classes that made the most sense and were always the most enjoyable. While attending Sacramento State University, I was a member of (HRMA), the on-campus HR student group which resulted in life-long friendships and a job opportunity. After graduation I obtained my first HR job as an HR Assistant for a local publishing company. I remember being so excited to have my own computer and business cards! From there, I grew my recruiting skills at Roseville Telephone Company (recruited there by a former HRMA member) and then expanded into management roles and now consulting. The exciting thing about the future is it's full of unknown possibilities. My hope is I continue to find ways to help others succeed.

 

Many have called you a SAHRA Super-Volunteer. Please explain your
volunteer roles to date and how they have benefited you?

 

Most recently I have been volunteering with Women's Empowerment (www.womens-empowerment.org) whose mission is to educate and empower homeless women with skills and confidence to secure a job, create a healthy lifestyle, and regain a home for themselves and their children.  It is inspiring to help build these women up by uncovering their talents and skills, they don't always know they have, through the creation of resumes, cover letters and mock interviews. I also volunteer with the Keaton Child Cancer Alliance (www.childcancer.org) whose mission is to support children with cancer and their families with emotional, educational, and financial support while increasing awareness and funding research toward a cure.  My roles have included event support, back office support and currently participation on the development committee.  Current initiatives include finding sponsors for the holiday season Adopt-A-Family Program designed to help families in need enjoy the holiday season and finding sponsors to financially support the free family event, Holly Jolly, which provides presents for children, crafts, face painting, dinner and a visit from Santa.  Volunteering with these organizations, and others, remind me how little it takes to encourage strength, resilience and joy in others.  I enjoy giving back to the community as my family and I have been fortunate enough to benefit from volunteers in our lives from Girl Scouts, American Cancer Society, American Diabetes Association to Organ Donors, Blood Donors and of course SAHRA.  Volunteers are all around us, many of whom go unnoticed, but all of them make a difference.  I like being part of a team that makes a difference.    

 

 If you were not a HR professional, what would you be doing?

 

Serving delicious cappuccinos on the Italian coast!

 

What is one thing your professional connections may not know about you?

 

Well, my love for Italy is no longer a secret!  My late mother collected turtles which is a symbol of longevity, endurance, persistence and the continuation of life; sometimes against incredible odds.  My goal is to continue to honor my mother by pursuing those great qualities and helping others do the same.

 


 

Drew Berryessa 

Sr. HR Business Partner

VSP Global

SAHRA Member Since 2015

 

 

 

 

How did you get involved in the HR industry?

 

In 2005 I was a mail room clerk/runner for a large trucking company in Northern Utah and got to see all of the strategic things that the People's Development department did... so, being young and naive, I asked if I could work in that department. And they said yes! From that point, I never changed my course or majors in school... just went straight into HR. 

 

Tell us about your role within your organization, what does a typical day look like?

 

I am a Sr. HR Business Partner at VSP Global. No two days are alike, but typically I work with leadership and business partners on engagement and enablement, change management, leadership development, and partner with our training and organizational effectiveness team to assess training needs and opportunities.

 

You participated in SAHRA’s first SHRM certification study group. What were some of your key takeaways from the experience?

 

It's a commitment... you have to dedicate the time outside of class in order to benefit from the classroom time with your peers. Do the readings, take advantage of the online SHRM Learning System, and speak-up during class... we had some really good discussions and learned a lot from our different backgrounds, companies, and experiences. 

 

How has involvement with SAHRA helped your professional development?

 

The certification study group was a big help, not just the course but the networking for sure. I've attended the SAHRA conferences in the past and have benefited from the speakers, the networking, and the focus on CA employment law and the legislative changes that directly impact our work. 

 

What’s one think your colleagues may not know about you?

 

Pretty much everything. I've been a member of SAHRA but have not made it to a ton of events (though I'm hoping to get more involved now that I'm in a position that doesn't require so much travel). I have four kids, a dog, and grill... that pretty much describes most of my life outside of work. 



 

 Nicole Machado 

 HR Generalist

 Cares Community Health

 SAHRA Member Since 2014

 

 

 

How long have you been an HR professional and how has the industry changed over the years?

 

I have worked in HR in a variety of generalist and business partner capacities over the past 10 years. I began working in HR primarily as a Health and Life Insurance broker helping businesses choose and purchase benefit plans for their employees. The complexities of the Affordable Care Act greatly changed the landscape of how benefit administrators and HR teams handle employee benefit plans and how businesses structure their plan offerings. That is what ultimately led me into a full time position in HR. 

 

What advice would you give to someone just starting out their career in HR?

 

Join SAHRA. The most valuable resources in the HR field are your network connections and being able to pick up the phone and get HR advice. Never forget the importance of understanding and sharing the “whys” of decision making. It makes it so much easier to gain buy-in from stakeholders.

 

 How has your involvement with SAHRA affected your career?

 

Attending the study group for PHR is without question the reason I was able to pass the exam. Working with a group of people striving for the same goal was so motivating while I was studying. I also met my current bosses at the SAHRA Annual Conference.

 

What is one thing most of your colleagues don’t know about you?

 

I am a bit of a geek; I love Star Wars, and I am currently learning to code so that I can create a custom HR Accountability Tool.  

 

What challenges do you believe will face the HR industry in the future?

 

I think that the rapid pace of change will be the factor that challenges us all the most. With the growing role that technology plays in all of our organizations, departments, and lives we are now required to learn new things faster than ever before. This is true for us as HR practitioners and our HR systems, and it is true for the teams we support, and supporting our teams through rapid changes can be quite challenging.

 


 

 

 

Bre Myres
Recruiter/HR Partner
California Dental Association

SAHRA Member Since 2013

 

 

 

 

How long have you been working in HR and how has the industry changed over the years?

 

As a manager for 10 years, I had previous experience in HR functions. I have been working in an HR department for the last 3.5 years, starting as a Coordinator, then Administrator, and now a Recruiter/HR Partner. I absolutely love the work I get to do, the team I work with, and all the opportunities for learning. Lately we have seen HR shifting more towards being a strategic business partner and more proactive and moving away from being administrative, transactional and reactive. This transition is giving HR more opportunities to make a difference to the bottom line.

 

What advice would you give to someone just starting out their career in HR?

 

Don’t be afraid to take on challenges and ask questions. Learn everything you can. HR is an experience-based industry and I believe the more you know and the more options you can relate to, the more successful you can be. Find a mentor who can help you get your foot in the door. And, of course join SAHRA!

 

How has your involvement with SAHRA affected your career?

 

SAHRA has been there for me throughout my HR career and continues to be. When I decided to start a career in HR, I joined the MIT program (Members in Transition) to gain insight on how to market my skills, research HR jobs, and learn more about the profession. At an MIT meeting, I inadvertently met someone who put me in touch with someone who helped me launch my new career in HR. I successfully passed my PHR with the support of the PHR study group facilitated by SAHRA. Each year I attend the SAHRA convention and in the near future I hope to join the board in a capacity to focus and improve diversity in HR.

 

What is one thing most of your colleagues don’t know about you?

 

I am a continuous learner. I like learning about anything and everything. Business, HR, Culture, lifestyles, history, psychology, sociology, sports, nature, etc. I like knowing a little bit of everything.  

 

What challenges do you believe will face the HR industry in the future?

 

I think that HR will always be affected by the current administration at the national, state and local levels, creating challenges around education, compliance, and adhering to new policies. Challenges faced by HR will continue to center around communication, performance management, team engagement, and employee relations. 

 


 

Valerie A. Silva, SHRM-SCP, SPHR-CA

Vice President, Human Resources

USA Properties Fund, Inc.

SAHRA Member Since 1991

 

 

 

How long have you been in the HR profession, and how has it changed over the years in your eyes? 

I’ve been exclusively in HR Management for 25 years. The most significant changes I’ve seen include the focus on a greater level of professionalism and knowledge base by those who have more recently chosen HR as a profession. Of course, the evolution of HR technology is beyond what I ever imagined and very challenging to keep up on, but it has become essential to HR department operations, and an organization as a whole, to try to stay current on the new trends.

 

What advice would you give to someone just starting out in HR?

If at all possible, pursue an HR specific college curriculum and in addition, obtain and maintain HR certifications. The PHRca is very helpful to any HR practitioner whose organization does business in California. We can’t learn everything on the job and being exposed to information not usually relevant to what we do daily provides you with a different view of the HR world . Also, participating in HR internships while in college will provide a real-world perspective on the HR profession and the critical strategic role HR should play in an organization.

 

How has your involvement with SAHRA affected your career in HR?

I obtained my first HR certification in 1997 by participating in a SAHRA study group and it made the difference in passing the PHR exam, as we did not have the preparation resources that are now available, especially online. The openness by most SAHRA members to networking with others and sharing knowledge and resources continues. The continuing educational opportunities are invaluable to keeping abreast of what is and will be impacting both my organization and HR team.

 

What is one thing most of your colleagues don’t know about you?

I grew up on a multi-generational dairy farm in a small town and it made all the difference in who I became and what I have achieved.

 

What challenges do you believe will face the HR industry in the future? 


Continuing to earn that place at the senior leadership/c-suite table and to be recognized as a true strategic partner to the organization. Like with any industry, mentoring those HR professionals to not only take our places, but also to elevate the profession.


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Sacramento Area Human Resource Association
1800 J Street Sacramento, CA 95811

916.451.9031 916.448.5933 fax info@sahra.org

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