The Voice of HR for Central Texas
AHRMA Mission and Objectives:
The Austin Human Resource Management Association's mission is to promote professionalism, effectiveness, and understanding in the Human Resource Management field by offering members a wide variety of professional development opportunities and a common forum for sharing ideas and experiences.
AHRMA members represent the entire spectrum of HR management. Many of our members attend our annual conference (usually late July-early August) while enjoying the benefits of networking and developing relationships with each other.
AHRMA also participates in the activities of the Texas SHRM and other activities with our sister SHRM chapters in Texas.
AHRMA Serves its Members by:
Providing a wide range of educational programming and activities that allow members to develop their expertise in the functional areas of Human Resource Management.
President - Karen Smithson, 2017
Karen Smithson's career has focused on human resources and office administration, primarily supporting professional services organizations. She earned her B.S. in Office Administration from Abilene Christian University. Karen moved to Austin in 1997 and became the campaign manager for Justice Deborah Hankinson of the Texas Supreme Court. The campaign ended in 1999 and shortly thereafter she joined Atchley & Associates, LLP.
Karen holds the designations of SPHR and SHRM-SCP. Currently, she is a member of SHRM, AHRMA, the Women’s Chamber of Commerce of Texas, and the Austin Association of Mediators.
As a lifelong volunteer, Karen has served a number of community, education and religious organizations. As a trained mediator, she serves as a volunteer mediator at the Dispute Resolution Center. In 2013, she was elected to the Board of Directors for the Austin DRC. From 2009 to 2015, she served as an Ombudsman for the Texas Committee of ESGR (Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve). She is also a volunteer for the Austin Forum.
Karen's involvement in AHRMA has including serving as the Coordinator of the Right AHRM affinity group, Conference Committee member Co-VP for Diversity and Inclusion from 2014 to 2015, and President-Elect in 2016
Co-VP Career Development - Jill Taylor, 2017-2018
Jill Taylor is a Human Resources professional with over six years of experience who holds both PHR and SHRM-CP certifications. Her areas of expertise include strategic partnerships, employee relations, training, project management, benefits and compensation and event planning. Jill is passionate about partnering with business leaders to develop strategies to recruit, engage and retain talent.
She is a 2016 graduate of the AHRMA Stepping Stones leadership program, and looks for ways to promote AHRMA within the Austin HR community. Young Women’s Alliance (YWA) is another organization that Jill is involved with. YWA is a non-profit organization that strives to empower women by providing them with opportunities to lead, network, educate and serve. In 2014, Jill held two chair positions with Young Women's Alliance - New Member Chair and General Meetings Chair. In her free time, Jill enjoys completing DIY projects on her home, traveling both domestically and internationally and running in races. One of her bucket list items includes visiting all 50 states. Thus far she has visited every state except Alaska.
CO-VP Conference - Barbara Morris-Blake, 2017-2018
Barbara is also a popular speaker. Business and professional groups frequently call upon Barbara to share her insights and tips regarding how to develop proficient leaders and inspire a workplace culture of community and performance.
Barbara is currently working on a Master’s in Leading Innovation and Change from York St. John University and expects to graduate in 2017.Barbara is also a Certified Professional Coach and a member of the International Coach Federation.
Barbara recently moved from Toronto to Austin. She and her husband, Jeff, are volunteer Mentors for the Dream Come True Foundation, a Texas based organization that moves high-potential people from poverty to success by working with them personally. She is an active member of the Austin Chamber of Commerce Advocacy Council, lobbying with the Chamber on important issues that affect both the city and the state.
Co-VP Diversity and Inclusion - Christina Sigafus, 2016-2017
Co-VP Legal and Legislative Affairs - Chris Wike, 2016-2017
Chris Wike is a Partner at the Austin law firm Hajjar Peters, LLP. Chris's primary practice focuses on labor and employment law, with a significant emphasis on litigation and counseling businesses on employee issues. In addition to being licensed to practice law in Texas, New Mexico, and Florida, Chris is Board Certified in Labor & Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Prior to joining Hajjar Peters, Chris practiced with a premier international labor and employment law boutique, representing management from start-ups to Fortune 50 companies, in all manner of employment litigation, administrative charges to nationwide collective actions.
Chris regularly advises employers on their employment policies and procedures and helps craft those policies and procedures. Chris has extensive experience handling single-plaintiff and collective litigation arising under various state and federal labor statutes (including the FLSA, Title VII, EPA, ADA, FMLA, OSHA, ADEA, USERRA, and similar state statutes), as well as advising clients in regard to immigration matters, I-9 compliance, and compliance with ADA accessibility issues. He also regularly handles matters related to drafting and enforcing employment and non-compete agreements. He represents clients all over the State of Texas and the State of New Mexico.
Co-VP Marketing and Public Relations - Marc Tucci, 2016-2017
Marc Tucci is the founder and CEO of the Austin Sports and Social Club (SSC), the largest provider of adult co-ed recreational sports in the city. He also holds the same role for companies in San Antonio & Dallas / Fort Worth, with over 55,000 adults staying active annually. No experience is necessary to participate; these leagues are for all skills, shapes and sizes.
Co-VP Membership - LaDonna Crawford, 2017-2018
LaDonna has over 20 years’ experience in human capital consulting, performing various business development, consulting and executive management roles. As Managing Director for Brainard Strategy, LaDonna is responsible for leading the expansion of the organization into the Texas market. Prior to joining Brainard Strategy, LaDonna founded a private management consulting practice in which she consulted with leading edge companies to develop their strategic direction and increase the caliber and effectiveness of their employee population. She also provided in-depth coaching for executive women.
Previously, LaDonna held leadership positions in human capital consulting firms DBM/Lee Hecht Harrison where she partnered with organizations to identify key business challenges and develop solutions to support senior executives in achieving superior business performance. In this capacity, she also managed a coaching network of over 120 professional coaches located throughout North America. She earned a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Minnesota and has advanced training in leadership development and executive coaching. LaDonna is a certified executive coach through The Center for Executive Coaching.
Co-VP Programs - Cathi Hight, 2016-2017
Cathi Hight is a Kaizen consultant and President of Hight Performance Group. She has more than 20 years of experience in performance improvement. Using proven strategies, assessments, and intervention tools, Cathi helps clients identify their real problems and solve them. She has worked with a wide range of organizations from the association, education, finance, public, and technology sectors to navigate market changes, streamline operations, increase productivity, and develop staff and customer retention.
Cathi has extensive experience in organizational development, is a certified Motorola University instructor for continuous improvement, and an authorized partner for Wiley Workplace Solutions. Her expertise lies in strategic planning, developing high performing teams, customer retention, and productivity improvement.
Treasurer - Stephen Polonski, 2017-2018
Prior to CLS, Stephen has held the Director of HR positions for 3 other Austin based firms and participated as a member of the senior & executive management teams, responsible for the strategic direction & management of the HR department. For one firm, he supported an 860% headcount growth from multiple acquisitions across a 2 year timeframe. He also worked for a retirement plan administration firm & built a solid understanding of IRS compliance, trust accounting principles & retirement strategies. Stephen also served on ADP's Client Advisory Board bringing client focused strategy to shape the technology used by thousands of companies today.
Stephen holds a BBA in Finance & Management from Baylor University & is active in SHRM & AHRMA.
Outside of work, Stephen spends quality time with his family & loves to travel overseas to experience other cultures & cuisines.
Co-VP Workforce Readiness - Anne Dapremont, 2016-2017
Anne Dapremont is a strategic, results-driven leader with over 15 years of diverse experience in sales leadership and education management. Since 2010, Anne has led market strategies across Texas to identify and bridge workforce skills gaps with leading employers in the corporate, healthcare, educational, and government sectors.
In July 2015, Anne joined WGU Texas, a state-endorsed, non-profit, competency-based university. In this role, she collaborates with state, regional, and local employers, associations, and community college districts to leverage pathways for in-demand post-secondary educational programs to create opportunities for Texans to earn the marketable skills needed to increase their employability and address workforce development needs in Texas.
In addition to serving as VP, Workforce Readiness for AHRMA 2016-2017, Anne also serves her community by volunteering: Chair, Veterans Affairs Committee, 2017: Texas Association of Business; Member, 2014-Present: Texas Diversity Council; Member - American Heart Association Advocacy Committee
President-Elect, Arlaine Decrevel, 2017
Arlaine Decrevel, MBA, SHRM-CP, PHR, CAM is the Executive Director Client Services for Evins Personnel Consultants, Inc., a full service human resource consulting, recruiting, and staffing company headquartered in Austin, Texas. She is a Certified Human Resources Management Professional and TMCA Credentialed Mediator. She also holds several certifications from the University of Texas at Austin in Transformational Leadership, Emotional Intelligence, Communication and Success Skills for Small Business.
For over 20 years, Arlaine has led, coached, and mentored others during her career with Fortune 500 companies, small to medium sized businesses, and not-for-profit associations. She is the founder and former owner of A.D. Collaborative Solutions, Inc, a strategic management, human resources, marketing, and mediation consulting business. She holds three degrees in Business Administration and Certificate of Human Resource Management from the University of Texas at Austin.
Arlaine has been an active member of SHRM and AHRMA since 2013, awarded Volunteer of the Month in 2015, and a recognized AHRMA Conference Speaker in 2014 and 2015. She is a graduate of AHRMA's 2014 Stepping Stones to Enhanced Leadership program. She is a Volunteer Mediator for the Dispute Resolution Center, a former Board Member/Social Media Chair for the Texas Association of Mediators 2014-2015, AHRMA Co-VP Marketing/Public Relations 2014-2016, and Volunteer for SHRM's HR Southwest Conference in Fort Worth, Texas 2015-2016.
Co-VP Career Development - Darlene Templeton, 2017-2018
Darlene is the CEO and founder of Templeton & Associates. She is a professional speaker, certified executive coach, business strategist consultant, trainer and author. Darlene specializes in leadership and transformation for corporations and professionals, specifically for those who want to make a greater impact personally and professionally. She held multiple management and leadership positions during her career at IBM. She brings her 36 years of experience at IBM, to her work and her clients, and provides a level of mastery that is extraordinary.
Darlene is the founder and Chief Leader of the AMAZING Women Alliance, a group of high achieving women who meet monthly to inspire, motivate and support each other to achieve their goals. The AMAZING Women Leaders program is a six-month results driven leadership development and coaching program designed for professional women who are committed to accelerate, accomplish and achieve their goals both personally and professionally. You can build more confidence, develop business and leadership strategies and implement your action plans to achieve your goals and get the results that you desire.
Darlene is the Co-VP of Career Development and established the Mentoring Program for the Austin Human Resource Managers Association (AHRMA). She has co-authored three books, The Unstoppable Women’s Guide to Emotional Well Being, “The Success Guide for The Unstoppable Entrepreneur”, and “Behind Her Brand”.
Co-VP Conference - Jessica Hubbard, 2017-2017
Jessica Hubbard is the Austin Market Director at Roth Staffing Companies, one of the largest staffing organizations in the U.S. and recently Ranked #1 by FORTUNE on the list of Best Workplaces for Professional Services. As a market leader, Jessica manages two Roth Staffing lines of business including Ultimate Staffing - supporting clerical, administrative, operational and HR roles, as well as Ledgent Finance and Accounting - placing accounting professionals on a temporary and direct hire basis with small to mid-sized companies in the Central Texas area.
Prior to Roth Staffing, Jessica held a Market Director role with Volt Workforce Solutions and was responsible for the strategic direction and management of all offices in Texas, and territories in Louisiana, Oklahoma and Arkansas, including a program site in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Here she designed, implemented and maintained high-volume staffing programs for Fortune 500 companies.
Jessica has lived in Austin since 1995 and has a great love for this community! She volunteers with several local organizations and non-profit associations. She was on the 2016 AHRMA Finance Committee and joined the AHRMA Conference Committee and Board in 2017. Jessica has an B.A. in Applied Arts and Sciences from the school of Occupational Workforce and Leadership Studies at Texas State University, San Marcos
Co-VP Diversity and Inclusion - Juanita Baldwin, 2017-2018
Juanita is a proud Longhorn with a degree from the University of Texas at Austin. She successfully completed the Governor’s Center Senior Management Development Program, and led the winning project team for the 2009 Hispanic Austin Leadership Program (HAL) sponsored by the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Juanita served as President of AHRMA in 2013 when the organization was recognized as the Leading Contributing SHRM Chapter by the SHRM Foundation. Juanita is also a member of the Human Resource Management Advisory Board at Texas State University and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).
Juanita’s passion involves implementing talent management strategies that drive organizational success. She particularly enjoys mentoring university students seeking internships, and advising candidates pursuing a professional career.
Co-VP Legal and Legislative Affairs - Kevin Lashus, 2016-2017
Mr. Lashus graduated from Stanford University in 1994 and received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Texas School of Law in 1998.
Mr. Lashus is a Partner of the Austin office of FisherBroyles LLP. He is also Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Mr. Lashus has represented management in employment verification compliance investigations, administrative employer sanctions cases, in-bound business immigration, USCIS fraud investigations and other workplace law matters since 2007. Before moving to the private sector, Mr. Lashus was an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Texas— defending state-wide law enforcement officers accused of civil rights violations and employment discrimination in federal and state court litigation. Shortly after September 11, 2001, he moved on to the US Department of Justice, then ultimately, the US Department of Homeland Security where he prosecuted terrorists and advised Special Agents on the execution of worksite investigations and Form I-9 inspections. Mr. Lashus was a member of the National Security Team—enjoying a Top Secret security clearance. He has presented at national ABA, AILA, SHRM, and FBA seminars across the country and has contributed written articles concerning immigration enforcement and employment verification law matters. A 2010 peer survey identified him as a Texas Super Lawyer Rising Star in immigration; he was re-designated in 2011 as well. In 2012, the same peer survey identified his as a Texas Super Lawyer in immigration; and, he has been re-designated each year through 2016. Mr. Lashus frequently addresses supervisors and managers to assist them in developing the immigration and employment verification compliance systems needed to manage effectively in today's challenging legal environment. Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice include: All Texas courts, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals United States District Court, Eastern District of Texas United States District Court, Southern District of Texas United States District Court, and the Western District of Texas.
Co-VP Marketing and Public Relations - Sam Moore, 2017-2018
Sam Moore, SHRM-CP, is a successful Human Resource/General Manager with an emphasis on leading teams through development and coaching in a retail environment for the past 20 years. He has expertise and a thorough knowledge base in HR Management fundamentals. He has led teams to successful achievements in sales/marketing strategies driving revenues for such companies as Restoration Hardware, The Container Store, and currently as General Manager of Cost Plus World Market.
Sam is adept in customer relationship management knowing people and employee relations drive successful results. He is innovative creative and entrepreneurial in his work style, while maintaining integrity and ethics with a high level of personal commitment.
Sam is certified SHRM-CP, a member of SHRM, and serves on the AHRMA Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Sam received a Bachelor of Business degree in Human Resource Management from the University of Texas at San Antonio. He earned his SHRM certification through a partnership with AHRMA and Concordia University.
Co-VP Membership - Vacant
Co-VP Programs - Bill Woodson, 2017
After over forty years of litigation experience, primarily in employment law cases in the southern California area, Bill Woodson moved to Texas to be near his daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter. He now focuses his broad experience on mediation, mentoring, and peacemaking. Bill engages in the practice of mediation and conciliation professionally and volunteers time with the Dispute Resolution Center in Austin, Texas where he obtained his mediation certificate in 2014. He likes to say he moved from being an arsonist to joining the fire department. Bill also conducts group discussions in all aspects of conflict resolution, including mediation of disputes for family, church, and the workplace. Bill’s extensive experience in civil litigation, including civil rights matters, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and wrongful termination cases, primarily from a plaintiff's perspective, make his consulting services for employers highly valuable. Bill lives in Cedar Park, Texas, with his wife Sue, and enjoys playing and listening to music, dabbling in art, and volunteering in the youth ministry for his church.
VP Technology - Wendy Chance, 2017-2018
Wendy Chance, CTS, is the Director of Human Resources for United PF Partners, a Planet Fitness Management Company, spanning 10 states with 67 club locations. Wendy's 25+ years of business and HR experience include strategic planning & HR development, full life cycle staffing and recruitment, internal and external training and development, employee relations, organizational development, operations management, compensation and benefits, and core HR and business functions.
Wendy is certified by the American Staffing Association as a Temporary Staffing Specialist (CTS), attended the University of Kansas, and graduated from the Brown Mackie Business School.
Wendy's Chapter volunteer roles include: AHRMA 2011 President, Vice President Programs 2009-2010, Vice President Marketing/Public Relations 2013-2014, Vice President Membership 2015-2016, and SHRM Foundation Chapter Champion 2008 to present. Wendy was part of the 1st class to graduate from AHRMA's own leadership academy, "Stepping Stones to Enhanced Leadership."
Wendy's HR State volunteer roles include Assistant State Director of Marketing for the Texas SHRM State Council. This role focuses on community outreach, website, newsletter, social media and promotion to establish partnerships with key government, business, and special interest groups designed to advance the human resource profession; 2015-2017 Social Media Director for the HR Southwest Conference; and recognized as the 2015 Texas HR Volunteer of the Year.
Co-VP Workforce Readiness - Traci Storm, 2017-2018