Notable Women in Human Resources, 2021

Outstanding women who recruit, attract, retain, and engage employees, and help manage the rapid change every business must navigate today.

The leaders profiled in the following pages were nominated by their peers at work and in the community and showcase the diversity of talent in our market. The leadership shown by the individuals profiled here is setting an example to shape a better future for our region.

METHODOLOGY: The honorees did not pay to be included. Their profiles were drawn from nomination materials. This list features only individuals for whom nominations were submitted and accepted after a review by our editorial team. To qualify for the list, nominees must be employed at companies in the Boulder Valley and Northern Colorado.

To nominate for future Notables, click here


Robin Baker

Boys & Girls Clubs of Larimer County

Human Resources Specialist

Years in industry: 10

College, university: Tyler Junior College

Robin Baker joined the Boys & Girls Clubs of Larimer County team in August of 2020 as the organization’s first-ever human resources team member. She brought with her 10 years of HR experience and proficiency in American Sign Language. 

“Robin spearheaded our human resources department by creating more efficient systems, updating organizational processes, and building community relationships. Since then, the organization has improved its turnover rate, employee recognition, and organizational culture,” said Jessica Schultz, marketing manager for the clubs. 

“In addition to Robin’s responsibilities as a human resources specialist, she has taken on volunteer management. Most importantly, Robin brings a positive attitude to the office each day, making HR approachable. She values hard work, honesty, and integrity. Robin is constantly striving to grow in her professional and personal life. She is currently working on obtaining her Certified Employee Benefits Specialist designation. Robin has also earned her Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace Certificate and is dedicated to advancing DEI initiatives at Boys & Girls Clubs.”


Nicole Barker

Good Day Pharmacy

Human Resources

Years in industry: 11

College, university: University of Phoenix

“Nicole Barker is a foundational and key member of our leadership team at Good Day Pharmacy. She assists, supports, coaches, and educates more than 130 employees, spread over 12 distinct locations, who have been front-line health care workers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Joseph Poling, chief operations officer for the company. 

“After 18 plus months of navigating a new world, many health care workers, including our team, are exhausted and burnt out. Nicole has navigated an incredibly challenging landscape of mask and PPE mandates, COVID exposures, employee COVID positive cases, employee family member difficulties related to COVID, and sick leave rules and regulations. Nicole shares encouraging messages and is always available for those who need help or support. 

“Nicole led efforts to hire a dozen plus additional employees to aid our team to continue to provide necessary medications and treatments to our patients during the spring of 2020. We have seen many employees shift careers, and Nicole has been fanatical about recruiting and hiring high-quality candidates to continue to serve the Northern Colorado communities. 

“She is also helpful when setting others up for success as they transition. Nicole is always learning, always growing and maintaining a positive attitude through the many challenges. She exemplifies leadership. As we all know, regulations and laws are constantly changing. Nicole effectively and actively communicates updates and changes that impact our industry, our team, and our customers. She is continually thinking ahead to anticipate the future. Nicole is a pleasure to work alongside with and is a phenomenal worker who puts her best effort forward —  for the patient, the team, and the community.”


Nicole Bettray

Encompass Technologies

Purveyor of Happiness

Years in industry: 7

College, university: University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse

“Nicole [Bettray] has been part of Encompass during a period of rapid growth, going from probably about 50 employees to about 500 world-wide. Her role has encompassed recruiting, onboarding, event planning, and a lot of effort helping Encompass build and sustain its culture and employment brand,” said outside consultant Mark Weaver of Open Door Organizational Solutions.

“Over the past seven years, Nicole has created and coordinated numerous events, classes, employee benefits and parties that have made Encompass the amazing place to work that it is. She was instrumental in creating their PTF benefit — Paid Time Fitness. Encompass provides employees with a half hour per day of paid time to get exercise. Besides managing the program, she teaches the yoga and exercise classes and manages the gym memberships for those who prefer to use their PTF at Old Town Athletic Club. 

“Nicole’s influence is felt beyond Encompass team members. She helps produce the annual Encompass User Group Meeting, and even leads the stretch breaks, bringing some of her contagious enthusiasm to Encompass clients,” Weaver said. 

“Even better, Nicole creates ways for Encompass to impact the broader community. She arranges volunteer projects touching everything from cleaning up the Poudre [River], to helping at the Food Bank, to doing yard work and odd jobs for the elderly. On a recent volunteerism day, Encompass logged a good 250 person hours in support of the community. And, Nicole spearheaded a way for Encompass to impact the next generation of software professionals. Encompass now partners with I.D.Tech — an organization that sponsors software camps for youth in underrepresented populations, giving them an inside look into software professions they may not have had exposure to.

“There’s no place like Encompass. Part of the reason for that is because there’s probably no other Purveyor of Happiness. And if there is, they wouldn’t be as amazing as Nicole,” Weaver said.


René Clements

CGRS

Human Resources

Years in industry: 23

College, university: University of Evansville, University of Northern Colorado

Editor’s note: René Clements has assisted BizWest on a contractual basis with human resources issues. For this recognition, she received 10 nominations, the most of any candidate in the Notable Women series so far. A sampling of the comments about her follow.

Stephanie Worden, CGRS administrative assistant: “René has done an awesome job at CGRS … René is a great resource if you have an issue with a co-worker.”

Diane Jones, retired Fort Collins deputy city manager: “I have known René for more than 25 years. Professionally, René has a strong record of leadership in the non-profit as well as private business sectors. Her versatility and success in diverse positions exemplify René’s commitment to providing excellent service and achieving outcomes that matter.”

Glen Vallance, CGRS principal: “[René] quickly became a trusted member of our organization that everyone, from our newest hire to the CEO, looks to for advice. Quite some time ago René helped CGRS develop a set of core values and our mission statement that have helped me and other department managers to successfully manage our employees.” 

Kelly Serrano, CGRS marketing coordinator: “René isn’t just my biggest cheerleader and advocate at CGRS, she is the biggest advocate and cheerleader for everyone here. She recognizes and values what every individual brings to the team and that there’s no reason why every team member can’t be successful at CGRS.”

Jane Haack-DeBroux, Poudre School District, retired: “René has a witty sense of humor, is a great storyteller and takes pleasure in the ‘moments’ of life that just make you laugh. Somehow she always finds the nugget of humor in every situation.”

Tara Brown, CGRS database manager: “I am always amazed with her detailed and positive interactions in a variety of circumstances. … Whether René is with her group of friends reading inspirational books, traveling or ensuring her parents get the care they need, she is willing to share her personal inspirations or experiences for others to embrace within their own lives.”

Kylene Baker, CGRS compliance manager: “René has done a fabulous job for our company throughout the years in aiding with the hiring efforts in this market and juggling all the new business regulations of the pandemic.”

Tim Goodrich, CGRS director of business development: “One of René’s greatest qualities is her ability to actively listen. She works to understand issues completely and from all sides before taking action. … Keeping the peace is on her resume. Initiative is the second attribute I would highlight.”

Amy Bona, Assured Partners of Colorado: “René is an expert in her field — I have sent many clients to her for assistance, and she is always ready and willing to educate. She has a unique ability to stay calm and professional when facing stressful HR related situations, which makes her a highly skilled problem solver. … The executive team at CGRS so values her guidance, important decisions are never made without her.”

Eric Hick, CGRS CEO: “René’s strong and compassionate leadership through these unprecedented times has enabled CGRS to survive and thrive. René unrelentingly kept our team focused on our core values and mission, holding the team accountable while at the same time accommodating individual needs of our more sensitive and vulnerable team members. …  She draws strength from seeing others succeed and is truly a ‘force multiplier.’”


Laura Frisinger

Forney Industries Inc.

Vice President, Human Resources

Years in industry: 25

College, university: Colorado State University

“Laura [Frisinger] has been with Forney Industries for five years, and in that time she has completely transformed the HR department at the organization. From the bottom up, Laura implemented unique and creative ways to connect employees with their leaders as well as their peers,” said president and CEO Steve Anderson.

“She has hosted collaboration sessions with employees and outside agencies to discuss 401K investing strategies, aligning staff with their best options for health insurance, wellness initiatives that benefit employees and their families, and DISC assessment collaboration that led to personal discovery and peer relationships. 

“On a leadership note, Laura has participated in strategic planning initiatives that shape the company in meaningful ways, such as establishing KPIs around inter-company promotion goals, engagement survey results, employee turnover management, and compensation relative to the local market.”

Frisinger is a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and is active in the Alpha Phi International Fraternity, the SHRM networking group, and the Northern Colorado Human Resource Association. 

“Laura was and still is essential in our organization’s navigation through the COVID-19 pandemic. She guided our decision-making to keep our employees safe and our company strong and profitable. Her personal style is charismatic and she embodies a light-hearted approach to a very serious line of work. She always has time for counseling and guidance with an open mind and heart to any human topic. Her determination and grit has led her to be a highly respected member of the organization’s executive staff team, and she is well known within the company as a leader who is trusted and kind,” Anderson said.


Heather Gabaldon

Vestas Blades America Inc.

Senior Manager of HSE, Training and Culture

Years in industry: 25

College, university: University of Northern Colorado, Capella University

Heather Gabaldon is the leader of People Culture for Vestas Blades America Inc. supporting factories in Windsor and Brighton. She has been with Vestas since 2016 but has a long history of human resource management throughout Northern Colorado including the Walmart Distribution Center, RR Donnelley, Abound Solar and vice president of HR at Workwell Occupational Medicine before joining Vestas. 

“Upon joining Vestas, she made an immediate impact by bringing to the organization a strong HR background and leadership skills that have led to the development of a strong leadership team within Vestas. Her passion and energy are contagious, and she brings a strong people-centric focus to the organization,” said Kevin Edinger, recruiting and training manager for the company. 

“She has helped Vestas manage the challenges of a cyclical production schedule requiring large hiring periods and reducing factory headcount. Her creativity and drive led to the partnership with the Vestas Service Business Unit to allow more than 200 Brighton and Windsor employees to have the opportunity to move into special service projects, thus avoiding workforce reductions. In addition, these employees are learning new skills and traveling throughout the world. 

“In early 2021, Heather, along with factory manager and VP Hans Jespersen, set forth a vision for the Windsor factory to create an environment in which ownership is shared by the people closest to the work and set a foundation of an organization guided by the concepts of Intent-Based Leadership (IBL) and Intent-Based Accountability (IBA). Heather’s guidance and support led to a team of factory employees dedicated to building the foundation of IBL and IBA from the ground up, not driven from the top down,” said Edinger.. 

“This work has led to increased employee satisfaction, ownership, development, community involvement and pride in being the leaders in wind energy. Heather’s leadership around all aspects of human resource management is unmatched.”


Britt Gondrezick

Orthopaedic and Spine Center of the Rockies

Director of Human Resources

Years in industry: 10

College, university: University of Colorado

“I would like to nominate Britt [Gondrezick] for forever going with a strategic mindset, working through COVID, responding to acquisitions and pressures of a growing organization in the heart of COVID,” said Jeannie Vailiere, a colleague with HRx Services.

“Her will and tenacity to maintain a culture of inclusive respect is unparalleled. She was able to persevere through little to no staff, yet still provide professional development for her team, responding to organizational demands and needs with a positive and protective approach. Britt spends countless hours working to support the mission of OCR and values employee diversity, growth, and continuously creates a culture filled with employee engagement. 

“I believe it is her strategic approach that allows her to be focused both on the big picture [and still] meet the daily transactional needs of patients, employees, and internal customers she supports. Her dedication to the HR profession is profound but more importantly the support that her company provides her is admirable.”


Erin Hane

United Power

Director of Human Resources

Years in industry: 3.5

College, university: California State University-Sacramento, Regis University

“Erin [Hane] has put in place a fair and equitable investigating process in response to employee concerns that has helped develop a deeper sense of trust in our workplace, encouraging employees to report issues without fear of reprisal,” said Heidi Storz, marketing and communications manager, in making the nomination.

“She had successfully negotiated multiple union contracts, working hard to maintain a positive relationship with our diverse union members. As a smaller employer, it has always been tough to recruit the best talent, but she has been able to really broaden the pool of applicants and attract higher quality candidates. While we have wonderful benefits, they were aimed toward long-term employees, so she reconfigured our benefits to make sure our newest employees’ concerns were also met. 

“She also re-wrote all our policies ensuring they were fair, and developed a new compensation program. She was recently honored as one of 20 people nationally by the National Rural Electric Association as a Co-Op Rising Star,” said Storz.


Julia Holland

City of Loveland

Director of Human Resources

Years in industry: 20

College, university: Boise State, University of Denver

“Julia Holland is the human resources director for the city of Loveland. She has successfully led the recruitment efforts of the majority of current executive leadership team members. She led the implementation of the city’s Employee Engagement Survey, implemented a robust HRIS system and successfully led through the challenges including, flood, fire, sluggish and competitive markets and COVID,” said Natalie Allen, HR analyst with the city. 

“Julia’s efforts were not done alone. She asks the important questions, applies best practices, provides clear direction and empowers and equips staff to be involved. She provides sound guidance to reach positive outcomes. She has high expectations and provides guidance for her staff to meet those expectations. 

“She and staff conducted executive recruitment efforts without the use of outside sourcing, saving the city significantly in recruitment cost. Julia provided the tools and guidance to revamp recruitment efforts to maintain a competitive edge in the market including implementation of an HRIS system. Julia, empowered and equipped her team in efforts that spanned across every department. The city now has a wider reach to diverse populations. The HRIS implementation provided cost savings to the city that will span over years while assessing engagement,” Allen said.

“Julia was the initiator of introducing the engagement survey to the city several years ago. She also led in the ability to provide a consistent platform to track data over years. She and her team leveraged best practice surveys to better understand employee engagement. She provided guidance to address gaps. The city maintains a low turnover rate and positive rating on Glass Door. Julia maintains a heart while working tirelessly to provide resources in navigating change. She equips her team to navigate change, she provides sound guidance and does so with heart. Working under Julia’s leadership means growth, opportunity and joy.”


Tamra Koch

VOCO Creative

Head of Human Resources

Years in industry: 30

College, university: Regis University

“’We will figure it out,’ said Tamra [Koch] on the phone with us while we were getting news of the COVID shutdown, which happened to be right in the middle of an election year and also happened to be right in the middle of our new building remodel,” Juli Dimos, managing partner of VOCO, related in her nomination of Koch.

“There were 100 different ways everything was going wrong for our marking agency, and Tamra made sure that we had enough things going right to help us get through COVID by the skin of our teeth. Between layoffs and hiring, she was a very steady influence on the entire team which was now working remote and unsure of what each day would bring. 

“Rather than starting new programs, Tamra helped us hold the line in the shifting sands helping us take full advantage of the PPP and EIDL programs, applying for forgiveness, and keeping us straightened out and afloat. She instigated team building times, adapting to our ever-changing team,” Dimos said. 

“While she isn’t currently holding leadership roles on boards or in nonprofits, she is involved with our company support of Project I See You, a nonprofit that is promoting the Shared Power Initiative, helping single BIPOC mothers own their own homes in the Colorado area. 

“Tamra’s leadership style is one of quiet humility, steady determination, and a willingness to look the very hard and scary things in the eye with us and not back down, but come with solutions. We absolutely cherish her,” Dimos said.


Lori Lantz

CableLabs

Senior Vice President and Chief People Officer

Years in industry: 6

College, university: Pacific Lutheran University, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth

“Lori Lantz’s focus as senior vice president and chief people officer at CableLabs is on building a world-class organization centered on high-trust relationships and developing exceptional leaders who can engage teams across the organization,” said Ann Finnie, director of communications for the company.

“Lori created a succession development plan for CableLabs executives. This includes the creation of the Advanced Leadership Development Program, which was designed to bring senior leaders together to strengthen their leadership abilities and solve organizational problems, enabling us to pivot quickly and be more strategic with recruiting efforts. This effort in establishing a very innovative succession process has been leveraged by board members (CEOs of the 14 largest MSO operators) to influence their own organizations. 

“Lori built a high-impact, strategic Leadership Development Training Program that she facilitates at CableLabs. Program sessions are offered throughout the year with pre- and post-training action plans. Her leadership programs have earned accolades from leaders at all levels. 

“After the acquisition of SCTE, Lori achieved the successful integration and onboarding of the SCTE staff into the CableLabs culture, core values, benefits and payroll systems. She also completed a nine-month leadership development program for all CableLabs/SCTE/Kyrio leaders called Fresh Eyes on Leadership. Lori spearheaded the effort to implement CableLabs’ work-from-home strategy. From the strategic (what do we want/need to do) to the tactical (how are we going to do it), to the personal (how is everyone actually doing), Lori has gone above and beyond expectations in a highly stressful, uncertain situation. 

“She is the champion of the roll-out of a new CableLabs Core Values program. Corporate values can easily become ‘words on a poster in the lobby,’ but Lori’s efforts have resulted in a renewed sense of energy around who we are as an organization and what we believe. We now have employees and leaders ‘walking the talk.’”


Lisa Murphy

MTech Mechanical

Human Resources Manager

Years in industry: 8

College, university: Stetson University

“Lisa Murphy, MBA, SPHR, SCP, is a leader of a small but very mighty team overseeing human resources for more than 525 MTech team members. Throughout the pandemic, Lisa continued to keep a clear and level mind in order to keep our teams working,” said co-worker Molly Cape, marketing manager.

“She manages all of MTech’s government guideline changes, COVID-19 related quarantines, vaccination requirements, etc. She has a long road ahead. Her ability to keep consistent and stand her ground representing the organization is incredible. Throughout that time, Lisa put a large focus in the organization on mental health after losing one of our superintendents to suicide in November 2019. She created an internal initiative around suicide awareness as well as a Mental Health Month campaign. 

“Lisa has consistently worked with Mile High Youth Corps on mock interviews and getting young adults ready to enter the workforce. She takes a highly active role with MTech’s apprenticeship program through the Construction Industry Training Council of Colorado. 

“In Northern Colorado, Lisa is a key part of building our team and making it successful. She contributes to team member needs at AIMS welcome center, Northern Colorado VA clinic as well as our service department covering the entire Northern Colorado area. With the right mix of positivity and enforcement, the ability to tap into others’ strengths and thinking strategically, Lisa Murphy has created and sustained a set of widely successful programs at MTech,” Cape said.

“Lisa is truly dedicated to the entire MTech team and puts her loyalty and the passion for the betterment of others ahead of her own career. She continues to raise the bar with the new “MTech Cares” program focusing on wellness, DEI and community giving. Lisa is passionate about our teams and highly deserves this award and honor of recognition.”


Monique Paradis

People Productions

Office Manager

Years in industry: 25

“Monique [Paradis] is a backbone to our company. During COVID, she:

• Partnered with the owner closely to navigate the PPP paperwork

• Redid our chart of accounts to allow more insight to our business

• Led the charge with implementing a new project management system

• Provided help on health insurance to our team

• Helped on-board several new employees

• Trained a second bookkeeper 

“She is now leading work to streamline our reporting and internal analytics. This will provide us the knowledge to hire more people, structure our company effectively for growth, and be more effective for our B2B marketing clients,” said CEO Don Poe. 

“How does she help with HR? Beyond handling payroll, benefits, insurance, AR and AP, she also has a wealth of knowledge to help all of our staff be empowered and effective at People Productions. She looks out for everyone’s well being and ensures that the backbone of our company is strong so staff members can pay attention to their own jobs. Her processes and documentation are a treasure trove of information for the staff,” Poe said.


Sierra Palmer

Madwire

Human Resources Director

Years in industry: 8

College, university: Colorado State University

“Sierra [Palmer] has been instrumental to the organization, especially over the past 18 months. Her ability to pivot quickly and make decisions that keep the well-being of our employees at the forefront is unmatched,” said Farra Lanzer, director of public and community relations. 

“Sierra helped our entire workforce (550+) transition from fully in-office to fully remote at the blink of an eye. She also advocated for and helped bring about flexible work schedule policies throughout COVID that will now be our forever policies moving forward. Over the past 18 months, Sierra has focused on bringing in outside professionals and creating partnerships to promote mental health and well-being in our employees. 

“She organizes monthly wellness presentations that every employee can attend. These have been extremely successful and the feedback from employees has been great. Sierra is extremely approachable and is a trusted leader among all at Madwire. You’ll hear anyone at Madwire say that she truly cares about the health and well-being of our employees and works hard to continue to keep Madwire one of the best places to work.”


Bridget Paris

Larimer County

Human Resources Director

Years in industry: 16

College, university: University of Northern Colorado

“Bridget Paris is an innovative, respected member of the Larimer County leadership team who has earned the trust of county leaders, including elected officials. She has been integral to Larimer County’s ability to remain open and available to provide services to residents throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and has provided prudent guidance to leaders and staff members virtually around the clock,” according to Lorenda Volker, assistant county manager, and Linda Hoffmann, county manager, who jointly submitted the nomination.

“Bridget led the development of the county’s Employee Remote Work Program that will support a culture of alternative work styles and address facility space issues long after workplaces are dealing with COVID-19. This program has been shared broadly across the state and has served as a model for other organizations. Bridget has also been directly involved in offering innovative employee benefits through a self-insured benefits program. [Benefits] are competitive with other employers and did not require a rate increase. 

“She developed a second language compensation program whereby employees who use their language skills in the course of employment for the benefit of the county can receive compensation for those skills. Bridget has developed a small but mighty team of HR, benefits, and payroll professionals who are always available to provide assistance or guidance.” 

Paris volunteers her time to work on the county’s five-year strategic plan as goal steward for one of the three major goals (which contained five individual objectives). “She also led the internal effort to evaluate the feasibility of employer-sponsored child care services, an objective contained in a separate strategic plan goal. Bridget’s energy and collaborative spirit are evident in everything she does. Larimer County and its employees have benefited from her approach, professionalism and commitment.”


Tamara Parker

UNicycle Business Consulting

CEO

Years in industry: 26

“Tami [Parker] is an amazing outsourced human resource professional who helps many small businesses in Northern Colorado. Her down-to-earth approach and love for small business set her apart,” said client Becky Ezzell of Smart Book Business Solutions.

“Her corporate background gave her the experience to dig in and see how businesses operate from the ground level up, starting with solid management, talented staffing, and internal processes and procedures. People are Tami’s passion; from finding the right position for an employee to helping the business owner eliminate being overwhelmed by creating processes inside the business. 

“Her HR compliance assistance, talent evaluation, management training, action planning and on-boarding are game changers for her clients. The services Tami provides allows the typical business owner who has too many plates in the air to take a deep breath of relief by Tami’s assistance when these important tasks are taken off their shoulders,” Ezzell said.

Likewise, fellow independent business owner Geneve Huxley of Huxley CPA agreed that Parker is a trusted HR adviser to many small businesses in the Northern Colorado area.

“She helps them navigate the intricacies in hiring the right staff, the murky waters of difficult employee conversations, and making tough decisions about things such as terminations. She’s there every step of the way in those. 

“She also helps small businesses keep up with the changing landscape of employment regulations. Her straight-forward, no-nonsense approach to tough personnel situations is a breath of fresh air. She volunteers her time by teaching interviewing and other HR-related skills at the Fort Collins Start Up Week, the Longmont SBDC and the East Colorado SBDC,” Huxley said.

“Even though she’s an extrovert, she also works closely with the group She Leads, a Northern Colorado community for professional leaders that is an introvert-friendly space for building relationships and networking.”


Alison Peterson

Creative Alignments

Client Services Director

Years in industry: 20

College, university: University of Colorado Boulder

“Alison [Peterson] has been an integral leader at Creative Alignments for seven of the company’s 11-year history as a Time-Based Recruiting company in Boulder. During this time, business has grown quickly and Creative Alignments has been honored for its innovation, growth, and outstanding company culture — all of which she contributed to,” said Shenna Fitzgerald, marketing director for the company. 

“Two years ago, she was instrumental in creating a new leadership structure to accommodate this growth while still staying true to building a positive, people-first culture. During the early days of COVID, she helped conceive of CA Launch, an initiative that provides diverse new college grads the tools and preparation they need to kickstart their careers in industries they are passionate about. This program was especially poignant at a time when unemployment numbers and the competitiveness of the job market had skyrocketed. 

“She is an exceptional HR professional and recruiter in her own right, and an inspiring, patient mentor and advocate for her team. Her leadership style is approachable, thoughtful, transparent and motivating. She is responsible for leading work with some of the company’s biggest clients and manages a team that oversees about 25% of the company’s clients. She is a thoughtful, patient guide, providing space for people to be intrinsically passionate about their own professional growth and learn in the ways that work best for them. 

“She helps build confidence and provide support, while encouraging individual autonomy and team collaboration and cohesion. This is evident in staff engagement surveys, which show 100% employee satisfaction around company leadership. She is always willing to take on what is needed to help her team, clients, or co-workers. She has volunteered with the Women’s Bean Project to teach interviewing skills and preparation to women working to pull themselves out of poverty, and is a member of Naturally Boulder,” Fitzgerald said.

Image by Kyle Jameson Photography


Suzanne Rhodes

Pinnacle Consulting Group Inc.

Director of Human Resources

Years in industry: 15

College, university: Grand Canyon University

“Suzanne Rhodes has been an incredible leader within Pinnacle through an ever-changing landscape of human resources over the past 18 months. As the director of human resources, her primary focus on the Pinnacle staff and their wellbeing was never diverted,” said president and CEO Chad Walker. 

“She was able to guide her staff to adjust to the continually changing regulations and guidelines over the past 18 months. Her ability to remain consistent with her communication through the lens of the Pinnacle Non-negotiables offered stability and reassurance to the Pinnacle Team through a challenging time. 

“The intentional refocusing of the Pinnacle team back to our core values through her daily communications was critical. Finally, she was instrumental in implementing a chaplain program for the Pinnacle team. With the chaplain program, Pinnacle has partnered with two licensed counselors to offer regular support for the Pinnacle staff on site. 

“Suzanne has been a pillar of stability and encouragement for the Pinnacle staff and continues to impact our community through the ripples of her support of the Pinnacle team,” Walker said.


Joyce Saffel

Columbine Health Systems

Human Resources Director

Years in industry: 18

College, university: University of Wyoming

Joyce Saffel has been a member of Columbine Health Systems’ Emergency Operations Committee since the start of COVID. “She has played an integral role in ensuring we were doing all we could and communicating often with our employees with the ever-changing guidance and expectations from the state and federal levels. All the while, she has maintained all of the regular human resources changes taking place with FMLA, OSHA, required posting of wages, etc.,” said Yvonne Myers, health systems director and coworker. 

Saffel is the chair of the Larimer County Economic Development and Workforce Board, a member of the board of ARC of Larimer County, and a member of the Front Range Community College CNA Advisory Board. 

“She manages our Project Search program with Poudre School District, offering a school-based learning program at Columbine with real work intern experiences for those with developmental disabilities. Joyce also manages our apprenticeship program with Poudre Valley and Thompson school districts whereby high school juniors/seniors interested in health care careers join our workforce and obtain industry certified credentials. Her leadership style is one of seeing a problem, rallying others to provide input and expertise, and then working together toward solutions. Joyce is always available — 24/7 — to assist with any issues/needs we may have at Columbine and is a strong leader and capable executor of programs and changes,” Myers said.


Jill Scanlon

Odell Brewing Co.

Chief People Officer

Years in industry: 6

“Jill Scanlon has been an integral figure in the success of Odell Brewing Co. over the past 5+ years and her true leadership effectiveness showed brightest during the tumultuous months of the recent COVID-19 pandemic,” said Andrew Magana, people strategy manager for the brewer.

“Jill’s clear communication of important information, guidance in uncertainty, and compassion for our co-workers were key to our company staying safe (after an initial shutdown, we never had to close our entire facility due to exposure) and informed through the past 18 months. Jill’s HR experience in the health care, non-profit, and higher education industries has brought a wealth of professionalism to our company, so much so that other industry professionals will reach out to her for insight on their own internal issues. 

“Jill has assumed the role of not only the point person for compliance, but is a change leader (demonstrated by her ushering in additional focuses on gender and racial/ethnic equality for our company) and facilitator of company culture at one of the most impactful organizations in Northern Colorado. 

“Besides being a HR superstar, Jill is known around Odell for her musical musings (nickname: Jingle Jill) and consistent availability for a ‘quick chat,’ even if that turns into a hour-and-a-half walk. She is an icon of her industry and is able to blend the structure of HR with the innovation and flexibility of craft beer in a seamless and enjoyable approach,” Magana said.


Angela Scarpello

Columbine Health Systems

Clinical Recruiter/Human Resources Manager

Years in industry: 22

College, university: Grand View College, Des Moines, Iowa

“Angie Scarpello has been instrumental in attracting and hiring the talented staff at Columbine Health Systems. Angie’s technical expertise as a registered nurse gives her unique insight with candidates ensuring the best fit and top-notch skills to provide great services to our residents, said Joyce Saffel, HR director at Columbine.

“Her ability to connect with candidates, knowing the importance of work/life balance and matching skills is extremely important. Angie collaborates with our local Boys and Girls Club, high schools, community colleges and universities to grow future health care workers from our high school apprenticeship program to nurse leaders. The wide range of candidates from high school students interested in entering health care for the first time to the seasoned nursing staff, Angie knows how to choose great talent. 

“Recruiting in health care during the COVID pandemic has been very challenging in Northern Colorado. Angie helped develop unique areas of upscaling with our current workforce to supply much needed job roles. Her collaboration with the Larimer County Economic & Workforce Center and other great partners in Larimer and Weld counties has been very successful.


Amanda Sutera

Ludvik Electric Co.

Human Resources Generalist

Years in industry: 10

College, university: Front Range Community College

“Amanda [Sutera] exemplifies professionalism and dedication in the workplace and, specifically, human resources. She brings a wealth of experience in benefits administration. She spends time each day answering questions and providing service and support to all employees needing assistance with benefits,” said Ludvik HR manager Dale Hagar.

“During the past 18 months, Amanda has spearheaded the implementation of a new human resources information system now in use at our organization. This required much coordination with other departments and key staff members. 

“Amanda will have a significant influence on the next generation of Colorado electricians due to her participation with the Rocky Mountain branch of the IEC. This is the trade school that offers classroom training for aspiring electricians. Amanda’s participation includes enrollment, scheduling classes and curriculum. She verifies education and experience for compensation changes, and she has also just authored an apprenticeship guideline that serves as a roadmap for the process required to becoming a licensed electrician. 

“I am pleased to recommend Amanda with this recognition. She serves as an excellent example of leadership within human resources for the Boulder Valley and Northern Colorado region,” Hagar said.


Mindy Yeager

Avid4 Adventure

Staffing Director

Years in industry: 6

“Mindy [Yeager] supports every employee at Avid4 Adventure with grace, empathy, professionalism, and integrity. Across every functional team, people love working with Mindy and value her experience, opinions, and advice,” said Avid4 Adventure CEO Paul Dreyer.

“Mindy is a change maker and leader — both within Avid4 Adventure and beyond, for others in our industry and other industries. Mindy leads and manages conversations and initiatives that drive positive change around equity, inclusion, and justice. Mindy prioritizes equity and diversity when budgeting around recruitment spending and relationship building with recruiting partners. Mindy has been a champion for paying a living wage to all of our hundreds of seasonal employees, something that goes well beyond the norm in our industry. 

“Mindy is also consistently thinking about how we can better connect with and care for our full-time team; twice in the past two years, Mindy has edited our benefits package to respond to employee concerns and our external landscape. For example, Mindy recently brought a new idea to our executive team — adding “Avid4 Balance and Celebration Days (ABC Days) to our benefits package. To support one of our core values of Live Balanced, this benefit would mandate that all full-time staff take the first Friday of each month fully off from Avid4 work responsibilities. Mindy came up with this idea, fought for its adoption, and it is now a part of our culture. 

“Mindy lives our core values, and supports each of us to do the same. She is a leader and role model for all HR professionals,” Dreyer said.