The HRO Today CHRO of the Year Award

If people are a company’s greatest asset, then chief HR officers (CHROs) have a lot riding on their shoulders.  They are stewards and strategists who are responsible for a company’s talent and performance blueprint – all of which drive the business forward.  The 2017 winners and leaders of distinction were announced at the awards gala on May 1, 2017 at the HRO Today Forum in Chicago.  The 2017 winners and leaders of distinction are below.

2017 CHRO of the Year Awards Winners and Leaders of Distinction Include:

WINNER – INNOVATION:  David Almeda, Chief People Officer, Kronos Incorporated
As chief people officer, David Almeda is responsible for overseeing the global human resources function at Kronos. In this role, he drives the company’s human capital management strategy – including talent acquisition and development, compensation
and benefits, and employee engagement programs – to support the company’s
continued growth, innovation, and profitability. A firm believer that innovative
ideas come from Kronites who work in every corner of the globe and that a talented workforce is the cornerstone of Kronos being successful, Almeda is passionate about employee development. An active advocate for Kronites to view Kronos as a great place to work and a company committed to health and wellness, Almeda is credited with bringing the award-winning “WorkInspired” employment brand to life at Kronos.
Karen Crone, CHRO, Paycor
Karen Crone, chief human resources officer (CHRO), joined Paycor in June 2010.  She is responsible for scaling Paycor’s people practices in support of its rapid growth and for reinforcing its strong culture across an evolving geographic footprint. Prior to joining Paycor, Ms. Crone held a variety of HR and operations executive leadership roles at American Modern Insurance Group, Kendle International, and Convergys Corporation.  She earned her B.A. in English at Miami University and an M.A. in Labor and Employment Relations at the University of Cincinnati.
Christine Esckilsen, Chief Human Capital Officer, Piper Jaffray
Christine Esckilsen is the chief human capital officer at Piper Jaffray.  She sits on the firm’s leadership team and oversees human capital, marketing and communications, meetings and events, community relations, travel and real estate.  She focuses on strategic issues and works with chairman and CEO Andrew Duff and other members of the leadership team to further organizational effectiveness, employee development and the firm’s overall culture. Christine also serves as the in-house employment lawyer.  Prior to joining Piper Jaffray in 2002, Christine was in private practice at Littler Mendelson in California, where she was a management-side employment litigator for national corporations.
Kate Etinger, EVP, Chief HR Officer, Bank Leumi
Kate Etinger is the chief human resources officer at Leumi.  Ms. Etinger joined Leumi in 2014 and is responsible for the overall human resources strategy and implementation, including talent management, talent acquisition, compensation and benefits, professional development and employee engagement.  Prior to joining Leumi, Ms. Etinger was vice president of human resources for the Card Services Division with Fiserv.  Prior to that, Kate spent eight years working in various human resources management positions with Citigroup supporting their commercial banking business, global transactional services and global compensation functions.  Previously, Kate held various human resources roles within the financial services industry.  Ms. Etinger earned an executive master’s degree in human resources leadership from Rutgers University and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Long Island University.
Tony Fogel, CHRO, Coveris
Mr. Fogel serves as the chief people and culture officer for Coveris Group, a $3B global packaging manufacturer with 71 facilities and 11,000 employees worldwide.  Prior to joining Coveris, he was the chief human resources officer for two publicly-traded global companies:  Ciber, a $1B technology company and Level 3 Communications, a $4B telecommunications company.  He was responsible for ensuring HR strategy that enabled the achievement of desired business outcomes and he led all aspects of global human resources.
Jim Hazboun, CHRO/CAO, Hyundai Capital America
Jim Hazboun is the CHRO/CAO at Hyundai Capital America (HCA), a $30 billion, top-10 auto-finance company.   At HCA, Jim is the head of the corporate services division, which includes human resources, corporate culture, information technology, project management office, procurement, and administration and services.   He is responsible for leading a broad organization transformation to drive overall performance, efficiency, and engagement.  He also served as the key advisor and valued business partner to the CEO during a period of significant growth and organizational change.  His advice to leadership and proven skill in identifying financial obstacles to success helped Hyundai Capital to keep engagement high—and raise it further—while controlling labor costs.  Jim earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Law/International Relations from the University of the Pacific.  He was also an NCAA Division 1-A Football scholarship recipient.  His interests include reading, entrepreneurial endeavors, mixed martial arts, and spending time with his family.
Khara Julien, VP of Human Resources, Gypsum Management & Supply, Inc.
With more than 15 years of experience as a human resources professional in the manufacturing and distribution industries, Khara Julien is passionate about leading with grit, wisdom and compassion.  Currently, Khara is the head of human resources for Gypsum Management & Supply (GMS), the nation’s leading distributor of wallboard, acoustical products and related specialty building materials.  GMS operates through nearly 40 independent regional subsidiaries with over 200 branches across 37 states.  In this role, she is responsible for leading the development and implementation of a nationwide HR strategy.
WINNER – LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT:  Francine Katsoudas, SVP, Chief People Officer, Cisco
Francine Katsoudas is senior vice president and chief people officer of Cisco.  She plays a major role in the company’s overall performance, leading organizational strategy, promoting operational effectiveness, and elevating team performance through innovative leadership.  She leads Cisco’s business-driven People Strategy and People Deal, both of which support and align to Cisco’s overall business strategy and are essential to driving the company’s transformational journey.  She also is evolving Cisco’s approach to strategic workforce planning with programs highlighting the skills and capabilities that employees need to be innovative in today’s technology-driven environment.  She fosters a culture of full spectrum participation, emphasizing inclusion and collaboration to drive exponential business value.  A 20-year veteran of Cisco, Katsoudas has extensive experience leading organizational transformations, driving large scale growth, talent acquisition, leadership development, and succession planning.
WINNER – SUSTAINABLE WORKFORCE:  Andrea Ledford, Executive Vice President, Chief Administration Office, and Chief Human Resources Officer, NCR
Andrea oversees critical functions that drive change management and support NCR’s corporate strategy as a hardware-enabled, software-driven business.  Ledford’s global responsibilities include human resources, corporate marketing and public affairs, corporate real estate, global security and aviation.  She is the company’s principal architect of the global human resources strategy and practices, including talent and organization effectiveness, learning and development, total rewards, global workforce strategies and a robust shared services organization, including an innovative HR self-service solution.  Ledford also oversees the NCR Foundation, which is dedicated to helping build stronger communities around the world by investing in innovative solutions that help people become self-sufficient.
WINNER – FOR PROFIT:  Brian Little, Head of Human Resources, Zurich North America
Brian Little is head of HR for Zurich Insurance North America.  He has over 25 years of HR leadership experience in national and global companies, and joined Zurich in 2009.  Previously, he worked as the senior vice president of corporate HR for HSBC Bank, director of leadership development and manager of organizational learning for Ameritech, and senior HR consultant for Amoco Production Company.  Little also gained HR consulting experience while working with companies on team building and executive coaching.  He is passionate about working with non-profit organizations, including the Oakton College Foundation, for which he is vice president and past treasurer.  He received the Men of Excellence Award for 2011 and the National Eagle Leadership Institute Award in 2012.
Jane Maksoud, CHRO, Mount Sinai Health System
As senior vice president and chief human resources officer, Ms. Maksoud leads the execution of a comprehensive people strategy designed to attract, develop, optimize and retain top clinical and administrative talent, supported by an environment of mutual respect and collaboration for members of the Mount Sinai Health System.  Recognizing that success requires much more than purely procedural acumen, Ms. Maksoud is reinventing the process and criteria by which top talent is sourced, on-boarded and developed.  Leveraging industry best practices and resources, Ms. Maksoud is currently creating programs and introducing management and selection tools that fully consider the technical, behavioral and cultural dimensions of employee competency with a focus on service.
Adriene McCoy, CHRO, Baptist Health South Florida
Adriene McCoy has more than 20 years of experience in healthcare human resources management.  She leads Baptist Health South Florida’s HR function, which includes the areas of talent management, talent acquisition, benefits, compensation, leadership development, employee learning, HR operations and employee communications.  Ms. McCoy’s background includes leadership roles in both for-profit and nonprofit healthcare environments, including large hospital systems and acute and long-term care facilities.  Since joining Baptist Health nearly a decade ago, her mission has been to transform the HR team to make it more responsive to the needs of employees and the business.
Marcia Morales-Jaffe, Former SVP, Chief People Officer, PayPal
Marcia Morales-Jaffe joined PayPal’s leadership team in 2015, to spearhead PayPal’s efforts to shape a unique culture, one that inspires every employee to embrace and advance PayPal’s transformational business vision and social mission.  In her role as CHRO, Marcia partnered closely with the business to attract the best and brightest talent, creating opportunities for individuals and teams to thrive, increasing employee engagement, fostering PayPal’s business principles of being Customer Champions and acting as One Team, and inspiring employees to fulfill the company’s mission of democratizing financial services.  Under her leadership, the company has defined a set of four cultural values that are explicitly woven into key employee experiences and permeate some of the company’s most important business decisions:  collaboration, innovation, inclusion and wellness.
Angela Moriarity, Director of Human Resources, Advanced Correctional Healthcare
Angela Moriarity, MBA, SHRM-SCP, director of human resources, has 11 years of experience with Advanced Correctional Healthcare, Inc.  Her experience includes the entire process of recruiting high-quality applicants through to the retention of employees.  Through documentation and training, Angela encourages effective employee relations practices.  She is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and is a SHRM Senior Certified Professional.  She is currently finishing her Ph.D. in human resources.
Deslyn Norris, Vice President of Human Resources, Topgolf
Deslyn Douglas Norris, PHR, MBA, leads the recruiting, development and retention efforts for Topgolf associates worldwide.  She is the founder and president of Topgolf Cares, an internal charitable foundation for Associates by Associates.  She ensures that Topgolf attracts top talent by offering competitive benefits and a fun-loving culture.  Put simply, Deslyn strives to make Topgolf the place to work.  Prior to joining Topgolf in 2013, Deslyn served as GameStop’s manager of talent management for 6,650 stores in 15 countries.  She also previously worked at EarthLink, Accenture and The Music Network, where she specialized in organizational development and effectiveness, training and development, employee communications, change management, succession planning and more.
Mark Puleo, Vice President and CHRO, Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital
Mark Puleo joined Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital in 2002 and is currently the vice president and chief human resources officer.  As a member of senior leadership, he’s responsible for recruitment and engagement, leadership and organizational development, rewards and recognition, labor and employee relations, and benefits and compensation.  Mr. Puleo has over 25 years of HR management experience — mostly in acute healthcare — having worked for Keck Hospital of USC/USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, Northridge Hospital Medical Center, Harbor UCLA Medical Center and Shriners Hospital for Children.  He holds a Masters’ degree in business administration with emphasis on healthcare management.
Collette Taylor, Senior Vice President, Human Resources and Facilities, Astellas US LLC
Collette Taylor is senior vice president, human resources and facilities.  In this role, Taylor leads all human resources activities, including talent acquisition, compensation and benefits, merger integration, employee engagement and talent development for the company’s Americas Region.  She also oversees Astellas’ real estate services and facilities throughout the region.  Taylor is a member of the Astellas US management committee.
Kathy Zwickert, Chief People Officer, NetSuite (Oracle)
Kathy Zwickert is a strategic human resources executive with more than 25 years of experience working with leaders, boards, and global teams to help companies scale and architect change.  To drive business transformations, Kathy pairs financial consulting and corporate leadership experience with a deep understanding of the importance of people in building successful companies.  Her ability to deliver innovative solutions for even the most difficult people-related issues makes her an invaluable advisor to companies looking to scale their organization, retention, and culture operations.

Previous winners from 2016 include:

  • Laurie Dalton, CHRO, gategroup, North America – CHRO of the Year, For Profit
  • Kimberly Hauer, EVP and CHRO, SC Johnson (formerly Vice President and Chief HR Officer, Caterpillar Inc.) – CHRO of the Year, Lifetime Achievement
  • Tim Mulligan, CHRO, Vulcan Inc. (formerly Chief Human Resources Officer, San Diego Zoo Global) – CHRO of the Year, Non-Profit
  • Pat Wadors, CHRO & Senior Vice President of the Global Talent Organization, LinkedIn – CHRO of the Year, Sustainable Workforce
  • The complete list of 2016 winners and finalists can be found here:  click here.

Previous winners from 2015 include:

  • Candace Osunsade, now SVP and Chief of Staff, National Acquarium – CHRO of the Year, Non-Profit
  • Kawel LauBach, CHRO, Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority – CHRO of the Year, For Profit
  • Jenn Mann, Vice President of HR, SAS – CHRO of the Year, Sustainable Workforce
  • Johnna G. Torsone, Executive VP and CHRO, Pitney Bowes – CHRO of the Year, Lifetime Achievement
  • The complete list of 2015 winners and finalists can be found here:  click here.

Previous winners from 2014 include:

  • Jan Becker, SVP of Human Resources, Autodesk – CHRO of the Year, For Profit
  • Joseph Cabral, CHRO, Partners HealthCare (former SVP and CHRO, The North Shore-LIJ Health System) – CHRO of the Year, Non-Profit
  • Michelle DiTondo, SVP of HR, MGM Resorts International – CHRO of the Year, Sustainable Workforce
  • Roger Gaston, SVP of Human Resources, Gates Corporation (formerly SVP of Human Resources, Avaya_ – CHRO of the Year, Lifetime Achievement
  • The complete list of 2014 winners and finalists can be found here:  click here.

For more information about the award, please contact Scott Fuhr at 215-606-9525.
For awards gala sponsorship information, please contact Chris Galione at 215-606-9519.


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