Utah Business HR Achievement Awards

2018 HR Achievement Awards

HR leaders are usually more accustomed to giving out kudos than receiving them. That’s why we’re delighted to turn the tables and give some stellar HR professionals the recognition they deserve.


Lifetime Achievement


Frances A. Hume, SPHR, SCP, GPHR
Founder, Hume ‘n Resources Consulting

Frances Hume has been in the human resources profession for four decades. After several years working for corporations, she launched her own consulting business in 1998. She’s been involved with SHRM leadership since 1979 and was chair of the national SHRM board in 2009.

How has the role of the HR professional changed within organizations?

In great organizations, HR is the hub of the wheel working from the inside out with each key area of the business (like the spokes of the wheel) attached to the hub. An HR professional must understand all areas of the business and understand what keeps those managers awake at night. And then collaborate with managers to assist in solving these challenges.

… Liking people is not the only qualification for pursuing a career in human resources. It helps, but it is insufficient for success. HR jobs and careers continue to grow in sophistication, and the expectations of employers increase every year. HR professionals must have the ability to contribute to employee development, organization development, employee retention, and a positive, motivating work environment.

What advice do you have for someone considering a career in human resources?

Be a life-long learner—get a business education as well as HR and get it early! … Be curious and courageous enough to discover what you don’t know. It’s easy to do things we know and that we are comfortable doing.  However, you will need to learn about what changes are happening not only in your organization but throughout your industry and profession.

… Be a wise change master. Don’t change things just for the sake of change. Manage each change effectively. It’s one thing to find great ideas and another to implement them. Great ideas take time and effort to implement, and someone has to manage them. Learn and employ the best practices of project management so you can lead these changes. Know what’s available, use all the tools you can find and take a leading role in the implementation of your HR plans.


Large Companies


Dianne James, SPHR
Executive Vice President, Chief Human Resource Officer, Zions Bancorporation

How have you helped to develop and foster the culture within your company?

Due to the uniqueness of our structure, and that our growth over a number of years has come from acquisition, I would say that we have a blending of cultures. It’s something that makes us unique and is much valued by our bank leaders.

In HR, we consider ourselves “culture keepers” and one of the ways in which we “keep our fingers on the pulse” is through our company-wide employee survey.  The survey includes questions that help us to understand how employees feel about things like trust in leadership, integrity and ethical business practices.  The survey results enable us to measure our effectiveness in these areas.

How have you worked to ensure greater diversity/inclusion at your company?

We provide management with demographic data that is then used to set goals around gender and ethnicity, we ensure that our development programs have an equal balance of female and male representation, we strive to ensure our corporate board has diverse representation and, finally, we’ve established enterprise-wide regional D&I councils that report to an executive D&I council who ultimately report activities and results to senior management and the board of directors.


Bob Sant
Corporate HR Director, Kenworth Sales Company

What do you enjoy most about your work?

I enjoy being involved in all aspects of the company, from day-to-day interactions with employees to serving on the executive management team and assisting in the company’s overall direction.  I especially enjoy helping employees succeed, which in turn, helps the company succeed.

What are some unique HR challenges you face in your company, and how have you helped your company address those challenges?

The biggest challenge we see today in our company is finding talented people who want to make a career in our industry. Many young people today don’t seem to want to be diesel mechanics, salespeople, truck drivers, etc. Therefore, we have initiated a program that introduces young students (age 13-18) to our industry; we offer dealership tours, apprentice programs, support scholarships and partnerships with local schools such as SLCC and many other industry trade schools.

Another challenge is benefits. Trying to stay ahead of the curve. Coming up with ways to offset and try to control the high costs of medical insurance. We want to offer a rich, affordable plan to our employees. We are concentrating on the things we can control. … We are part of a new and growing heath captive plan.  We are looking at leveraging our size to come up with other solutions to help control the rising costs healthcare.


Medium  Companies


Charlotte L. Miller
Chief Human Resources Officer, U.S. Ski and Snowboard

How have you worked to ensure greater diversity and inclusion at your company?

Greater diversity and inclusion requires daily work and individual interaction. While president of the Utah State Bar, I learned that the graders of the bar exam were all men, even though women had been a substantial percentage of law school graduates for some time. To change the situation, I and others reached out to women to invite them to be part of the Bar examination group. It turns out that people didn’t know they could volunteer, didn’t know they were wanted, and weren’t sure of how to get involved.  In the course of two years, we completely changed the gender balance of Bar examiners. That resulted in more people being active in the Bar organization, and more people of all backgrounds and ages having a greater voice and presence.

At U. S. Ski & Snowboard we have just started to study how to increase the number of women in the coaching positions. There, too, it will be understanding, educating and then doing the hard work of encouraging applicants and making new employees feel welcome.

What do you enjoy most about your work?
I enjoy solving problems; whether it is a complicated business merger, caring for someone who is being mistreated, a compensation problem or a health insurance challenge.


Cassie Whitlock
Director of HR, BambooHR

What are some unique HR challenges you face in your company, and how have you helped your company address those challenges?

The biggest challenge I face, alongside my HR team—and likely the biggest challenge for HR in most organizations—is balancing business needs and individual employees’ needs. In HR, it’s crucial to find a win-win scenario as opposed to a win-lose outcome. For instance, the organization has to hit revenue numbers because it’s a company priority, but they shouldn’t do it at the expense of employee wellbeing. I feel lucky to work at an organization where the founders care about this balance of needs too.

What advice do you have for a young person considering a career in human resources?

Ask: “Do I have the personal fortitude to handle tough things?” It can be difficult to balance the necessary empathy and logic required to handle these situations.

“Am I personally motivated?” It’s a thankless role, and no one notices until something goes wrong. To excel, you have to be willing to work hard and be thoughtful, even when no one is high-fiving you.

“Am I able to analyze an organization to find and solve their problems?” There is a lot of operational work to be done in HR. It can be difficult to not let it consume you. If you do, you’ll miss out on the bigger opportunities to make a difference in the company and meet needs.


Small Companies


Heather H. Fisher
Human Resources Manager, Newmark Grubb ACRES

How do you view your role within the overall management team at your company?

Our executive management team is committed to creating a strong and healthy culture for our employees. As the HR manager, I find they engage me in conversations about the decisions that affect employees and we evaluate the potential impact of any proposed changes. We connect regularly on any issues facing our employees, and they empower HR to do what’s right for our employees. I also participate on our cultural leadership team which advises the executive management team.

I am protective of my role as a person an employee can turn to when they need help. I appreciate and respect the trust they put in me and am supported in my belief that we do the right thing for everyone. I am keenly aware of my obligation to my employees and managers to provide a high level of quality service to each of them.  I think it is essential that I continue to progress and learn from every situation.

What advice do you have for anyone considering a career in human resources?

HR requires a balance of business acuity and an ability to understand people. I would recommend studying both.  Stay curious about people and challenge your preconceptions.


Heidi Humphries, SHRM-SCP, PHR
Director of Human Resources, MedQuest Pharmacy

How have you worked to effectively recruit top talent and retain that talent?

It’s critical for hiring managers to understand what’s important to their prospective new hires. I firmly believe that the employer-employee relationship is a value exchange, and both parties need to feel that they’re getting what they need from the relationship. The challenge can be that most candidates are more concerned about making a great first impression than being authentic, so it can be hard to get genuine feedback. Our screening process includes multiple touch points, including an HR call to answer questions and address concerns away from the pressures of the formal interview, before an offer is made.

How do you view your role within the overall management team at your company?
I’ve been fortunate enough to be included as a key part of the management team for several years now. … Many business-related issues and new ideas cross my desk as a kind of check and balance, because I tend to see things through a very different lens than other managers. My goal is always to help others find a way to accomplish whatever it is they want to do, but I feel comfortable and fully supported if I ever need to push back or point out problems that require resolution.


Tech  Companies


Cathy Donahoe
VP, Human Resources, Domo

What are the processes or programs you’ve helped implement regarding talent development?

One program that I’m particularly proud that we’ve had since day one is a high-performance culture (HPC) program, something a lot of technology companies are implementing today. HPC is a modern way to view performance management, by focusing on 3–4 key questions about performance so that it’s actionable. This approach is grounded in driving communications between managers and their employees, and in technology, the need for an immediate feedback loop is critical to encourage open dialogue. We’ve also implemented a survey to ensure that there has been progress with the HPC program, asking employees … if they have regular check-ins with their managers or if they’re getting feedback in real-time.

How have you worked to ensure greater diversity/inclusion at your company?

Being mindful of diversity means not just hiring people you know—by expanding your searches to broader networks, you create greater diversity in your workforce, and in turn, you build company cultures that encourage inclusion and awareness.

We also have an Everyone@Domo council, which is committed to building an inclusive workforce through recruiting, community outreach and partnering, and workforce training.


Troy Anderson
Director – Talent Management, Instructure

How do you view your role within the overall management team at your company?

I don’t see myself limited to a traditional learning and development type of role. Rather, I’d like to think of myself as an internal organizational development consultant and executive coach. I’ve had the good fortune of being able to mold my position to what I enjoy doing, where my skill sets lie, and more importantly, where I can add value most in the long term here at Instructure.

What advice do you have for a young person considering a career in human resources?

Business acumen shouldn’t be overlooked. Being a “people person” is, of course, important in human resources. But it’s equally important to be a business and thought leader, thinking strategically to be able to understand leaders and the challenges they face.

If I had known this fact earlier, I could have been a more effective human resources professional at the beginning of my career. As an HR professional, we have little credibility if we don’t understand the customers we serve and the company’s competitors. Having an understanding of these fundamentals is critical to actually being able to solve any people problems within the company.


Summer Scoville
Regional HR Site Lead, Dell EMC

How have you helped to develop and foster the culture within your company?

The Dell culture is one of customer first, high collaboration, work hard/play hard environment, and part of a family feel.  We also value a culture of winning together, innovation, results and integrity.  The leadership team encourages participation in community involvement such as the food bank, blood drives, STEM efforts in local high schools, etc., and [employees] receive paid time during this involvement. …  Last year I partnered with our wellness coach to create a hiking group during the summer months to encourage health and wellness across the site.  Many employees were interested and met up a few times a month to hike the beautiful mountains of Utah.

How have you worked to ensure greater diversity/inclusion at your company?

The Utah site has several Employee Resource Groups that focus solely on diversity and inclusion such as Women in Action, Pride, Veterans & Supporters, Latino Connection, Planet, Caregivers, GenNext and Indian Subcontinent. These groups gather often to host site events, support community involvement initiatives, provide growth and development opportunities within the site, and offer leadership roles for individual contributors. These groups are supported by the executive team and run by the employees.


Disrupter of the Year


Jared Olsen, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
Co-Founder & President , REYFYA

What are some unique HR challenges you face in your industry?

Complacency and fear are the biggest challenges I see in the HR industry. HR has historically been the department who has created red tape, smothered innovation, and taken the safe path.  The HR industry is in need of some serious disruption.

What aspects of human resources do you believe are ripe for disruption?

Results only work environments (ROWE) are such a simple illustration of where HR is ripe for disruption. Why do people drive over an hour each way to the office to do virtual work? Why do companies pay millions of dollars to build office space that houses people doing virtual work? Why does HR care so much about attendance, when all that matters is that the job gets done?  ROWE challenges the way work has historically been done.

… At REYFYA you can show up whenever you want and work as long as you want, as long as the job gets done. You can go grocery shopping in the middle of the day, go see a movie when the theater is empty, and we treat everyone like adults. … When you are treated with respect, your work ends up better.


Emerging HR Professional


Kathy Brown, PHR, SHRM-CP
HR Manager, Simplus

What is a unique HR challenge you’ve face in your company?

Just last month, we just finished a 40-employee acquisition. When you only had 160 employees to begin with, that’s a pretty big undertaking. … We did a lot of project planning; we did a lot of things preemptively to try and help respond to a lot of the questions that you get when you’re doing an acquisition transition. … HR is a pretty integral part of an acquisition in that you’re affecting peoples’ lives. So when you’re changing up a lot of the terms of their employment, it’s something that needs to be handled with care.

What qualities are important for a successful HR professional?

You need to have the ability to connect with a lot of different kind of people and be personable, but also be able to retain back some of your emotion. You deal with a lot of hard things—you’re ending people’s employment, you’re giving them bad news. You also get to give them good news! So having that emotional maturity there in that role is a very key factor. Another one would be maintaining a professionalism, in that you’re privy to almost every aspect of someone’s confidential life.

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