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Utah Business

Meet our 2021 HR Achievement Award winners

The pandemic impacted every department of every company, but none more so than our HR departments. In an instant, they were tasked with helping us transition to a remote workforce while developing the protocols that help keep us safe and healthy in the workplace. Because of this, we are even more excited to honor this year’s class of HR Achievement Award winners. Let’s meet them.

Brandon C. Batt

Director of People Operations | Savory

LinkedIn

Brandon Batt | 2021 HR Achievement Awards | Utah Business
Brandon Batt photographed by Justin Hackworth for Utah Business Magazine

How would you like to see human resources and talent acquisition progress?

It’s time for an unpopular opinion: Those in the [Human Capital] arena need to be more inclusive with those trying to get a foot in the “HC door.” I have seen individuals being pushed out of the “circle” time and time again―if even let in at all. Now is the time for everyone to get over themselves, link arms with young people in their careers, and bring them to the top of the mountain. 

What advice do you have for your younger self?

Fail faster and don’t take the casual approach to life.

Brittany Call

Sr. Director, People Operations | Lucid

LinkedIn

Brittany Call | 2021 HR Achievement Awards | Utah Business
Brittany Call photographed by Justin Hackworth for Utah Business

Have you always seen yourself doing what you’re doing now? Or did you have other ideas of what your career would look like?

I was supposed to be a civil engineer or an architect. My parents assumed my love of math and science would lead me in a more technical direction, so they were very surprised when I came home from college one day and announced that I wanted to follow in my mother’s footsteps and work in HR.

What is the most rewarding thing about working in HR?

I love that my work impacts people’s lives both at work and outside of it. My team is able to reimagine business processes, design compensation structures, and research and implement new benefits that directly impact how employees perceive and contribute to the company. There’s always so much opportunity to innovate and to find new ways to delight your people.

Chad Littlefield

VP of HR & People Solutions | Industrial Supply Company

Chad Littlefield | 2021 HR Achievement Awards | Utah Business
Chad Littlefield photographed by Justin Hackworth for Utah Business

Chad Littlefield has worked hard to align his human resources work, projects, and goals with the needs of his organization. Maintaining an understanding of key shifts in the community, as well as the industry, Littlefield is proud to maintain a consciousness about the changes in demographics of the incoming workforce and makes sure that the people of ISC are considered in any and all initiatives the company develops. While COVID-19 has greatly impacted the industry, he has worked tirelessly to ensure that the company’s health and safety protocols protect company drivers, vending employees, and sales personnel who all have direct contact with customers.

Jody Niemann

VP of People & Culture | Utah Motorsports Campus

LinkedIn

Jody Nieman | 2021 HR Achievement Awards | Utah Business
Jody Niemann photographed by Justin Hackworth for Utah Business

Have you always seen yourself doing what you’re doing now? Or did you have other ideas of what your career would look like?

I always thought I would be on the LPGA tour my whole career. I played from 1999-2003 but when I started having children I got into coaching Division I Collegiate Golf while recruiting for the university and found helping others to achieve academic and athletic success was extremely fulfilling. As my career developed in the business world, I found HR training and development to be a way for me to continuously support the company I was working for and see those around me succeed. 

What does success look like to you?

Success for me is achieving things one step at a time. I grew up competing in sports my whole life and then coaching others towards success. It’s always been about setting goals and achieving those goals one step at a time.   

Maddie Carter

VP of HR | Onset Financial, Inc.

LinkedIn

Maddie Carter | 2021 HR Achievement Awards | Utah Business
Maddie Carter photographed by Justin Hackworth for Utah Business

What’s your life motto?

“Luck favors the prepared.” -Edna Mode

[Success in life] is not simply about being lucky, it’s about doing all the work to create opportunity. It’s almost like a magnet―you stay dedicated and invest as much of yourself as you possibly can, and naturally, opportunity and positive outcomes come your way.

What is the most rewarding thing about working in HR?

I love the limitless impact you can have by being an HR professional. I can help individuals maximize their potential, achieve big goals, and be proud of the work they do each day. In HR, I get to see the true power of people and it’s immensely satisfying seeing all the great rewards and accomplishments, both personally and professionally, that our team achieves because they were set up for success.

Mark Schow

HR Director  | Purple 

LinkedIn

Mark Schow | 2021 HR Achievement Awards | Utah Business
Mark Schow photographed by Justin Hackworth for Utah Business

What has COVID taught you about managing employees?

Pre-COVID, my one-on-one’s were mainly for me to check in on [employees’] successes, challenges, and projects but I quickly realized that I needed to use this time to also connect with them as people. With working from home, we don’t have the normal “small talk” that comes with working in an office, so I’ve started to take this time to have those conversations during my one-on-ones. 

What does success look like to you?

Personal success to me is when I’m excited to wake up each morning and tackle whatever lies ahead. 

Michelle Parker

VP, Talent & Culture | Progressive Leasing

Michelle Parker | 2021 Hr Achievement Awards
Michelle Parker photographed by Justin Hackworth for Utah Business

Everything is in the spotlight for a public company, and Michelle Parker quickly put in place the key elements to keep Progressive Leasing above reproach. Providing HR information, coordinated support, and services across multiple departments can be fragmented and inconsistent, which is one reason why Parker championed the implementation of a new “My HR” tool. This knowledge-based tool acts as a front door to HR, which directs employees to the information and services they need to accomplish simple HR tasks.

Sarah E. Sherer 

Chief Human Resources Officer | University of Utah Health

LinkedIn | Twitter

Sarah Sherer | 2021 HR Achievement Awards | Utah Business
Sarah Sherer photographed by Justin Hackworth for Utah Business

How would you like to see human resources and talent acquisition progress?

I would love to see growth in how we approach open positions and opportunities for our teams within our systems. I think it’s a journey to look at an open job and reflect on the true needs of that position and be open to diversifying our talent. We also have a chance to examine the screening of applicants and placing value on different lived experiences. By looking outside of a traditional focus we automatically increase the number of candidates eligible for positions and that increases the opportunity to evolve as individuals and organizations. 

What’s your life motto?

Mistakes are going to happen but it’s how that mistake is handled that’s important.

Scott Rafferty

VP People Operations | Jane.com

LinkedIn | Twitter

Scott Rafferty | 2021 HR Acheivement Awards | Utah Business
Scott Rafferty photographed by Justin Hackworth for Utah Business

What’s your life motto?

Just put your shoes on. Whether it’s work, it’s exercise, or it’s anything that seems likely to produce resistance, just put the shoes on and take that first step. 

How would you like to see human resources and talent acquisition progress?

I would like to see these disciplines stop asking for a “seat at the table” and generate and step into their own power. Human resources professionals can too often be permission-based in how they exercise power in an organization. Most HR professionals know how they are viewed by some people in the organization―don’t live into that. Build your own credibility and power, and then leverage it to affect positive change for employees and the company. 

Shanna Johnson

Director of HR & Finance, City Recorder | Perry City

LinkedIn | Twitter

Shanna Johnson | 2021 HR Achievment Awards | Utah Business
Shanna Johnson photographed by Justin Hackworth for Utah Business

Have you always seen yourself doing what you’re doing now? Or did you have other ideas of what your career would look like?

As a child, I dreamed of being a singer. I save that for car concerts now. I got married very young so I was pleased to work up the ranks and into HR, finance, and my recorder duties. My job holds something different every day and I find it very exciting and rewarding. Most HR professionals get to help their organization and their employees, I get to help my community as well and that’s something pretty special.

What does HR look like to you in a post-COVID world?

Healthier, more grateful, and more flexible. We will all be much more supportive of sick leave, more grateful for being together as a team, and more supportive of each other during hardship.

Sheena Blauvelt, SHRM-SCP

Director of Human Resources | USANA Health Sciences

LinkedIn

Sheena Blauvelt | 2021 HR Achievement Honorees | Utah Business
Sheena Blauvelt photographed by Justin Hackworth for Utah Business

What challenges have you overcome to get here today?

[I had] my first child at the age of 16 and [finished] high school and college while working with a child. I hope to be a role model to teen mothers out there who need to know that now is their time to be the best version of themselves for the sake of the life they are bringing into this world. 

What advice do you have for your younger self?

There is a lesson to be learned in every situation, no matter how difficult or easy it may be. 

Spencer Vance

HR Business Partner | dōTERRA

LinkedIn

Spencer Vance | 2021 HR Achievement Awards Honorees | Utah Business
Spencer Vance photographed by Justin Hackworth for Utah Business

What has COVID taught you about managing employees?

There is a balance to be struck between policy and good management. Policy attempts to guide behavior, but it cannot change it. The most effective tools for managing behavior are fostering a positive relationship, respectful and honest communication, clear and realistic expectations, setting people up for success by providing them the tools, resources and opportunities they need to succeed, and holding people accountable in a respectful and timely manner. What this boils down to is honoring another individual’s personhood first and accomplishing a task second. 

What advice do you have for your younger self?

Be patient. Do what needs to be done well. Know when you have done what you need to do today and leave the rest for tomorrow. Don’t worry about what’s outside your control. 

Stacey Earle

VP, HR & Administration | United Way of Salt Lake

LinkedIn

Stacey Earle | 2021 HR Achievement Awards Honorees | Utah Business
Stacey Earle recipients, photographed by Justin Hackworth for Utah Business

What does success look like to you?

Success is the daily opportunity to learn and grow―to do things that are challenging and see results, and sometimes take a risk and fail!

How would you like to see human resources and talent acquisition progress?

Continued focus on creating space and opportunities for diversity in leadership positions. Attract, hire, and retain a diverse workforce from the non-traditional sources; create paths straight to the C-Suite. As Utah’s population and economy grow and diversify, diversity in the workforce―especially in leadership positions―is essential to any company’s long-term success.

Tawny Lott Rodriguez

HR Director | Squire & Company

LinkedIn

Tawny Rodriguez | 2021 HR Achievement Awards Honorees | Utah Business
Tawny Rodriguez photographed by Justin Hackworth for Utah Business

Have you always seen yourself doing what you’re doing now? Or did you have other ideas of what your career would look like?

I always knew that I wanted to effect change and promote peaceful relations. However, I intended to do that by working within the US Embassy overseas. I had completed a Bachelor’s degree in Latin American Studies and was preparing to pursue my embassy career, but after meeting my husband, I put a pause on my international pursuit and accepted a position in-state as a trainer and HR assistant. In those roles, I learned more about building interpersonal relationships and uncovered a deep love for that aspect of my career. 

What advice do you have for your younger self?

I would let [my younger self] know that imposter syndrome is real. I would tell myself to lean into those who believe in you. Whoever it may be, build a team of support. When you feel like an imposter, turn to your support group and you will see that, in their eyes, you are the real deal.

Tina Roper

Sr. HR Specialist | Cvent, Inc.

Tina Roper | 2021 HR Achievement Awards Honorees | Utah Business
Tina Roper photographed by Justin Hackworth for Utah Business

Tina Roper led the way in establishing a Global Onboarding Program with the Cvent HR team. The goal of the project was to provide consistency across the global organization, while also allowing for regionally-specific information to be equally consistent at those levels. Roper also worked with the Learning and Development team to create a global-level New Hire training program for our US, India, EU, and APAC employees. This consistency helped instill Cvent’s vision and its business goals, improving the unity and productivity of employees.

Tina Olson

Talent Acquisition Director | CRH Americas Materials (West Division)

LinkedIn

Tina Olson | 2021 HR Achievement Awards Honorees | Utah Business
Tina Olson photographed by Justin Hackworth for Utah Business

Who inspires you most? Why?

My parents. They immigrated to the US in the 70s with just $600. They worked full-time bussing tables to pay for college. They both obtained their Master’s degrees, opened their own businesses, and put three daughters through college. They’re living the American dream.

What advice do you have for your younger self?

You are smart, capable, and beautiful in your own way. You don’t have to think like them, act like them, or look like them. Your opinions and perspective are unique, valid, and valuable. Be you because you’re pretty cool. 

Up & Coming

Blake James Wilson

Recruiter | Recursion

LinkedIn | Twitter

Blake Wilson | 2021 HR Achievement Awards Honorees | Utah Business
Blake Wilson photographed by Justin Hackworth for Utah Business

What challenges have you overcome to get here today?

I have a very non-traditional background. [I studied] multiple different disciplines, attended multiple colleges, bounced around multiple majors, all while working 50+ hours a week. Without the traditional degree, there have been many companies that weren’t willing to give me a chance despite my years of experience. What once held me back now allows me to be empathetic to others with unique situations and backgrounds.

In your opinion, how does the company of the future take care of their employees?

Companies of the future take care of their employees by building cultures of trust with the freedom and support to get their jobs done. Setting clear expectations and building benefits that allow people to disconnect from technology and having time to spend away from devices and focus on their hobbies and loved ones are things that I would love to see. 

HR Disruptor

Mark Schaerrer

VP of HR | Verisys Corporation

LinkedIn

Mark Schaerrer | 2021 HR Achievement Awards Honorees | Utah Business
Mark Schaerrer photographed by Justin Hackworth for Utah Business

What challenges have you overcome to get here today?

When I started my coursework to earn my master’s degree in human resources from Utah State University I had a four-year-old and a six-month-old son. I was recovering from a car accident and working a full-time job. I had to lean on family members as I had never done before for the next two years to complete this program. It was the most difficult challenge I ever faced in my life, and I would not have been able to do it without the help from my friends, family, and my former boss, who all gave me tons of encouragement to accomplish this goal.  

What advice do you have for your younger self?

Slow down and read more books.  

HR Team of the Year

Zions Bancorporation

Robert Norcross | 2021 HR Achievement Awards Honorees | Utah Business
Robert Norcross photographed by Justin Hackworth for Utah Business

What is the most rewarding thing about working in HR?

This answer is easy, our team! First and foremost, they are amazing team members that care about our people, are influential in the success of our business, lead through times of ambiguity, are trusted advisers, and focus on our customers and support one another. We get to make a difference in people’s lives for the better and this year put all of that into focus.  Through teamwork, partnerships, innovation, shared vision, and genuine care, we collectively supported over 10,000 employees and their families through the challenges associated with COVID. We proved to ourselves that anything is possible when working together.

–Robert Norcross | EVP, Human Resources Director | Zions Bancorporation (pictured)

To learn more about our honorees, check out the YouTube videos below:

Lindsay Bicknell is the project coordinator for Utah Business magazine. A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, she graduated from Miami University of Oxford with a degree in communications. She has a background in television, print, and web media, as well as public relations and event planning. As a transplant to Salt Lake City, she can't get enough of the mountains and loves snowboarding.

Comments (4)

  • Ruth Littlefield

    Congratulations to all, but especially to our son Chad Littlefield from Industrial Supply. We are very proud of you son.

  • Natalie Earle

    Kudos to all the individuals/honorees. A special congratulation to my daughter, Stacey Earle with United Way of Salt Lake. So proud!

  • Gordon Crabtree

    Congratulations to Sarah Sherer from U of U Health. A most amazing leader in a pandemic environment filled with all of the challenges including hiring for COVID testing; COVID vaccinations; and the spike in critical care patients needing immediate care. Sarah is a great leader during good times and in times of crisis. Well deserved recognition.

  • Debbie Batt

    Congrats to all and especially to my son Brandon Batt with Savory !

    What a proud moment !

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