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Meet the professionals that keep our organizations going — meet the 2022 HR Achievement honorees.

Meet the 2022 HR Achievement honorees

Meet the professionals that keep our organizations going — meet the 2022 HR Achievement honorees.

Every year, Utah Business and Utah SHRM honor the HR professionals who are working hard to foster culture, growth, and happiness in the workplace. These professionals have gone beyond the call of duty to make their companies a great place to work. Congratulations to this year’s honorees, and learn more about the event here. 

Small Company

Angenelle Crossley

HR Director | Relic+EKR

LinkedIn

Who inspires you most? Why?

I would say my close friends, who are some of the most genuine, down-to-earth people. I get to see them in their successes and struggles. They live life to the fullest as best they can every day. It’s “real life,” and I pull inspiration most often from them.

What’s your life motto?

Happiness is not a destination.

Meet the professionals that keep our organizations going — meet the 2022 HR Achievement honorees.
ANGENELLE CROSSLEY PHOTOGRAPHED BY MANICPROJECT FOR UTAH BUSINESS

Brooks Kirchheimer

Co-founder | Hearth and Hill

LinkedIn

Who inspires you most? Why?

The restaurant industry has a less-than-stellar reputation for workplace environment, with a lot of yelling in the kitchen, long hours in the front-of-house, and cutting corners throughout. Thus, I’m most inspired by those restaurant owners who have achieved success by treating employees well and doing the right thing; in other words, fostering a positive culture of which everyone can be proud. Hawaii’s longtime restaurateur Peter Merriman, for whom I worked at his eponymous Maui property, is an example of this. Peter has excelled for decades because he’s developed a winning culture of teamwork, customer service, and excellence with a clear vision of what his business stands for (local sourcing and menu development).

What has Covid taught you about managing employees?

To be mindful of not just their physical health but also their mental health, to be extra communicative and transparent about changing circumstances, and to listen, not just talk. Oftentimes, front-line employees are the first to identify potential opportunities for improvement.

Meet the professionals that keep our organizations going — meet the 2022 HR Achievement honorees.
BROOKS KIRCHHEIMER PHOTOGRAPHED BY MANICPROJECT FOR UTAH BUSINESS.

Kevin Perry

Head of Talent and Operations | Struck

LinkedIn

Who inspires you most? Why?

I’m inspired daily by the talent I’m surrounded by at Struck. Nothing is more motivating than being around individuals who are always willing to give it their all. I see this daily with Fran Naisbitt, who brings her unique perspective to our HR and recruiting. Her blend of creativity and approachability makes her perfect for this role. She continually fosters team culture, involves others in decision-making, and shows concern for every team member. Our employee experience is remarkable because of Fran.

What has Covid taught you about managing employees?

It’s an understatement to say how much we all learned in the past couple of years. We quickly learned that fluid and flexible organizational structures—not to mention inclusive cultures—were better equipped to handle a new way of working. Struck’s values are built on being adaptable and inclusive. It was important for us to lean into these behaviors and build a foundation of trust. Trusting our employees allows everyone to do what they do best, increase productivity, and provide a safe space during an unpredictable time. 

Meet the professionals that keep our organizations going — meet the 2022 HR Achievement honorees.
KEVIN PERRY PHOTOGRAPHED BY MANICPROJECT FOR UTAH BUSINESS.

Zachary V. Reichert

Director, Human Resources | Bandwango

LinkedIn

What is the most rewarding thing about working in HR?

The people in the organization. I love how everyone has a story to tell. I love this quote, “Share your story with someone. You never know how one sentence of your life story could inspire someone to rewrite their own.” Everyone I meet has a story to tell, and I am so honored to be a chapter in people’s stories when they start a new career or job with an organization. 

Have you always seen yourself doing what you’re doing now?

I used to drive a Honda HR-V and call it my Human Resources Vehicle. Everyone would know that the HR guy was in the office. I love my field of work and wouldn’t see myself in any other department or line of work due to the exciting changes in HR and how it’s constantly evolving and changing daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly. HR is my calling in life.

Meet the professionals that keep our organizations going — meet the 2022 HR Achievement honorees.
ZACHARY REICHERT PHOTOGRAPHED BY MANICPROJECT FOR UTAH BUSINESS.

Medium Company

Nic Enlow

Senior Director, Global Human Resources | ASEA, LLC

LinkedIn

Have you always seen yourself doing what you’re doing now?

Like most 80s and 90s kids, working in HR was right up there next to being an astronaut or a professional athlete. During recess at school, there’d be a handful of us playing, “filling out benefits paperwork” and “teaching harassment seminars.” Fast forward a few decades, and I still haven’t grown up. But I have realized that human resources is so much more. We are revenue drivers with an impact on business strategy. Now excuse me; I’m in the middle of building a Lego set.

What’s your life motto?

People first! Look beyond the situation, the swirling chaos, and the tasks at hand to see the whole person. Give a damn about and think of the people first—then design the culture, strategies, initiatives, systems, and environment around them.

Meet the professionals that keep our organizations going — meet the 2022 HR Achievement honorees.
NIC ENLOW PHOTOGRAPHED BY MANICPROJECT FOR UTAH BUSINESS.

Susan Hostetter

Executive VP, Human Resources | TAB Bank

LinkedIn

What is the most rewarding thing about working in HR?

Transforming an organization’s culture to one of high employee engagement and high employee net promoter scores is the most rewarding part of the job. There is no magic sauce to creating a great culture. It is not ping-pong tables, free lunches, or expensive programs that do it—employee culture is a living and breathing environment that all employees create. As HR professionals, our role is to develop and foster the environment to make it happen. If you want a culture of openness and transparency, don’t reprimand an employee for asking a bold question. If you want a culture of innovation and independent thinking, don’t dismiss an employee who makes suggestions and decisions.

What advice do you have for your younger self?

Take risks. As young girls, many of us were unconsciously taught to be timid, polite, and only speak when spoken to. It takes courage and tenacity to speak up, be heard, and take risks. Be wildly curious by asking questions to learn about the business, the project, and the “why” behind an approach. A good boss makes all the difference, so seek out bosses who ask for your opinion. This increases confidence. Take risks and stretch yourself because it opens all sorts of opportunities. If you are ever asked to take on a project or role that makes you nervous, say “yes.” You will learn and grow, and it’ll be magical.

Meet the professionals that keep our organizations going — meet the 2022 HR Achievement honorees.
SUSAN HOSTETTER PHOTOGRAPHED BY MANICPROJECT FOR UTAH BUSINESS.

Steve Sonnenberg (not pictured)

CEO | Awardco

LinkedIn

Who inspires you most? Why?

Of course, my mother. She is the most optimistic person in the world. She finds the good in every situation, even when most would find it impossible. I have gone through some of the most challenging entrepreneurial experiences, and her positive mindset has propelled me forward. 

How does the company of the future take care of its employees?

There’s a lot going on right now in the world that has us all a little concerned—and companies everywhere have had to do a little soul-searching on how best to take care of their organization and their employees. The company of the future takes care of its employees by realizing that every employee is an individual with needs, hopes, anxieties, and joys. The best way to take care of employees is to make work a support, not something that adds to their fears. How do you do that? Through simple, timely, personal recognition. There is no better buffer to the uncertainty ahead than knowing your employees feel valued and appreciated. When employees feel cared for, they’ll care more—and they’ll help you get through anything the future might bring.

Hillary Tucker

People Operations Specialist | PDQ.com

LinkedIn

What is the most rewarding thing about working in HR?

I enjoy helping educate employees about benefits and the resources offered to help make dealing with insurance a better experience for everyone.

What’s your life motto?

Don’t take life too seriously. Slow down and enjoy every moment with the people you love. Take the vacation and love your life!

Meet the professionals that keep our organizations going — meet the 2022 HR Achievement honorees.
HILLARY TUCKER PHOTOGRAPHED BY MANICPROJECT FOR UTAH BUSINESS.

Large Company

Kat Judd

SVP, People and Culture | Lucid Software

LinkedIn

What advice do you have for your younger self?

I’d tell my younger self to take more risks and try different things earlier on in my career, even if the timing seems wrong. I’m a fairly risk-averse person, so making the jump from a decade-long law career to working in tech—right after having a baby—was a massive shift. I wasn’t sure where it would take me, and the timing wasn’t exactly the most convenient. But it turned out to be the absolute right thing to do. My career has been truly incredible, but it does make me wonder what else I could have experienced had I been a little less cautious early on.

What has Covid taught you about managing employees?

This is maybe less what Covid has taught me and more what my employees have taught me about the importance of hiring the right people. It’s been amazing for me to see how, over the last two years, the Lucid culture has remained nearly unchanged. Throughout Covid, we saw our people show up for each other in truly incredible and inspiring ways, like dropping toilet paper to a coworker who had a newborn when toilet paper was hard to find or delivering meals and flowers to a colleague who experienced significant loss—not to mention how our teams still rallied to get amazing things done during such uncertainty. When we bring the right people to our team and give them the support and resources to bring their best selves to the job each day, they will also look out for each other in unexpected ways. 

Meet the professionals that keep our organizations going — meet the 2022 HR Achievement honorees.
KAT JUDD PHOTOGRAPHED BY MANICPROJECT FOR UTAH BUSINESS.

Mary Kabella

Senior Manager, HR | Best Friends Animal Society

LinkedIn

How does the company of the future take care of its employees?

Employees now demand flexibility and work-life balance. They don’t want to be chained to an office or even to a desk in their home. They want to work where they want and when they want. Employee attitudes are shifting more toward traditional European standards where they “work to live” rather than “live to work.” As employers, we need to provide the tools, technology, and processes that are flexible and focus on outcomes rather than having a butt in a seat for 8+ hours a day. Benefits are also changing. Employees want more than health, dental, vision, and life. Mental health care support is as important as physical health care support. We now have to have a very employee-centric version of people operations focused on all aspects of employee well-being.

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

I would like to see HR and talent acquisition progress by being more proactive to the needs of our employees and continue to brainstorm about the improvements we can make in well-being and benefits. We are currently doing annual engagement surveys with our employees and have employee engagement managers that regularly talk to the employees. We need to find ways to hone in on the most important data that is an indicator of employee engagement and well-being and find ways to gather that data on a more frequent basis.

Meet the professionals that keep our organizations going — meet the 2022 HR Achievement honorees.
MARY KABELLA PHOTOGRAPHED BY MANICPROJECT FOR UTAH BUSINESS.

Sam Wood

VP, People and Culture | Larry H. Miller Megaplex Theatres

LinkedIn

What is the most rewarding thing about working in HR?

I love being able to help those within our company see their potential and help them achieve what they may not have been able to see themselves. I also enjoy innovating and creating programs and systems that allow our company to be better.

Have you always seen yourself doing what you’re doing now?

For a little while out of college, I still didn’t know what I wanted to be when I “grew up.” I feel very fortunate that I ended up working in a hybrid role that involved HR. The team I was working with was amazing, and I was able to see all the great things they were doing for our company. I haven’t looked back since!

Meet the professionals that keep our organizations going — meet the 2022 HR Achievement honorees.
SAM WOOD PHOTOGRAPHED BY MANICPROJECT FOR UTAH BUSINESS.

Extra-Large Company

David Alsop

VP, Human Resources | Ultradent Products Inc. 

LinkedIn

What challenges have you overcome to get here today?

I turned down a lucrative career step in my role at Kraft Heinz to return to Utah, where I grew up. My family relocated here without having a job lined up and not knowing anyone in the Utah business world. I was unemployed for eight months while seeking the right organization where I could foster growth. I kept getting turned down by CEO after CEO who didn’t trust someone they didn’t know. I then started DisruptHR Salt Lake City and found an amazing opportunity at Ultradent. The work of transforming our HR function at Ultradent was hard, but it is so worth it to see a diverse group of people reach strategic heights together. 

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

Specific to talent acquisition, I hope to see decisions be more inclusive of the modern world we live in. Throughout history, countless people have been excluded from societal success because they lack resources, muscles, or guns. There have always been millions of people left out who are hungry and innately talented and would do great things if given the opportunity. Technology has leveled the playing field of business for all humans wanting to succeed. People with gaps in employment aren’t always bad hires; they may just be taking a break to grow and pivot career directions. Talent acquisition professionals and leaders need to learn how to seek out, identify, and grow excluded populations.

Meet the professionals that keep our organizations going — meet the 2022 HR Achievement honorees.
DAVID ALSOP PHOTOGRAPHED BY MANICPROJECT FOR UTAH BUSINESS.

Jennifer Clark (not pictured)

Chief Human Resource Officer | iFIT

LinkedIn

What is the most rewarding thing about working in HR?

I love that HR provides variety in my every workday, but I truly feel the most rewarded by the opportunities I have in HR to change lives for the better.

What advice do you have for your younger self?

I’ve learned to overcome the tendency to avoid responsibilities or roles that I don’t already fully understand or feel confident filling. I’d like to tell my younger self not to be afraid to try new things and to go for the job that might look hard and grow into it. Success only comes after you try. 

Whitney Harper

SVP, People | Extra Space Storage

LinkedIn

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

I view HR as the engine that drives a company’s strategy. Every company I have worked for, Extra Space included, depends on people to push the organization forward. I would love to see HR get a brand refresh, as “human resources” isn’t an accurate reflection of the work happening today. We have evolved to be agile business leaders, data junkies, and trusted advisors. We have proven that we can adapt to become subject matter experts on global health protocols, restructure for a hybrid or fully remote workforce, and take care of our employees during extreme weather events. 

Have you always seen yourself doing what you’re doing now?

HR was the one class I dropped in college, so no, I didn’t envision myself as an HR leader. I studied business with a focus on hospitality as I loved to cook, eat, and travel. More specifically, I wanted to be a chef, but my parents convinced me to get a bachelor’s degree before going to culinary school. It was at the Ritz-Carlton Singapore that I had an amazing general manager, Octavio Gamarra, who thought I would be a good fit for the training department. That was my first time working in an HR department, and with the exception of three other Olympic Games and a brief stop in culinary school, the rest of my career has been in the field of HR. 

Meet the professionals that keep our organizations going — meet the 2022 HR Achievement honorees.
WHITNEY HARPER PHOTOGRAPHED BY MANICPROJECT FOR UTAH BUSINESS.

M. Trent Savage

Chief Human Resources Officer | Mountain America Credit Union

LinkedIn

What’s your life motto?

Something my dad taught me growing up that I still live by today is, “Lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way.” I’ve found in life that this is applicable, and I’ve learned to do all three of those statements at various teams, but I’m a big believer in diving in and leading out.

What has Covid taught you about managing employees?

Slow down and keep it real. It is so easy to get caught up in the work that we forget we’re working with people with real needs and challenges in their lives. It is so important to be in touch with our employees, understand their needs, and do what we can to help them. I believe we’re evolving rapidly. Covid did have HR at the center stage with business leaders. We as a function need to capitalize on this and leverage all of our skill sets to continue to add value at the same level or even higher. 

Meet the professionals that keep our organizations going — meet the 2022 HR Achievement honorees.
M. TRENT SAVAGE PHOTOGRAPHED BY MANICPROJECT FOR UTAH BUSINESS.

Special Awards

Savory Restaurant Management – HR Team of the Year

Pictured Elliot West | Senior People Operations Manager

Website

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

In order for companies to provide resources for humans, there needs to be humans. In order for humans to feel valued, protected, and appreciated in their place of work, there needs to be resources available at their fingertips. There is a symbiotic relationship between the two, and once that fact is embraced, progress can happen. We’re on the same team here!

What challenges have you overcome to get here today?

We have mastered the art of pivoting and relish in the fact that we are damn good at doing the tough things that most shy away from. Amidst the great recession in the late 2000s, the Covid pandemic, the great resignation in 2022, supply chain issues, etc., we continue to expand—opening dozens of restaurants between multiple brands and employing thousands of people across the country along the way.

Meet the professionals that keep our organizations going — meet the 2022 HR Achievement honorees.
ELIOT WEST PHOTOGRAPHED BY MANICPROJECT FOR UTAH BUSINESS.

Cassidy Fernandez – Emerging HR Professional

Talent Management Specialist | WECC

LinkedIn

What is the most rewarding thing about working in HR?

As an HR professional, I love to see people thrive, especially when they’ve faced large obstacles or serious challenges. We often get to step out of the process to help understand the “why” behind people—which is usually more of an art than a science—and create frameworks that then allow people to work hard and achieve their goals. We don’t just hand out opportunities, but we give people a platform to put their minds to what is possible.

What has Covid taught you about managing employees?

In HR, we deal with the most sensitive subjects that have big life impacts—from considering a new job to going on medical leave or working through conflicts. With Covid, we saw emotions and opinions escalate even further. It’s really important to tread delicately, gather comprehensive feedback, and then explain your decisions and the factors you considered to make employees feel heard and valued.

Meet the professionals that keep our organizations going — meet the 2022 HR Achievement honorees.
CASSIDY FERNANDEZ PHOTOGRAPHED BY MANICPROJECT FOR UTAH BUSINESS.

John Campbell – Lifetime Achievement

HR Director | Woodbury Corporation

LinkedIn

Have you always seen yourself doing what you’re doing now?

I went to college and graduated with a degree in psychology, thinking I wanted to be a counselor/therapist. My wife encouraged me to check out HR as she was working in a company Learning and Development group at the time. I looked into HR and loved it. I went on to get a master’s degree in HR, and now I am completing 45 years in the HR discipline.

Who inspires you most? Why?

Having worked in many organizations over the years, I am always inspired and uplifted when I see decisions made that reinforce integrity and the good of the group rather than the benefit of an individual. Too often, decisions are made solely to maximize profits or to benefit those in power. I love working in organizations where higher values are appreciated.

Meet the professionals that keep our organizations going — meet the 2022 HR Achievement honorees.
JOHN CAMPBELL PHOTOGRAPHED BY MANICPROJECT FOR UTAH BUSINESS.

To learn more about the 2022 HR Achievement Awards winners, watch this YouTube playlist.

Mekenna is the assistant editor of Utah Business and a graduate of the print journalism program at Utah State University. She has written about local news, arts, and culture for publications like SLUG Magazine, Salty Magazine, Visit Salt Lake, and the Standard-Examiner. She loves hiking, thrifting, reading, and taking camping trips with her partner in their 1986 Land Cruiser.

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