Greetings from the CHRLS Alumni Association!

Greetings from the CHRLS Alumni Association!

One of the things I like most about fall is the sense of new beginnings and fresh starts. Students return to their classes, the University campus is full of energy, and faculty and staff are reinvigorated as they kick off the 2017-2018 academic year.

Your CHRLS Alumni Association is off to a great start, too, welcoming six new members to the Board and launching a brand new committee. In addition to our two flagship programs, the HR Tomorrow Conference and the HRIR Alumni Mentoring Program, we're launching a new initiative, the Alumni Engagement committee. More details will emerge as this committee gets underway.

The year will be filled with many opportunities for connecting back with your alma mater: Homecoming (October 20-21); the 5th Annual International HR Case Competition (November 9-11); the kick-off of the 2018 Mentoring Program (January 2018); Admitted Student Day (March-April 2018); and the HR Tomorrow Conference (April 20, 2018). The Centerpoint alumni newsletter will be published five times this year, and our HRIR Blog will be updated frequently.

In addition, Carlson School staff and faculty will be hosting a number of alumni events around the country and the world; stay tuned to this newsletter and our social media sites for more details on even more ways to stay connected with the school and your fellow alumni.

While our Board has a lot of great ideas for programming and alumni support this year, we also want to hear from you: what kind of alumni services and resources would you be interested in? Please drop us a line at with your thoughts.

Wishing you an enjoyable and rewarding fall.

Justin Ahlstrom
CHRLS Alumni Association President


Welcome, New Alumni Board Members!
The CHRLS Alumni Association is pleased to welcome six new members to its Board of Directors: Kate (McMullan) Andrews, '12; Rob Klee, '11; Larry Morgan, '87; Susan Otto, '00; Dino Sassan, '95; and Lizhen (Mandy) Zhao, '17. Read the full story here.

Staying in Touch 
Reaching out and reconnecting with alumni around the country, Professor John Budd had the chance to visit 20 graduates of the program in Houston, and another 12 in Seattle this summer. If you are interested in participating in an alumni event in your city, contact

Jennifer Hadsall Installed as NLRB Regional Director
Congratulations to Jennifer Hadsall, MA-HRIR '03, who was appointed Regional Director of Region 18 of the National Labor Relations Board.  Read the full story here.


Alumnus Selected by AoM for Leadership Track
Zhen Zhang, '08 PhD-HRIR, was selected by the Academy of Management for a five-year leadership track for the Research Methods Division. Read the full story here


A Pursuit of Persistence
By the time Pat Smith, '17 MA-HRIR, stepped onto the mat in Iowa City, Iowa, for his shot at the 2016 Olympics, the Minnesota-born-and-raised wrestler had already endured his share of heartbreak in his beloved sport. Read the full story here


Free Alumni Webinars Available Through University of Minnesota Alumni Association
The University of Minnesota Alumni Association is offering a series of free career-related webinars this fall for career development and personal growth. If you can't make it for the live presentation, you can watch the entire archive through their YouTube channel.  


Being Social
Want to hear the latest news from the CHRLS? Wondering who the next First Tuesdayspeaker will be? Interested in seeing photos from campus? Keep connected with your alma mater by following our social media sites:

  • LinkedIn - find our group (Carlson School of Management - HRIR) here
  • Facebook - find our page here
  • Twitter - find our feeds here and here
  • HRIR Blog - find our blog here and sign up to follow it (in the bottom right-hand corner of the page)

Welcoming New Students to Campus
The last week of August was an exciting one, as we welcomed 56 new full-time MA-HRIR students, 6 new part-time MA-HRIR students, and two new PhD students to the Carlson School.  Take a peek at photos from New Student Orientation.

5th Annual International HR Case Competition
In a little less than six weeks we'll welcome 20 students from around the world and across the U.S. for the 5th Annual Carlson International HR Case Competition (CIHRCom). Teams of four students will compete against each other, and the clock, to develop and present the most compelling solution to a pressing business case being faced by the Lead Sponsor, Land O'Lakes. Learn more about the competition, and our generous corporate sponsors.

Alumni Offer Sage Words of Wisdom to Students
With the new school year in full swing, there's no better time to look to our CHRLS Alumni Association Board of Directors as they offer their best pieces of advice to current students. Read the full story here.  


Professor Connie Wanberg is the winner of the 2017 Academy of Management International HRM Scholarly Research Award. The award is presented to the author or authors of the most significant article in international human resource management. Read the full story here

Professor John Kammeyer-Mueller was named to the Scientific Advisory Board for Stay Metrics. Read the full story here.

Associate Professor Mary Zellmer-Bruhn won a best paper award at a recent Academy of Management (AoM) annual meeting. The award is given to the best scholarly paper of AoM's IM Division focusing on organizational behavior, human resource management, or organization theory. Read the full story here

Congratulations to Aaron Sojourner, who has successfully been granted tenure and is now an Associate Professor.

Associate Professor Colleen Manchester is on sabbatical for the 2017-18 academic year, which will include time doing research in Denmark and California.

To view samples of the latest research from Carlson School faculty, including Professor Avner Ben-Ner and Assistant Professor Elizabeth Campbell, visit Discovery at Carlson.


Professor John Budd's blog, "Whither Work?" made the list of "Top 75 Workplace Blogs and Websites." Read the full story here.


Congratulations and best wishes to Christina Owen, executive administrative and office specialist in the CHRLS, as she takes a new position as student services specialist in the University of Minnesota's Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality and Healing. She was an integral part of the CHRLS for the past five years, and she will be missed.


LES Coauthors "2017 State of Minnesota Unions Report"
The "State of Minnesota Unions" report was released to coincide with Labor Day 2017. The report presents an overview on the status of unionized employment in the state and analyzes the effect unions have on wages and benefits. It was co-authored by LES Director Monica Bielski Boris along with researchers from the Midwest Economic Policy Institute, the University of Illinois and the Illinois Economic Policy Institute. Read the full story here.


Each issue of Centerpoint will highlight a member of our faculty, our alumni community, and a current student. Learn more about Associate Professor Aaron Sojourner, alumna Meghann McKee Albertson, and first-year MA-HRIR student Alexus Hudson. 

  • Alan Browne, '98, is compensation manager at Walser Automotive Group
  • Ashley Halvorson, '08, is HR director at CenturyLink
  • Michael Hammond, '04, is HR manager at Hubbard Broadcasting
  • Jennifer Hecht, '02, is senior director workforce solutions and people analytics at PerkinElmer
  • Diedre Jackson, '13, is senior rep, HR generalist at UTC Aerospace Systems
  • Rob Jackson, '99, is principal consultant, customer enablement at Workday
  • Andrea (Lowe) Leatherberry, '11, is senior HR business partner at Lockheed Martin Aerospace
  • Kristin Lee, '06, is HR consultant at Kayel Consulting
  • Francine Barley, '10, is partner resources manager at Starbucks
  • Chinsuk Lee, '09, is senior HR manager for Microsoft
  • Paula Phillippe, '93, was named a recipient of the 2017 Women in Business Awards by Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal
  • Alina (Napiorkowski) Pottorff, '12, is senior business systems analyst at Workday
  • James Robertson, '10, is director of HR for W.W. Clyde & Co.
  • Eric Shaughnessy, '02, is senior HR manager at Shutterfly
  • Lisa Sorenson, '05, was named a recipient of the 2017 Women in Business Awards by Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal
  • Lindsay Tietz, '13, is organizational development consultant at Church Mutual Insurance 
  • Maggie Wilkie, '10, is HR business partner at Amazon
  • Lisa (Singh) Zajac, '11, is HR manager at The Toro Company
  • Kara Zetzman, '10, is talent resources generalist at Science Museum of Minnesota
  • Bijun Zhang, '12,  is head of HR at JingChi