Centerpoint Newsletter July 2022

A Message from the MHRIR Program Director, Stacy Doepner-Hove

Congratulations 2022 MHRIR Graduates!

Graduate students applaud at the 2022 commencement ceremony

They hailed from across Minnesota, throughout the US and around the world. Working professionals and full-time students, they brought a wide diversity of experiences and backgrounds to our program, and they all graduated together on May 16, 2022.

These were a set of students coming through our program at a unique time. The full-time students started the program virtually. Many of them didn’t meet any of their classmates in person until a full year into the program. Some of them didn’t even get into the country until a full year into the program. And yet they built bonds and created life-long friendships by making the most of remote connections, as those possibilities were just emerging as the new normal. They were willing to jump into remote classes, group work, and ice breakers with intention and grew the program with their intelligence and grace.

The working professionals of the Class of 2022 started our program in person, and made the extremely quick transition to remote classes with the rest of the world. They balanced work, family, friends, and classes with everything we all were facing. Many of these students were human resources professionals throughout their time in the program. Which means they were swamped with the work every HR professional faced during the pandemic – worker safety, remote work, vaccines, diversity/equity/inclusion work in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, engagement and burnout, heightened political tensions, and now a staffing shortage. Yet our working professional students came to classes with an interest and passion that intensified the learning and helped to bring the “real world” into the classroom.

On Sunday, May 15th the MHRIR program celebrated these students and all the program with a spring celebration dinner at the University of Minnesota’s Campus Club at the top of Coffman Union. Over 100 students, family and friends came together (some people meeting each other for the first time live and in person!) to enjoy conversation and wish the graduating students well. Steven Mukasa and Peter Dinh spoke wonderfully on behalf of their classmates – both student speakers bringing out tears and laughter in their speeches. Faculty Director John Kammeyer-Mueller congratulated the students on behalf of the program and CHRLS Alumni Association President Kelsy Martin welcomed the graduating students into the MHRIR alumni family. Sydney Heger, President of the Graduate Society of HR Leaders announced the winner of the 2022 Herbie Outstanding Teaching award – congratulations to Professor John Budd! And Program Director Stacy Doepner-Hove thanked student group board members for their work, congratulated the Carlson Scholars for their outstanding academics, and wished everyone well.

Graduates toss caps outside following the 2022 commencement ceremony

Our own Taylor Tarrolly was the student speaker on behalf of all graduating graduate students from the Carlson School at the commencement ceremony the next morning. She did a wonderful job bringing heart, hope and lightness to the speeches of the day. 72 MHRIR students comprise the Class of 2022. They are a unique and wonderful group of people who we will miss as students. 

Minnesota Golden Gophers’ head football coach P.J. Fleck was the commencement keynote speaker. In his first-ever commencement address, he told graduates to be authentically themselves, have an elite compass, and have dreams that scare them. “Embrace failure, the grind, the struggle—that's when growth occurs,” he stated.

Congratulations to the MHRIR Class of 2022! We are excited to welcome you to our alumni ranks and look forward to seeing the great impact you will make! Best wishes and we hope to see you soon!

MA-HRIR Alumna From Ghana Visits Undergraduate HR Class

Hannah Ashiokai Akrong with Class

Some of the most impactful experiences for college students are when guest speakers come to their classrooms and share insights from their professional fields. They provide many fantastic growth opportunities and discoveries to be made for students. And it’s a big deal when a guest speaker takes the time to fly across the seas to share career advice with a class.

Hannah Ashiokai Akrong

On Friday, April 8th, Hannah Ashiokai Akrong, ’06 MA-HRIR alumna, flew in from Ghana to deliver a guest lecture in Professor Connie Wanberg’s undergraduate class in HR for business majors on Friday, April 8th. She shared a presentation about Training, Development, and Diversity Programs at Vodafone, the tech company where she works as the HR Director. In her role, she is responsible for the people strategy as well as working with the CEO and EXCO to set and deliver the strategy for Vodafone Ghana.

To learn more about her presentation and the very positive student reflections on the experience, read more here.



2022 HR Tomorrow Conference A Big Success!

HR Tomorrow HRT 2022






On Friday, April 22nd, nearly 200 people participated in the 42nd HR Tomorrow Conference #CuratingCulture event. Attendees were able to choose from a variety of dynamic and interactive live virtual breakout sessions focused on important dialogue around strategic culture management.


We are proud to announce that Pri Shah and Colleen Manchester have been promoted to Full Professor in the Work and Organizations Department.

Pri Shah

Pri Shah primarily focuses on social networks, teams, and decision-making. Her research can be found in Organization Science, Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.


Colleen Flaherty Manchester

Colleen Flaherty Manchester explores the provision of benefits and programs by employers, including flexible work practices, work-family policies, human capital investment, and retirement plans, and the incentives they create for workers. Her research has been published in numerous leading journals and she is also actively involved in University-wide governance committees.


Elizabeth Campell

In addition, Elizabeth Campbell has been promoted to Associate Professor with Tenure. Beth Campbell’s research focuses on team development and interpersonal interactions in teams. Her main projects focus on the consequences high performers spark for themselves and how high performers affect their peers and their teams. Her work has been published in leading outlets, including the Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Applied Psychology, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, and Personnel Psychology.

Please join us in congratulating them for these significant accomplishments!



Research Paper Receives Award

Connie Wanberg

We are proud to announce that a paper written by Professor and Industrial Relations Faculty Excellence Chair Connie Wanberg, in collaboration with Edwin A. J. van Hooft, Songqi Liu, Borbala Csillag, was selected as the recipient of Personnel Psychology 2022 Best Paper Award! The paper was titled "Can job seekers achieve more through networking? The role of networking intensity, self-efficacy, and proximal benefits." Professor Wanberg and her team will be recognized at the Academy of Management board meeting on August 7th. Congratulations on this accomplishment!


Research Featured in Carlson Discovery Magazine

Missing media item.

The Spring 2022 issue of Carlson's Discovery magazine features research findings from Work and Organizations Department Assistant Professor Abdifatah Ali. The research found that person-to-person connection in learning communities is critical to retain diverse talent in academia. Read more here.

 Congratulations to the Winners of Dare to Care PhD Student Scholarship

We are happy to announce that Brandy Edmondson and Wei Wang have won the 2022 Dare to Care award! Alumna Anne Tsui, ’75 MA-IR, provided a generous gift to establish this award to support WOrg graduate students. The award is meant to encourage and reward research that seeks to make a difference in the lives of those in the workforce as well as those trying to enter the workforce.

Brandy Edmondson is a fourth year doctoral student in the Work and Organizations department of the University of Minnesota. She is an interdisciplinary scholar whose research spans microeconomics, organizational behavior, human resources, and sociology. Her research program centers information asymmetry in the job market and how race influences decision making amidst ambiguity. Brandy is honored to be an alumna of the Economics department at Spelman College, The PhD Excellence Initiative at Stern Business School, the American Economic Association Summer Program, and The PhD Project.

Wei Wang is a doctoral candidate in Work and Organizations at the University of Minnesota. His research program takes a mixed-method approach to study the dynamics of leadership and ethics at work, aiming to create positive changes in the lives of employees through promoting more ethical, caring, and inclusive leadership practices. Wei is the 2019 Society of Business Ethics Emerging Scholar and has published in leading outlets such as Journal of Applied Psychology and Journal of Management. 

Welcome New Staff Members

Linda Maleitzke 2022

The Center for Human Resources and Labor Studies and the Department of Work and Organizations is pleased to welcome new staff member Linda Maleitzke, who joined the department as External Relations Coordinator in February. Linda has worked for the University of Minnesota for the past 15 years in areas including the Office of Human Resources, the Minnesota Technical Assistance Program, and most recently for the Center for Allied Health Programs as Communications and Events Project Coordinator. She brings over 25 years of experience in project management, communications, marketing, human resources, and outreach in higher education, financial services, healthcare, and nonprofits. Linda is also a Carlson alumna, earning a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, majoring in marketing/finance with an economics minor. Welcome, Linda!

Photo LES Department Administrator Raquel (Rocki) Simões

The Labor Education Service (LES) of the Center for Human Resources and Labor Studies is excited to welcome Raquel (Rocki) Simoes as the new Office Administrator. Rocki is a white Brazilian butch dyke who came to the United States in the late 80s, fell in love with women and rice krispies treats (not necessarily in that order) and decided to stay. Most of her community organizing work has focused on queer/trans youth, homelessness, and intersectional social justice movements. Most of her personal work has focused on being a loving friend, partner, ex-partner, anti-racist community member, and parent. On a good day she does some of these things well. Rocki is a youth worker at heart and has a long history with the GLBT Host Home Program (now ConneQT), which she helped start in 1997. She was honored for her work with a True Leadership Award by the True Colors Fund in September 2015.  She is excited to join LES and be part of its fierce commitment to labor and workers! 

Want to get the latest news from the CHRLS? Wondering who the next 1st Tuesday speaker will be? Interested in seeing photos from campus? Stay 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 feed here
  • HRIR Blog - find our blog here and sign up to follow it (in the bottom right-hand corner of the page)
  • Instagram – find us at umnhrir
  • Josh Arbit, ‘07, is senior product manager at Redfin
  • Alicia Gutierrez, ’17, is PhD recruiter Reality Labs at Meta
  • Brandon Lukach, ’04, is head of human resources at Wildlife Studios
  • Jacob Martinmaas, ’13, is Director, Compensation Programs & Operations at VMware
  • Kath Megarry, '92, is Vice President of Human Resources and Labor Relations at the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC)
  • Crystal Sequeira, '17, is Director of Human Resources at Levi Strauss
  • Amanda Warner, ’17, is Senior Associate, Executive Search, Financial Officers Practice at Korn-Ferry