Centerpoint Newsletter September 2018

Nick Christenson

Greetings from the CHRLS Alumni Association!
As the incoming President of the Alumni Association Board of Directors, I’m honored to work with an incredibly dedicated and hard-working group of alumni who are committed to providing meaningful programming, helpful resources, and stimulating professional development opportunities for all of our alumni, whether you’ve been out of the program for 20 years, or just graduated this past spring.

First, I would like to welcome and thank the eight new members of the Alumni Board for their interest in serving and giving back to their alma mater: Kevin Brennan, Melis Candir, Jon Cermak, Kelly Dahlman, Alex Smith, Rachel Yates, Lisa Zajac, and Leo Cardoso, who’s heading up our Alumni Engagement committee. It’s only September, but they’ve already been hard at work in their committees.

I would also like to thank the other nine members of the Board for their continued support and leadership of our Board initiatives, and for their work in building an ever-stronger alumni network: Kate Andrews, Rob Klee, Brandon Lukach, Larry Morgan, Susan Otto, Mandy Zhao, our Committee chairs Kristyn Aasen and Kara Sime, and our Vice President Eva Treuer

Group Photo

Pictured in front row, from left: Kelly Dahlman, Kara Sime, Rachel Yates, Eva Treuer, Lisa Zajac, and Leo Cardoso. Back row: Nick Christenson, Brandon Lukach, Kevin Brennan, Jon Cermak, Larry Morgan, and Alex Smith. Not pictured are Kristyn Aasen, Kate Andrews, Melis Candir, Rob Klee, Susan Otto, and Lizhen (Mandy) Zhao.

This outstanding team has a number of exciting initiatives underway to help support our alumni in their professional development, and support and advise our current students.  The HR Tomorrow Conference planning committee has identified a date and theme for next year’s conference, which will be the 40th annual! It will be held on Friday, April 12, 2019. Watch your email for more details. The Mentoring Committee will again be coordinating the popular program that matches Master’s students with HRIR alumni for professional development advice and support. Finally, the Alumni Engagement committee is exploring additional ways to help our alumni stay connected to the program, each other, the Carlson School, and the HR profession. 

To make sure you receive timely information about these and other important initiatives, please update your contact information here. This is especially important if you no longer live in the Twin Cities area – there are many regional alumni events planned throughout the year that we want to make sure you are aware of. 

And, finally - we’ll be sending out an alumni survey in the next few weeks to help us ensure we’re providing you with valuable professional growth opportunities. We appreciate your feedback and suggestions. 

This is a great time to be an alumnus or alumna of the HRIR program at the Carlson School of Management, and I look forward to a great year! Please drop me a line with any questions or suggestions.

Wishing you an enjoyable and rewarding fall.


Nick Christenson
CHRLS Alumni Association President


David Waithaka

From Africa to Minnesota and Back Again
A strong desire to gain an education, work with people, and help his native Africa led David Waithaka from Kenya to Minneapolis and back again over the course of the last 20 years. The 1996 MA-IR alumnus found his way to the University of Minnesota as an undergraduate student in the mid-1980’s after encouragement from a Minnesota missionary couple (John Schwarz, ’53 BSB, and his wife, Babby) he met in his native Kenya. The couple became a second family, and Waithaka lived with them while he was studying in Minnesota. “I came to Minnesota in winter; it was one of the coldest experiences of my life,” he recalls. “They didn’t tell me how cold it was. It felt like glass was breaking on my face.” Read the full story here.

Free Alumni Webinars Available Through UMN 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 its YouTube channel. 

Group Photo

Minnesota-Korea Connections
There was a great Minnesota connection when alumni of the Carlson School’s MA and PhD programs in HRIR gathered to meet with Professor John Budd while he was in Seoul, South Korea, over the summer. Read the full story here.


Goldy Gopher

Welcome, New Students! 
Fall typically brings cooler temperatures, shorter days, and students back to campus. We are pleased to welcome 60 new full-time and seven new part-time MA-HRIR students, and one new PhD student to the Carlson School. From attending orientations to meeting their professors and getting immersed in their course syllabi to brushing up on interview skills and perfecting their resumes, our students are already fully engaged with their pursuit of a graduate degree. Read the full story here.


PhD Students

PhD Students Win Teaching Awards
Congratulations to PhD students Wei Wang and Bori Csillag who received PhD Teaching Awards from the Carlson School for their excellence in teaching during the 2017-18 academic year.



Faculty Take on New Leadership Roles
We welcome new leadership to the CHRLS this fall: Professor Connie Wanberg is the new Chair of the Department of Work and Organizations and Professor John Kammeyer-Mueller is the new Director of the Center for Human Resources and Labor Studies. We asked the two of them to share a little bit about themselves, and their research and teaching. Read the full story here.
Abdifatah Ali
New Assistant Professor Joins Department
The Department of Work and Organizations welcomes Assistant Professor Abdifatah Ali, who’s joining the faculty this fall. We asked him to share a little bit about himself. “I am a psychologist by training. I received my BA in psychology from San Diego State University, and my MA and PhD in organizational psychology from Michigan State University. "My advice for students is to get to know the faculty members. I enjoy meeting students one-on-one and learning more about their backgrounds. Doing so helps with them feeling integrated into the program and can be useful professionally by building their network.” Read the full story here.

Manchester Wins HR Division Scholarly Achievement Award
Associate Professor Colleen Flaherty Manchester and her co-authors are the winners of the Academy of Management’s 2018 Scholarly Achievement Award. This award was presented at the AOM’s Annual Meeting in Chicago in August to the author(s) of the most significant article in human resources management published in recognized journals and research annuals that are available to HR Division members. Read the full story here.


Morris Kleiner

Professor Morris Kleiner Receives LERA Lifetime Achievement Award
Humphrey School of Public Affairs Professor Morris Kleiner received a Lifetime Achievement Award from LERA (Labor and Employment Relations Association) at its annual meeting this summer. Kleiner is an affiliate faculty member in the CHRLS. Read the full story here.


Driven. The Campaign for the Carlson School

Anne Tsui

Driving Change in Research: Anne Tsui

Few believe in “Business as a Force for Good” more than Anne Tsui, ’75 MA-IR. As a business school professor, she’s seen firsthand the impact a professor can have on the students they teach. But the further she got into her career, the more she saw how most of the research being done at business schools focused on how to turn a profit, many times at the expense of the large stakeholders. Tsui wanted to change that. She established the Dare to Care Award at the Carlson School, encouraging doctoral students to conduct research that not only improves a company’s operations, but also does right by their employees and better serves their customers. Read the full story here.


Want to hear the latest news from the CHRLS? Wondering who the next 1st Tuesday speaker 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 feed here
  • HRIR Blog - find our blog here and sign up to follow it (in the bottom right-hand corner of the page)


  • Kristyn Aasen, ’11 is HR manager at SUPERVALU
  • Anna (Xuanfei) Huang, ’13 is senior technical sourcer at Facebook Reality Labs
  • Jeremy Jost, ’12, is HR director at Gap, Inc.
  • Tina Liu, ’06, is director, people partner at Sift Science
  • Sarbari Mukherjee, ’13, is HR manager at EasyPost
  • Matthew Young, ’12, is HR business partner at Valent USA
  • Monte Young, ’99, is VP of compensation for L Brands 

Make sure to update your alumni records here. 

Contact CHRLS