Centerpoint Newsletter November 2018

Kristyn Aasen

Greetings from your CHRLS Alumni Association Board of Directors!
My name is Kristyn Aasen and I’m currently serving the last year of my three-year term as the chair of the Mentoring Committee on the CHRLS Alumni Association’s Board of Directors. 

The purpose of the committee is to facilitate personal and professional development for students and alumni through mentoring relationships. Students benefit from hearing about real world experiences and examples while alumni can build their coaching skills and learn about current best practices in the field. The connections and opportunities for professional growth gained through engagement with the Mentoring Committee’s initiatives significantly add to the value of the MA-HRIR program.

Similar to years past, we held the popular in-person “Speed Mentoring” event in October that connected students with HR leaders from a variety of industries and functions. We will also be launching the one-on-one mentor matching program right after the first of the year. Serving as a mentor is a great way for you to use your professional skills to give back to the Carlson School while supporting the career development of a current student or recent graduate of the program. Additional details on how to get involved are included in this newsletter.

As an alum of the program, your feedback on the CHRLS Alumni Board of Directors’ initiatives is needed to ensure that we are providing valuable professional development experiences while creating opportunities for you to stay connected to the broader network of alumni and the Carlson School. We welcome your feedback at, and look forward to seeing your participation and engagement with the Alumni Board’s events!

Kristyn Aasen
Alumni Mentoring Committee Chair

Calling All Mentors!  
Are you interested in an opportunity to shape future HR leaders while giving back to the HRIR program? Then please consider becoming an alumni mentor! The CHRLS Alumni Association Board is continuing our Alumni Mentor program and we need you. This year we are focusing on two groups of mentees: current MA-HRIR students and HR professionals who are early in their career. As an alumni mentor, you will be matched with one (or more) of these individuals who are hungry to learn from your experience.

We will ask that you commit to connect with your mentee for at least one hour every month to share your insights on HR and business, discuss current HR trends and topics, or simply work through any potential issues or questions your mentee might have.  Don’t live in the Twin Cities? No problem. You and your mentee are welcome to connect by phone or video conferencing!

  • To sign up as an alumni mentor, please complete the Alumni Mentor application before December 15. 
  • And, if you are a recent graduate of the MA-HRIR program with less than two years of HR work experience and would like to have a mentor, please complete the Early Career Mentee application before December 15.

Also, please plan to join us – in person or via Skype - for the Mentoring Program Kick-off on January 28 at the Carlson School. We will cover mentoring tips and best practices, and you can meet your mentee in person or virtually!

If you have any questions, please email us at


Michael Steege

Advice Launched a Successful Global Career for Alumnus
Michael Steege graduated from the University of Minnesota’s MA-IR program in the mid-1970s. “When I graduated in 1974, Minnesota was one of a small number of universities that were offering an MA-IR degree,” he recalls. “I was attracted to this field of study and career because I wanted to better understand and try to improve the employee management practices utilized by companies throughout their organizations.” He went on to enjoy a successful and impactful career in human resources. Read more as he shares his experiences and offers future graduates some words of wisdom as they begin their own careers.



CHRLS Alumni Association First Tuesday

Alumni and Students Connect at 1st Tuesday
Thanks to four CHRLS Alumni Board members who hosted several current MA-HRIR students at the November 6 1st Tuesday luncheon. Pictured from left are students Joohwa Jin, Kiran Miryala, Qing Zou, and Xin Li; alumnae Eva Treuer, Lisa Zajac and Kara Sime; student Bonnie Hu; alumna Melis Candir; and student Yunsung Han. They heard from Best Buy Chairman and CEO Hubert Joly at the monthly event, which features top executives addressing hot topics in business and leadership. 


Laurie Gunn at Commencement

“It’s Never Too Late”: Four Alumni Share Stories of Their Pathway to a Diploma
Current students enrolled in the MA-HRIR program may never have heard of the Plan A or Plan B options required for graduation, but for those students studying in the 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s, sometimes those requirements were all that stood between them and a completed degree. After taking and completing all required coursework, students had the choice of the Plan A thesis option, or a series of one to three Plan B papers. And, sometimes, life got in the way! Laurie Gunn, pictured at right, and three other HRIR alumni share their stories of the (sometimes decades) long pathway to their diplomas. Read the full story here.

Planning to Make Any New Year’s Resolutions?
We’ll be running an article in the January 2019 alumni newsletter about setting New Year’s Resolutions and would love to hear from you! Please send us yours at before January 15.

Share Your Expertise at HR Tomorrow 
There is still time to submit a speaking proposal for the 2019 HR Tomorrow Conference on April 12. The conference is an excellent opportunity to share your expertise with a broad audience of approximately 325 HR professionals. The application deadline has been extended to December 6. More information and the application are available here.

Case Competition 2018

Twenty-Four Students, Five Countries, One Goal 
For the sixth year in a row the MA-HRIR program hosted the Carlson International Human Resources Case Competition (CIHRCom) at the Carlson School. Each year, teams of four graduate students from across the globe compete to come up with the best HR-related solution to a problem presented by the competition’s lead sponsor, which this year was UnitedHealth Group. Read the full story here.

Connie Wanberg

Wanberg Named One of 2018 Top 50 Undergraduate Professors
To say Carlson School Professor Connie Wanberg is a highly published expert in topics related to unemployment, job search, and careers would be an understatement. Her achievements include over 10,000 research citations on Google Scholar. Accolades include being one of the most influential management scholars who received their degree since 1991, according to metrics gathered by the Academy of Management, and being named the 2017 recipient of the Academy of Management’s International HRM Scholarly Research Award for the most significant article on international human resource management. Read the full story here.


Our Award-Winning Faculty
Congratulations to three members of the Work and Organizations Department for their recent awards: Professors Michelle Duffy and Mary Zellmer-Bruhn and Senior Lecturer Amy Simon were honored earlier this fall for their accomplishments. Read the full story here.

Michelle Duffy, Mary Zellmer-Bruhn, and Amy Simon
Kathleen Lafferty

Fulbright Program Offers Once in a Lifetime Experience for Lafferty
When offered a chance to have a once in a lifetime experience, the advice often is to just go for it; to have an open mind and be engaged. For Kathleen Lafferty, a senior lecturer at the Carlson School of Management and adjunct instructor at Metropolitan State University, this mindset enabled her to act upon an incredible opportunity to widen her educational and teaching experiences. In February 2017, she began teaching at Liepaja University in Liepaja, Latvia, for one semester through the Fulbright Program. Read the full story here.

Wayne Shi

Driven. The Campaign for the Carlson School
Wayne (Chang) Shi graduated from the MA-HRIR program in 2015, and almost right away began giving back to the program through a series of monthly donations, directed to support the program. “I am grateful that my education helped me to find a job in the U.S., especially as an international student,” he says. “I wanted to give my support, albeit tiny in amount, to my alma mater.” He shares more about himself, his experience in the program and afterward, and the reasons he chooses to give here.  

LES Coauthors 2018 State of Minnesota Unions Report
LES Director Monica Bielski Boris coauthored, along with researchers from the Midwest Economic Policy Institute, the University of Illinois, and the Illinois Economic Policy Institute, “The State of the Unions 2018” report. Read the full story here

Each issue of Centerpoint highlights a member of our alumni community, our faculty, and a current student. Learn more about alumnus Caleb Moore, second-year MA-HRIR student Haleigh DeRose, and Assistant Professor Alan Benson

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)
  • Betsy (McDonald) Clasen,’16, is an HR business associate at General Mills
  • An Dao Taylor, ’12, is an HR manager at nVent
  • Ashley Davis, ’17, is a human resources business associate at General Mills
  • Kelly Marshall, ’09, is a people consultant insights partner at Google
  • Alex Pullen, ’07, is an HR director at General Mills 
  • Zachariah Roberts, ’14, is a campus recruiter-talent acquisition consultant at Santander Bank