September 2014 Centerpoint E-Newsletter


Mary Jo Flan, President, CHRLS Alumni AssociationMary Jo Flan

Welcome to the 2014-2015 school year!  Whether your diploma says MA-IR or MA-HRIR, we are all part of the same network of CHRLS alumni. I am honored to be serving as President of your CHRLS Alumni Association this year, and one of our main goals is to build and maintain connections.   

I was fortunate to meet with the newest group of “future alumni” for a quick lunch during New Student Orientation.  One of the questions students asked was, “what advice can you give me?” I’d like to turn that around to you: what advice would you give incoming students?  Or, what advice do you wish someone had given you when you started graduate school?  The other part I find interesting is that the quest for help and advice really doesn’t end after you graduate. We all need advice and help throughout our journey – and you have a network already established to call upon. Getting started is sometimes the most difficult, so let me help you:

Take a look through this newsletter, where you’ll find several opportunities to connect, including our newly-launched “Alumni Office Hours” project; our Speed Mentoring initiative; the always-popular Alumni-Student Networking Happy Hour; our Professional Development Learning Groups; and much more.

I also encourage you to join the “Carlson School of Management – HRIR” LinkedIn Group if you haven’t already. We’re 1,205 members strong, and we definitely have room for you! Look for a fellow classmate, colleague, or current student and connect - or reconnect – to continue building this robust network of HR professionals.

We’re off to a great start.  Here’s to more connections!

Faculty/Staff News


New School Year, New Faculty
As the new school year began and students returned to campus, they were greeted by two new faces in the Department of Work and Organizations: Assistant Professors Le (Betty) Zhou and Beth Campbell (more)


Betty ZhouBeth Campbell

           Zhou                                             Campbell

Former Haas School Dean and U of M Grad Dies at 87
Earl “Budd” Cheit, former executive vice chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley, and dean and professor emeritus at the Haas School of Business, died Aug. 2. He was 87. Cheit, who began his career at the University of Minnesota, joined UC Berkeley in 1957 and stayed until retiring in 1991 as Dean.  He attended the University of Minnesota, where he earned his undergraduate bachelor of science in law degree, a JD degree from the law school, and a PhD in economics. At the U of M, Cheit’s advisor was Dale Yoder, the founding director of the Industrial Relations Center (IRC, now called CHRLS). Through Cheit’s association with the IRC, he also met June Andrews, who became his wife of 63 years.  While at Berkeley, Cheit was a mentor to then-PhD student Mahmood Zaidi, now a Carlson School Distinguished International Emeritus Professor. Cheit was instrumental in Zaidi joining the IRC.

Alumni News

Welcome New Alumni Board Members
The CHRLS warmly welcomes six new members to the Alumni Association Board of Directors, who are beginning their three-year terms this Fall:
•    David Bryant, 08, MA-HRIR
•    Laura Elletson, ’91, MA-IR
•    Marc Gauthier, ’12 MA-HRIR
•    Chris Kujawa, ’94, MA-IR
•    Kristin Lee Lewandowski, ’06, MA-HRIR
•    Joe Lucio, ’11 MA-HRIR
We are grateful for their commitment, and that of the other 14 members of the Board.  
alumni association
Pictured in front row, from left: Kristin Lee Lewandowski, Mary Jo Flan, Joe Lucio, Taryn Shawstad, Laura Blomberg, Maysam Khorasani and Marc Gauthier; back row, from left: David Bryant, Chris Kujawa, Ruth Harris, Jason Grosz and Eric Miller.  Not pictured: Scott Albers, Laura Elletson, Carrie Johnson, Kirk Keeney, Faith Leicht, Sam South, Shanequa Williams, and Pat Wyffels.

Alumni Networking Happy Hour – September 18
Please join fellow alumni and current MA-HRIR students for the first Happy Hour of the season on Thursday, September 18 at 5:30 p.m. at The Corner Bar at Seven Corners.  The new Green Line Light Rail stops a half-block from The Corner Bar, and is just 3 stops from downtown Minneapolis. Leave your car downtown and take a quick ride to a great networking event.  Appetizers and door prizes provided. Hope to see you there!

Mentoring Program 2.0!
We are excited to introduce a new way to mentor current MA-HRIR students!  Rather than pairing up individuals 1:1 the traditional way, we will be offering three separate "Speed Mentoring" events throughout the year. During this one-time commitment, alumni will meet with several groups of students throughout the course of an evening. We will provide topics that will generate discussion about alums' backgrounds, employers, career paths, views on HR topics, and advice to students. Students will be encouraged to surface questions on their own, too. At the end of the night, it's up to the alums and students to determine whether or not they continue a relationship beyond the event, but there is no expectation to do so.  We’ll kick off this new initiative on Monday, October 13, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Carlson School.  The second session will include our non-local alumni, and will be conducted virtually on Monday, February 2; the time is still to be determined.  And, we'll wrap up the series with another in-person event on Monday, April 6 from 5:30-7:30 p.m.  If you are interested in participating in one or more of these events, please complete this survey We will follow up with more details once the dates get closer.

Volunteer Opportunity – Alumni “Office Hours”
Looking for an easy way to give back to the MA-HRIR program?  Consider volunteering for the all new “Alumni Office Hours” project!  All it takes is an interest in helping current MA-HRIR students, a one-time visit to campus, and one hour of your time.  Alumni are invited to “set up shop” in the Herman Library and be available to meet students, answer their questions, and share any advice or best practices you might have. There are several slots available and you can sign up by emailing Complimentary parking or Green Line Light Rail pass will be provided. Thank you!

Join the (Virtual) Conversation! Professional Development Learning Group Session-September 19
The Alumni Board’s Professional Development Committee invites interested alumni to dial in to the next Learning Group session, focused on Career Development, on Friday, September 19 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon CST.  Share your experiences and learn from others!  Contact Mary Jo Flan at for the dial-in details.

Mark Your Calendar: HR Tomorrow Conference is April 17, 2015
We hope to see you in Minneapolis for the 36th Annual HR Tomorrow Conference on Friday, April 17, 2015.  Registration and other information will be available by January 1.

'Where in the World?' Wednesdays
Each week we feature a brief alumni update on our MA-HRIR Alumni Facebook page. The most recent highlight was on Iesha (O’Deneal) Berry, ’99 MA-HRIR, and can be viewed on our HRIR Facebook page. Want to be featured in one of the upcoming posts? Contact us at

Student News

Incoming MA-HRIR Students Bring a World of Perspectives
Students entering the Master of Arts in Human Resources and Industrial Relations program this fall were delighted to join a diverse and unique class from all over the world. (more)

2nd Annual Case Competition Gears Up!
Planning is well underway for the 2nd Annual Carlson International HR Case Competition (CIHRCom) hosted by the MA-HRIR program.  Six teams of top HR and MBA graduate students from around the world will convene in Minneapolis in mid-November to solve a pressing global HR issue facing a leading organization. More information on this exciting event is here.

LES News

The Labor Education Service welcomes Monica Bielski Boris to the department. She joins LES from the University of Illinois, where she regularly taught both credit-based and non-credit based [sdf] courses. She is active in industrial relations research, especially regarding how unions have addressed issues of diversity. She has a PhD in Industrial Relations from Rutgers, and has published in the British Journal of Industrial Relations, Advances in Industrial Relations, and elsewhere.student

Class Notes

  • Karissa (Enger) Donnelly, ’09 MA-HRIR, recently joined Stryker as a human resources manager.
  • James Dworkin, ’77 PhD-IR, recently published a children’s book titled, “The Dog and Dolphin.”  Dworkin is Chancellor of Purdue University North Central.
  • David Foster, former president of the CHRLS Advisory Council, recently joined the U.S. Department of Energy as an advisor to Secretary Ernest Moniz.
  • Kim Mirau, ’03 MA-HRIR, joined UnitedHealth Group as human capital partner.

Submit a Class Note

Let your classmates know what you've been up to since graduation.  Submit a class note to for publication in an upcoming issue of Centerpoint.

Let's Get Social

Stay connected to the CHRLS!  Visit our social media sites for the latest news and events from CHRLS.




New and Improved Facebook Page
To better showcase all that our programs, alumni, faculty and staff have to offer, we are migrating to a new and improved Facebook page – please like us at our new page! The current alumni page will be shut down on October 1.