2012 HRLA Winners and Finalists

LEADERSHIP (Companies with greater than 1,000 employees)

Mary Santiago | Director, Veteran Employment Services Office, Department of Veteran Affairs

Mary Santiago is credited with establishing the Department of Veteran Affairs dynamic new career program, VA for Vets, which was created to address the full employment lifecycle for veterans and military Servicemembers and was launched on Veterans’ Day, 2011. VA for Vets is a high-tech, high-touch platform unlike any other in the federal government. It has actively assisted veterans in translating their military skills, assessing their professional strengths and interests, and building resumes with language civilian employers can understand. It also helps keep deployed Servicemembers connected to VA during their deployments.

The impressive statistics for the VA for Vets in its short history are a testament to both its success and Mary’s leadership abilities. After running pilot events in a handful of cities, Mary organized VA for Vets’ first major hiring event, the Veteran Career Fair and Expo in Washington, DC. Over 4,100 veterans attended the 13-hour career fair and to date, more than 500 veterans have received tentative job offers and other job offers may follow. In addition, there have been more than 128,000 visits to the VA for Vets website, more than 9,000 registered new user accounts, and more than 8,600 career and reintegration coaching cases in just six months.

Especially in light of the important mission of helping integrate veterans and Servicemembers into the civilian workforce, Mary’s success at the Department of Veteran Affairs demonstrates why she is truly a leader in the HR profession.


J. Jane Cohen | Volunteers of America
Laura Viehmyer | DAI

LEADERSHIP (Companies with less than 1,000 employees)

Kay Curling | Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Salient Federal Solutions, Inc.

Kay Curling is described as a valuable asset to Salient’s executive leadership team and demonstrates an uncanny ability to develop strategic plans around which to build successful HR infrastructure practices and policies. Less than 18 months after forming and leading a new HR team, Kay transformed Salient from a “go through” to a “go to” employer for a variety of reasons. Among other things, Kay and her team:

• rolled out a complete Human Resource Information System;
• launched a new set of employee benefits plans with more robust benefits and decreased costs to employees;
• created and implemented a company-wide performance management system;
• designed and implemented a new compensation program and merit structure;
• implemented employee service and performance awards;
• significantly enhanced the lines of communication through a monthly HR newsletter; and
• launched Salient University — a Salient-wide online learning platform aimed at developing business and technical skills throughout the organization.

Kay’s contributions to Salient have shown measurable business impact, particularly in proving the organization is a great place to work. Through fostering a high performance culture, the voluntary attrition rate at Salient decreased from almost 40% to 25%, ultimately saving the company more than $3 million. Kay’s ability to inspire and drive high performance teams and to champion collaboration proves her leadership abilities have fostered growth and a positive business environment.


Dana Smith | CapitalSource
Denise Watters | CSSI, Inc.

INNOVATION – Individual

Susan Coe | Senior Director of Human Resources, American Nurses Association

Upon assuming the role of Senior Director of Human Resources at the American Nurses Association (ANA) in 2010, Susan Coe began implementing organization-wide HR solutions. Within a four-month period, the ANA introduced and rolled out a completely overhauled HRIS system.

In addition to being lauded for the functional benefits brought to the ANA by the new system, Susan’s approach to her role is credited with radically improving the organization’s performance with its new methodologies and approaches, which are now deeply embedded into the company’s culture.

Susan also set out to transform enterprise-wide meetings from one-way reports to dynamic experiences that foster discussion. As a result of the changes that were made, time in meetings decreased 30% while enhancing overall the quality and effectiveness. In praise of Susan’s innovations in this area, one employee commented to the ANA’s CEO that “This year’s enterprise-wide meetings have been the best I’ve participated in in ten years. They have become more meaningful, social, and professional.”

It is clear that the creative approaches and cultural transformations that Susan has introduced into the ANA have set the stage for positive dialogue and future innovation. Susan’s accomplishments, attitude and approach to her role as an HR professional demonstrate why she truly is a leader in the area of innovation.


Laura Gordon | Curam Software
Mary Santiago | Department of Veterans Affairs


CACI Recruiting & Workforce Planning Technology Team

John Hoey, Katie Moore, Jonathan Vincent, Moira Welsh, Tara Winesett

In an organization in which hiring is the essential component to growth, CACI’s Recruiting & Workforce Planning Team’s lead the drive to stay ahead of the competition.

The team united the company’s Recruiting Technology and Marketing teams and in doing so integrated cutting-edge technology and strategic marketing to maximize the performance and ability of the company’s recruiting solutions. The team members focused their efforts on improving two key recruiting functions: attracting and engaging candidates, as well as matching them to the right positions. To do so, the Recruiting & Workforce Planning Team enhanced the company’s mobile technology, SEO, talent community marketing and social media marketing.

CACI’s innovative fusion of recruiting technology and marketing has returned several measurable outcomes. For example, over the past year, the company’s mobile visitors doubled and they are outpacing their competitors. In addition, through the use of SEO, hires through the platform increased 169%, and candidate applications through job aggregators increased by 340%.

Capitalizing on the capabilities and uses of various technological channels while enhancing internal capabilities at matching candidates to appropriate positions has enabled CACI to fill positions successfully at a historic low cost per hire. This success is a testament to the CACI Recruiting and Workforce Planning Technology Team’s creativity and innovation.


Ascom Network Testing Team
Kaiser Permanente Learning & Organization Team


Jennifer Djouadi | Human Resources Consultant, Paychex HR Solutions

Throughout her career, serving as a mentor has been a priority in Jennifer Djouadi’s personal and professional plan. Jen played an important role in the development of the mentoring program at Paychex when it was in its initial stages, with her focus being on ensuring that new employees receive job-specific training that prepared them for success when working with clients. After the comprehensive mentoring program was set in place, Jen set out on her personal mission – to cultivate, develop and nurture incoming employees.

Meeting with mentees weekly, Jen assists employees in preparing for the rigorous entrance exam as well as in identifying areas of strength. Further, she helps improve employee understanding of HR compliance.

Her presence as a leader and mentor at Paychex is felt throughout multiple levels in the organization. Perhaps even more notably, it is felt outside the organization, too. Not only has she received praise from fellow employees for whom she has served as a formal mentor; clients of Jen’s also have commented that they have learned so much from her in her role as a service provider that they feel she has been a mentor to them as well. Clearly, Jen’s capacity and passion for teaching and nurturing make her a leader in the area of mentoring.


Steve Fuller | Ernst & Young
Jim Kemp | Northrop Grumman Corporation


Holly Kortright | Senior Vice President, Deltek

As Senior Vice President of HR at the innovative, fast-growing Deltek, Holly Kortright is recognized as being the driver behind Deltek’s company culture and employee engagement as well as a trusted advisor to the executive team.

While Deltek has been successful at driving financial and product transformations, a culture transformation was essential to support the growth. Holly was entrusted with the difficult task of unifying an employee base that hailed from three separate recently acquired companies. To do so, she assembled a cross-functional Culture Alignment Group to serve as the steering/ working committee for the culture effort, which ensured employee representation and kept culture efforts at the top-of-mind with management.

Of course, for the cultural realignment to be successful, the company needed to meet the great demand among Deltek employees to understand the company’s strategy. Holly drove this conversation between management and employees through town hall meetings, business unit strategy sessions and employee focus groups. These shared stories resonated with employees in a way that prior communications had not.

Holly’s focus on collaboration, communication and culture has been a cornerstone of the organization’s continued success. After the culture transformation in 2011, revenue has increased 22%, Deltek’s stock value has increased 35% and operating margins have grown from 7.6% to an impressive 21.3% from Q1 to Q4. Clearly, these statistics demonstrate how Holly’s leadership abilities epitomize the essence of the key HR goal of strategic alignment.


Tina Bailey | VSE Corporation
Carrolyn Bostick | Intelsat S.A., Inc.


CACI Employee Mobility Team

Doug Greene and Tara Winesett
CACI itself characterizes minimizing employee attrition as one of the company’s greatest challenges. The company’s response to this challenge was to establish the CACI Employee Mobility Program, which connects employees who are losing coverage or searching for new job opportunities with CACI open positions.

Within a year of its debut, the Employee Mobility Program was undoubtedly a success. CACI experienced a record low 13.7% attrition rate and 19% of its open positions were filled with internal candidates – a 14% increase over the previous year. Notwithstanding the great initial success of the program, the team quickly identified areas for improvement and incorporated them into the Program.

Since its inception, the number of Mobility Board participants has increased 257%. However, the size of the Employee Mobility Program Team has remained constant due to the innovative, cost-saving processes and technologies it employs. The Employee Mobility Program‘s success has also contributed to the Recruiting and Workforce Planning team’s ability to fill 4,400 positions in an average of 26 days – which represented a 13% cost reduction over the previous year and delivered over $2 million to CACI’s bottom line.


Intelsat S.A., Inc HR Talent Management & Operations Team
MHM Human Resources Team



Marsha Moulton and William Sparks

ACDI/VOCA is an economic development nonprofit organization that fosters broad-based economic and social development in the least developed countries. Based in Washington, DC, ACDI/VOCA has worked in 145 countries since 1963. Its annual revenues of $140 million are spread over the five practice areas of agribusiness, food security, enterprise development, financial services and community development. ACDI/VOCA currently has over 1,500 employees working on 92 projects in 40 countries.

As a mission-oriented organization, ACDI/VOCA pursues three primary values while striving to promote positive economic and social change worldwide. These values are the commitment to its overseas beneficiaries, wise stewardship of development resources and a knowledgeable, experienced, diverse and effective team.

Through the AchieVe performance management program, the ACDI/VOCA team communicates ethics and values not only as high-level expectations, but also as specific daily behaviors that can be described, encouraged and recognized.

The team created the AchieVe program, in part, to ensure that critical values were reinforced and followed. As a nonprofit organization working with government resources provided by the American taxpayer, ACDI/VOCA recognizes the importance of being responsible and ethical stewards of these resources. Through the AchieVe program, ACDI/VOCA is now able to ensure that employees are given concrete methods for putting these values into action.

Newly hired employees are first introduced to these ethical values and behaviors through an interactive scenario discussion during quarterly AchieVe Overview sessions. A variety of ethical scenarios are presented. New employees participate through the use of audience response devices to select their proposed solution to the ethical situation. Following the answers, a discussion is facilitated to explain the consequences of both effective and ineffective behaviors. This discussion is followed with a detailed explanation of the desired behaviors. In addition, an online module has been developed in which employees worldwide can view the interactive ethics presentation.

Over the last three years, Marsha and William have delivered pro bono workshops to peers through InsideNGO, a network of nonprofit organizations as well as purposefully collaborating with the Nonprofit Human Resources Conference (NHRC) and Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Furthermore, the best recognition a nonprofit can receive is from others trying to emulate and acknowledge its efforts. The success of the AchieVe program has been recognized by the international development industry.


Bernadette Channer | DAI
J. Jane Cohen | Volunteers of America
Kay Curling | Salient Federal Solutions, Inc.


Kelly Wing | Senior Manager, Human Resources, American Systems

As Senior Manager of HR at American Systems, Kelly Wing has been recognized for her leadership, dedication and achievements in creating positive change in the communities in which the organization operates. Kelly has led numerous American Systems initiatives in the community service arena. Among other efforts:

• Kelly has driven the growth of American Systems’ partnership with Deep Park Elementary School in Centreville, VA – a school with special challenges.

• She is the company’s liaison to the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association Educational Foundation.

• Through Kelly’s leadership, American Systems earned the distinction of being named “Top Corporate Team” in Fairfax County by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

• Each holiday season, Kelly initiates a matching donation program to support wounded veterans. In 2011, donations supported the Wounded Warrior Project and, due to Kelly’s leadership, far exceeded the company’s target and a resulted in a company record donation.

Astoundingly, these initiatives are merely a few of Kelly’s and American Systems’ efforts to give back to the community. One colleague noted that “I’ve never met anyone like Kelly Wing. Not only does she go above and beyond to assist managers and employees here at American Systems, she is passionate about so many organizations and is always rallying support to help someone or something.”

Bernadette Channer | DAI
Jena Foster | MorganFranklin Corporation


Jessica Adams | Communities in Schools
Sabrina Shroff | Intelsat S.A., Inc.