2010 HRLA Winners


Marilyn Figlar | VP, Talent and Organizational Capability, Lockheed Martin

Marilyn Figlar put the wheels in motion for a leadership culture change at Lockheed Martin that culminated in the design of a leadership competency model for the entire organization. Branded Full Spectrum Leadership, this model has significantly changed the way that Lockheed Martin measures, promotes, and evaluates its leaders. Following extensive research, Figlar designed Full Spectrum Leadership with five imperatives: shape the future; build effective relationships; energize the team; deliver results; and model personal excellence, integrity, and accountability. She then built consensus to ensure successful implementation. In a follow-up survey, rapid improvement was shown in three of the five imperatives. Leaders at Lockheed Martin are now evaluated in the context of the five imperatives; the performance assessment gives equal weight to what leaders achieve and how they achieve it. A follow-up survey showed rapid improvement in three out of the five imperatives. Full Spectrum Leadership has helped propel Lockheed Martin onto various magazines’ lists of the top companies for leaders.

INNOVATION – Individual

Philia Swam | Director, Health Benefits and Employee Insurance, Lafarge North America

Over the past four years, Philia Swam has successfully implemented some of the fundamental principles that underlie the recent health care reform legislation: increasing coverage, promoting wellness and lowering costs. In 2007, she led the launching of the company’s wellness program, Building a Better You. The Building a Better You program has involved collaboration among the safety and risk group, operations managers, supervisors, and plant personnel; it is truly a team effort to motivate employees to take advantage of available resources. The results are impressive: Lafarge’s health care cost trend has dropped from 13% in 2006 to 4.7%. The average claim amount over $50,000 is at its lowest level in the past 5 years, and the company has seen a 159% increase in employee participation in disease management. In addition, wellness exams and screenings have increased year over year. And, worker absenteeism as a result of illness has decreased markedly, as have claims for short-term and long-term disability benefits. This has made it possible for Lafarge to make health care coverage more affordable for its employees and has enabled it to continue to offer a retiree medical benefit plan, even for employees who have not yet retired. Plus, employees are leading healthier lives and enjoying greater job satisfaction. Lafarge as a business is healthier, as well.

Innovation – Team

Arlington County Training & Organization Development Team: Arthur Rodger, Dan Connole, Emma Kiendl, Sandy Brody, Robin Finch

Arlington County’s Human Resource Training & Organization Development (T & OD) Team encourages all employees to pursue continuing education and empowers them to design and implement cutting-edge development programs. The outcome of these efforts is a progressive and highly interactive leadership development program that operates under the County’s corporate university, Arlington Institute. Arlington Institute is a rigorous and multi-faceted leadership program that addresses succession planning, employee engagement, and employee learning. Overseen by a Dean and an Advisory Council composed of representatives from twelve County departments, the Institute has rolled out a dozen leadership development opportunities for employees. Each program operates in a cohort of 15 to 25 participants and is funded through the T & OD budget. The Institute offers a variety of certificate programs for supervisory advancement, an HR certificate program, and a five-month Leader’s Challenge program. The T & OD team is also committed to recognizing accomplishments. During Arlington Institute Week, employees provide topic-specific training for their colleagues that showcase ongoing innovative projects and processes. Through these efforts, Arlington County has built a highly engaged workforce.


Maliek Ferebee | Director of Human Resources, McNeil Technologies

Maliek Ferebee’s guiding philosophy is based on the concept of partnership, a key facet of which is open and honest communication. One of his top priorities is to ensure that each member of the McNeil team understands the career growth options available to him or her and the things that the employee must accomplish to advance. Through his counsel, support and encouragement, a significant number of inexperienced new hires have grown into supervisory roles and are “paying it forward” by mentoring their own new employees. He also developed and implemented McNeil’s Women’s Mentoring Program. Up-and-coming female professionals are assigned a senior mentor within McNeil, with whom they meet several times a month to provide enhanced professional development support. Since the program began, over 50 employees have participated in the mentoring program and there’s a waiting list for participation. Women now hold key leadership positions, including a senior vice president, a division manager, and program managers.

Strategic Alignment – Individual

George Hall | Global Human Resources Officer, Marriott International

George Hall holds three concurrent positions at Marriott: he oversees the development and implementation of strategic HR programs in Marriott’s technology organization; he manages a thirty-person technical team that designs and implements the HR systems that support Marriott’s 137,000 associates worldwide; and he serves as a thought leader with Marriott’s executive HR leaders in developing organization-wide strategies. When Marriott established its Information Resources division in an effort to centralize its technology components, approximately 400 job titles existed among 1000 associates. Recognizing the need to streamline positions and give associates clear development opportunities, Hall partnered with Information Resources’ leaders to create IR Career Journey. What has emerged is a development and compensation framework that has enhanced IR’s bench strength and retention efforts. There are now 96 job titles that fall under a core set of Job Families, providing associates with clear information on the skills and competencies needed to advance. Since the implementation of IR Career Journey, the average voluntary turnover rate is only about 6.5% and the average tenure of an IR associate is longer than ten years. Building on the success of IR Career Journey, Hall then spearheaded the creation of the Leadership Development Program, which incorporates e-learning, instructor-led training, and blended learning. After its first year, engagement scores rose by almost 17 percent.

Strategic Alignment – Team

Choice Hotels International HR Leadership Team: Patrick Cimerola, Stephanie Lykins, Becky Wedemeyer, Anne Hendrick, Maria D’Ambrosio, Tammie Thomas

In 2008, the HR Leadership Team decided to reengineer the employee survey process with the goal of increasing the focus on employee engagement by leaders within the Choice organization. The team instituted quarterly “pulse checks” to replace the annual survey and establishedan online engagement resource center. As a result, overall satisfaction, already high, increased by five percent in two years, and the turnover rate dropped significantly. Using best-in-class benchmarks for Fortune’s “Top 100 Companies to Work For,” the HR team raised the company’s rating dramatically: On the 2007 Fortune survey, Choice met benchmarks on only seven percent of questions; in the 2009 survey, it met more than 70 percent. The team also upgraded the on-boarding program, called Choice Check-In, and added a Leader-Coach Program, which focuses on connecting leaders across the organization in order to generate greater integration and further partnerships. Choice President and CEO Stephen Joyce may have best illustrated the strategic role played by the HR Leadership Team, when he said: “Thanks to the HR team, my team and I have the knowledge, skills, tools, and processes we need to demonstrate our commitment to making Choice a great place to work for all of our employees. Our low turnover levels, high satisfaction levels, and high employee referral rates are all a testament to the positive impact of their efforts.”

The Dr. J.P. London Award for Promoting Ethical Behavior

Marcia Euwema | Assistant Vice President of Human Resources, STG International, Inc.

When Marcia Euwema joined the team at STG International (STGi) in 2009, the company was in the midst of many daunting challenges. Significant lay-offs, poor employee morale, rising overhead costs, and the firm’s geographically diverse workforce made sustaining employee engagement particularly difficult. Not only did Euwema meet these challenges head-on, she addressed them with a commitment to treating employees in the most highly ethical manner. She has ensured that people are treated fairly and with respect, that their input is encouraged, that they are made to feel that they are valued by STGi, and that they are given the greatest possible opportunity to succeed. She developed the first ever STGi employee survey and used the results to improve communications among employees and between the field workforce and the headquarters staff. She also created a series of webinars on such topics as the H1N1 virus, financial planning, and business ethics. In addition, she devotes a significant amount of time to ensuring that employees who are working at client sites receive regular visits from her. Her commitment to the highest ethical standards can perhaps be seen even more clearly in her work with STGi’s benefits programs. While economic constraints necessitated some curtailment in STGi’s generous benefits package, she audited the programs and determined that the company could actually make additional payments to employees regarding past benefits. In addition, she strove to limit the rate of future employee cost increases because of her firm belief that “employees must be confident that their healthcare and financial needs are being met before they can concentrate on doing their best in the workplace.” In November 2009, she also spearheaded the collection of holiday food baskets at the company’s headquarters. The staff responded by raising over $3,000 in cash and in kind donations for the Koinonia Foundation, which in turn provided holiday staples to local families in need.

The Sister Eymard Gallagher Award for Corporate Social Responsibility

Jackie Asencio | President & CEO, C2 Portfolio Essentials, Inc.

Incorporating community involvement into the fabric of C2 Portfolio Essentials wasn’t something that had to be manufactured for Jackie Asencio. Because of her personal commitment to service, it was natural for Jackie Asencio to ensure that social responsibility is a hallmark of C2. She created a program that centralizes the company’s efforts to meet significant social needs, both locally and internationally. Wanting the program to be driven by the employees who make up C2, Asencio encouraged then to submit project ideas to the executive team, with several of the suggestions incorporated into the launch of the new program. In April 2009, C2 Cares was officially introduced and has encompassed many employee-driven ideas: Operation Homefront, which focuses on the needs of military families by raising funds for school supplies, Halloween costumes, and gift cards; the Neediest Kids Foundation, a partnership with Gilford Elementary School in Sterling, VA, and the Lord Fairfax Food Bank through which employees take turns helping to fill more than 150 backpacks with non-perishable items for children to take home each Friday; blood drives, held twice a year in partnership with the Red Cross and INOVA Health System; Alzheimer’s fundraising; and Haiti Relief, which has been long-standing. In addition, following the earthquake, a substantial financial donation on behalf of all C2 employees to Stop Hunger Now enabled the purchase of meal packs to feed tens of thousands of people in Haiti.