HDO Master’s Class of 2018: Student Biographies & Goal Statements

Note: Biographies and goal statements were compiled in July 2017. Listings are in alphabetical order.


Dan Ahearn

Biography:

A native of Northampton, Massachusetts, Dan graduated from Providence College with a degree in Business Management. He started his career working with college athletics programs at Clemson University and The University of Texas. He continued his work in operations with an expanding Austin restaurant chain and a state wide non-profit focused on empowering Texans to lead healthier lives and build healthier communities. Most recently he has consulted with local businesses and non-profits on business operations, fundraising and strategic initiatives. He and his wife enjoy living an active lifestyle with their two daughters.

Goal Statement:

I look forward to further developing the skills necessary to increase my impact and influence on the organizations with which I am associated. An HDO degree will expand my leadership skills and allow me to collaborate with talented executives and business leaders to evaluate their organizations, and determine best practices to optimize outcomes. By developing a more enhanced understanding of how people behave and work within organizations, I will be able to collaborate with leadership to develop a supportive work environment that empowers employees throughout their careers.


Thaïs D. Bass-Moore

Biography:

Thaïs Moore is a native of Pasadena, CA who earned an undergraduate degree at UCLA in 1999. While teaching elementary school in Compton and then in Pasadena, she studied acting at the Beverly Hills Playhouse. In 2003, she established The Black Theatre Company of Baton Rouge where she served as playwright and director by night and stay-at-home mom by day. She currently serves as co-founder and director of the Fearless Leadership Institute at The University of Texas in Austin, which provides academic, professional, and personal development to female students of color. She thoroughly enjoys spending time with her husband and three children, friends and extended family, traveling, water fun, and volleyball. What makes Thaïs unique is her infectious laughter.

Goal Statement:

The immediate benefit I hope to gain from being a part of the HDO Master’s program is how to take the Fearless Leadership Institute (FLI) to another level. I once read a quote that stated, “If your dream does not scare you, then your dream is not big enough.” Upon reading such an inspiring quote, it came to me that FLI needs to be established at every major university in the nation. Now that thought scares me! The innovative HDO course curriculum, class discussions and debates, and the engaging interaction with fellow cohort members and professors will enhance my skill set as a leader and give me the confidence to pursue this ambitious dream.


Loris D. Brooks, SHRM-CP

Biography:

Loris Brooks has over ten years of Human Resources and Administration experience and currently serves as the Administrative Manager for Linn Thurber LLP. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Baylor University where she majored in Sociology. Loris holds a Society of Human Resource Management Certified Professional certification. Loris enjoys watching sports, volunteering, and spending time at the beach.

Goal Statement:

I believe the HDO program will help my career development given its focus on understanding people and organizations. I anticipate the HDO program will provide me with the foundation to be effective in any organization, industry or location in the world. I anticipate completing the HDO program, armed with an amazing toolkit of communication, insight into people, leadership skills, and creativity and innovation that will serve me in many professional endeavors.


Kate Carroll

Biography:

Kate Carroll is an avid reader and chocolate chip cookie lover, who has spent her career being fascinated by the dynamics of a team and what they will do to earn a baked good. After spending several years advising clients on optimum marketing strategies, she has now turned her focus to advising management teams on how to engage and connect with their people. Kate’s primary focus is to create an environment within her organization that allows people to grow and innovate. When not at work Kate is normally found hanging out with her basset hound/lab mix, Sherlock.

Goal Statement:

I recently moved from a client facing role to an internal role within my company, and I believe the HDO program is going to help me make a positive impact within my organization by developing my knowledge on how people work and interact. My hope for the program is that it trains me to better identify and understand individual skill sets and perspectives and how that variety of strengths can be used to help a team collaborate more effectively. I want to use my new role to advocate for our employees while balancing our organization goals, and I believe the HDO program will help me coordinate that balance.


Cheryl Royal Corbin

Biography:

Cheryl is a financial analyst with years of diverse industry experience and expertise as a copy editor and digital content strategist who began her professional career in Austin, Texas, as an auditor. Cheryl believes success is measured by how well you connect with the people you are working with and serving. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, where she is an active participant in community collaboration and service projects in the Far North Dallas area. She enjoys reading, decorating and staying conscience socially. Cheryl holds a Bachelor’s degree in accounting from Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Goal Statement:

I work with a large group of professional women and a key need for advancing projects is helping our members become visionaries and to realize the personal rewards and professional benefits of contribution and commitment in leadership roles as well as secondary functions. My hopes and goals for the HDO program are to help me open the windows of insight and imagination for working with and understanding people – no matter their experience level –
to create open, honest relationships and meaningful accomplishments.


Juan De Amezaga

Biography:

Juan De Amezaga is currently a manager within the People Operations organization at Google. Prior to joining Google, Juan worked in Human Capital consulting and sales specializing in the optimization of recruiting processes and throughput. Juan has a passion for building systems and infrastructure to scale and making things simple. Most importantly, Juan has a healthy obsession with the subject of human motivation, happiness, communication, and how ecosystems impact human behavior.

Goal Statement:

I hope to learn the science of what people call “soft skills.” I want to become the very best coach to my employees and learn how to build frameworks that maximize their potential. I hope to gain the tools necessary to do my own research and apply that research in a way that has a positive impact in my organization.


Lauren Duplessis

Biography:

Lauren earned her Bachelor’s degree in Marketing at Loyola University New Orleans. For nearly eight years, she has been working in the volunteer management field at BakerRipley, a Houston non-profit organization. For the past three years, she has focused on streamlining volunteer processes, enhancing the volunteer experience, and growing volunteers into agency ambassadors and donors. She has served on the Board for the Houston Association of Volunteer Administrators for the past five years. In her free time, Lauren enjoys walking, hiking, yoga, and the occasional karaoke night.

Goal Statement:

I look forward to using the HDO program to be able to lead my organization in increasing awareness and engagement by maximizing human capital.


Andrew Elkin

Biography:

Andrew graduated from California State University, Northridge with a Bachelor’s in Psychology and received a commission from the US Army in 2009. As a Field Artillery Officer, he deployed to Afghanistan three times with the 101st Airborne Division. He later transitioned to Military Intelligence, and deployed to Jordan with the 1st Armored Division. In 2017, he left active duty to pursue a civilian education and career. His interests include behavioral economics, interface design, science fiction, shooting, and PC gaming.

Goal Statement:

I am excited to learn from the diverse experiences of the cohort and apply their collective wisdom to my future decision-making.


Charlotte Glass

Biography:

Charlotte Glass is an IT professional with 10 years of experience in leadership, operations management, and continuous improvement. She has gained and applied this experience working in the retail, telecommunications, and logistics and distribution industries for Fortune 500 companies. While pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Psychology at Concordia University Irvine, Charlotte realized her passion for developing others and driving excellence. In pursuit of her mission, she was led to the HDO program at UT Austin to cultivate her knowledge and skill set so that she can share it with others.

Goal Statement:

For companies to survive in today’s fast paced competitive market they must be in a constant state of change and improvement without disrupting the lives of their employees. This requires a careful balance of the right leadership styles and business management skills. What I am hoping to learn from the HDO program is how to efficiently diagnose and treat the needs of an organization, expand on and better understand my own skill set so I can apply myself effectively, and ultimately develop others to do the same.


Kelly C. Hettinger

Biography:

I graduated from the Entrepreneur Program at the University of Southern California and have worked in many capacities including Marketing, Finance, Strategic Analysis and Strategic Planning. Currently, I supervise a team of high level managers that oversee employees in the United States and Mexico that streamline interaction with our customers on both sides of the boarder. During this time, I have successfully implemented many programs that reduce redundancies, increase accuracy, and provide information more quickly. These programs enhance our strategic planning for sales and logistics, and internal controls for production and accuracy for financial reporting. I am active in supporting children and young adults in our area by opening their eyes to the world around them through supporting travel experiences that broaden their world view as they become the next leaders in our global community.

Goal Statement:

I envision that the HDO Master’s program will help me recognize and evaluate the outside influences of the multicultural environment in which I work. Maquila businesses have a multitude of cultural aspects that both help and hinder daily operations. The beautiful blending of cultures from all over the world lends itself to an incubation of great ideas and innovative solutions derived from business knowledge gained from many cultures. At the same time, anthropological differences often create static. Adding sociological and psychological evaluation to my tools will help me better assess situations and guide transitions positively as people are always the main drivers of success or failure in an organization.


Michelle Jack

Biography:

I am a UT graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in accounting. For over 15 years, I worked in all facets of finance from cost accounting to mergers and acquisitions and IPOs; however, my true passion has always been people and projects. In the last few years, I have changed course with a focus on operations and project management. Most recently, I was in charge of the largest financial investment in the 80-year history of a Japanese company. This project was so successful, that I was promoted to VP of General Affairs which encompasses everything from security of the 500 acre/4.2M square foot building to community relations and employee satisfaction.

Goal Statement:

I am a true student of the world and see every situation as an opportunity to learn. I am fascinated by what makes people do what they do and to learn if I can in any way help achieve their potential. I am continually trying to understand the best method of communication with a wide variety of people, from maintenance employees to our Japanese CEO to our board members in Japan. I am excited to learn more about myself so that I can continue to improve and gain new tools to help me and my organization. I am confident that my exposure to this curriculum will continue to evolve my communications methods benefiting myself, my organization, and my community.


Sophie Jehangir

Biography:

I attended the University of Texas at Austin where I received a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering. I have seven years of experience in the manufacturing industry, working as a maintenance, manufacturing, and now a process engineer. I have knowledge of manufacturing work flows and how products get from piece parts to complete assemblies. Amongst all my work experiences one thing remains a constant, the interactions and relationships I established with people and how I have learnt and grown from them. I have a passion for developing and improving peoples lives, whether it be for the sake of their own personal self-growth or for helping them contribute towards a stronger society. I enjoy Texas summers since they remind of my childhood home in Lahore, Pakistan and my Basset Hound, Ellie, who is my side-kick and partner in crime!

Goal Statement:

I grew up in Pakistan and moved to the United States to attend college. Being from a culture that is more collectivist in nature, it was interesting to me how different cultures could be and why it is important to have a diverse world view and use knowledge we gain from our experiences with each other to contribute in ways that are important to us. I believe HDO will be a useful aid in helping me learn how culture, sociology and the humanities can help develop organizations and the human beings that work in them to be successful in ways that can contribute to each achieving their goals.


Rachel K. Johnson

Biography:

I am a Texas native living in Chicago. I have eleven years of experience in the financial sector, spanning from branch teller to client associate in wealth management. I graduated cum laude from DePaul University with a Bachelor’s in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. In my free time, I enjoy being outside and searching for decent Tex-Mex in the Midwest!

Goal Statement:

I’m excited for the opportunity to learn more about the role people play within organizations. After completing the HDO program I look forward to transitioning from finance to human resources. I plan on using this education to provide diversity inclusion training and consulting for large corporations.


Kandice Klumb

Biography:

I am currently a Senior Leadership Development Manager focused on improved manager performance, workforce capability and stronger employee engagement. Prior to this position, I lived abroad for nearly four years focusing on adult learning methodologies and language. I also spent several years managing real estate development projects. Outside of work, I spend a great deal of time volunteering with environmental and youth organizations.

Goal Statement:

I hope to build a network of professionals in different industries as leadership best practices evolve. I am looking forward to learning better measurement strategies to ensure the success of the programs that I am creating. Finally, I hope to gain a better understanding of why people behave the way they do and how to effectively facilitate behavior change and increased productivity.


John M. Perez

Biography:

I am a Chicago, Illinois native “Da Bears!” living in Austin, Taxes and a graduate of DePaul University with a Bachelor of Arts in Organization Development. I am an accomplished, goal-driven, and multifaceted professional with an extensive background in business and human resource management. Furthermore, for the past 20 years, I have been drumming and loving to interpret a wide range of musical styles.

Goal Statement:

As someone who puts emphasis on continuous learning, I possess an intense passion for learning new things, always searching for opportunities to advance my knowledge and career growth. I am certain that the HDO Master’s program will help me acquire hands-on knowledge on how businesses operate and how to deal with the most important components of an organization: people. I believe HDO will contribute to my future success because the degree program would help me develop my leadership capabilities to create lasting and effective change in organizations.

In addition, HDO’s practice-oriented curriculum draws on disciplines in the humanities and social and behavioral sciences. I am excited to be part of that collaboration and to hone my critical thinking skills, which, in turn, would help me achieve further success in my career.


Ryan H. Peters

Biography:

Ryan Peters served as the Deputy Director of the Partner Liaison Security Office with USAID in Kabul, Afghanistan, ensuring the safety and security of national and international development partners operating across the country. After eight years in the United States Marine Corps, and 2.5 years with USAID/Afghanistan, Ryan has developed an understanding of personnel safety and security operations in high-threat environments. Ryan studied global affairs, concentrating on the Middle East & North Africa as well as global governance, attaining his Bachelor’s degree from George Mason University.

Based on his various experiences and occupations, Ryan exhibits a capacity to collaborate, cooperate, and develop mutually beneficial relationships with a multitude of personnel, agencies and organizations both national and international –utilizing these experiences and networks to understand how organizations, and the people of which they are composed, develop.

Goal Statement:

Having found a niche in the security profession, I am confident the HDO program will assist in developing and broadening my skill set in working with and understanding organizations involved. I am hoping to use what I learn in this program to develop a new approach to nefarious organizations which present a continuous, dynamic and multifaceted obstacle to security organizations at home and abroad. My goals during this program are: to expand my base of understanding for functions of organizations outside of the security realm, to develop an understanding of efficient communication with all levels of personnel throughout an organization, learn to read and assess the varying personalities and groups which compose an organization, and lastly to understand and to refine leadership qualities necessary to meet objectives and maintain efficient productivity within an organization.


Dani L. Pruitt

Biography:

Dani is a graduate of St. Edward’s University and has worked in the Austin performing arts community for over ten years. While working for the last 6 years as an Events Manager for UT Austin’s Texas Performing Arts, she’s also freelanced for numerous other theatre, music, dance and film projects across the country to hone skills in Production, Stage, and Box Office Management. When not working on performance art, she’s wrangling authors at BookPeople for readings and signings. Ask what she’s currently reading and you’re bound to get a great book recommendation. All of this work is balanced out by discovering new recipes, imparting wisdoms to her nephew, throwing the ball for her favorite pup, and remembering to get out of town now and again.

Goal Statement:

As I look to advance my career toward arts advocacy, I want to curate my talents and challenge my current skill level to become a leader of caliber and integrity. I will ask the program to question my perspective, sharpen my skills, and push my talents forward. At the end of the program, I’d like to walk away with the confidence and knowledge to begin conversations that make an impact on arts organizations and communities by removing them from the stalemate of traditional non-profits, breaking stereotypes and expectations, bridging the gap between finances and people, and helping them to become more efficient and more innovative.


Sam Rhodes

Biography:

On paper, my professional biography leads with a dual Bachelor’s in History and English from Texas A&M Corpus Christi, but the story truly begins with my voracious love of writing, reading, and my growing desire to understand others. These passions led me into a 25-year high school English teaching position at Samuel Clemens High School in Schertz, Texas, with a steady progression into teaching International Baccalaureate (IB) classes in both English and Psychology. Although I eventually became the school’s IB Program Coordinator, I’ve come to realize my true interests lie in understanding how people operate, and how I can use this knowledge on a daily basis. I’ve grown fascinated with the principles of de-escalation and conflict mediation, and my past professional experiences—writing, exploring and teaching psychology, and becoming a program coordinator— were only stepping stones towards my greater passion. Just as my past professional background has helped me come to this realization, I look forward to using HDO as another stepping stone towards my passion for better understanding people.

Goal Statement:

HDO is a bit like following a GPS treasure map in a foreign language: I can’t yet discern my final destination, but I have a clear sense of direction and purpose urging me onward. Although I have learned many useful skills and lessons through my years of public teaching, I am more certain every day that HDO is the mysterious next stop on my journey. To me, it will do more than just teach me about understanding human interaction in the public setting; it will provide me the tools I need to forge the next chapters in my life. Using the network and knowledge that HDO will provide me, I will be able to look eagerly into the possibilities of the future, instead of nostalgically into the possibilities of the past.


Julie Scheibel

Biography:

Julie Scheibel works in student and administrative support at Chapel Hill Academy Charter School, a program run by Lena Pope, a non-profit organization in Fort Worth, Texas. Julie received her Bachelor’s in History from Saint Louis University and a Secondary School Teaching Certificate in Social Sciences from McKendree University. She enjoys reading, puzzles, and spending time with her husband and five children.

Goal Statement:

One of my goals for the HDO program is to gain a deeper understanding of the forces that drive individuals and employers to be invested in each other’s mutual success. I hope to be challenged by a diverse cohort to expand my current views, attitudes and practices in the workplace. I plan to put the knowledge and experience gained in the HDO program to use at the non-profit organization where I am employed.


Will Thornewell

Biography:

I am South Texas native with a background in the healthcare sector. I earned my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in healthcare administration from Texas State University and Seton Hall University, respectively. I currently work for the largest hospital operator in the country, HCA Healthcare, as a financial analyst. I recently relocated back to Texas from the Los Angeles area.

Goal Statement:

I hope to gain a better understanding of managing relationships among the many professional backgrounds represented in the healthcare sector. This industry has been labeled as the most egotistical sector, given that almost everyone has had extensive training in their respective fields. In the HDO program, I hope to gain the skills and knowledge to bring people together in order to better serve our hospitals and communities. This task is easier said than done and I believe that this is a trait/skill that most people in leadership positions lack.

 
 


Interested in Applying to the HDO Master’s Program?

 

The HDO Master’s Degree is tailor-made for working professionals. Our degree program is offered on a distinct schedule so that students can maintain their careers while working toward their degree. Applicants must have at least three years of career-level work experience to be considered for admission. In the video below, HDO Director Art Markman explains who will benefit from HDO’s Master’s degree.
 
 


 
 

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