HDO Master’s Class of 2019: Student Biographies

Note: Biographies were compiled in July 2018. Listings are in alphabetical order.


Captain Brian K. Burgi

Captain Brian K. Burgi currently serves as the Operations Officer for the Texas Army National Guard State Aviation Office and Commander of Detachment One, Headquarters Company, 36th Combat Aviation Brigade.

Captain Burgi is a 2003 graduate of Texas State University and commissioned as an Aviation Officer in the Texas Army National Guard where he has served in multiple command and staff roles. He is an instructor pilot in the LUH-72 Lakota helicopter and rated in the UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter.

Captain Burgi lives in Austin with his wife, Jennifer and their nine-year-old son, Barrett. In his spare time he enjoys traveling, backpacking, running, and camping with the family.


Lisa Dalgliesh

Lisa Dalgliesh is currently working in learning and organizational development with NXP Semiconductors, where she assists in the planning and execution of global development programs.

Lisa believes that people deserve to be seen and understood on an individual level (after all, organizations are made up of individuals). By better understanding human behavior, Lisa hopes to bridge the gap between knowledge and practical application to create healthy, successful organizations. Over the past decade, Lisa has worked in a variety of industries and roles, including hospitality, non-profit, and tech. Although Lisa has found her way back to Texas, she spent three years working and studying in Sydney, Australia.

Lisa graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Texas Tech University. In her downtime, Lisa likes to find new places in Austin to sit on a patio and enjoy live music or a good book.


Rodney T. Gaither

Rodney Gaither is a United States Air Force Civilian and Veteran with 30 years of proven leadership experience in community relations, operations, and professional development.

Gaither established guidance and policies to ensure community services and logistics met and exceed published Department of Defense (DoD) standards and regulations. He chaired and led mentorship for base-wide functions, campaigns, and forums to unite helping agencies and specialized prevention programs into one actionable voice for execution plans to support a diverse audience of 25,000 community members.


Elena Espinoza Gearheart

Elena currently serves as the Director of Employee Experience for KIPP Texas Public Schools. She has spent most of her career partnering with executive leadership to recruit, retain, and serve talent to meet their human capital needs.

Prior to KIPP Texas, Elena expanded her recruitment experience into core HR roles as the Human Resources Manager for KIPP Austin and Talent Support Specialist for YES Prep. She spent some time in the private sector as the Talent Management and Acquisition Specialist for Halliburton’s Diversity and Inclusion practice. Previously Elena held several roles in education-based organizations serving as the Recruitment Manager for Education Pioneers, Operations Manager for Citizen Schools and Admissions Counselor for The University of Texas at Austin.

Elena received a B.S. in Communication Studies with a concentration in Corporate Communication and Business Foundations from The University of Texas at Austin and holds a SHRM-SCP certificate.


Sunny Hale

With ten years of federal law enforcement experience, Special Agent Sunny Hale works for the Air Force Office of Special Investigations directly engaged in national security affairs. She serves as a team lead for an award-winning multi-agency task force, traveling across the U.S. in effort to inform, educate, train, and connect the Department of Defense with counter-proliferation support.

She proudly received her undergraduate degree in International Development and International Relations from Tulane University in New Orleans, LA. Sunny loves to cook, read, travel, explore national parks, and carry out DIY projects at home.


Erika Cecilia Hernandez

Bi-lingual, bi-cultural, and lucky enough to have a dual citizenship, Erika is a proud Mexican American with a passion for human development. She graduated from the University of the Incarnate Word with a Bachelors of Business Administration and a concentration in Marketing.

Erika knew that working with people was her destiny and, upon graduating, she landed a training position with Whataburger Restaurants’ corporate office. She used her marketing expertise to create training that actually appealed to her audience: the employee. That was where Erika’s training and development tenure began. She now creates learning experiences for Keller Williams Realty International and was recently recognized in Elliott Masie’s list of the 30 Most Impactful People Under Thirty in learning and development.

Erika’s hobbies include CrossFit, golf, drawing, painting, technology, and learning. She’s interested in cultures, people, traveling, and always trying to be a better version of herself.


Hamza H. Khan

Hamza Khan is a Human Capital Consultant for Deloitte Consulting, focusing particularly on change management for technology implementations and supply chain transformations. His experience includes global, regional, and local operations management for oil and gas companies in the US and UAE.

He has a BBA from the University of Houston in Supply Chain Management and Finance with a specialization in Strategic Sourcing. Hamza enjoys anything related to sports and social outings with friends.


Danielle Christina Mullings

Danielle was born in Detroit and grew up in Atlanta. She is a proud graduate of the University of Florida. She started her professional career as a kindergarten teacher and has spent the last 13 years in education reform.

Danielle joined Teach For America with a passion and belief that all children deserve an excellent education. Over the past 13 years, she has coached and developed first and second year teachers, recruited diverse candidates to join Teach For America staff and designed and facilitated experiences to develop systems change leadership. Although she has loved working at Teach For America, she is transitioning to a new role. She will begin working at IDEA Public Schools with a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion.

As a hobby, Danielle works as a trainer for the non-profit FuelEd which focuses on developing educators’ interpersonal skills, emotional well-being, and self-awareness necessary to fuel schools with the power of relationships. She enjoys reading books and listening to podcasts to support her love for learning.


S. Shane Myers

Shane is a self-motivated, personable Professional with over five years of experience in employee relations and human resources.

He studied philosophy and psychology at Rutgers University in New Jersey where his focus narrowed to labor studies and employee/employer relations. He has always been fascinated by the concept of “work” — something we all spend the majority of our lives participating in. Therefore, he chose to dedicate his career to focusing on solving workplace issues and interpersonal conflict. Shane’s current employment brought him to Albuquerque where he continues to meld his education and conflict resolution skills to enhance the workplace for over 600 employees along the southwest.

Shane enjoys spending his free time with his fiancee and new puppy while they explore the many New Mexico mountain ranges and take advantage of the amazing scenery and the great outdoors!


Andrea Nathan

Originally from The Berkshires, Massachusetts, Andrea, from a young age, enjoyed the challenge of navigating new cultures. For college she moved to Charleston, SC, where she attended College of Charleston and studied Corporate and Organizational Communication with a minor in Hospitality Management. She explored Barcelona, Spain, while studying abroad, and, after undergrad, decided to take a job in Tel Aviv, Israel, where she lived and worked within the hospitality realm for a few years before returning to the States. She now lives in Austin working for Hyatt Hotel Corporation’s new wellness brand, Miraval Resorts, within their Development team.


Jay T. Norcross

Jay is the president of an Oil, Gas, and Chemicals engineering business unit. With over 40 years in the energy business, including 20 years abroad, Jay enjoys a wide range of experiences in all facets of project development and execution.

Jay enjoys cycling and pool time with his wife Zaina, their daughter Lucy, and infant son Ford.


Noelle Parsons

Noelle Parsons currently serves as the Senior Specialist in Business Operations at the Texas Hospital Association Foundation (THAF), working within the technology and development departments. She has worked for THAF in various roles for nearly five years.

Noelle graduated summa cum laude from Trinity University in 2013 with a bachelor of arts in Human Communication and Ancient Mediterranean Studies. She is active in the Texas Society of Association Executives (TSAE), serving on its member engagement committee, and she was recently named the winner of TSAE’s 2018 Young Professional Leadership Award.


Clark Red

Clark Red has spent his career supporting strategic missions of the U.S. Air Force in the area of command and control.

As a graduate of the University of Texas with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering, Clark began his career in 1984 with a defense contractor in Richardson, Texas. Frustrated with the lack of customer focus and the bureaucracy Clark saw in large companies, in 1995, Clark seized an opportunity to start his own company which has grown steadily from three initial employees to 40.

Clark and his wife have four children and one grandchild. Clark invests himself in his family and plays tennis in his spare time.


Nancy Rodill

Nancy received her Bachelor of Science in Communications and McCombs School of Business’ Foundations Certification from The University of Texas at Austin.

After graduation, she spent more than 14 years working on business development in New York City. She is the executive director for the Texas office of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. She currently serves as the Vice President of the Oak Hill Elementary PTA in Austin and was the recipient of the 2017 Blazing Star Award by the Texas Women’s Chamber of Commerce.
   
She also has a passion for learning, cooking, gardening, and practicing yoga. Nancy enjoys spending quality time with her husband, Christian, their five-year-old daughter, Corinne, a very dramatic Shiba Inu, and Austin the cat.


Kelly Schaber

Kelly Schaber is a jeweler and gemologist with over 20 years of luxury experience. For the past four years, Kelly has been a Senior Fine Jewelry and Watch Specialist with Winston Art Group, a New York-based independent art appraisal and advisory group.

Kelly is a Graduate Gemologist, trained at the Gemological Institute of America, and holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Trade and Marketing with a minor in Ethics and Sustainability from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.

Outside of work, Kelly can be found practicing yoga, enjoying barre classes, and exploring Austin with her puppy, Wesley.


M. Jordan Scott

M. Jordan Scott is an investor and philanthropist in Austin. He is manager of a family office and President of the Reissa Foundation. He received a B.A. in Economics from Colorado College. He is married to Laila Scott (McCombs MBA, 2003) and has three children … all boys. In his spare time he enjoys live music, coaching his kids’ sports teams, and traveling.


Julie Serafini

With a liberal arts background and 25 years of work experience, Julie has done a bit of everything. She has taught English as a second language to adults, worked in the non-profit world, and been an International Flight Attendant. Her most rewarding experience thus far is her current role: leading a team of hard-working Baristas at one of the best coffee shops in the country, Houndstooth Coffee.


Elena Sixtos

Elena serves as Director of Strategic Change in a financial services organization which focuses on serving the military community. Prior to her current role, Elena led the design of a strategic framework and planning for areas associated to crisis/incident management and operational risk.

Elena holds a bachelor of arts degree in Organizational Development from the University of Incarnate Word and has been awarded the professional designation of Business Process Management Professional (BPMP) by the BPM Institute. She is actively pursuing Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certification.

In her spare time, she enjoys traveling and spending time with her family.


Lynn Wills

Lynn served 30 years in the United States Air Force, flying combat sorties on both AWACS and JSTARS in Operations Just Cause, Desert Storm, Provide Comfort, and Allied Force. He spent 12 years in the defense industry developing new business for Raytheon and Ultra Electronics.

Lynn and his wife Gail live on five acres in the Hill Country just outside Austin. They have two children, Brant and Jordan, and two granddaughters, Emmy and Piper.


Maggie Ye

Maggie, with over 10 years in the IT industry and emerging markets, has excellent business and financial acumen. Maggie holds an MBA and has well-rounded marketing experience in marketing communication, demand generation, brand management, and pricing management.
   
Currently, she is leading global pricing strategy and a multinational team to support rapid business growth with desirable profit. She enjoys learning new things, visiting new places, and spending time with family and friends.

 
 


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’s Founding Director, Dr. Art Markman, explains how working professionals will benefit from pursuing an HDO’s Master’s degree.
 
 


 

In the video below, Dr. Elizabeth Richmond-Garza explains how the program provides a unique education experience and highlights why she is so passionate about teaching in HDO.