Note: Biographies were compiled in July 2020. Listings are in alphabetical order.

 

Jaime Aguero


Biography:

Jaime is a Senior Operations Manager for JPMorgan Chase in their Mortgage Servicing Division. In this role, he oversees a quality assurance team dedicated to performing a 100% quality-control check on 3,500 mortgage documents monthly. Jaime also serves as a Chief Warrant Officer in the United States Army Reserve Chemical Radiological Biological Nuclear (CBRN) Corps.

Jaime earned his BBA in Marketing and Entrepreneurship from the University of Houston and his MBA from the University of North Texas. His hobbies and interests include watching sports, learning history, and exploring different cultures. He is always open to trying new things.

Goals:

“I am a firm believer in leaving something better than when I found it and my hope is the HDO curriculum will help me develop a skill set that will allow me to identify how to build a better organization. One of my goals is to develop self-awareness so that I will be an increasingly successful manager. I hope to learn skills that I would not have considered prior to entering the HDO program.”


LaTosha Andrade


Biography:

LaTosha Andrade graduated from the College of Charleston in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in Professional Studies (Organizational Leadership and Management). During her time at College of Charleston, she received several honors and awards, including the Dean’s List, Honor Roll, Alpha Sigma Lambda Honor Society, Omicron Delta Kappa Leadership Honor Society, Leadership CofC, and the 2018 Faculty Honor Award. She was also chosen as one of seven inaugural Stuart Williams Impact Scholars within the School of Business.

LaTosha is an Air Force veteran and former employee with the Department of Homeland Security.

Goals:

“I have embarked on a powerful journey to help change the way the education system is structured in order to achieve educational equality for all. Although my passion and interests include childhood education, I am captivated by research and hope to utilize my study within the HDO program to explore a variety of topics that align with my passion and purpose.”


Rob Georgiefski


Biography:

Rob Georgiefski is currently a Technical Recruiter at Google in Austin. His core responsibilities include hiring university graduates and generating strategic plans for new grad staffing. Prior to Google, Rob worked as an HR professional at Bechtel in the Oil, Gas, and Chemicals division in Houston.

He graduated from Texas State University in San Marcos with a Master’s of Business Administration and from St. Edward’s University in Austin with a Bachelor’s of Business Administration.

Goals:

“By joining the HDO program, I hope to learn new skills and hone existing techniques in the areas of leadership, people management, and persuasion. The broad variety of coursework coupled with the emphasis on student collaboration will provide a unique opportunity for me to focus on my personal growth in these areas. By the end of the program, I hope to have gained diverse knowledge and invaluable experience that will equip me with the tools to have a higher impact on my core role at Google and beyond.”


Gabriel Granado


Biography:

Major Gabriel Granado has been serving on active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps for more than 16 years and is currently stationed in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. He has in-depth experience with planning, coordinating, and supervising logistical support in both the U.S. and austere locations throughout the world. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology from the University of Texas at San Antonio, and multiple qualifications from military schools.

Gabriel is originally from New Braunfels, Texas, and has two sons. His interests include Texas-style barbecue, physical fitness, and Longhorn football.

Goals:

“Dynamic leaders and leadership techniques are needed in every organization. As a Marine Officer in charge of our nation’s finest young men and women, I hope to learn new ways to motivate and inspire others to achieve success. The HDO program will help me grow holistically as a manager and teach me innovative ways to implement organizational change.”


Menaka Iyer


Biography:

Menaka is a creative strategist and marketer who helps brands build trust with the people they serve. She graduated from New York University with two Bachelor of Arts degrees: one in English Literature and one in French. She then spent nearly a decade working at New York City marketing agencies. Menaka has refined her natural skills of empathy, communication, and listening to attune brand objectives with what people want or need. In 2019, Menaka was hired as the Director of Brand Marketing at Bumble, a dating app whose offering is baked with a societal mission: to balance the scales of power in relationships by giving women more choice.

She believes true innovation lies in how a company prioritizes its people (employees and customers) as a strategy — not an obstacle — toward commercial success.

Goals:

“My goal in attending UT’s HDO Master’s program is to create inclusive and equitable workplace solutions, especially for women. I work at a company that is recognized as part of the gender equity movement and has helped bring it into today’s popular consciousness. As a dating app, we’ve created a platform that puts safety first, so our users — especially women — feel confident and comfortable bringing their whole selves to new relationships. I want to help apply that innovation internally too, by repositioning leadership, communication, and company values so women, like men, belong and thrive.”


Ruben Juarez


Biography:

As a magna cum laude graduate of Laredo College and Texas A&M International University, Ruben has utilized his BBA in Accounting surrendering to the flow of life working for the legislative and executive branches of state government. Ruben’s assignments span state, regional, local, for-profit, and nonprofit entities all over the state of Texas.

Ruben’s passion is to develop a nonprofit that focuses on empowering individuals with (dis)abilities – visible and hidden to thrive in their pursuit of life whether it be as an employee or entrepreneur.

Lately, Ruben has been exploring becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable through fitness, photography, the practice of yoga, meditation, massage, and dance. Ruben has also pushed himself to become more active in both of his daughters’ education and extracurricular activities, even if it means occasionally stepping into a ballet class for encouragement.

Goals:

“The HDO Program will develop the insight I need to understand why organizations behave the way they do in order to better affect change, promote equality, and enhance performance while staying true to their mission, goals, and values.”


Chiaki Kasahara


Biography:

Chiaki has more than 15 years of experience in Sales Operations in the semiconductor industry at both a Japanese parent company and a US subsidiary branch office. Her focus has been on creating robust policies, making data-driven decisions, and establishing efficient business practices.

Chiaki is a dedicated team player who excels within diverse business environments by using extensive critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Goals:

“Through the HDO Program, I hope to establish a better understanding of how to identify, measure, and address cronyism within organizations. Not only would this knowledge be very empowering on a personal level, but it could also be used to greatly improve the organizational efficiencies of both companies and governmental bodies.”


Estefania Lazo-Herencia


Biography:

Estefania Lazo-Herencia (Stef) was born in Peru but was raised mostly in the US. She had the good fortune of living in many places abroad in her adult life. She has two degrees, one in geology and the other in geography, both from UT Austin.

Estefania currently works in the private sector, in the field of oil and gas, in socioeconomic impacts management on a resettlement project in Northern Mozambique. She has broad work experience in environmental/geological sciences, especially water quality, resource management, and data management/analysis in the non-profit, government, and private sectors.

Goals:

“I hope to acquire tools to better integrate my previous work experiences into a cohesive narrative that will enable me to understand group dynamics to create collaborative multi-faceted teams that harness inclusivity and creativity to bring about societal change.”


Kate Lummis


Biography:

Kate Lummis currently serves as Senior Vice President of the Philanthropic Advisory and Trust Administration departments at Houston Trust Company. In addition, she oversees employee education and training, is a member of the marketing and business development team, and serves on the IT Steering Committee. Prior to her role, Kate worked as a project manager for Value Retail, a real estate company in England, and before that, for the Houston Ballet as their Education Outreach Coordinator.

Kate holds a BA and an MA from the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences at Boston College. She also is a graduate of the Texas Bankers Association Graduate Trust School and the Certified Financial Planner Program at Rice University. In her spare time, you will find Kate on the tennis court or taking long walks with her dog, Gus.

Goals:

“My goal for the HDO program is to learn more about how human beings interact with each other in a professional setting and how an organization can get the best from its employees by creating a strong and equitable work environment. As the most junior member of the management team, I also hope to learn how to manage up as well as down, to that I may effectively communicate across all levels of the business. I believe I will be able to advance my career in ways that are not possible now by learning these skills and others taught by the HDO program.”


Andrea Mooney


Biography:

Andrea has spent nearly two decades leading traditional media organizations to incorporate digital sensibilities and technologies into their future multichannel operations. While working on the editorial side of the business is the foundation of her career, Andrea has successfully transitioned to the business side. Her career started off as a digital journalist in local TV newsrooms and rose the ranks to where she sat at the apex of digital operations for a top 5 regional newspaper responsible for growing digital audience, revenue, and brand awareness. Most recently, she’s been focused on product management helping national media organizations — specifically networks of local broadcasters, magazines, and nonprofits — build out digital engagement solutions that grow audience and revenue.

Outside school and work, Andrea is a bit of a foodie from checking out new restaurants in town to cooking at home, and she’s set a lifelong goal of earning either a wine and/or coffee sommelier recognition. Road trips and extended long weekend getaways are other favorite pastimes. And, when she isn’t eating, drinking, or traveling, she helps her parents flip homes across the DFW area. Andrea currently resides in the Dallas-Fort Worth with her husband and two rescue pups.

Goals:

“I’ve recognized that the process, product, and technology isn’t holding news media back from finding a successful economic future. It is the people involved in making and distributing the news that are putting the industry’s financial security most at risk. Through the HDO program, I look forward to exploring how the people of news media organizations can make successful digital transformation happen through the adoption of organizational culture initiatives that will secure the economic viability of media operations in an effort to preserve journalism for the benefit of society.”


Jen Morgan


Biography:

Jen is from Seattle and has been working in human resources for the past several years. She is currently a Compensation and Benefits Analyst in the retail industry.

Jen enjoys reading, traveling, trying new restaurants, and spending time with her dog, Martha.

Goals:

“I chose the HDO Master’s program to bolster my creative problem-solving skills and to learn how to solve people-centered operations problems using a multidisciplinary approach. My overall professional goal is to learn how humans function in organizations and use that knowledge to make work more human-focused.”


Raul Rivera


Biography:

Raul resides in the Houston area. He has been employed with The Dow Chemical Company for twenty years and is currently an Operations Manager at one of Dow’s energy production facilities.

Raul is a former UT Austin undergraduate and holds a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology from Lamar University.

In his spare time, Raul enjoys reading and learning about ancient history, working out, spending time with his family and friends, and traveling.

Goals:

“My goals in the HDO program are to develop a leadership skill set to promote and support the development and implementation of organizational change initiatives that incorporate the cultural and human aspects of an organization. I hope to learn about the varying leadership methods and strategies one can develop and implement to build an organization that delivers sustained results while remaining centered on employee development, autonomy, and accountability.”


Alex Root


Biography:

Alex is currently a Client Success Manager at an HR consulting company whose focus is to help organizations lean into the strengths of their people to positively impact employee engagement and performance. She enjoys collaborating with her clients and loves thinking in terms of possibilities and connections.

She completed her undergrad degree at Texas A&M University, College Station, and holds a BA in Communication. She currently lives in Scottsdale, Arizona where she enjoys the desert hiking trails and sunny weather.

Goals:

“By the end of the program, I’d like to feel as if I’ve refined and enhanced my skills in organizational consulting, people development, and leadership. I’d love to feel confident in my ability to ask powerful questions, especially when influencing cultural change in organizations. I’m looking forward to diving deep into the topics that the HDO program covers.”


Darlene Salazar


Biography:

Darlene Salazar is a People Coordinator at Sauceda Industries, a local e-commerce fulfillment company where she supports a progressive, people-first culture through interpersonal development and hands-on engagement. Darlene completed her BBA in Organizational Behavior and HR Management from the University of North Texas, where she also minored in Fashion Merchandising, a personal topic of interest that has its roots in her upbringing in El Paso.

When she isn’t throwing “spaghetti sauce ideas” at her boss’ wall, Darlene can be found on the warehouse floor, in her natural habitat, dancing and exchanging stories.

Goals:

“As an emerging People Leader, I still struggle to find my own stride in overcoming the skepticism and irreverence that comes with the “Human Resources” label, which is an area of focus I hope to learn to dismantle through this program. I hope that through the HDO coursework I can continue to challenge my personal biases in order to improve how I approach workplace conflict. Ultimately, I am striving to leave the program with a stronger foundation of diverse perspectives of humans and work in order to be more confident in supporting meaningful work relationships I’ve already begun to develop.”


Jennifer Swindle


Biography:

Jenn Swindle is accomplished in travel, literature, performance, and mediation. She studied Advertising and Business Management at Brigham Young University and Industrial and Organizational Psychology at Bellevue University. Jenn has worked professionally in Japan and Peru and enjoys volunteering in her community and abroad.

Jenn recently completed her fifth year working in Entertainment and Events for the Walt Disney Company and would like to continue developing her experience in talent management, learning and development, training, and executive coaching.

Goals:

“I am looking forward to expanding my perspective on the hows and whys of business with the help of a truly diverse and experienced cohort. I believe that I can learn something from everyone and hope to build relationships with my fellow students and professors that last long after the program ends. I am also seeking to develop my leadership skills with the resources UT Austin offers, and find ways to give back to incoming students by volunteering at the university or in the community. My longterm goals include guiding teens and young adults in their career trajectories and leading executives in organizational and talent management.”


Avery Thomas


Biography:

Avery graduated from Oklahoma State University with a Bachelor’s in Human Resources Management. Since then, she has been working as a Software Implementation Consultant at a healthcare IT company and then at an oil and gas software company. In her free time, Avery enjoys bike riding and watching TED Talks.

Goals:

“Through the HDO program, I hope to gain valuable insight into the key decision-making topics that organizations must master to maintain their employees. From recruiting and onboarding to career development, there are many obstacles that employers must overcome to ensure employees are happy and engaged in a high-performance culture. Process improvement has been a passion of mine and through this program, I am hoping to develop organizational consulting skills that can be applied to help a myriad of companies achieve success.”


Allison Wilcoxson


Biography:

Allison has spent her career in business development, communications, marketing, and entrepreneurial ventures in the corporate and nonprofit sectors. With a great passion for social impact, she has also been a part of designing creative solutions for the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Allison graduated with Honors with an undergraduate degree in Communication Studies in 2004 from The University of Texas at Austin, where she ran cross country and track.
She continues to love running and also biking, skiing, triathlons, and anything outdoors. Allison is happiest when traveling and experiencing new places and cultures with her husband and three kids.

Goals:

“As leaders, we have the honor to strengthen the capacity of individuals and adjust the experiences of those around us. I’m excited to learn from the diverse perspectives in the HDO program as to how to best develop this critical role of leveraging the power of people to improve organizational engagement and success. I look forward to the value HDO will bring to my opportunities to be an insightful leader to influence people as unique individuals and high-impact teams.”


Corey Wilson


Biography:

Corey’s passion for coaching and development led him to his current role as a manager of people practices for a general contractor. Prior to entering the construction industry, he served as an officer in the Army. Corey’s time in the military included combat and ally training deployments. He commissioned through Seattle University where he earned a degree in Humanities for Teaching.

Corey was born and raised in the mountains of Colorado and loves taking ski trips with friends and family.

Goals:

“In pursuing the HDO, I hope to broaden my perspective and improve my ability to drive change. I am eager for new, bold considerations of the possible that can only be conceived of through a multidisciplinary and collaborative approach. Between the content of the curriculum and the diverse experience of the cohort, the HDO experience will make me a better servant leader, more able to innovate, to inspire, to help, to teach, and to learn.”