“Note: Biographies were compiled in July 2021. Listings are in alphabetical order.


Jay De La Cruz


Biography:

Jay De La Cruz began his career with USAA Property and Casualty Company in 2002 and currently holds a Leadership position as a Subrogation Claims Manger. He has also held leadership positions with HEB, and the San Antonio Law Firm of Tyler and Peery. Jay holds a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from The University of Texas at San Antonio and a Master’s degree in Public Safety Leadership and Administration from Arizona State University. While at UTSA he completed an internship with the United States Marshals Service where he was able to experience the inner workings of the oldest Federal Law Enforcement agency in the United States.

During his free time, Jay enjoys spending time traveling with his wife Claire, their son Liam, and their two dogs Jackson and Vader. Jay has completed six half marathons and finds any reason to be outdoors, but mostly enjoys a good round of golf or a long bicycle ride. 

Goals:

“Ultimately the HDO program will allow me to be a more effective and a more influential leader of my team during this transitional time for business. Understanding people from a personal and an organizational perspective will develop my communication skills even further to allow me to influence, coach, and motivate others to meet the organizational goals at USAA.”

Maria Cyr


Biography:

Maria Cyr earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in human resources from Auburn University. She started her career in a Human Resources-focused rotational program, where she gained exposure in a variety of HR disciplines, including Learning and Development, Talent Acquisition, Compensation, Talent Management, and Strategic HR Support. The majority of her career has been in various HR and process improvement consulting roles within the financial services industry. Maria is currently a Talent Business Partner at a well-known outdoor industry brand.

In her free time, she enjoys eating delicious meals, practicing yoga, and running the Lady Bird Lake trail with her labradoodle, Stevie.

Goals:

“My goals for the HDO program are to broaden my perspective and gain a broader understanding of individual and group behavior within professional organizations. I hope to strengthen my skillset as it relates to recognizing drivers of behaviors and emotions.”


Errin Combest Evans


Biography:

Since 2017, Errin Combest Evans has worked as a consultant with ARMS Reliability, partnering with clients to improve their Asset Strategy Management. Errin assists her clients in evaluating asset performance gaps, developing maintenance strategies, and assessing overall vulnerabilities of their operations. She spent the preceding decade with Dow Chemical in various engineering roles supporting production, with responsibilities including equipment overhauls, facility, and equipment implementation strategies, leading cross-functional team leaderships on incident investigations and projects, and corrective and preventive action development.

Outside of work, Errin enjoys singing and going on adventures with her husband and toddler.

Goals:

“I was attracted to the HDO program’s spotlight on people and our profound impact on an organization’s ability to meet objectives, steward culture, drive change, and sustain performance. I believe HDO will teach me to ask more meaningful questions, identify better approaches, and provide more useful solutions.”


Lane Genzlinger


Biography:

Lane Genzlinger is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin’s Radio/Television/Film program.  He has worked as a digital content producer in the Bay Area for the past 13-years. In 2017 he cofounded the full-service production company, Bone and Gold, which works with startups and enterprise companies alike. Lane considers himself an evangelist for the production process, collaborating with clients and explaining why and how different projects run the way they do. Lane spends most of his time at the intersection of technical execution and personal storytelling, focusing on how a piece will leave an audience feeling.

Goals:

“My excitement for attending the HDO Master’s Program extends primarily from an interest in a formalized education in ethical leadership. I hope to learn about, but also deepen my curiosity with regard to the latest understanding of effective and authentic communication within groups.”


Sam Heimbach


Biography:

Sam Heimbach has more than ten years of marketing and communications experience in higher education and the technology industry. She also has experience in career services, having worked as a career advisor at Texas State University for communications and fine arts students. Sam currently combines her interests and skills as the communications lead for Texas Career Engagement (TCE) at The University of Texas at Austin, a new unit that is reimagining how students, alumni, employers, faculty, and staff prepare for the future of work together by engaging in equitable and inclusive career engagement.

Goals:

“I am very interested in the future of work, and the potential opportunities it brings. I want to be part of building workplace cultures that make work a healthier part of our full lives, and a place where more people can show up safely as themselves and be successful (as they measure it).”


John-Jeff Hutter


Biography:

With more than a decade of people leadership expertise, John-Jeff Hutter has spent the majority of his career coaching and developing high-performing teams. Between 2011 and 2017, he worked in retail operations and management, including launching lululemom in Korea, where he recruited and hired the founding team and oversaw country operations.

In 2018, he joined Enjoy, a technology-powered platform disrupting the physical retail model, where he built and led sales teams throughout the US before launching and leading the business in Canada. He later stepped in as Head of Talent Acquisition for North America at Enjoy, where he built and led scalable recruiting strategies and processes to support the organization’s growth from 300 to 2000 corporate and field employees in the US and Canada. In 2021 John-Jeff joined Position, a boutique executive search firm, as a partner.

John-Jeff resides in Pittsburgh and is a graduate of the George Washington University.

Goals:

“I’m coming to HDO in order to deepen my understanding of organizations in order to advocate for and drive meaningful change. My goal is to work with companies to identify and understand the root cause of challenges and support them in creating inclusive cultures that inspire, develop, and retain talent. ”


Peter Lawless


Biography:

Peter Lawless is a retired United States Navy Captain.  An Iraq war veteran, Peter has worked as a comptroller for the United States Marine Corps.  He has also worked as a Director of Finance at the Associated Press, a Director of Business Planning at Sony Music, and a Senior Analyst at Proctor & Gamble. Peter has a BS in management and an MS in accounting from the State University of New York (SUNY) and an MBA from St. Johns University in New York. Peter enjoys spending time as a high school lacrosse coach.

Goals:

“HDO offers a way to address organizational challenges by offering a multitude of possibilities with HDO’s multi-disciplined approach and exploring input from a cohort of accomplished, experienced professionals.


Carlos Raul Martinez


Biography:

A 14-year U.S. Navy Veteran and Intelligence Community professional, Carlos Raul Martinez is the Deputy Chief of Strategic Communications at the National Security Agency Texas in San Antonio. In this role, they develop multimedia strategies to communicate the organization’s vision and policies to a joint-military and civilian workforce. Carlos also has five years of experience leading Diversity, Equity and Inclusion programs. Carlos earned their bachelor’s degree in Organizational Development from the University of the Incarnate Word. Carlos is a life-long equestrian and has volunteered at Triple H Equitherapy in Pipe Creek, Texas since 2009.

Goals:

“I believe the HDO program’s cutting-edge master’s program will strengthen my leadership and analytical thinking skills, enhance my cultural competencies and develop my ability to influence lasting change.”


Bob Palacios


Biography:

Bob Palacios has more than 20 years of presales experience working for Information Security and Fraud vendors, including most recently at Outseer/RSA as the Americas Presales Leader for the anti-fraud business unit. Bob holds a bachelor’s degree in Government from The University of Texas at Austin. He also attended graduate school at the George Washington School of Political Management.

Bob’s interests include attending Longhorn and other sporting events, meditation, hiking, breakfast tacos, politics, and spending time with his husband and three cats.

Goals:

“I am excited to attend the HDO program so I can hone and enhance my leadership and coaching skills. I plan to leverage my industry experience along with these skills to become a coach and enablement leader for technical presales organizations, leaders, and individual contributors.”


Amber Serra


Biography:

Amber Serra’s desire to assist others and solve problems has led to a successful career in leadership support and management in a variety of industries. Amber is currently an Executive Assistant at the Counseling and Mental Health Center (CMHC) at The University of Texas at Austin. She is thrilled to be at CMHC where she collaborates daily with other lifelong learners and compassionate individuals. Prior to joining CMHC and UT-Austin, Amber worked as a senior paralegal and office manager in Southern California. She is a first-generation college graduate having earned a BBA in Marketing from the University of Houston-Clear Lake. Amber enjoys travel, creativity, tacos, live music, tiny living, Wes Anderson films, and spending time with family and friends.

Goals:

“By pursuing the HDO program, I hope to root my practical experience with a broader, conceptual understanding of workplace culture and how organizations can best achieve their goals. I also hope to gain greater insight into human behavior and how to engage others through support, trust, and understanding.”


Trent Sultemeier


Biography:

Trent Sultemeier is the founder of Atmosphere, an Austin-based company that combines team-building services and flexible office space. With 15 years of prior experience at VMWare, Apple, Dell, and multiple startups, he is well-versed in business processes and operations. Trent is motivated by the idea that work can be engaging and people-centered. He specializes in facilitating workshops and team meetings and has worked with clients ranging from small startups to Fortune 100 companies, leveraging human-centered and innovative processes to break down communication barriers and help teams advance.

When not running, reading or hanging out at Barton Springs, Trent enjoys helping work livestock at his family’s ranch in the Hill Country.

Goals:

“With lesson learned in the program through organization design, leadership and team-building, I hope to help companies design and implement more adaptive and employee-focused ways of work. I’d like further understand the development of organizations and how to design and create workshops and collaborative techniques to help create these adaptive structures.”

 

UT Austin