Session Speakers

Dr. Joe Albert

Dr. Joe Albert Ph.D. currently serves as the Associate Dean of External Partnerships and Strategic Initiatives at Gonzaga University.  He has been a faculty member at Gonzaga University since 1994.  With specialties in leadership development, strategic planning, storytelling, emotional intelligence and leadership talent development, Joe’s skills rest in customizing his work to the specific needs of the group or individual with whom he is working. Joe has spoken nationally as a conference keynote, workshop presenter, and organization retreat facilitator in the private, public and nonprofit sectors.

Christa Aldrich

Christa Aldrich has over twenty years’ experience in the human resources field. She has worked in higher education for the State University of New York System since 2005.  She is currently the Talent Acquisition Manager at SUNY Geneseo. Christa serves as the administrator for Select Suite and Talent Ed on her campus.  

Beth Andersen

Beth Andersen is the Coordinator, Adjuncts and Personnel at Des Moines Area Community College. Prior to her current role, she was the Human Resource Specialist at DMACC. She has over ten years’ experience in the human resources field within Higher Education and has been working with the PeopleAdmin product since 2013.

Jaime Andrews

Jaime Andrews is a Senior Human Resource Generalist at Clovis Community College in Clovis, NM.  She manages the Recruitment and onboarding, employee relations, employee development, performance management, and HR legal compliance. Her passion in Human Resources has been leading change management and successfully managing multiple projects that are designed to align with the company’s strategic vision and mission. Prior to HR at CCC, Jaime facilitated workshops for separating and retiring military personnel and their spouses to ensure a successful transition from the military to the civilian workforce.  Jaime’s twin boys keep her very active in sports and band, while actively pursuing her MBA.

Yankuba Banda

Yankuba Banda is the Employment Compliance Supervisor with Human Resources at the University of Kentucky. He oversees administration of People Admin Select Suite, Customer Service and HR Compliance. He is also responsible for the reporting needs of HR administrators and hiring officials. Yankuba has been in the role since March 2016.

Vince Battista

I have been working in the IT Industry since 1989 after graduating from DeVry Institute of Technology. My passion and drive for everything IT related has continued my push to make the companies I am involved in the best of the best in their respective industry. I started as a junior programmer and climbed the ranks to being currently an Associate CIO in IT. I still enjoy work everyday and love the complex and robust challenges that face the ever-evolving IT industry. Within Higher Education, I have enjoyed the looks on the faces of the students/faculty/staff when the archaic technology they have been forced to use becomes a modern and effective. I enjoy being able to align the ideas of digital transformation with the university strategic plan.

Jamie Lynn Bluhm

Jamie Lynn Bluhm is the Director of Workforce Planning and Recruitment at the University at Buffalo. She has received both a Bachelors of Arts and an MBA from the University at Buffalo. She is a certified NYS Classification Analyst and serves as Board Director for Upstate NY HERC and the SUHRA Civil Service Committee. She has over 15 years of experience working in HR with expertise in Classification, Compensation, Recruitment, Workforce Planning, and Training. In her tenure at the University at Buffalo, she has digitized recruitment, transformed classification practices and standardized the use of titles and salary analytics.

Katie Fitzgerald

Katie Fitzgerald is the Assistant Director of Human Resources at Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio. Katie is an Ohio Northern University alum and came back to the University in the Office of Human Resources in 2015. Prior to her current role, Katie worked for ADP, RPO in corporate recruitment. Katie’s HR areas of experience include; compensation, employee relations, talent acquisition, employee training and development, and performance management.

Eddie Freeman

Eddie Freeman has been the Executive Director for Equal Opportunity Services at the University of Texas at Arlington for over 10 years. He received his Bachelor and MBA Degrees from Dallas Baptist University with a concentration in Finance and Human Relations. He works with the University’s Faculty Affairs Department in all phases of the faculty search process to increase the diversity of faculty and shares strategies and best practices for faculty leaders to realize more equitable and inclusive faculty searches. 

Prior to working at UT Arlington, he worked for 18 years at the Staubach Company, a commercial real estate firm in various roles such as Vice President of Diversity, Vice President for Finance and Administration and CFO of Austin office. He currently serves as the Chair of the Executive Committee of HERC.

Caris Friberg

Caris Friberg is a Sr. Recruiting Partner at Gonzaga University.  She has over 10 years of supervision and management experience and 5+ years specific to Recruiting and Human Resources.  Caris is experienced in employment retention, strategic planning and enhancement of recruitment strategies through effective planning and strategic implementation of customized sourcing techniques.  Prior to joining Gonzaga, Caris worked for a western region recruitment firm where she successfully sourced, recruited, and placed qualified candidates for various industries. 

Caris has a Bachelor of Science degree from Washington State University.  Caris is a PeopleAdmin Certified Administrator.

Allen Knicely

Allen Knicely is the Human Resources Manager at Cleveland Community College. He has over 20 years of experience in Human Resources with 9 years in higher education. He has a Master Degree in Human Resources from Western Carolina University and has served as President of Cleveland County Human Resources Association for the past 3 years.

Christina Kraus

Christina Kraus is the HR Director for Employment Services at Portland State University. She manages the HR business partners and front desk teams, who, among many other responsibilities, oversee the hiring and onboarding processes for the university. Prior to her current role at PSU, Christina spent 10 years in the Navy, the last 4 as a recruiter, where she earned a commendation medal for helping young adults shape up and ship out. She earned her B.S. in History from Excelsior College and her MBA from George Fox University. In her free time, Christina enjoys doing projects which involve cutting and melting things, and she enjoys being a glittery cheer mom. When asked what gets her up in the morning, she says it’s her cats reminding her that it is feeding time.     

Justin Moore

Justin Moore is the Director of HR Information Systems at Portland State University. PSU’s HRIS team is responsible for managing the HR department’s enterprise systems in collaboration with the University’s IT department, as well as the development of HR reports and analytics. Justin earned his B.S. in Environmental Science at PSU and is currently working on his MBA (one term to go!). When the MBA program is finished and he’s able to have hobbies again, Justin will be spending the summer cooking, hiking, gardening, and playing with his two dogs.

Heather Murray, Director for Strategic Partnerships, PeopleAdmin

Heather Murray is the Director for Strategic Partnerships with PeopleAdmin. She joined PeopleAdmin in March 2016 after serving nearly 16 years as the Associate Director of Human Resources at Gonzaga University. Prior to joining the Gonzaga HR team in 2000, Heather worked in the high-tech manufacturing, utilities and retail industries. Heather’s HR areas of experience include; compensation, benefits, employee relations, talent acquisition, HR technology and analytics, EO/AA, performance effectiveness, organization structuring and design as well as training and professional development. Heather has a Bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Management from Eastern Washington University, a Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from Gonzaga University and is certified in interest-based mediation from the Fulcrum Institute. Heather was recently accepted into the Doctoral in Education for Learning and Organizational Change program at Baylor University.

Janice Ward

Janice currently serves as the Director of Faculty Affairs, Office of the Sr. Vice Provost at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) in Birmingham, Alabama.

Ms. Ward has many years of higher education leadership experience; including her Faculty Affairs leadership roles; her work on numerous committees and working groups. She is an adjunct instructor at UAB in both the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Business.

Janice has established a long-term career at UAB after working in the corporate and non-profit sectors. She is an experienced professional development leader and trainer. Her professional background includes extensive experience as a presenter, facilitator and speaker—including PeopleConnect presenter/speaker in 2017 and 2018.

She holds a master’s degree in Communication Management from UAB, and she is a graduate of the university’s business school.

Janice has extensive leadership experience; including serving on the Board of Directors for the UAB National Alumni Society; serving as the organization’s President in 2012; and participated in the university’s Blaze Leadership Academy.

Janice’s community involvement and service includes—creating a shoes donation initiative under the Shoesthatfit.org umbrella—to provide new athletic shoes to kids. Her service extends to university related service opportunities; assisting with scholarship fund raising and working with the Ronald McDonald Charities of Alabama.

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