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HR & Organizational Development Council Conference


Keynote speaker

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Amy Downs Amy Downs


Allegiance Credit Union

Amy Downs was one of the last survivors to be pulled from the rubble of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing in which a total of 168 people were killed, including 18 of her 33 co-workers. While buried alive and waiting to die, she realized she had never really lived. Once freed from the rubble, Amy launched a self-improvement campaign.

Amy shares with the audience how to apply what she learned on her journey from a 355lb teller who dropped out of college to obtaining her master’s in business administration, becoming the CEO, and completing an Ironman Triathlon. This call-to-action keynote will leave the audience inspired, ignited with hope, and with new ideas on how they can achieve their goals.

Amy's Introduction: 

Amy Downs shouldn’t even be here.  She was working at her credit union as a teller in 1995 when a bomb exploded in her building, killing 168 people including 18 of her 33 co-workers.  Amy was buried alive for over six hours and was one of the last survivors pulled from the rubble.  Amy embraced her second chance in life by vowing to live it with intention.  She not only survived but over time transformed her life.

Today, Amy is now president and CEO of the same credit union nearly destroyed in that bombing, as well as the author of “Hope is a Verb”, a book detailing her journey from victim to overcomer.

Amy is passionate about encouraging others to live their lives with purpose and intention.

Hope Is A Verb

Amy Downs survived a bomb exploding in the building of the credit union where she was working, which killed 168 people, including 18 of her 33 co-workers. Today, she is President and an award-winning CEO of that same organization. Allegiance Credit Union has grown by 400% and is thriving. Drawing on her recently released book Hope Is A Verb, Amy is excited to share how you can respond to a crisis in a way that will make your organization come out of this even stronger than before you went in.

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General speakers

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Philippe Asselin Philippe Asselin

Chief Consultant


​​Panama City Beach, FL​

​​Philippe Asselin is a professional who excels at bringing teams and processes together to achieve powerful results. He has the ability to connect with and support numerous financial institutions across the country, but his strongest suit is his ability to consult one-on-one and educate on tools that ensure his clients find success. He is passionate about empowering HR leadership with BalancedComp systems and consulting. 
Philippe's background brings a well-rounded approach to the conversation and helps deconstruct client obstacles. He has managed some of the world's most profitable restaurants and has served as an executive at a financial institution with assets of over a billion dollars.

​This dedicated family man shares the same drive and focus in financial institution board rooms as in his personal pursuits. He organized and continues to manage a charity paddleboard race to fundraise for a low-income scholarship program and K9's for Warriors since 2010.​

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Lisa Baron Lisa Baron



Vernon Hills, Illinois

​​Lisa is a leader in organizational development, and responsible for the strategic direction of the human resource and talent management functions as well as enterprise leadership for the member experience team. She is also tasked with driving high employee engagement, cultivating BCU’s unique culture and employee brand, developing staff and increasing employee retention. Lisa serves as a senior leader mentor for Baxter’s Women Leaders resource group and is a member of BCU’s Charitable Giving Committee. She is passionate about employee engagement and creating an exceptional work culture.​

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​​Ann Beecham​ ​​Ann Beecham​

​​VP of HR & Administrative Services​

​​Orlando Credit Union​

Orlando, FL

​​What credentials does Ann Beecham possess that make her qualified to speak to a group of HR professionals today? Ann has earned an MBA, completed all the PhD coursework in Organizational Psych (earning her an AbD - All but Dissertation), &, like many in this room, has a list of relevant certifications. But Ann considers her commitment to life-long learning, passion for empowering others, & ability to see the positive & often humorous side to most situations her most valuable qualifications. Her Italian heritage & large nuclear and extended family may be factors in her ongoing pursuit to understand complex multi-generational relationships & communication, but regardless of the journey that led her here today, she comes with the hope we all leave with deeper understanding, expanded knowledge and practical tools to equip us to do what we all strive to do...cultivate more positive environments that benefit both employees and members.​

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​​Cynthia Campbell​ ​​Cynthia Campbell​

​​Chief Operating Officer​


​​Tulsa, OK​

​​Cynthia Campbell is BALANCE's Chief Operating Officer (COO), a national non-profit that delivers consumer financial education and counseling. Cynthia is a strategist, corporate communicator, and project executor. She oversees BALANCE's Financial and Housing Coaching teams, Training, HR, Marketing, and Business Intelligence departments. Cynthia previously served as a VP of Innovation and Strategy at Oklahoma Central Credit Union, Director of Innovation Labs at the Filene Research Institute, and VP of Financial Empowerment at Tinker Federal Credit Union. Her entire career has been focused on financial health, with a particular focus on the under-resourced.  
Cynthia holds a BS in Business Administration and an MBA from Elmhurst College in Illinois; she also holds a master’s degree in Adult Education from the University of Central Oklahoma. She has her Senior Certified Professional Human Resources designation, too.​

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Sathya Chackravarthy Sathya Chackravarthy

​​Sr Director, Data Architecture​


Tampa, FL

​​Sathya Chackravarthy is Senior Director of Professional Services at Trellance. He is a Trusted Advisor to the CEO / Board of directors of top credit unions in the US on data management strategy. Sathya has over 25 years of experience leading information technology consulting services including the development of strategies, implementing and integrating software, and managing complex technology projects applying external and global perspectives to meet local and global needs. He has a proven track record of identifying technological and business opportunities that provide sustainable growth, profitability, and dominant market share.​

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Emily Chase-Sosnoff Emily Chase-Sosnoff


FordHarrison LLP

Tampa, FL

Emily Chase-Sosnoff is a partner at FordHarrison, LLP, a national labor and employment law firm. She has represented employers in a host of employment law matters, including cases involving discrimination, harassment, retaliation, disability accommodation and FMLA issues and wage and hour issues. In addition to her litigation experience, Emily is committed to helping her clients avoid litigation when possible by providing day-to-day guidance on maintaining positive employee relations through sound workplace policies, procedures, and trainings. Emily lives in Tampa, Florida but regularly assists multistate clients with the unique challenges of complying with the laws in multiple jurisdictions.​

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​​Kriss Davis​ ​​Kriss Davis​

​​Learning and Development Manager​

​​Deseret First Credit Union​

​​WVC, UT​

​​Kriss Davis serves as the Learning and Development Manager overseeing the day-to-day training and progression of employees at Deseret First Credit Union. 

With over 15 years of experience in leadership, Kriss has a passion for elevating those around her and creating moments that matter. She has developed sales, leadership, mentor, and continuing education programs for all organizational levels from new hires to executive council. Kriss is engaged in lifelong learning and breaking through boundaries. She is committed to improving the experience of others by mentoring with local and national organizations, like Hire Heroes USA. She sits on the ChamberWest Leadership Board of Trustees and strives to live by two core values: Adventure and Wholeheartedness.​

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Robyn Dietrich Robyn Dietrich

​​VP of Organizational Development and Learning​

​​West Community Credit Union​

​​O’Fallon, MO​

​​Robyn Dietrich, AVP of Organizational Development and Learning at West Community Credit Union. Armed with a Bachelor's degree from Saint Louis University and a DEI Certification from Cornell, Robyn boasts a 14-year credit union career marked by diverse roles and significant achievements.

​Guided by curiosity and a fervor for learning, she envisions a culture rooted in guiding individuals to discover and maximize their full potential. Robyn's journey reflects a blend of expertise, passion, and a genuine commitment to creating positive organizational change.​

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​​Jack Gottlieb​ ​​Jack Gottlieb​


​​Total Solutions Group​

​​Manchester Township, NJ​

​​Jack Gottlieb, a seasoned senior executive, brings 20+ years of experience in organizational transformation as CEO of Total Solutions Group. Known for aligning culture, strategy, and capability to meet short- and long-term objectives, TSG has driven $3.25 billion in ROI for clients across various industries, including life sciences, credit unions, and manufacturing. 
Jack's executive roles have included Chief Culture Officer, Chief Strategy Officer, and then Chief Executive Officer at two credit unions, emphasizing organizational health and performance through employee experience. Jack's intrinsic motivation to improve financial literacy from SEGS to low-income communities, where people understand that money is not the most important thing in life but the most important things in life require money, has fueled his commitment to credit unions. He's a notable thought leader including hosting the successful "L&D Transformation Podcast," now in its third season with more than 100 episodes.​

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Kris Hackbarth-Horn Kris Hackbarth-Horn

Chief People Officer

Fox Communities Credit Union

Appleton, WI

​​Kris Hackbarth-Horn’s people-centric leadership philosophy is the driving force behind her approach to helping organizations steward their intentional culture. Starting from inside an organization, Kris fosters an inspiring and caring atmosphere where the needs of team members are considered first. She champions providing opportunity, access to resources, development coaching, and transparent communication. When the most trustworthy and inclusive environment is created, Kris believes team members feel wholistically supported and can be inspired to achieve their dreams and fulfill their purpose.

Through focusing on organizational culture and its impact on people and business, Kris challenges others to think differently. Her expertise includes organizational development, career coaching, conflict resolution, change management, vision setting, and strategic planning.  

​Currently, Kris is the Chief People Officer at Fox Communities Credit Union. Prior to this role, she has led people-centered work in manufacturing, retail, consulting, and non-profits over the last 30 years.​

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​​Dr. Troy Hall​ ​​Dr. Troy Hall​


Dr. Troy Hall LLC

​​Mt. Pleasant, SC​

​​Recognized as one of the Top 20 Business Leaders by Valiant CEO Magazine, a Brainz Global 500 Award recipient, and featured on The Today Show, ABC, the Global BV-TV Network, Beyond the Business Radio Show, and CEO World, Dr. Troy Hall is an award-winning talent retention consultant, international speaker and author of multiple bestselling books.  
Dr. Troy is distinguished as an International Credit Union Development Educator and recipient of the South Carolina State House Resolution for his Global Leadership Exchange program, an international mentoring program.  
As the founder of Cohesion Culture, Dr. Troy has dedicated his career to establishing a cycle of culture wellness in the corporate and professional sphere. His consulting and executive coaching engagements are built on the strategic framework of Cohesion Culture™, making the concepts of belonging, value, and shared commitment easy for organizations to adopt and implement.​

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Rhonda Hazlewood Rhonda Hazlewood

Director of Human Resources

Appalachian Community Federal Credit Union (ACFCU)

​​Kingsport, TN​

​​With more than 30 years of human resources experience, Rhonda Hazlewood, SPRH|SHRM-SCP, joined Appalachian Community Federal Credit Union in September 2022. In addition to serving on the Executive Team at ACFCU, she has served on executive teams of companies in the nuclear, medical and hospitality service industries. She holds a M.S. in Human Resources Management from Liberty University and a B.B.A. in Accounting from East Tennessee State University. Rhonda serves as Vice Chair of the Community Business Division of the United Way of Greater Kingsport and is a Facilities Resource Director and on a Foundation Committee for Alpha Delta Pi International Sorority. She serves on the 2024 HR/OD Council Conference Committee, as well. Rhonda's professional mission statement is 'Serving Someone Who is Serving a Member".​

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Kathy Menditto Kathy Menditto

VP-Human Resources

​​Buckeye State Credit Union​

​​Akron, OH​

​​Kathy Menditto has over 15 years experience in HR, with 8 years of that being in the Credit Union space. She has her SHRM-CP, CUHRCP, and SHRM-PASC certifications. Kathy has a passion for credit unions and people management, and has used that to help take Buckeye State Credit Union to be winners of the Top Workplaces Awards 5 years in a row!​

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Andria McCollough Andria McCollough

​​Senior Vice President, People Development​

Truity Credit Union

Bartlesville, OK

​Andria is the Senior Vice President, People Development for Truity Credit Union's corporate training, human resources, recruiting, payroll, benefits, performance management and talent development programs as well as corporate project team liaison. Since joining Truity in 2007, she has led the organization's cultural development teams, internal communications teams, and created the Talent Development Program which leads employees through a career discovery journey to explore their personal and professional growth opportunities while they serve members of the Credit Union. She is the ongoing senior sponsor of the “Culture Crew” which leads the focused efforts of culture building throughout the organization.  
Andria has a nearly 30 year history in the people focused field and enjoys a balanced focus of people and business. Some of her favorite HR experiences include her project management work developing team leads and team members through achieving corporate strategies.​

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Lorene Meyer Lorene Meyer

​​VP - Organizational Strategy and Performance​

​​West Community Credit Union​

​​O’Fallon, MO​

​​Lorene Meyer, Vice President of Organizational Strategy and Performance at West Community Credit Union and a seasoned professional with a diverse HR and Development background in major organizations like SSM Healthcare, BJC Healthcare, and Mercy. Transitioning into the credit union sector in 2019, Lorene brings rich insights to her role. Armed with a bachelor's and master's degree in healthcare administration, she holds PHR and SHRM-CP certifications, reflecting her commitment to professional excellence. 
Lorene is excited to share her wealth of experience, discussing HR Performance and operational excellence. Her dynamic journey, from healthcare to credit unions, provides a unique perspective on navigating process improvement.​

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​​John-Paul O’Connor​ ​​John-Paul O’Connor​

​​Executive Compensation Consultant​

​​DDJ Myers, an ALM First Company​

​​Monroe, NC​

​​John-Paul is a dual-certified executive compensation consultant specializing in the credit union industry. He has a background in psychology and neuroscience and utilizes his understanding of human motivation to structure effective compensation packages. By providing strategic guidance on compensation and performance-based decisions to boards and executive teams, John-Paul has been recognized for his ability to enhance employee engagement and retention through aligning organizations' cultures and compensation strategies. John-Paul is committed to empowering organizations to optimize their compensation philosophies, fostering a culture of fairness and trust within the credit union industry. Through his collaborative approach and deep understanding of compensation dynamics and the unique needs of credit unions, he helps organizations navigate complex challenges and retain their most valuable employees.​

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​​William Thena​ ​​William Thena​

​​Learning & Development Manager​

​​Financial Plus Credit Union​

​​Flint, MI​

​​With over 30 years in the financial industry, Bill has a deep well of experience in leadership development, management, facilitation, and training.

​He is passionate about helping adults learn, develop, and grow in their personal and professional lives.  

​Bill has had the opportunity to guide over 200 FPCU employees through coaching and leadership courses, resulting in nearly 100 promotions, and has received universal praise for the personal impact and effectiveness of his programs.​

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​​Barb Utrup​ ​​Barb Utrup​

​​Sr. Management Consultant​


​​Columbus, OH​

Barb Utrup has been leading human resources departments and doing business consulting for many years. She partners with leaders to support their strategic goals in the areas of talent management, organizational development, and human resources. Her experience in public, private, and non-profit organizations spans from strategy and operations to leadership and team development. Through this work, and as a former Chief of Human Resources, she is an experienced and knowledgeable partner. 
At PRADCO, Barb is an executive coach, working with leaders to refine their leadership skills and enhance their effectiveness on the job. She also develops and facilitates training programs to assist teams and organizations in becoming high-performing units that operate more effectively.  
Barb’s strengths include outstanding communication and the ability to build relationships. With a professional, yet relatable communication style and ability to connect with individuals at all levels, she is very passionate about people.

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​​Virginia Whitham​ ​​Virginia Whitham​

Chief of Human Resources

​​Rally Credit Union​

​​Corpus Christi, TX​

Virginia Whitham has 30-years of progressive experience in Human Resources and has been a Senior Leader for nearly 20-years. She is the Chief of HR and Training for Rally Credit Union in South Texas. Virginia's multifaceted experience and leadership significantly contribute to the field of Human Resources. She is a go-to professional, offering valuable insights and guidance to both seasoned professionals and aspiring HR practitioners. 
Virginia collaborates with Executives and Board of Directors, leading the way in organizational development, executive compensation, and culture. She is a Certified Senior Professional with both HRCI and SHRM, a graduate of Southwest CUNA Management School, and has a BS degree in Business Administration from Columbia College, Missouri. Virginia has been recognized as the 2023 CUNA HR and Organizational Professional of the Year. She is a part of the Southwest CUNA Management School faculty developing emerging leaders in Human Resources.

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