Los Angeles HR Star Conference
Wednesday, March 18, 2020 (postponed)
Speaker Information


Paul Meshanko, MBA, CSP is an acclaimed author, international speaker, CEO and business leader with over 20 years of experience in leadership development and organizational culture change. After founding Legacy Business Cultures in 1997 his business has grown to become one of the country's top training, development and employee survey providers. As a presenter and facilitator Paul has captivated over a quarter million leaders and business professionals on five continents. His training materials have been translated into over 25 languages, and his newsletter is read by thousands of subscribers each month. His clients include: the US Senate, US House of Representatives, US Treasury, US Department of Justice, The Cleveland Clinic, DuPont, Parker Hannifin, Progressive Insurance, Johnson Controls, P&G, Symantec, Toyota, Johnsonville Sausage, Ernst & Young, Wake Forest Medical Center, U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Congressional Office of Compliance just to name a few. Always with any eye toward research and science Paul's speaking themes include organizational and personal adaptability, unconscious bias, employee engagement and respectful work cultures. His most recent book, The Respect Effect: Using the Science of Neuroleadership to Inspire a More Loyal and Productive Workplace was published by McGraw-Hill. Paul holds a BSBA from The Ohio State University and an MBA from Baldwin Wallace College. He resides in Annapolis, Maryland.


Allison West, Esq., SPHR, SHRM-SCP is the Managing Principal of Employment Practices Specialists and holds a simple approach to employment practices: be proactive. Using her employment law background, coupled with her sound knowledge of human resources practices, Allison provides proactive risk management services aimed at helping companies both prevent and resolve employment claims. She is a top-rated speaker at the annual SHRM conference as well as other HR conferences speaking on employment law and human resources topics. Allison specializes in delivering customized in-house training programs to companies of all sizes, serving a wide variety of industries. Her expertise also includes delivering one-on-one sensitivity training to executives, managers and employees concerning harassment, discrimination, and disciplinary and/or behavioral issues as well as conducting workplace investigations, providing expert witness assistance and other HR consulting. Allison is a member of the State Bar of California and holds a Senior Professional in Human Resources certification.


Debbie Birndorf Zeiler, Esq., MBA has been practicing law for more than twenty years - with eleven years at major law firms in both Chicago and Los Angeles. Her practice primarily focuses on representing employers in all aspects of employment law, including harassment and discrimination claims, wage and hour claims including class actions, disability claims as well as misappropriation of trade secrets. She also provides preventative counseling and drafts and reviews employment contracts, severance agreements, employee handbooks and personnel policies. Debbie has been honored by being named a Super Lawyer in Employment and Labor in 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and most recently in 2019. She has also been named one of the Top Employment and Labor Attorneys in Los Angeles and one of the Top Women Attorneys by Los Angeles Magazine. Additionally, Birndorf Law Offices was also recognized by Los Angeles Magazine as one of the best law firms in Los Angeles. Debbie is a frequent speaker on a wide variety of employment law topics and teaches Legal Aspects of Employee Relations at UCLA Extension. Debbie earned a B.A. from UCLA, an M.B.A. from NYU and a law degree from Washington University in St. Louis - where she graduated at the top of her class.


Liliana O. Salazar, Esq. is the Chief Compliance Officer Western Region for HUB International and is responsible for addressing employers’ health and welfare responsibilities under federal and state laws and city ordinances. She works closely with HUB’s service teams and clients to develop short-term and long-term strategies that allow clients to remain in compliance while addressing clients’ financial and human capital needs. Liliana interacts with regulatory agencies such as the Department of Labor, the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Treasury Department, the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and state insurance departments to discuss the applicability of laws and regulations to group health plans. Liliana possesses 20 years of experience in addressing the compliance and regulatory needs of employers and their group health plans. She actively worked with carriers and clients in ensuring their compliance with the HIPAA Privacy, Security, and HITECH Act rules, GASB 45 obligations and more recently the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Prior to joining HUB, Liliana was National Practice Leader for the Employee Benefits Compliance Practice of Wells Fargo Insurance Services and Vice President of Compliance for ABD Insurance Services. Liliana is a regular speaker at national and state conferences sponsored by employers, employee benefit chapters and HR associations, including ISCEBS, SHRM, CALPELRA, PERLA, NAFOA and others. She is also a regular contributor to national and regional employee benefit publications. Due to her many industry contributions over the years, Liliana was the recipient of the 2013 Women to Watch Award from Business Insurance.


Lauraine Bifulco is the President and CEO of Vantaggio HR, ltd. - a full service HR consulting company providing business-savvy solutions to employers of all sizes and across all industries. Lauraine founded Vantaggio HR in 1993. Their offices in Southern California, Hawaii, New York and Colorado serve clients across the U.S. and abroad. Vantaggio's HR consultants specialize in employment law compliance, resolving complex employee issues and implementing sound HR policies and procedures. Lauraine has been advising clients for almost 30 years on various HR topics, and she lectures frequently in the area of HR compliance. She serves as co-chair of the California Small Business Administration’s committee on Labor Issues which reviews and makes recommendations on pending labor/employment laws keeping her abreast of legal developments. In addition Lauraine is relied upon by publications across the country as an expert on HR matters. Her firm is frequently referred by a number of prominent management defense attorneys who rely on Lauraine and her Vantaggio staff to help keep their clients in compliance. Lauraine received a bachelor’s degree from Wellesley College and conducted graduate level studies in linguistics at the Sorbonne in Paris.


Genine Wilson is the Vice President and Leader of the Pacific Market (AK,CA,HI,NV,OR & WA) for Kelly, a global leader in providing workforce solutions. An experienced business leader and workforce solutions executive, Ms. Wilson leads the staffing and business solutions operations for Kelly - with a focus on engineering, information technology, science and finance and accounting. She also manages the administrative and light industrial recruiting businesses as well as on-site and contact center staffing solutions. Ms. Wilson joined Kelly Services in 1999 and was named to her current position in 2008. Prior to joining Kelly, she spent more than a decade in leadership, business development and operations roles in the wellness and executive search industries. Ms. Wilson has also served as a consultant for professionals and organizations on leadership development, culture and process and organizational change. Ms. Wilson has served as the Co-Chair of the Workforce Development Committee for the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) as well as a commissioner and business representative on the Los Angeles County Workforce Investment Board. She participates on various boards focused on regional workforce needs, including accessing top talent, military veterans hiring and skills training, and she has served as a subject matter expert on various workforce panels. Ms. Wilson is a frequent contributing member of the Forbes HR Council as well as an expert resource for media interviews as well as a popular speaker and workshop facilitator on leadership and workforce development trends.


Sheree Knowles, SPHR, CPM is a talented executive with over 20 years of HR leadership experience. She is the Founder of HR Knowledge Source (HRKS) - a human resources and talent management firm - and a Managing Partner with Human Capital Consulting Consortium (H3C). Prior to joining the entrepreneurial community she served as the VP of HR for companies with regional and national geographic footprints. Sheree is an accomplished practitioner who has achieved multiple certifications and designations throughout her career including: EQi 2.0 (Emotional Intelligence), SPHR (Senior Professional in Human Resources), CPM (Certified Project Manager), MBTI (Myers-Briggs) and DiSC. In addition she is a Certified Facilitator for ELI, Inc’s Civil Treatment Programs and a Master Facilitator for Facebook’s Leadership and Diversity Programs. Sheree is a highly-regarded business leader, curriculum architect, dynamic facilitator and professional speaker. She has been a featured presenter at multiple HR Star Conferences, DisruptHR, SHRM-Atlanta Conferences, NAAAHR Conferences, the Project Management Institute (PMI) as well as on radio and television. Sheree is respected as a thought-leader and subject matter expert in HR with an emphasis in workplace civility, employee engagement, project management, emotional intelligence as well as in diversity, equity and inclusion. She is also active with a variety of nonprofit organizations and has served as a Board Advisor for the National Association of African Americans in Human Resources (NAAAHR) Atlanta Chapter. Sheree is a graduate of the University of Dayton.


Teresa Smith is a Senior Human Capital Management (HCM) strategy consultant for Kronos Incorporated, where she advises business leaders and their leadership teams on how to better maximize people-centric strategies to achieve long-term success. With deep expertise in change management process and business innovation, Ms. Smith is an advocate for the unmatched value of an empowered workforce, and helps organizations more effectively attract prospective employees, engage existing employees and holistically develop and manage an exceptional employee experience. Ms. Smith has dedicated the majority of her career to exploring the impact of HR, payroll and workforce management on the workforce. From small businesses to global operations, she is adept at diagnosing customer needs, delivering effective solutions and collaborating with senior leaders to achieve improved business outcomes. For nearly 20 years, Ms. Smith led workforce management and HCM initiatives at ADP, working closely with sales and management teams to develop critical business strategies for both domestic and global customers. Prior to ADP she served IT support and management functions at Columbia/HCA and the Department of Defense. Ms. Smith has earned her Six Sigma White Belt as well as Workforce Management certification, HR Professional certification and Corporate Visions certification. Outside of the office she is passionate about helping others and volunteers frequently as a care counselor supporting individuals working through grief and PTSD and as a team leader helping to restore homes for those in need. In addition, Ms. Smith devotes time to raising funds for military relief.


Sejal Thakkar, Esq. is the CEO and Founder of TrainXtra. She has extensive experience providing legal advice and guidance to senior management, human resources professionals and legal counsel concerning employment practices and actions. Ms. Thakkar has conducted investigations or inquiries regarding hostile workplace, sexual harassment, discrimination, bullying, retaliation and other matters related to employment law. Additionally, she delivers customized legal compliance training for sexual harassment, discrimination, bullying, unconscious bias and other employment law topics. Ms. Thakkar's clients include: Coca-Cola, Verizon, Department of Motor Vehicles, Office of Systems Integrations, Department of General Services, Bureau of Land Management, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the Oakland Housing Authority. Ms. Thakkar earned a B.S. in Accounting from the University of Illinois at Chicago and is a cum laude graduate of the Northern Illinois College of Law. 


Tony Paixão, CFE®, CFI® is a Certified Forensic Interviewer and Certified Fraud Examiner, national speaker, and senior consultant for Wicklander-Zulawski & Associates, Inc. (WZ). Tony has served in a variety of different roles in both the private and public sectors. Tony has held multiple positions in the private sector eventually leading him to manage all LP, security and safety initiatives for 400+ locations for a private retailer as well as a team of investigators. While in the public sector Tony served as a Federal Agent responsible for investigating Family Sexual Assault and Violence cases and also as a police officer. Throughout Tony’s career he has conducted investigations and interrogations for hundreds of cases, ranging from retail fraud to homicide to sexual assault and employee relations matters. As a speaker for WZ, Tony has created customized training programs, presented seminars, hosted webinars as well as conducted live broadcasts of training. Tony has also played an integral role in the ongoing research and evolution of content creation and innovative teaching methods at WZ. Tony is a graduate of James Madison University, located in Harrisonburg, VA, with a BS in Justice Studies.


Phyllis H. Sarkaria is the Principal Coach and Founder of The Sarkaria Group. With more than 25 years of leadership experience that includes strategic planning, merger integration and team effectiveness, Phyllis Sarkaria is an accomplished HR executive, certified coach, facilitator and trusted adviser. She has led multi-million-dollar system implementation and integration initiatives, and she has worked closely with leaders to improve organizational outcomes. Today she works with leadership teams and individual leaders who are facing a wide range of strategic business challenges. Her work with clients serves as a catalyst to help leaders and teams gain fresh perspectives and elevate their performances with problem solving. Prior to founding The Sarkaria Group Phyllis served as Vice President, Human Resources for Quidel Corporation - a leading medical diagnostics manufacturer - where she oversaw the company’s global HR strategy and programs for over 12 years. Prior to Quidel she held roles in HR with large, matrixed corporations mainly in the energy industry. Phyllis is a published scholar in the field of authentic leadership and has served on the adjunct faculty of UCSD-Extension and Claremont Lincoln University.


Charles (Chas) Fields, MSHRM is a Human Capital Management (HCM) Strategy Consultant for Kronos Incorporated where he works with leadership teams to invest in people-centric technologies that enhance the employee experience and overall company culture of their business. With strong foundational expertise in project management and change management, Fields advises organizations on how effective training and development processes can strengthen the talent pipeline, improve long-term employee engagement and ensure future business success. With a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in human resource management from Indiana Wesleyan University, Fields deeply understands the impact that effective HCM strategies and solutions can have on both operations and human resources. Prior to his current role at Kronos he was an account manager and sales engineer at Exponent HR - building and managing relationships with customers and conducting product demonstrations for key decision-makers. Fields also led project and construction management at Zayo Group, a publicly traded global network solutions provider. Outside the office, Fields is a volunteer builder for Habitat for Humanity International and serves as the finance officer for Spark Tank, a summer matching-funds program at his local church.


Candice Gottlieb-Clark, MS, CRC, BCE is the Founder and President of Dynamic Team Solutions as well as a Business Advisor, Coach and Conflict Management Specialist. Candice founded Dynamic Team Solutions, to help businesses strengthen their leaders and employees through enhanced conflict management, communication, teamwork and leadership. Dynamic Team Solutions provides executive and leadership coaching, team building and development, and conflict management and resolution to positively transform business functionality in terms of employee relations, morale, turnover, culture and productivity. Candice is a sought after speaker and writer on the topics of leadership, teamwork, communication and conflict management and is a member of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO). Candice holds a Master's degree in Counseling from San Diego State University, is a Certified Mediator of the Los Angeles County Bar Association and is a Board Certified Executive Coach.


Omar Marquez is a Tuition Financing Consultant for TIAA Tuition Financing, Inc. His geographic area of influence includes Los Angeles County, Ventura County and Santa Barbara County. Omar has over twelve years of financial services experience serving in various roles and capacities, ranging from mortgage banker to wealth advisor. In addition to working closely with TIAA Wealth Management Advisors in helping their clients save and pay for higher education in a tax-advantaged manner, Omar serves as a California Employer Specialist. As an Employer Specialist, Omar works with employers in offering the TIAA-managed ScholarShare 529 College Savings Plan as a financial wellness benefit to their employees. In doing so he has worked with some of the nation's top employers and major universities. Omar received his Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Leadership from Azusa Pacific University, where he also majored in Political Science.


Alexis Haselberger, SPHR, SHRM-SCP is a time-management, productivity and leadership coach. She spent the first 15+ years of her career managing human resources and operations at several early-stage start-ups. Over that time Alexis developed and implemented numerous leadership and productivity systems as well as training programs to ensure that goals were met and that the companies thrived. Additionally, Alexis has worked at an HR outsourcing firm as an HR consultant to over 100 companies. Today, through her private practice, Alexis helps individuals and teams do more and stress less via coaching and corporate workshops on the issues of time-management, productivity and leadership. Her client list includes notables like Google, Upwork, Lyft, Silicon Valley Bank among many others. Alexis holds a BA from New York University and remains active in the Bay Area HR community.


Isabelle Hertz, M.S. is an Organizational Consultant and Coach with Threshold Limited. Isabelle’s passion is to support people in reaching their full potential. With education and experience focusing on the intersection of business and human resources, Isabelle brings with her a clear understanding of the issues impacting employee engagement and organizational success - as well as the strategies for creating a collaborative workforce. Isabelle excels in crafting programs that are both experiential and engaging and which transform the way people work. Isabelle’s calm and insightful approach helps her clients to build their awareness and readiness for change. Her international experience extends to countries such as Canada, Turkey, China and France and includes clients in industries that range from healthcare to education to engineering to biotechnology. Isabelle holds a Masters of Science in Organizational Development from the Graziadio School of Business and Management at Pepperdine University and a Bachelors of Commerce in Human Resources Management from the University of Guelph.


Braden Albert is the Founder and President of the HR Star Conference and its parent company, Abbington Court Media. A graduate of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, Braden began organizing job fairs and trade shows in the mid-1990's. Intrigued by the idea of bringing people together for a shared, learning experience - and impressed by the impact such an experience can provide - Braden organized his first HR Star Conference in 1999. Today, the scope of the HR Star Conference includes annual events in Los Angeles, California; Atlanta, Georgia; San Francisco, California; and Cleveland, Ohio. Over 3,300 HR professionals attended an HR Star Conference in 2019.