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The following professionals will judge entries in the Employer of the Year and Human Resources Team categories in 2017. 

Stevie® Award winners in the Employer of the Year categories will be determined by a unique blending of judges' average scores and public votes, with each public voting adding 1/1000 to the average score. 


Ivonne Roca, Executive Vice President, Human Resources
The Word & Brown Companies, Orange, California, USA

Ivonne Roca is Executive Vice President of Human Resources at The Word & Brown Companies. She is one of many long-term employees, having joined the Word & Brown General Agency in 1988, just three years after its founding.

Ivonne is responsible for providing strategic leadership in developing and executing human resources strategies in support of the overall business plans and direction of the organization. She manages recruitment and retention; benefit administration; employee relations; organizational and performance management; training and development; change management; compensation; and company culture and employee programs. She supervises all office facilities, including the corporate headquarters and sales offices nationwide, managing lease negotiations, moves, and other changes. She also oversees the corporate training and development department, which provides a wide variety of training and education programs to more than 550 employees.

Ivonne has earned the Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) designation from the Human Resources Certification Institute and the Professional in Human Resources designation from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

On being invited to Chair, Ivonne commented: “Providing a positive, welcoming, diverse work environment where employees can thrive and grow professionally and personally should be every employer’s goal. These Awards recognize companies who achieve, sustain, and foster those goals.”


Mandarr Agshikar, General Manager
AJHINKKYA FZE, Dubai, United Arab Emirates 

Hussein AlSayed Ahmad, Senior Consultant
Dubai Statistics Center, Dubai, United Arab Emirates  

Christina AugustineChristina Augustine, Global HR Consultant
Sling Sound Consultants, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Dr. Christina Augustine is a proficient Global HR leader with 18 years of experience in steering HR in diverse industries and capacities including IT, Telecom, FMCG, and Health Care. She is currently Director HR-Global Human Resources at VirtusaPolaris Corporation.
     Christina was honored with a national award in India, the “Indira Super Achiever” in HR Excellence; and she and her company have also received international HR accolades in The International Business Awards, The American Business Awards, the Asia Best Employer Awards, Golden Peacock Awards®, and the UK Top Employers. She is the President of Women of Virtusa, a Diversity & Inclusion initiative.
     Christina earned her Ph.D. in Applied Psychology, with expertise in leading Digital HR and OD domains, from the University of Madras. She is an experienced therapist and mentor specializing in counseling and psychotherapy, and has published several scientific papers. She is a Human Resources evangelist and international keynote speaker through TV Shows, social forums, print, and other media; and her TV show, “Enna Seivadhu?” is a good family treat. 

Heather Barton, Human Resources Consultant
Freelance, London, United Kingdom

Annekatrin BuhlAnnekatrin Buhl, Head of PR & Marketing
trendence Institut GmbH, Berlin, Germany

Annekatrin Buhl is Head of PR & Marketing at trendence, Europe’s leading research institute for employer branding, personnel marketing, and recruiting, and is responsible for the company’s strategic and operational communications in Germany and Europe. After completing her studies in communications in Leipzig,  Annekatrin worked for wbpr in Munich, starting as a consultant and going on to become Project Manager for Employer Branding und Evaluation.    

Heena Sunil Bulchandani, Specialist - Training & Development
Dubai Electricity & Water Authority, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Latasha Davies, President
Jeanes Support Services, Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA

Yavuz Duyar, HR Coordinator
Opet Petrolculuk A.S., Istanbul, Marmara, Turkey      

Brenda GallickBrenda Gallick, Director of Team Member Success
Billhighway, Troy, Michigan, USA
Brenda’s primary role at Billhighway is to innovate and nurture a team-oriented culture that aligns with the company’s Playbook (core values).  In addition to culture and engagement strategies, she is responsible for talent acquisition and development, as well as compensation, benefits programs, policies, and strategic performance objectives. Prior to joining Billhighway in 2010, Brenda worked in human resources and benefits consulting at Great Lakes Strategies.  Brenda is SPHR certified and earned an MSA in Business Administration from Central Michigan University and a BBA in Human Resources from Western Michigan University.  

Pinar GocgunPinar Tuba Göçgün, Human Resources, Learning & Development
Metlife , Istanbul, Turkey
Pınar joined MetLife in 2015 as Human Resources Director for Turkey. Pınar has 19 years of Human Resources experience in various industries. Prior to joining MetLife, Pınar worked for two years as HR Executive Interim Manager and Senior Consultant at Genuine People Consulting.  Between 2006 and 2013, Gocgun held local and regional management roles at Alcatel Lucent Telecommunications in Turkey and Azerbaijan, CIS Central, Southern Europe, and Africa. From 2000 to 2006, Pinar worked as Senior Human Resources Business Partner for Eli Lily Pharmaceutical Company, and as Project Manager and Consultant for Arthur Andersen and Ernst Young Turkey. Pınar graduated from Istanbul Technical University Industrial Engineering Department, and in 2012-2013 attended the Coaches Training Institute (CTI) Leadership Program in Europe, completing the Co-Active Coaching Program in Istanbul. She is fluent in English and French.

Kate Darcy Hohenthal, Ed.D., Assistant Director, Student Engagement and Experiential Education    
University of Hartford, West Hartford, Connecticut, United States    

Jodi Katz, Founder and Creative Director
Base Beauty Creative Agency, New York, New York, USA

Chris Litherland, Founder and Lead Consultant
Mariposa Consulting International, Dusseldorf, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany     

Chatelle Lynch, Chief Human Resources Officer
McAfee, Plano, Texas, USA

Rodney MorrisRodney Morris, Senior Vice President
The Elliot Group, San Francisco, California, USA
Rodney Morris is a visionary executive leader with extensive expertise in all facets of human resources. With over 25 years of experience recruiting, motivating and leading highly effective teams in the hospitality industry, Morris joined The Elliot Group, a boutique executive search firm, in 2014 as a Senior Vice President. Prior to this time, Morris was the Senior Vice President, Human Resources for Ignite Restaurant Group and Chief People Officer for Romano’s Macaroni Grill, which was purchased by the Ignite Restaurant Group in April 2013. Prior to joining Macaroni Grill, Morris was the Chief People Officer for Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers and served as Senior Vice President of Human Resources for Fired Up, Inc., operating as Carino’s Italian restaurants. Prior to joining Fired Up, Inc., Morris served as Vice President of Human Resources – Emerging Concepts at Dallas-based Brinker International, Inc. His extensive career has also included senior human resources positions at Pasta Pomodoro, Inc., World Wrapps, Inc., Einstein/Noah Bagel Corp. and Wyatt’s Cafeterias, Inc. A frequent speaker, Morris has presented at several CHART conferences, the Multi-Cultural Foodservice Hospitality Alliance (MFHA) conference, the California, Ohio, and Texas State Diversity conferences, the National Restaurant Show, and The People Report’s™ Best Practices and Summer Brand Camp conferences. Morris is a graduate of Oklahoma State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Hotel and Restaurant Administration, where he was selected as the University’s Outstanding Male Graduate his Senior year.

Patrick Schoedel, Senior PR Manager
Schröder+Schömbs PR GmbH, Berlin, Germany       

Shonda Scott, CEO
360 Total Concept, Oakland, California, USA