ERA Staff Directory
Michael T. Denisoff is an expert in the disciplines of strategy and business, organizational effectiveness, training and development, executive coaching and human resource excellence. As President and CEO of Employers Resource Association, he is focused on continually listening to the voice of the members, delivering the most relevant & potent services and ensuring that ERA is a Center of Excellence for Human Resources.
Michael has worked as a consultant with organizations across a wide range of industries, including retail, telecommunications, technology, healthcare and service-related fields. Previous clients include NASA, Honda, Home Depot, Parke Davis and IBM. Michael is also regularly retained as an executive coach by CEOs and other high-level corporate executives. He has succeeded in a variety of leadership roles within organizations including head of Talent for Cincinnati Children's Hospital, VP of Talent Management and Organizational Development for Luxottica and Senior Manager of Organizational Development and Learning for Neutrogena. Michael began his career with the Covey Leadership Center, headed by Stephen Covey, the renowned author of "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People."
Michael received his master's in business administration from Loyola Marymount University and his bachelor's degree from the University of Notre Dame, where he was a member of its 1988 national championship football team. Michael is a multi-disciplinarian also well-versed in philosophy, music, athletics, improvisational comedy, social issues and primitive living.
Having acquired a rich and complex mix of business development, operations, social enterprise, and financial skills working for multi-billion dollar corporations and in the non-profit sector, Kathy is equally adept at setting strategic direction as she is at writing Excel macros.
As Director of the ERA Columbus office, Kathy is focused on increasing the breadth and depth of ERA relationships throughout the central Ohio market in order to build a tight-knit community of HR professionals.
Before joining ERA, Kathy served as the Business Development Coordinator at Licking/Knox Goodwill in Newark, Ohio where she booked millions of dollars in contracts in order to provide employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Kathy also worked for 25 years at AT&T/Lucent/Alcatel-Lucent/Nokia as a Senior Director of Planning and Operations. Over that epoch, Kathy planned and executed worldwide projects that took the mobile telephone from a Maxwell Smart cross-body briefcase to the device you hold in your hand today.
Kathy holds a Master of Science degree from the University of Colorado, Boulder. She also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary English Education with a Computer Science minor.
Gary Mertz, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
A lifelong entrepreneur with over 25 years of expertise in, human resources and business development, Gary earned a BA in Business Administration from Franklin University and certificates in health and wellness counseling from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Gary also has earned the designation of Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and Society for Human Resource Management - Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP).
Gary founded The Palmis Group, LLC an executive, leadership and corporate health coaching, consulting and strategy development firm and also Mertz and Associates, a HR and career consulting firm.
Before forming The Palmis Group, Gary was president of Remedy Intelligent Staffing, and a founding partner of The Kreller Consulting Group and Kreller Business Information Group.
Additionally, Gary served as an adjunct faculty member at Gateway Community College as an Achieve Global Leadership Development training facilitator and instructor.
Susan Sterritt Meyer, SHRM-SCP
Susan Sterritt Meyer,SHRM-SCP, recently returned to the Association with new perspectives following five years teaching and consulting experience in Europe. Susan served our members from 2008-2011 as a Learning and Development Consultant, and held the post of Director of the Educational Services Department from 1993-1999 during which time she developed the Department’s core training materials. She is well versed in the learning needs and preferences of our members.
Considered by many to be “the best facilitator they’ve ever experienced,” Susan has “the rare ability to capture interest and stir emotion while engaging the brain to make continued learning a treat.” She bolsters her exceptional instructional skills with decades of solid business, training and HR expertise gleaned from leadership posts in major corporations in manufacturing, healthcare, broadcasting, and service industries. Susan earned her Master’s degree in Human Resource Development and B.S. degrees in psychology and social sciences. She holds multiple certifications and has been published multiple times. She is also a featured speaker at national and local conventions.
Susan’s presentations are lively with solid examples and inspiring messages, and offer a depth of content unparalleled in other learning venues.
As an educator, trainer and consultant, Mike Koch has over 25 years of experience facilitating learning and driving culture change. His areas of expertise include leadership development, communication skills, teamwork, conflict resolution and customer service. What differentiates Mike is his ability to connect with any audience. He adapts his pace and style to the audience’s needs, resulting in a high level of customer satisfaction. He has worked extensively with both frontline supervisors and managers, helping them develop the necessary leadership skills to motivate a productive and loyal workforce.
Mike obtained a BA in Psychology and Philosophy from Northern Kentucky University and earned an M.S. Ed. in Educational Leadership from the University of Dayton. He is a member of the Association for Talent Development and is a certified Everything DiSC facilitator. Mike has served as an Achieve Global Leadership Development trainer at Gateway Community and Technical College.
Lori Hall, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
Lori Hall manages the HR Consulting function for ERA's Columbus market. Lori served our members from 2006 to 2013 as Manager, HR Consulting Services, and continues that role now, providing business solutions to members, ranging from Affirmative Action Plan Management, Employee Engagement Surveys, 360-Degree Survey Feedback, and a wide range of additional HR business solutions. During her time away, she spent 5 years teaching and consulting at a Fortune 26 global organization. She is a published author, a certified Mediator and Coach, and has over 20 years of experience as an effective facilitator. Lori holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Human Resource Management and holds certifications from Development Dimensions International, Columbus Mediation Services, and MBTI.
Barbara England is a seasoned HR professional with over thirty years of experience in Human Resource Management in both the public and private sectors. With a Bachelors degree in Sociology, Barbara spent almost 20 years directing the human resources function for a regional transit system with responsibility for employment, compensation and benefits, training and employee development, policy and program development, employee and labor relations, safety and workers compensation and strategic planning. Her responsibilities with ERA include fielding a wide variety of HR questions on ERA’s hot line, coordinating and facilitating monthly roundtables and handling special projects for ERA members, including HR audits, handbook reviews and preparation, development of job descriptions and HR procedures. Throughout her career she has been active in the community, serving on the Boards of the Columbus Area American Red Cross, Salvation Army, YWCA, Directions for Youth and the City of Pickerington Personnel Advisory Board. She has been a member of SHRM for 30 years.
As the Association's Training Coordinator, Patti is responsible for the daily operations of the Association's training department, serving as the liaison for all training arrangements between member companies and our training instructors. Patti also handles questions about program content, as well as registration. Additionally, she is highly involved in the preparation and editing of all marketing and training materials for the department. Members may also contact Patti for room rental information.
Chelsea is the Training Assistant for the Association’s Cincinnati office. She is responsible for the setup and breakdown of all the training rooms, which includes the compilation of all text materials. Chelsea also handles training registrations and questions about program content. She works extensively on the association’s training catalogs and is responsible for various marketing materials. Chelsea earned her Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Education from Miami University. Her experience includes six years as a childcare teacher and one year as an Assistant Director.
Monique Kahkonen, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
Monique is a seasoned professional with over two decades of ever-increasing HR responsibility and experience. She has extensive hands-on experience leading HR initiatives including policy design, compensation, performance management, compliance, and training and development. She offers a results-driven attitude to help organizations achieve their desired goals.
Monique is responsible for consulting with members to review analysis, design, development, implementation, communication and administration of executive compensation, employee compensation, sales compensation, performance management, incentives and total rewards. In addition, she oversees the Association’s Survey Department, Compliance Services and provides various human resource training programs to support members’ self-development.
Monique graduated summa cum laude from Wright State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling.
Michelle Pinsky, MILR, SHRM-SCP
Michelle Pinsky is an experienced Human Resources professional with over 20 years of diverse industry experience providing guidance and leadership to senior managers in startup, corporate and non-profit organizations. With her broad experiences in employee relations, performance management, organizational development, staffing and recruiting, training and development, workforce planning, and compensation/benefits programs, she will support ERA members by managing a wide variety of HR questions on ERA’s hot line, coordinating and facilitating monthly roundtables and handling special projects for ERA members, including HR check-ups to review HR procedures and handbook reviews. Her passion is to partner with employees and business leaders to help them impact the bottom line by providing sound HR solutions, excellent customer service and driving continuous improvement of people, systems and processes.
Michelle has earned BA in Psychology from The University of Michigan and a Master’s Degree in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University.
Diana Small, SHRM-SCP, SPHR
Diana Small is a Human Resources Leader with 30 years of progressive HR experience. Her passion for HR has allowed her to lead HR teams, set strategic HR visions and deliver HR outcomes for organizations in both the public and private sectors. Diana has held HR partnership and leadership positions in the Financial Services, Insurance, Manufacturing, Airline, Public Utilities, IT and Specialty Pharmacy industries.
Diana obtained both her Masters Degree in Labor and Employment Relations and her Bachelors Degree in Marketing from the University of Cincinnati. Diana is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR, SHRM-SCP), and is a member of the Greater Cincinnati HR Association (GCHRA), Greater Cincinnati Association of Training & Development (ATD) where she most recently served on the Executive Advisory Board, SHRM, and serves on the Southwest Ohio Region Workforce Investment Board (SWORWIB). Diana also enjoys mentoring up-and-coming HR professionals as she shares her knowledge and passion for HR.
Additional past involvement in the community includes being an alumni of the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce WeLead Class 10, West Chester / Liberty Township Leadership 21, Urban League African American Leadership Development and the YMCA Black Achievers.
Matt Deavy has spent his career working as a training expert with multiple organizations. Some of the qualities that differentiate Matt as a consultant and a trainer are his engaging and active style along as his ability to effectively communicate and connect with all levels of an organization. His areas of expertise include Leadership Training, Sales Training, and Effective Communication. Matt has lead training for logistics companies in the Cincinnati area and served as a trainer for Gateway Community and Technical College. Matt obtained his Master’s Degree in Education from Xavier University, specializing in Human Resource Development after completing his Bachelors of Arts at Northern Kentucky University.
Rebecca Jacobs, Esq.
Rebecca Jacobs has been an employment law attorney since 1997 and a lecturer at the Ohio State University Fisher College of Business since 2006. As a litigation attorney, Rebecca defended employers against claims under Title VII, ADA, ADEA, FMLA, FLSA, and Ohio laws. She tried cases in federal and state courts and handled charges before the EEOC and OCRC. She is passionate about helping companies attempt to avoid litigation in the first place through compliance and training. To this end, she recently developed customized employee training programs on harassment prevention and bystander intervention. She has conducted webinars relating to FMLA, ADA, and the impact of marijuana legalization on the workplace. In January, 2019, Columbus CEO magazine quoted Rebecca in "Employment Law: Making it Official with Love Contracts."
As an adjunct lecturer for the Department of Management and Human Resources at the Fisher College of Business, Rebecca teaches the "Contemporary Employment Practices and the Law" class. In this role, she ensures that students pursuing their Masters in Human Resource Management understand the employment laws which impact their workforces.
Rebecca holds a Juris Doctorate degree from Vanderbilt University School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is admitted to practice law in Ohio and licensed (inactive) in California. Rebecca was named an "Ohio Super Lawyer Rising Star" in Law and Politics magazine in 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010. She is also a graduate of the 2008 Leadership Columbus class and currently serves as president of the Ridgewood Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization.
Jeff Lucas, PHR, SHRM-CP
Jeff is responsible for conducting, analyzing and compiling more than 20 annual wage, policy, practices and employee benefit surveys for members. He also assists members conducting custom surveys used to benchmark their compensation and/or benefits information to similar organizations within their industry.
His experience working with Fortune 500 companies as well as small to medium sized organizations in the Market Research and Human Resource fields allows him to assist members with the custom survey process, including the creation of insightful and actionable analytical reports connecting data to industry norms and trends that impact the bottom line. Jeff received his master’s degree from Xavier University in Industrial/Organizational Psychology and his bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Kentucky.
Carolyn Potter, J.D.
Carolyn joined ERA in October 2007 as a Human Resources Consultant in our Cincinnati office. She worked in-house as Senior Corporate Counsel and then as a legal consultant with a large corporation for nearly 10 years with experience in a broad range of HR issues including hiring, discipline, firing, discrimination, litigation management, harassment and wage and hour. Carolyn's primary focus with ERA includes affirmative action plans, employee engagement surveys, back-up hotline assistance, handbook review and HR training. Carolyn has a B.A. and J.D. from University of Toledo and is licensed to practice law in Ohio and Kentucky.
Chelsea is the HR Consulting Services Assistant for the Association's Cincinnati office. She is responsible for creating, compiling, and preparing members employee engagement survey reports and 360 degree reviews for the Cincinnati office. She also assists the ERA members with their organization's Affirmative Action Plans. Chelsea also conducts the Members Satisfaction Survey.
Chelsea graduated from the Thomas More College with a BA in Business Administration where she was on the Deans List for all four years.
Kim is responsible for the Association’s membership growth and retention. Kim specializes in consultative selling and has a successful track record selling pharmaceutical products for Johnson and Johnson and Schering Corporation, as well as voice, data and internet products for Cincinnati Bell. She also held marketing leadership roles for Franklin Savings and Loan, Cheviot Savings Bank, and Our Lord Christ the King Church and Cardinal Pacelli School.
Matt Stein is responsible for service and growth of ERA's member organizations in the region. Matt joined ERA with over 15 years of consulting experience helping HR professionals with benefit selection and communication. He has an MBA from Franklin University.
April is responsible for the accounting, payroll, benefits, financial and office support functions including the management of all administrative functions and supervision of the office support personnel at the Association. She also coordinates and monitors the operational needs of the Cincinnati office.
April has served in a number of capacities at ERA. She joined ERA in 2001 as the receptionist and quickly moved to the position of training assistant. She was then promoted to Administrative Assistant and served as Training Coordinator prior to her current role. These various positions have given April a complete knowledge of the various departments at ERA and thoroughly prepared her for her current position of Director, Administration.
Lindsay is the Administrative Assistant for the Association’s Columbus Office. She is responsible for greeting members and visitors, assisting in training set up for Columbus, and asssisting HR Consulting Services. She also takes on other additional administrative projects. She has several years of work experience in retail, customer service, and office type roles. Lindsay prides herself on her outgoing, contagious personality, dedication, creative mindset, and strong communication skills.
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