Recognized as a results-oriented leader, diverse thinker and team player with high standards and
a passionate commitment to human capital development who implements sustainable strategies
and infrastructures that align organizational efforts and financial commitments, while
maximizing employee potential and engagement. Currently, she is an active trusted advisor and
coach to executive management and Board of Directors in various industries and actively serves
on various not-for-profit boards and has teaches undergraduate and professional Human
Resource management programs.
Ms. Reilly has held Executive positions throughout her career in San Diego and a few of those
companies were: Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, D&K Engineering,
ASML (formerly Cymer), Illumina, and La Jolla Pharmaceutical company. She earned a BS in
Business Management and MBA from the University of Phoenix."
"Kellie is a results-oriented HR leader, recognized for her ability to build strong teams and lead in the creation of positive, passionate and dynamic company cultures. She has vast experience within the medical device, pharmaceutical and high-technology industries, bringing in-depth knowledge of all aspects of HR. Kellie has led extensive coaching of Senior Leaders on building personal capabilities and execution of business strategy. Kellie is currently Head of Human Capital at IRRAS, and has held key leadership roles in companies including GlaxoSmithKline, General Atomics and Quidel Corporation. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Speech Communication from Montana State University. Kellie enjoys entertaining and spending time with her daughters."
Angelica earned her bachelor’s degree in social ecology from the University of California, Irvine, where she graduated cum laude. Soon thereafter she completed the Human Resources Certificate Program at UCI. A few years later she received her MBA from the University of California, Los Angeles.
She has spoken to business leaders about the importance and benefits of strategic human resources as a competitive advantage. She has been published on various topics including responding to the economy’s impact on learning and development resources and developing HR business strategies which evolve and adapt to new business environments.
She strives to develop high performing teams. In 2017, her human resources team was awarded Ceridian’s Astounding Transformation Award for their work implementing a complete Human Capital Management platform when she was Sr. Vice President of People Services for Rubio’s Restaurants. In 2019, the Harrah’s Resort Southern California Human Resources Team was awarded the San Diego HR Forum’s HR Team of the Year award. Additionally, in 2017 Angelica was awarded San Diego HR Forum’s San Diego HR Executive of the Year Award.
she is waging the battle of trying to find balance between the job she
loves, her amazing family, and a largely neglected gym membership."
"Melina, known as “Mel” to most, is passionate about building innovation and inclusivity into high-velocity workplace cultures. She currently leads the strategic growth and development of Encinitas tech startup Flock Freight, the only Certified B Corp in the tech-freight industry. Before joining the Flock, Mel served as SVP People at Housecall Pro, VP HR at Vistage Worldwide, and VP HR at Haggen Food and Pharmacy. Prior to life in San Diego, Mel spent 15 years building and leading recruitment and development at her favorite place on the planet, Trader Joe’s. " Mel holds a Masters of Science in Executive Leadership from the University of San Diego and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from UCLA. On weekends you can find her sitting in the sun at local San Diego breweries sipping IPA and eating Trader Joe’s eggplant hummus.
"Dena Ayala is friendly, forward thinking and incredibly driven. She has served on SDHRF’s board for 3 years and has been an active member for over 8 years. She is currently leading one of the strongest boards we have seen, filled with talented professionals aiming to make a difference in our HR community. This year the major focus is to continue to expand services to our members and create our first Executive of the Year event. In her career, Dena has gained 18 years’ experience in the recruiting industry. She is the CEO of IHC, a national recruiting and executive search group that has been operating since 1990. IHC is one of Southern California’s fastest growing firms of 2016, with 7 total offices in San Diego, Orange County & Los Angeles. Her true priority in life is her wonderful family of 9, including her husband John, their 6 kids and dog Ali (a 3 year old boxer named after Muhammed Ali ). She enjoys SUP (stand up paddle boarding), yoga, reading, HH with friends, and recently purchased a power boat to enjoy summers cruising around Mission Bay and Long Beach."
"Tracy Ward is President and Founder of Forward Talent Strategies, a boutique HR consulting company that partners with businesses to strengthen their HR strategy and HR practices, develop their organizational vision, and build programs to attract, engage and retain top talent. Tracy previously held HR executive roles with oversight of Human Resources, Organizational Development and Risk Management, and is passionate about helping companies cultivate positive workplace cultures and environments for people to thrive.
Tracy earned her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of California, San Diego, and holds several certifications, including the Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), California (PHRca), Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR), and Associate Certified Coach (ACC). Tracy teaches Human Resources courses at the California State University, San Marcos Extended Learning program. She serves on the succession planning committee for Clearity Foundation and volunteers as a resume coach for VetCTAP, the Veterans Career Transition Assistance Program. Tracy enjoys carving out time for hiking, golf, cooking, and traveling."
"Erin is passionate about championing women in the workplace and healthy workplace practices. As business development leader she has over 20 years’ experience in global partnerships, unparalleled customer engagement and innovative benefits solutions for the modern workforce. Erin has a successful track record in the healthcare industry by helping multiple corporations revolutionize their benefit programs and workplaces to achieve Healthiest Workplace Awards and Best Place to Work rankings. Erin is the Area President of Gallagher Benefit Services San Diego where she leads H&W Practice. Prior to joining Gallagher, Erin was President of ACI Specialty Benefits where she spent nearly a decade building revenue through sales leadership and carrier partnerships helping companies improve engagement, retention, productivity and performance. Winner of the Women of Influence President’s Award and finalist of the Women Who Mean Business Awards by the San Diego Business Journal, Erin is also a SUE Talk speaker and contributor for media articles, blogs and interviews.
Erin’s time outside of work is spent with her two children Jack (11) and Sally (9) enjoying our beautiful city as much as possible! Her hobbies include exercising, traveling and volunteering."
"Ryan H. Nell is a shareholder/employment attorney with Pettit Kohn Ingrassia Lutz & Dolin. He is an experienced litigator who represents California employers statewide in both counseling and comprehensive litigation support. With the ever-changing landscape of California and federal employment law, Ryan prides himself on assisting clients in staying ahead of the curve in an effort to avoid legal trouble before it arises. He has extensive experience representing clients in harassment, retaliation, and discrimination matters, as well as large-scale wage and hour lawsuits.
Ryan speaks regularly on a wide range of topics aimed at assisting California employers in the avoidance of legal trouble before it arises, and his work in the field has led to his recognition as a San Diego Rising Star by Super Lawyers in 2018-2021 and his inclusion in the Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch list in 2021 and 2022. Ryan graduated magna cum laude from the University of Illinois College of Law. Before law school, Ryan attended the University of Southern California where he was recognized as a Presidential Scholar."
"Laura Martella has more than 25 years’ hands-on professional experience in business operations and as a Human Resource professional. Over her career, she has provided strategic HR management and leadership at small, mid-sized and large companies in Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego, California. Her diverse industry experience includes transportation, publishing, technology, and hospitality. She is currently VP of Human Resources at SeaWorld Entertainment.
Ms. Martella has expertise in employee relations, talent acquisition, affirmative action, compensation and benefits, performance management, leadership development and workers’ compensation. She received her bachelor’s degree at University of Phoenix and her Master’s from University of San Diego. Ms. Martella is also a certified as a Professional Behavior Analyst (CPBA) DISC Behaviors Facilitator, Predictive Index (PI) Practitioner and has her HR credentials, SHRM-SCP.
Laura currently teaches Human Resource Management at University of California San Diego (UCSD) Extension in the HR Certification Program. She also serves on the Board of San Diego HR Forum, as Director of Memberships.
Laura has spoken at conferences, including Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), and served on panel discussions on a variety of human resource topics."
“As the Human Resources Manager for J/PR, Liz is passionate about our team and a champion for culture, striving to always elevate the employee experience at J/PR. She brings more than seven years of experience in people development to J/PR and seeks opportunities to grow our team in their day-to-day roles as well as providing development tools for our leadership team.
During her previous positions and experience with lululemon and Harrah’s Resort Southern California, companies known for their strong company culture, Liz focused on ways to elevate talent, both internal and external. She led a team who was focused on creating training and workshops on principals rooted in Emotional Intelligence, Communication, and Servant Leadership.
With past awards such as San Diego’s Human Resources Team of the Year, she believes in a collaborative and supportive environment with emphasis on team transparency. Liz is part of the DEI Committee at J/PR and focuses on ways to create opportunities to attract and diversify top talent for J/PR, our industry, and plays an integral part of J/PR’s internship and BIPOC mentorship programs."
"Andrew is currently Vice President of Employee Benefits for C3 Insurance San Diego and is dedicated to continuing to grow the local presence. With the backing of a strong company such as C3 he is excited about the continued growth and unlimited opportunities. Andrew is an experienced professional with a variety of experience from investment banking, medical device sales, entrepreneurship/business ownership followed by an acquisition of his company in 2014. Originally from Boston, Andrew moved to San Diego in 2015 for new business opportunities and the added bonus of sunnier Winters. Graduated from The University of Connecticut with a BS in Business/Entrepreneurship and a minor in Real Estate Finance. Having been a business owner and taking pride in building successful relationships he knows the importance of an employee driven company for continued growth and success. He really enjoys working with HR executives and helping build an environment where the best talent is attracted and obtained via culture and benefits. In free time Andrew is an avid outdoor enthusiast skiing, mountain biking, golfing, hiking, boating and volunteering with underserved youth groups."
"Joshua Golter is a Human Resources leader with a passion for leading strategic teams in the pursuit of opportunities to deliver solutions which achieve remarkable results for organizations and communities. He believes in seeing things differently and challenging the status quo through purposeful initiatives and harmonizing key processes, systems and tools, all while monitoring resources and return on investment.
Currently, Joshua is the Manager of Total Rewards and HRIS at General Dynamics - NASSCO, where he and his teams focus on employee experience, driving HR operational excellence initiatives, and creating meaningful performance impacts. The teams’ other areas of impact include human capital analytics, workforce planning, HR PMO and employer branding.
Joshua earned his MBA at the University of Redlands and has extended his stay there as an Adjunct Professor teaching Human Resource Management and Finance courses in the School of Business and School of Continuing Studies. Additionally Joshua serves on the Board of Directors at the San Diego City College Foundation."
"Alison has spent her career in the retail and restaurant space, practicing HR for nearly 20 years. She has a passion for working directly with front line managers and developing HR Teams that do the same. She recently joined Urban Plates in Cardiff, CA where she is tasked with helping the company gear up for expansion into new markets in New York and Illinois. Prior to Urban Plates, Alison spent many years at Rubio’s Restaurants where she built the employee relations field team, developed HR focused training modules for managers, and created a collaborative partnership with Operations and executive leadership. Additionally, she planned, organized and executed hiring & staffing events to support new location openings in multiple markets.
Alison’s depth of experience is in employee relations. She has successfully navigated potential workplace violence situations and completed complex investigations involving alleged harassment, discrimination and retaliation. Alison is a certified Insights Discovery instructor and holds a BA in Social Ecology from UC, Irvine. When not at work, Alison loves to cook, ride her beach cruiser, and spend time with family."