2017 Board of Directors Election

As a member, please exercise your right to vote for those who should lead ATD-Orange County Chapter. In order to verify that each voter is eligible to vote, you must put your name on your ballot. Each member is allowed to submit a single ballot. (If more than one ballot is submitted by a member, the last ballot received will be counted as the official ballot.) You may write in candidates. Any write-in candidate(s) must meet the qualifications as stated in the bylaws to be elected.

Anyone who is a current ATD-OC member in good standing and joined on or before September 14 is eligible to vote.

Voting closes Friday, September 16 at 9:00 p.m.

Click here to cast your vote.

Candidates and Statements

2017 President: Jeffrey Hansler (The current President will continue for another year ~ non-elected)

All other candidates and their statements are included below.

Click the position below to go directly to the candidate(s) statement:

Past President
Denise Lamonte

Chief Finance Officer
Don McGray

Susmitha Valvekar

Vice President, Marketing

Co-Vice Presidents, Membership
Anthony Harmetz & Ruth Ann Ritter


Jeffrey Hansler

As the 2017 President, I will continue the projects started and embrace the new ones ahead: adding value for members, volunteers, and board members; enhancing our program opportunities; and spreading the news about ATD-OC and the opportunities our community provides.

It is a delight being part of the board – the experience cannot be explained; it must be experienced.

The excitement continues for our board, volunteers, and members.

I am looking forward to serving you and our community and thank you for your support.

 Past President

Denise Lamonte

Having served as the 2011 ATD-OC President, I look forward to serving another term as Past President in 2017.

It has been a delight for me to be an active member of this chapter since 1998, and I consider it my professional home. I have served on the board six times, held many volunteer positions and experienced a variety of chapter leaders, programs and people.

As 2017 Past President, I plan to provide support to fellow board members to ensure that their board service is rewarding, fun and a chance to create something meaningful with a great group of colleagues. In addition, I will bring to the 2017 Board a legacy perspective – integrating our roots as a chapter and interpreting these for the needs of current learning and talent development professionals.

I am looking forward to serving you and our community. Thank you for your support.

 Chief Financial Officer

Don McGray
1.    Brief summary of your professional background
  • Training Management Consultant- 2 years
  • Training Manager – 3 years
  • Security Manager (Physical security and Background Investigations)- 14 years
  • Retired from the US Air Force Reserves as a Lieutenant Colonel after a 32 year career.
2.    Why you want this role?
  • My undergraduate degree is in Finance
  • I developed budgets for every department I have managed
  • Give back to the community
  • Join in the small team of volunteers that makes the chapter successful
3.    What you hope to bring to the office and to the Chapter
  • Introduce and develop Metrics and Analytics into the financial reporting to the ATD-OC chapter.


Susmitha Valvekar
Susmitha Valvekar is a highly motivated human resource professional with   experience in Instruction, Training, Course Content Designing and Facilitating professional development Online, in class and one to one settings. She is proficient with platforms like Blackboard, Canvas, Wimba, Adobe Connect, Big Blue Button, Webex.  She is pro-active in seeking workable solutions to training needs and committed to expanding the scope of teaching and learning via various methods. She is empathetic, dynamic and dedicated trainer who is skilled in working in contemporary virtual realities and creating the necessary atmosphere for online learning successes. For testimonials see - www.linkedin.com/in/susmithavalvekar.

Susmitha has been partnering with Rachel Choppin, UCLA Extension’s Instructor and Founder of HR 4 You, in teaching Elements of Human Resource Management, Human Resources Development and Managing Change in Organizations classes. She has been making significant and valuable contributions, as a researcher, a facilitator, a coach and a coordinator. In addition she is has been actively involved in research with Professor Daniel Van Bogaert, J.D., in the subject of HRM & IT Security Risks in the Workplace.

Her Journey with ATD-OC matched her passion to learn and contribute to the learning society. Her contributions to ATD-OC include creating instructional guides for the Total Trainer Program, managing workshops and as a lead in the monthly events for Change Management. She wants to expand all that she received from the ATD-OC by expanding the embrace of this intellectually infectious community to immediate and community at large.

Susmitha was the Founder and Director of a pre-school where she had overseen successful training and orientation programs for the staff, ranging from content development to delivery, recruiting and administrative processes.

Susmitha has an MA in International Politics from JNU, India, and M.Phil(pre-doctoral degree) in Political Science (focus on international politics) from HCU, India, and Human Resource Administration certification from UCLA Extension. She is an active contributor to ATD-OC and member of Professionals In Human Resources Association (PIHRA).

Co-Vice President, Membership

Anthony Harmetz

In 2017, I hope to continue serving as Co-Vice President of Membership with Sarah Castillo. If elected as Co-Vice President, Membership, I will have two primary goals:

  • To ensure an ATD-OC membership provides a good value to Orange County talent development practitioners
  • To increase chapter membership

I believe there are a great many talent development practitioners throughout the county who would derive substantial benefits from an ATD-OC membership, and I’d like to help them connect to the chapter.

I’m very committed to ATC-OC. I’ve held many roles in the chapter over the years, including CFO, President-Elect, President, and Past President (2007-2010). Since then, I’ve helped manage project teams for Total Trainer University; served on the Leadership Recruitment Committee; co-founded and led Special Interest Groups; and helped Kathleen Ashelford design two recently created Board offices, Talent Management and Professional Development.

ATD-OC is my community of practice. I participate actively because I love the chapter, because I benefit so much from the people I meet and the programs I participate in, and because it’s fun and exciting to help build something worthwhile.

Co-Vice President, Membership

Ruth Ann Ritter

RuthAnn Ritter is a resourceful and results-oriented leader with more than 20 years of collective experience in training and development, organizational effectiveness, project management, and operations. Her experience spans both entrepreneurial and institutional settings including: public education, telecommunications, software, health and wellness, and non-profit. She specializes in creating innovative solutions to meet the complex needs of organizations and individuals.

As VP, Membership, RuthAnn will bring her passion for helping others together with her leadership experiences to ATD-OC.  In particular, she looks forward to sharing her skills in planning and executing new hire orientation and onboarding programs with new chapter members. In part, her inspiration to serve the chapter in this capacity stems from the welcome she received during her orientation and early months as a new chapter member. These experiences fuel her impetus to give back to the chapter in this capacity.

In working in collaboration with the board, she is ready to demonstrate how her creative energy will continue to expand on the possibilities of new member engagement. Because she is also skilled at partnering with other business leaders to shape organizational effectiveness programs, she anticipates that entering into this role as a “co-chair” with Anthony Harmetz will lead to beneficial opportunities for new and current members alike. By drawing on the strengths of their collective experiences, she is excited to work as a team to tap into the needs and aspirations of new chapter members, their organizations, and National ATD.

In her spare time, RuthAnn enjoys spending time in nature hiking and mountain biking.

 Vice President, Programs

Eileen Azzara

Eileen Azzara is a talent development leader with over 15 years internal and external consulting experience. Her areas of expertise include 360 feedback, leadership development, organizational assessment, individual assessment, talent planning & analytics, performance management, training, surveys, employee selection, and competency modeling.  She’s held several talent development program manager and consulting roles in a Fortune 250 company working on programs for leadership assessment, talent & succession planning, corporate training, performance management, and human capital reporting. She’s consulted in a variety of industries including financial services, manufacturing, retail, government, biotechnology, hospitality, automotive, and utilities.

Eileen blends a strategic and practical approach to develop and implement talent development solutions that work. Currently she is Director of Consulting & Marketing for Fast Mirror, a cloud-based platform that helps employees get actionable feedback and create meaningful development plans. In this role she oversees development of all content, writes the company blog, and leads the marketing strategy. With a background in industrial / organizational psychology, she balances scientific rigor with practical application to develop products that facilitate career development in a modern, realistic way while maintaining professional standards. This role also requires to her keep up with the ongoing changes talent development professionals are currently experiencing. 

With the recent rebranding of ATD to a more holistic talent development organization, Eileen is excited by the opportunity to apply her varied background to the VP Programs role. As an entrepreneur with internal and external consulting experience, she’s excited by the opportunity to help the chapter expand program content to include new and emerging areas of interest to chapter members and the OC talent development community. She also looks forward to applying her operational experiencing managing large-scale corporate training and development programs to deliver a variety of types of events.

Eileen takes a strategic approach to program management and would do the same in this role. She has lots of ideas for topics to bring to the chapter in 2017, but being a feedback expert you can expect to hear from her with requests for your ideas as well. In addition to expanding the topic areas, she’ll look to introduce new session types to chapter events. She’ll also apply her analytics background to collect program data on a regular basis for short-term and long-term evaluation purposes.   

Eileen holds a M.S. in Industrial / Organizational Psychology from San Diego State University and a B.S. in General Studies from New York Institute of Technology. In her spare time, she enjoys participating in fitness activities, wine tasting, and spending time with her two welsh corgis.

Vice President,
Professional Development

Laurie Reinhart

Laurie Reinhart, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, is an organizational development/human resources consultant who worked for 28 years in public sector human resources, including 18 years providing senior level human resources support and strategy for one of the largest fire departments in the country. She currently is a senior consultant with the Genysys Group, a consulting group specializing in helping clients work through transformational organizational change. Laurie’s expertise is in organizational diagnosis, facilitating a shared organizational vision, and aligning and developing the organization’s human resources to support and sustain organizational change. She also serves as the Genysys Group’s Director of Consultant Development, working with new consultants to equip them to use Genysys’ content and methods. She is an adjunct professor in Azusa Pacific University’s graduate School of Business and Management, where she teaches courses in human resources, ethical decision making, and diversity and inclusion.

As Vice President for Professional Development, Laurie desires to work with chapter members to fortify and revitalize ATD’s core development programs and to develop new offerings to focus on ATD’s broadening mission to focus on aspects of talent development beyond training activities.

Laurie lives in Orange County, California with her husband Dave. They have three children - Sarah, who is married to Mike and who has just had identical twin boys, Caleb and Zachary; Samuel; and Nadya, who attends high school at Lutheran High of Orange County. The family also includes Obie, an unrepentantly gluttonous and thieving Golden Retriever, and Bonnie, a rescue Boxer mix who takes very seriously her job of defending the property against all would-be trespassers, including butterflies and low flying aircraft.

 Vice President,
Talent Management

Kathleen Ashelford, PMP, MAOL

I’ve been active in ATD-OC since I joined in 2009 – first, serving on a committee, and then working on the website. I was elected to the Board in 2011, as Vice President, Major Projects; then again, in 2012 and 2013, as Vice President, Technology. When asked to run for President-Elect in 2013, I had a vision for my term as 2014 President: a new, whole-systems approach to recruiting, developing, and rewarding volunteers, who are the true lifeblood of our Chapter. So, in 2014, the Chapter Board created a new role: Vice President, Talent Management. I’ve been fortunate to hold this role in 2016, and hope to do so again in 2017.

ATD-OC faces the same challenges and opportunities our employers and clients face in the 21st century. To survive in a fast-changing environment, we must reinvent ourselves. What kind of an organization should we be? We don’t have all the answers yet. But, like every organization, we are only as capable as our “workforce” – in the case of ATD-OC, our volunteers. We can and should implement effective volunteer on boarding, recognition, leadership development, succession planning, and so forth. Building this capability is a long-term effort. If elected for 2017, I will continue the work my predecessors and I have begun, so that ATD-OC volunteers develop skills, visibility, networks, whatever they need most to help their careers.

Before moving into organizational development, I wore many hats in information technology and software development, including people and project manager, and internal and external consultant. I’ve created powerful work groups from scratch, turned troubled ones around, and been involved in many change and process improvement initiatives. Every organization’s success or failure depends most on its people practices. If leaders don’t succeed there, neither technologies, nor tools, nor processes can make up for it. That’s why I love what I do, why I love this Chapter – and hope for the chance to serve again.

 Vice President, Technology

Gillian Wilson

As the VP of Technology, my goal is initially to lead and facilitate the enhancement and optimization of the Web content, and add on tools such as Google Analytics and Google Drive. Having a web site with current information that is easy to use and navigate should drive up membership engagement.

I have a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and relocated to Orange County 10 years ago. Since coming to this wonderful area I have diversified, and have been working in HRIS and learning and development with large organizations. I first joined the ATD OC Chapter in late 2015, and immediately stepped up to volunteer. I was the manager of the Storyline Advanced Workshop in June 2016, and helped with the Gamification Workshop in September of the same year. I am excited to have the opportunity to join the 2017/2018 ATD OC Board and enhance the ATD OC membership experience.

Due to my positions in HRIS and also learning technology, I have achieved proficiency in Ultimate Software UltiPro, SAP SuccessFactors LMS (Plateau), Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Visio, MS Project, Jive, SharePoint, Remedy, Survey Gizmo, Survey Monkey, Articulate (Storyline, Presenter, Engage), and Captivate. I have the ability to apply multiple technologies, and learn new software and tools that increase efficiency and overall organizational effectiveness.

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