Here are some of the human resources managers working in a wide range of industries in the North Bay. They provided North Bay Business Journal their biographical information and discussed how the October wildfires affected their companies.
Their submitted material is listed in alphabetical order.
Merrilee Alvarado and Natalie Haddix
Employee Relations Manager; Human Resource Assistant
Hansel Auto Group
PO Box 750069, Petaluma, CA 94975
Alvarado partners with Benefits and Compliance Manager Bernie Gibb, in managing the Human Resources Department. Although she finds herself at meetings with the top executives of the company, she didn’t start her career there. In fact, she started as a front desk receptionist.
After graduating from California State University of Sacramento with a bachelor’s degree in communications, Alvarado started her search for employment during the downturn of the economy. She was eager to find a job that was close to home and that could pay the bills while she concentrated on her next move — and an opportunity at Hansel Honda in Petaluma for a receptionist seemed like exactly what she needed. Little did she know that she was falling right into the perfect opportunity with the perfect company. After working a few months at Hansel Honda, there was an opening in the corporate office, working side by side with the executive administrative team. She quickly learned about the organization’s long-time history in Sonoma County and with their employees. Alvarado’s growing company knowledge allowed her to also assist in the human resources department.
After a brief period of time splitting her role between administration and human resources, she found that her passion was in HR. Diving into pre-employment applications, backgrounds, and new hire orientations; Alvarado was convinced she had found a long-term career with the Hansel Auto Group. As part of her dedication to this new direction in her career, Alvarado went back to school — this time, at Santa Rosa Junior College — to expand her knowledge and qualifications while still working full-time. Even so, Alvarado was able to obtain a business certificate in human resources, in one short year- an accomplishment that usually takes two.
Shortly after achieving her certificate, the Hansel Auto Group had nearly doubled in employees and saw an opportunity to expand their Human Resources Department. Alvarado was offered the position as employee relations manager, responsible for handling employee situations with a focus on conflict resolution in a fast-paced environment. She knows what truly drives the people of the organization and says, “It’s how well you connect with the heart-beating people you’re trying to help, and understanding the ‘Vision and Values’ that drive the organization,” that really leads to success in an HR role.
Haddix began her career with the Hansel Auto Group at Henry Curtis Ford. From receptionist, to finance assistant, to consumer experience manager — she feels very fortunate to work under leaders who have given her a wide variety of training and experience. Haddix was recently given the opportunity to work with Alvarado in the human resources department as the human resource assistant. What’s to love about the Hansel Auto Group? According to Haddix, it’s that Hansel employees feel connected and appreciated: “We are a team that is devoted to seeing each other succeed.” She is excited about where Hansel is headed and how the Human Resources Department can help drive the company’s success!
In this report
Merrilee Alvarado & Natalie Haddix, Hansel Auto Group
Arnie Barragan, Epicenter Sports & Entertainment
Karen Belanger, EAH Housing
Kristina L. Derkos, Redwood Credit Union
Karen Furukawa-Schlereth, Santa Rosa Junior College
Brenda Gilchrist, The HR Matrix, LLC
Cindy Gillespie, Amy’s Kitchen, Inc.
Cami Kahl, Ceres Community Project
Ryan Keyt, Novato Community Hospital
Erin Hargarten, Bear Republic Brewing Company
Rosanna Hayden, Artizen Staffing
Sarah Ross, Becoming Independent
Lisa Lichty & Nicole Smartt, Star Staffing
Maria Solarez, Catholic Charities, of the Diocese of Santa Rosa
Isis Suarez, Kavaliro
Melissa Von Bima, Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital