Spotlight:Leaders in Human Resources

Nicole Smartt is vice president and co-owner of Star Staffing in Petaluma.


HR professionals listed in alphabetical order by their organization’s name, drawn from the top five largest employers in Marin, Sonoma and Napa counties, as well as trade organizations and the region’s staffing companies who responded to the Business Journal. Participants were given the option of answering a question about issues important to employers.

Shane Anderies

Anderies & Gomes, LLP

601 Montgomery St., Ste. 888, San Francisco, 94111, 415-217-8802

Shane Anderies is a founding partner at Anderies & Gomes, LLP, an employment law firm with offices in Santa Rosa and San Francisco. He is the current President of Marin HR Forum and Past President of the Professional Association of Sonoma County (PASCO), both local, nonprofit organizations dedicated to the education and advancement of human resources professionals.

Anderies handles all aspects of workplace law and related litigation throughout California. His practice also includes advice and counsel, training, and investigations regarding a number of workplace related subjects, including discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, breach of contract, wage and hour compliance, disability accommodation, leaves of absence and trade secret disputes. Anderies received his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of San Francisco. He has authored numerous articles in a variety of publications and frequently speaks on legal issues facing California employers.

Jan Becker


111 McInnis Pkwy, San Rafael, 94903, 415-507-5000

As Autodesk’s Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Jan Becker is responsible for worldwide Human Resources, Corporate Real Estate, Facilities, and Community Relations. Becker was promoted to vice president from her position as the senior director of HR for the Design Solutions Division in 2000. She also managed the HR Future team, a group focused on helping Autodesk transform itself into a new-economy company.

Becker joined Autodesk in 1992. Her initial role was to create a worldwide training and leadership development function for Autodesk while simultaneously serving as the Human Resources Director for the Americas.

In 1997, Becker became the HR Business Partner for one of the core divisions of Autodesk, while continuing to lead the Training and Organization Development activities for the company. Before joining Autodesk, Becker held a variety of senior management positions at Sun Microsystems.

Initially, she managed the Compensation and Benefits group and then served as the Director of Sun University.

Prior to her time at Sun, Becker worked as the Management Development Manager for Activision and prior to that spent five years in Digital Equipment Corporation in Europe, first in Switzerland and then in the UK as Human Resources Manager. She began her career as an HR Information Systems Specialist for Hewlett-Packard. Becker, a Chicago native, graduated from San Jose State University with a bachelor of science degree in business administration.

Richard Ranieri


770 Lindaro St., San Rafael 94901, 415-506-6700

Richard Ranieri joined BioMarin in 2013 and is the current Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Corporate Affairs. Prior to BioMarin, he most recently was Executive Vice President for Human Resources at Dendreon Corporation from 2010 to 2013, where he was responsible for all aspects of human resources. Prior to Dendreon, Ranieri was executive Vice President of Human Resources and Administration at Sepracor, where he also managed and directed corporate services, facilities and communications.

Earlier in his career, Ranieri served in executive positions at Neurocrine Biosciences, Genencor International and Smithkline Beecham. He received a B.A. from Villanova University and an M.A. in organizational development from Rider University.

Shireen Donaldson

Keysight Technologies

1400 Fountaingrove Pkwy, Santa Rosa, 95403, 1-800-829-4444

Shireen Donaldson is a Vice President of Human Resources for Keysight Technologies, with responsibilities for business HR and learning and development. Donaldson joined the Hewlett-Packard (HP) Company in 1997 as a human resources consultant. Following the creation of Agilent Technologies and its separation from HP in 1999, she was named human resources manager for Agilent’s Advanced Networks Division, based in Australia.

She has been in her current role since 2014, when Keysight Technologies was spun off from Agilent. The world’s leading electronic design and test solutions company, Keysight is headquartered in Santa Rosa and has 9,500 employees worldwide serving customers in more than 100 countries.

Before joining HP, Donaldson worked as a senior HR consultant for Victoria Legal Aid and served as a senior consultant in the organizational development unit of the Victorian WorkCover Authority, both in Australia.

She moved to Sonoma County in 2003 to be the human resources manager for Agilent’s Signal Analysis Division in Santa Rosa, and in 2005 was named human resources manager for the company’s Wireless Business Unit. Prior to her current role, she served for five years as vice president of human resources for Agilent’s Electronic Measurement Group. Donaldson received a bachelor of science degree in applied science from the Phillip Institute of Technology, and an MBA from Monash University.

What new issues should employers be concerned about this year?

In a constantly growing, changing environment where disruptive technology is creating new business models, employers require innovative approaches for leadership, talent and new ways of working. We are seeing that new technologies, data analytics and social networks are having an impact on how people communicate, collaborate and work. At Keysight we are challenging the old playbook on traditional HR practices such as performance management and leadership and development and delivering more innovative solutions.

Linda Lang

Marin General Hospital

250 Bon Air Rd., Greenbrae 94904, 415-925-7000

Linda Lang was appointed Chief Human Resources Officer for Marin General Hospital in August 2013. Lang joined Marin General from Kaiser Permanente, where she was regional director, employee and labor relations, Northern California, overseeing the organization’s labor relations and bargaining strategy for a workforce of approximately 65,000.

She joined Kaiser in 2010 from Millennium Hotels and Resorts, where she was vice president, human resources for the hospitality firm’s North American Region. Prior to that, she was a regional director at Starwood Hotels and Resorts, Worldwide, serving as the human resources leader for the Northwest and western Canada.

After receiving a B.A. from San Francisco State University in 1990, Lang completed postgraduate work at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health.

She earned a J.D. at the University of San Francisco in 1999. She is licensed by the State Bar of California and spent several years in practice with a major firm as a labor and employment attorney.

What new issues should employers be concerned about this year?

One of our biggest human resource challenges at Marin General Hospital is not in meeting employee’s needs, but in exceeding their expectations. Our staff has a stake in the success of the hospital and having them fully engaged and satisfied is of utmost importance to us and ultimately provides a better experience for our patients.

Kristina L. Derkos

Redwood Credit Union

3033 Cleveland Ave., Ste. 100, Santa Rosa, CA 95403, 707-545-4000

Kristina L. Derkos, SPHR, is the Senior Vice President of Administrative Services for Redwood Credit Union. Derkos has more than 20 years of experience in Human Resources/Training & Development in both the private and public sectors in both union and non-union environments.

Prior to joining Redwood Credit Union, Derkos was the Northern California Human Resource Manager for Waste Management, Inc., covering Northern California, which encompassed a span of approximately 4,000 employees. She earned her Associates of Arts degree from the SRJC, her Bachelor’s in Public Administration from the University of San Francisco, and her Master of Professional Studies in Human Resources and Employment Relations at Penn State.

Additionally, she holds a Certificate in Human Resources Management from Sonoma State University and is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources with SHRM and HRCI.

Derkos has served on numerous boards including the SRJC Business Office Technology Board, the Northern California Human Resources Board, PASCO HR Board, in addition to the Volunteer Center of Sonoma County Board. In her role at Redwood Credit Union, Derkos is responsible for strategically leading all aspects of the HR function. As the Senior Vice President of Administrative Services, she is responsible for Employee Relations, Employee Development, Facilities, Financial Literacy, and Account Services.

What new issues should employers be concerned about this year?

In the current pro-applicant labor market, employee retention at all levels is a top concern for employers. One area that I am seeing a lot of thought leadership is in the area of retaining top performing leaders and executives. One critical component of retaining leadership in today’s competitive labor market is the challenge of creating compensation components that are reasonable, meaningful, competitive, and financially supported by sound performance criteria. In particular, total compensation packages for this group must be approached very strategically. It is critical that organizations do not respond to this competitive market by simply throwing money at the problem.

Executive compensation packages must also be appropriate and consistent with the compensation philosophy established by the organization. In creating a sound total compensation package, it must be based on a scan of broader compensation environments that are relevant to a specific industry and other crossover industries that are likely to cherry pick top tier talent. Additionally, the higher the executive is in the organization, the more skillfully one must be to understand the impact from regional compensation trends as well as understanding the deeper financial and strategic impact on the organization.

Rachel Ferguson

Silverado Resort and Spa

1600 Atlas Peak Rd., Napa 95448 silverado, 707-257-0200

Rachel Ferguson is the Director of Human Resources Silverado Resort and Spa, Napa. She began her hospitality career in various sales roles within brands such as Starwood and Hilton. She decided to continue her education and earn her MBA with a focus on leadership and management from the University of La Verne and a certification as a strategic human resources business partner.

After earning her degree, Ferguson began her journey in human resources as an Executive HR Manager for Target. Most recently, she comes to Silverado Resort and Spa from the San Mateo Marriott in California where she served as a strategic HR business partner for three independent properties in the San Francisco area.

During her free time, Ferguson enjoys spending time with her son, dining at great restaurants and traveling abroad.

What new issues should employers be concerned about this year?

Attracting and retaining millennials. How do we recruit, hire, and manage them? What makes this generation so much different than past generations? Is it their work ethic, the need for more work/life balance, or the fact that they want everything right now versus paying their dues like generations have done in the past. All questions that need to be answered and revisited when recruiting and retaining this group of leaders.

Lisa Lichty and Nicole Smartt

Star Staffing

3820 Cypress Dr. Ste. 2, Petaluma 94954, 707-762-4447

Lisa Lichty is Chief Executive Officer and Owner of Star Staffing, which was founded in 1998. She has more than 14 years in the staffing industry. Lichty has worked in Human Resources, Finance and Strategic Leadership. The company has offices in Cloverdale, Santa Rosa (2), Napa, Petaluma, and Fairfield.

She is a recipient of the North Bay Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 award, recognizing business leaders under the age of 40 and in 2014, she was the recipient of the Staffing Professional of the Year Award by the California Staffing Professionals.

Nicole Smartt is the Vice President and Co-Owner. Smartt oversees the day-to-day operations throughout the North Bay. She has more than 13 years of experience in the staffing industry, having served in virtually every aspect of the industry.

Smartt is the youngest person to be awarded the Forty Under 40 award. She is also the recipient of the Women in Business Award by the Journal, recognizing outstanding female leaders, innovators, and visionaries. She has been featured in such publications as Forbes Women, The Washington Post, AOL Jobs, Fox Business, and American Express Business Forum, among others. She is the author of From Receptionist to Boss: Real-Life Advice for Getting Ahead at Work.

Star Staffing has been voted a Best Places to Work and a Best Job Placement Service. Star Staffing was recognized in 2015 as one of the fastest-growing companies in America by Inc. Magazine.

What new issues should employers be concerned about this year?

War of talent, flexible work schedules, competitive pay rates, and professional development and advancement.

Melissa Von Bima

Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital

30 Mark West Springs Rd, Santa Rosa, 95403, 707-576-4000

Melissa Von Bima is the Human Resources Manager for Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital. She was a key partner in staff training and logistics around personnel relocation to the new Mark West Springs campus as well as the Human Resources transition to a new service model.

Von Bima has been with Sutter Health for more than 13 years, serving in a variety of Human Resource roles including recruitment, employee/labor relations, and workers compensation.

Most recently, Von Bima served as the area business partner responsible for integrating Sutter Health’s Santa Rosa employment staff operations into a centralized human resources and payroll service center model, which is responsible for 55,000 employees. She currently oversees affiliate HR functions, partnering with and supporting members of Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital’s team. Von Bima is a Santa Rosa native and studied business at Sonoma State University.

Dawn Lesley

Volt Workplace Solutions

3700 Old Redwood Hwy, Ste. 105, Santa Rosa, 95403, 707-547-1660

Dawn Lesley started her career with Volt in September of 2003 as a recruiter. She was then promoted to Branch Manager in 2005. Lesley is responsible for the continued development and profitability of the Volt Workforce Solutions organization by determining the strategic priorities and sales direction for the Recruitment and Sales teams.

Lesley has extensive knowledge in recruitment, including temporary, temp-to-hire, and direct placement across a number of skill sets. These include light industrial, customer service, administrative, and accounting.