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|2019/20 AWI Board of Director Candidates|
The AWI Nominating Committee presents the following slate of candidates for the eight open positions on the 2019/2020 AWI Board of Directors. The election will take place via electronic vote August 26–September 6, 2019. AWI members in good standing as of August 25, 2019, will be eligible to vote.
Britt-Marie K. Cole-Johnson
AWI is exactly what the professional workplace investigator community needs. My initial introduction to AWI was as an attendee at the 2015 Training Institute in Mystic, Connecticut. Since then, I’ve been fully engaged, serving as a speaker at the Annual Conference in 2015, 2016, and 2018, serving as faculty for the Workplace Investigations Basics Seminar since 2016, and serving as part-time faculty for AWI’s Training Institute since 2017 as well as the co-convener for the New England Local Circle. I continue to be impressed with the level of expertise and commitment demonstrated by AWI’s leaders and members, and I would be thrilled to have the opportunity to continue to contribute as a Director.
I am a partner in the Labor and Employment group at Robinson+Cole, an Am Law 200 firm serving regional, national, and international clients from nine offices throughout the Northeast, Florida, and California. I regularly counsel boards of directors, senior management, and human resources professionals in all areas of employment law, with a focus on sensitive, high-risk personnel issues, workplace investigations, compliance, training, and U.S. market entry initiatives for international organizations. I represent a wide array of employers, ranging from Global 500 Companies and publicly-traded companies to nonprofit organizations and educational institutions to manufacturers. I also serve as Robinson+Cole’s in-house employment counsel.
As both outside counsel and in-house counsel as well as former Board Chair and Chair of the Nominating and Governance committee of a $6M tax-exempt organization, I can offer a unique perspective to the AWI Board. I look forward to continuing to support AWI’s outreach efforts on the East Coast and supporting AWI’s overall strategic plan.
I would be honored to continue my service on the AWI Board of Directors, and humbly ask for your consideration.
I am a non-attorney HR professional who took on a huge professional challenge a few years back. My background was previously in organization development and training, and a majority of my career had been spent in HR leadership roles. I am very fortunate to belong to a large company that began discussion about the concept of employee relations and internal investigations as a shared service. After much consideration, I took a role in forming this team. My first priority was to find a professional organization that could give us the skill set and structure to develop a “best in class” practice. I literally stumbled across AWI on the internet, and immediately registered my entire group of investigators in the Oxnard Institute.
I was quickly taken with the curriculum, education and collegiality of the Institute and AWI members. In the course of one-week, AWI took a group of HR Generalist professionals and provided focused training to develop what I believe has become a prominent model for internal investigations. I have made professional connections in my on-going affiliation with AWI, and continue to grow with each educational opportunity and conference offered.
Since my initial taste of AWI in 2014, I remain involved and committed to this top-notch professional affiliation. I have served as part- and full-time faculty since 2015 in both Canada and the United States. From an AWI Committee perspective, I was a founding member of the AWI Institute Certificate program and have served as the Institute’s Curriculum committee for two years now. We have a lot ahead of us as we charter a curriculum overhaul to further enhance the Institute experience. I am committed to further enhancing AWI by surfacing issues of relevance for the internal professional and continuing to diversify our membership base to be representative of internal workplace investigators.
I hold a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and a Master of Science in Higher Education Administration both from Colorado State University. Professionally, I have 20 years of experience in the field of HR. I have worked in financial services and am currently in my eighth year with a Fortune 200 healthcare organization where I oversee a team of 25 that provide employee relations and workplace investigation support to a population of 65,000. Personally, I am proud to call Colorado my home. I live just outside of Boulder, CO with my wife and two sons where I have trained for several marathons, a Spartan Race, and the CrossFit Open.
Thank you for your consideration.
I am thrilled to have the opportunity to serve as a new AWI Board member. I’ve been a member of AWI since September of 2017 and participated in the Atlanta Institute in April 2018. I am currently serving as one of the co-conveners for the New England Local Circle and look forward to contributing to the organization’s success.
I am a licensed attorney in Massachusetts and Connecticut and the principal and sole practitioner of Maxe Law in Rockport, Massachusetts. My employment law practice is primarily focused on conducting workplace investigations, consulting, and training. My clients include both private and public employers, as well as educational institutions. My ability to relate on a multicultural level, provide training, and conduct investigations in both English and Spanish have proven beneficial for my clients.
Prior to establishing my practice, I litigated employment law matters with Jackson Lewis LLP, where I advised and counseled employers on a wide variety of employment law issues. I also served as Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of Hartford in Connecticut and was responsible for employment matters, policy development, and litigation management. I obtained my Juris Doctor from the University of Connecticut School of Law in 2008 and a Master of Arts Degree in Political Science and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from Long Island University in 2002. I am a member of the Massachusetts Bar Association, the Connecticut Bar Association.
I would be honored to continue my service on the AWI Board of Directors. During my first term, I served as the Chair of the Seminars and Webinars Committee. We expanded the number of seminars AWI offers and began offering seminars in states other than California. During my second term, I served as Board Treasurer, participated on the Executive Committee and served as co-Chair for the Institute Committee. I have worked hard, along with an excellent and inspired team of board directors and other AWI members, to enhance the quality of the Training Institute and broaden its reach to serve more participants. We have had the good fortune to see AWI's financial status remain strong and I have worked to ensure we are good stewards of AWI’s resources.
I am inspired by the energy and enthusiasm of the AWI community. As a vibrant association, we continue to move our industry forward into uncharted territory. AWI is well poised for growth and I am excited to be part of the organization as we embrace this future. In an everchanging landscape, AWI remains committed to its mission – to promote and enhance the quality of impartial workplace investigations. I support that mission and will continue to help preserve and expand AWI’s influence.
In my practice as an employment attorney, I have conducted, managed, and litigated workplace investigations. I have worked in a law firm as litigation counsel and served as in-house counsel at a large healthcare organization. Now, as the founding partner of a law firm focused on conducting independent workplace investigations, I am invested in this industry and the growth of our association.
Thank you for the opportunity to be a candidate for the AWI Board of Directors.
Rueben Mjaanes, AWI-CH
I am excited and honored to be considered as a candidate for the AWI Board of Directors. For the last thirteen years, I have served as in-house employment law counsel at a large medical device company. In 2015, I was tasked with updating our internal investigation training curriculum and began doing benchmarking to review best practices. The only group I found doing extensive investigation training was AWI. I attended the AWI Institute in Santa Barbara, CA in 2016 with three of my team members. The training was great, but even better were the AWI members who served as faculty. Their willingness to share best practices, to learn from others and to engage on the topic of bettering workplace investigations was amazing.
After attending the 2016 Santa Barbara Institute, I was given the opportunity to become more involved with AWI and share my in-house perspective. I have served as adjunct faculty at the 2017 Baltimore Institute and served as full-time faculty at the 2018 and 2019 Santa Barbara Institutes and the 2019 Chicago Institute. I have also been involved with the AWI Conference Committee and Institute Committee’s Testing Sub-Committee. Finally, with other AWI members, I have been working to establish a AWI Local Circle in the Minneapolis, MN area.
I have lived in Minneapolis, MN since 1996 (with my wife and four children) and before that was born and raised in Madison, WI (except for one year living and teaching in Portland, OR). I have been a partner in a law firm in Minneapolis (in the employment law group) and been in-house counsel since 2006 at Medtronic. I am a big soccer fan and have played and coached for most of my life.
As an AWI Board member, I will continue to bring an in-house perspective to the growth and continued development of AWI. Thank you for you consideration.
I am honored and excited for the opportunity to continue on the AWI Board. From the first time I attended an AWI event (the 2013 Annual Conference), I knew this was an organization I wanted to be part of. At the time, it seemed like a great avenue for professional growth and development with nice people. Little did I realize then that it was an organization I would become so excited to give my time and efforts.
After attending the 2014 Training Institute in Oxnard, I began attending my local circle. Then, my enthusiasm for AWI grew into serving as adjunct faculty at the 2015 Sonoma Institute. After that I served as a member of the nominations committee in 2015 and 2016 and as fulltime faculty at the 2016 Santa Barbara Institute. I also joined the institute committee in 2016 and served on the sub-committee focused on the certificate program and updating institute curriculum and was the chair for the Monterey Institute in 2017. In March 2017, I became the co-chair (with Beth Gramigna) of the annual conference committee and since then have been working diligently with Beth and the committee members on the annual conference for 2017, 2018 and 2019.
The AWI Guiding Principles and AWI’s members have enabled me to deepen my practice as an investigator, grow as a professional, and meet wonderful colleagues. My background gives me great appreciation for the way AWI brings together the professionals who conduct workplace investigations: whether we do so as internal investigators or in an external function. As a member of the Board, I will continue to work to increase the appeal and inclusivity of AWI towards internal investigators as well as private investigators who perform the work externally.
In November 2016 the Australasian Association of Workplace Investigators (AAWI) first launched the Australasian chapter of AWI. Since then workplace investigators in Australia and New Zealand, through their involvement with AAWI, have been on an exciting journey of collaboration and activity. Together we have grown a vibrant organisation supporting workplace investigators from varied backgrounds with different needs. Our first two conferences (Melbourne in Victoria, and Kingscliffe, New South Wales) were outstanding successes. Local circles are flourishing across our two countries. Sub-committees are working on practice and ethics guidelines and other initiatives. None of this would not have been possible without a committed, representative Advisory Committee of which I have been co-convenor since its inception. My co-convenor is Elizabeth Devine (Sydney).
If elected, I believe I would continue to bring my understanding of Australian practices, as well as an inclusive and transparent manner, to my role as board member. Being an AWI board member will continue to support me in my AAWI work.
Based in Melbourne I am also the managing partner of highly regarded employment law firm Justitia. I have been conducting investigations in the private and public sector for 20+ years. I have lectured in the inaugural investigations course at the University of Melbourne. For 18 years I have been involved with educational governance boards. As a consequence of my ongoing work with clients in advising on situations of governance, performance, misconduct and conflict, I have a particular passion for exploring early intervention techniques and processes for resolving workplace conflict and supporting in house teams negotiate the demands of workplace investigations.
I am pleased to be a candidate in this AWI election for a second term. In being re-elected I would continue building the bridges between our various jurisdictions, as well as creating a strong professional network that can support standards and workplace investigators in their challenging and important work.
John A. Torres
I am honored and humbled to be a candidate for a position on the AWI Board of Directors. For introductions, I am currently the Systemwide Director of Investigations at the University of California Office of the President (UCOP) in Oakland, Ca. I earned my AWI-CH designation at Whistler in 2018 and am the co-host for the San Francisco Bay Area Local Circle Meeting. One of my goals here at UCOP is to become the gold standard of workplace investigative teams. AWI has been a valuable resource in our quest to reach that goal. AWI is consistently at the forefront of all issues germane to conducting workplace investigations from the Institute and seminars to the yearly conference and the professional networking that AWI provides. This organization remains second to none for anyone trying to become the gold standard.
I have a long history of volunteering for various organizations throughout my career. I do not take serving as a board member lightly; my goals for this position would be to serve the AWI membership and provide my energies, ideas and experience to the AWI Board and the incoming AWI President, Ms. Karen Kramer. As I get to this stage of my career, being a member of the AWI Board would be a highlight and one that I would embrace wholeheartedly.
Prior to joining the University of California, I enjoyed a 30-year career as a special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). During my last assignment with ATF, I served as the Deputy Assistant Director for the Office of Strategic Intelligence and Information at ATF headquarters in Washington, DC. After leaving federal service, I was with the Los Angeles County Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for three years. During my tenure with the OIG, I earned my Certified Practitioner of Oversight (CPO) through the National Association of Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement. I have a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice from California State University Sacramento. I have also attended executive leadership courses at the University of Virginia and the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va.
I would like to thank the current AWI President, Mr. Keith Rohman and the current AWI Board for their service to AWI and for this opportunity. In closing, AWI is an outstanding organization and one that continues to raise the bar for workplace investigators worldwide by “promoting and enhancing the quality of impartial workplace investigations.” I would like to be a part of this mission and the synergy involved in sustaining and building on it.