J. Austin Baker III

President & Chairman of the Board

Austin Baker infuses innovation and creativity into human resource strategy. Austin was nominated by his peers to be the 2011 President of the Society for Human Resource Management in Memphis (SHRM), which boasts more than 1,000 members as one of the largest SHRM Chapters in the US.

Austin founded EServ, his first business along with his father Jim Baker in 2001, while a Sophomore at The University of Memphis. EServ won the "Small Business of the Year" in 2007 at the annual Small Business Chamber Awards. In 2010 EServ was sold to Clay and Land Insurance. Jim and Austin also own Owen Brennan's "A New Orleans Style Restaurant" located in East Memphis. In 2010 Austin Baker was honored as "Entrepreneur of the Year" by the Fogelman College of Business & Economics at University of Memphis.

Austin Baker is an Eagle Scout and has dedicated his life to service through non-profit leadership and mentorship education. Austin serves in a number of non-profit service roles. Austin has served as the Chairman of the Board for the Small Business Chamber. Currently Austin serves with the U of M, Fogelman College of Business & Economics Alumni Chapter and is the co-founder of the Memphis Institute for Leadership Education Program (MILE) with Dr. Bob Taylor. Austin also serves on the Board of Directors for the Chickasaw Council: Boy Scouts of America, Workforce Investment Network (WIN) and Memphis Fast Forward: People First. Austin is a 2009 Memphis Business Journal Top 40 Under 40 Award Recipient.

Judy Bell, PHR, CPBA, CPVA

Senior Consultant - HR Generalist, Specializes in Executive Coaching 

Judy Bell has served as Senior Executive in the Human Resources Development field for thirty years. Her passion is around employee engagement, change management, emotional intelligence and career counseling. Additionally, she works with HR teams on process effectiveness, team dynamics and HR Audits. Most recently, Judy served in an appointed position as HR Administrator with the Department of Labor and Workforce Development in Nashville, TN. She was appointed again by Governor Haslam in February 2013 to the Board of Appeals for a 4-year term as the West Tennessee Representative.

Judy is a certified behavioral analyst and Executive Coach. She received her PHR in 1995. Judy is a past President of SHRM-Memphis. She founded the SHRM Ethics Council in 2010 and served on the Board for the Better Business Bureau of the Mid South from 2006-2011. Judy served as Chairman of the Workforce Employer Outreach Committee (TN Dept. of Labor) from 2004-2011. Judy taught HRCI classes at the University of Memphis and specialized in Employment Law, Safety and Training, and Management Practices.

Judy was awarded the "Smart Award" by Girls Inc. of Memphis in 2008 and named Woman of the Year by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in 2003 for her fundraising efforts. She was selected by Memphis Woman Magazine as "50 Women Who Make a Difference" in 2002 and received the 2001 Human Resources Management Professional Excellence Award in the State of Tennessee.

Judy is a regional speaker on the topics of Ethics, Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and Employee Engagement. She is currently writing a book on behavioral improvement.

Tusa McNary

HR Consultant - HR Generalist, Specializes in Benefits, 401k and Defined Benefit Plans, Compensation Plan Designs, and HR Strategy

Tusa McNary has over 25 years of comprehensive experience in multiple aspects of business operations, including but not limited to: contract negotiations, regulatory compliance, ERISA, Defined Benefit plan design - including termination and merger of plans, as well as Defined Contribution Plan design and implementation. Tusa has over 40 Mergers and Acquistions for which she was responsible on the full HR operational and compliance side. Tusa has merged multiple HR divisions to include payroll and benefit plans and has implemented HRIS to include applicant tracking, performance measurement, and payroll and benefit platforms. Staffing, hiring, onboarding, and training are all areas in which Tusa has developed best practices.

Tusa has designed multiple salary and benefit surveys for a wide range of industries across state and regional lines. This includes Job Analysis, Compensation Analysis, Compensation Plan Design, Best Practice, as well as communication of survey results and implementation of plan changes. Tusa also works with companies on the review and revision to Time and Attendance Policies as well as communication of new policies and practices.

Tusa served for over 20 years as Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Union Planters Bank and later Regions Financial. She is proficient in the management of People Soft and NCS HR administration systems. Her educational background is in Business Administration and she served on the Board of Directors for Lifeblood and the Memphis Business Group on Health.

Cynthia Thompson

HR Consultant - HR Generalist, Specializes in Organizational Design and Development

Cynthia Y. Thompson is the Principal and Founder of The Thompson HR Firm, LLC, a human resources consulting firm in Memphis, TN. She is also a Publisher and Editor of HR Professionals Magazine, a regional HR trade publication distributed to SHRM members and HR professionals in Tennessee, Mississippi, and Arkansas. The mission of the publication is to inform and educate HR professionals.

Thompson is a senior human resources executive with more than 20 years of senior human resources experience concentrated in publicly traded companies. She has an MBA and is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources. She has served as an Adjunct Professor at Christian Brothers University in Memphis teaching Human Resources Management, and taught Business Communications in the MBA program at Bellhaven College in Memphis. She is currently teaching an HR Certification Exam Prep Class at Bethel University, also in Memphis.

Cynthia is a sought-after speaker on strategic leadership and has served as past-president of SHRM-Memphis, and is founder of the SHRM-Memphis Executive Roundtable.

Susie Burgess

Workforce Consultant

Susie has worked in the field of staffing and talent management for 28 years. With extensive experience and success in talent acquisition and management, training and development, client relationship management, and project/program management, she collaborates with companies and individuals to elevate performance and results. As a Region Vice President for Norrell Staffing, a multi-billion dollar corporation, Susie worked within both the Corporate and Franchise Divisions. Her belief in creating a "Best in Class" workforce led to the creation of an Individual Workforce Training Center in Memphis which was featured in Fortune Magazine. Her passion for workforce optimization and development along with her multi-venue corporate experience led Susie to become an entrepreneur assisting companies with a variety of challenges including training, client retention and satisfaction, and territory development.

As a Certified Professional Resume Writer, Susie creates individualized marketing tools and coaches individuals to strengthen the elements of their career toolbox. Susie is a long time Memphis resident, a Leadership Memphis graduate, and a graduate of The University of Tennessee. She has been active in the Adopt-A-School program for over 10 years and is a Team Road Coach and Class Sponsor for Berclair Elementary School.

Elizabeth Merrell Sellers, MBA, SPHR

HR Consultant - HR Executive, Specializes in Recruiting, Employee Relations, and Benefits

 Elizabeth, a versatile Human Resources executive with more than 20 years of experience in driving profitability and performance across divers industries, has a unique background working on executive leadership teams in professional service companies. Those representative industries are healthcare, legal, and financial services. In recent roles, she has had responsibility for creating, directing, and leading organizational people strategies, as well as the challenges of being "hands-on" in the trenches. Recent positions held by Elizabeth were Vice President, Director of Human Resources for Wunderlich Securities and Chief Human Resources Officer for Campbell Clinic where she partenered with executive business leaders to ensure strategic HR initiatives and aligned company human resources strategic goals and objectives. Elizabeth has proven talent for executive recruiting, project management, benefits, employee relations, legal/contract review, operations, as well as compensation, performance, and company policy management.

Sheila Urevbu

HR Consultant - Specializing in Change Management, Talent Management, Training and Employee Relations

Sheila is a near 20 year Human Resources Professional with broad experience successfully managing human resource people strategies in organizational effectiveness, talent and performance management, employee education and development, diversity and employee relations. She has provided HR infrastructure and leadership to several Fortune 100 companies including AOL/Time Warner, SuperValu Inc., and Sears Holdings Corporation. She was responsible for the planning and execution of all human resource functions on a local and national level including compensation and benefits, recruitment, staffing and retention, training and development, and succession planning.

Sheila is a Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) member and has demonstrated her mastery of the HR body of knowledge by obtaining the senior level HR certification offered through the Human Resources Certification Institute. Sheila is also Co-Owner and Managing Partner of Art Village Gallery located in the heart of the historic South Main Arts District and sits on the Board of Directors for the South Main Association in Memphis, Tennessee.

Holly DeVille

Project Administrator

Holly DeVille serves as Project/Contract Administrator. She has more than 15 years in Project Management and HRIS/Information Technology and is a graduate of Microcomputer Management Technology. Holly was one of the first HRIS Analysts "out of the gate" when the Human Resources discipline became tech savvy in the late 1980's. She has worked on remote testing projects as well as acquisitions. Holly was a founding member of the Quality Assurance Department and implemented standard PMP methodology. This involved the selection, testing, and rollout of software solutions and she oversaw the use of all standard testing methodoligies from Unit Testing to Regression and through User Acceptance Testing.

Holly has a diverse and deep background in Project Management including Scope Documentation, Functional/Technical Requirements, Design Specification, Use Case Scenarios, Test Plans, Test Scenarios, and Test Proof Documentation. It takes quite the organizational background to handle these tasks!

Shawn Davis

Client Development

Shawn is the Agency Development Manager with Colonial Life in the Memphis Office and represents HRO Partners. She serves as the Account Manager for HRO Partners and Colonial clients. She has been with Colonial Life for four plus years and is licensed in Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Missouri. Prior to her insurance career, Shawn worked in Public Relations and Marketing as well as a working Credentialing Coordinator for a Nurse Staffing facility.

Shawn was awarded the Agency Development Manager (ADM) of The Year in 2013 and 2014. She also received the Premium Pacesetters Diamond Award in 2013 and 2014. She also received the Leaders Conference Award in 2015.

Shawn manages 5 agents and oversees hiring, training, and development for the Memphis office.

Kara Doyle

Office Administrator

Kara serves as the Office Administrator for HRO Partners. She oversees the day-to-day operations of the HRO Partners and Colonial Life offices. Kara serves all clients and consultants with her Disney service training expertise and manages all calendars, meetings, planning coordination, and consultant communications.

Kara has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Memphis.

Benefit Enrollment Team

HRO Partners employs a number of Contract Benefit Counselors. Our Full-Time Benefit Counselors include:

  •  Darren Carter

Darren consults on benefit solutions for group coverage for small to mid-size businesses. In this role, he assists with the enrollment of Public Sector 3-10k employees through call center and onsite enrollments. Darren has 9 years of experience enrolling and counseling employees on their benefits. As a Benefit Counselor with Colonial Life, Darren is Master Class Certified and has taken many classes on Benefits Counseling for effectiveness in today's demanding requirements of Health Care, and Health Care Laws, and their Compliances. Darren holds licenses in Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Alabama.

Darren is a former business owner and corporate manager and holds an Associate's degree in Business Administration.

  • Shannon Pierce

Shannon is a MasterClass Certified Benefits Counselor with Colonial Life. In this role, Shannon educates and enrolls employees of muncipalities, corporations, medical facilities, and small businesses in the tri-state area for supplemental benefits including disability, accident, cancer, critical illness, life, and long-term care benefits. Upon attaining the elite MasterClass designation (two years in a row), and the top 10 enroller in the nation twice in a year, she truly enjoys her occupation educating employees on employee benefits as a benefits counselor.

After attaining her Bachelor of Business Administration at Mississippi State University, she continues to be involved in the Memphis Maroon Club Alumni Association. An advocate for education, Shannon has mentored for the TNAchieves Program to mentor high school graduates how to be successful in college.

With 20 years of experience in the financial planning field, including estate, tax, retirement and insurance planning, Shannon is licensed in life and health insurance for Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi. She also has her property and casualty insurance licenses for Tennessee. Her previous licenses include Series 7, 66 (63 and 65 combined). Shannon also was a successful business developer, writer, and photographer for a magazine and television program, advertising in small towns in East Tennessee and a business marketer for the HR Professionals Publication.

  • Shawn Davis
  • David Smeltzer
  • Genni McKey
  • Kalen Davis

Bobb Biehl

Executive Coaching & Assessment

Bobb Biehl is an Executive Mentor. In 1976, he founded Masterplanning Group International. As its President, he has consulted personally with over 500 clients. In that time, he has met one-to-one with over 5,000 executives (board members, senior executives, and staff members) and invested an estimated 50,000 hours in private sessions with some of the finest leaders of our generation. His clients are primarily for-profit corporations, government agencies, large or fast-growing churches, and nonprofit organizations.

Bobb is a proven "Behind the Scenes" leader. Mentoring and bringing strength up under the platform of "Up Front Leaders". He consistently brings "Practical Wisdom to Leadership/Management/Life". The result is Leadership Clarity and Confidence. Based on these thousands of hours of practical "rubber-meets-the-runway" experience, he has originated 35 leadership/management tools (books, tapes, notebooks) in the area of personal and organizational development. These resources include published books entitled: Boardroom Confidence (Eighth printing), Leading with Confidence (Eighth printing), Masterplanning (Seventh printing), Mentoring (Fourth printing), Stop Setting Goals (Second printing), and Why You Do What You Do (Fifth printing).

For over 31 years Bobb was a member of the Board of Directors of Focus on the Family. Prior to starting the Masterplanning Group, Bobb was on the executive staff of World Vision International. While at World Vision he designed and developed the Love Loaf Program, which has raised millions of dollars worldwide.

He graduated from Michigan State University (psychology major) in 1964. He also received a Master's Degree (counseling) from Michigan State in 1966. Bobb and his wife, Cheryl, have been married since 1964. They have two adult children, 2 grand children, and four great grand children.

Robert (Bob) R. Taylor, Ph.D

Shareholder & Sr. Leadership Advisor

Bob attended Rollins College in Orlando, Florida for a B.A. in Behavioral Science in 1970. He immediately began his graduate program in Psychology at Louisiana State University, but after one year in grad school, he was inducted into the Army and spent two fairly uneventful years at Fort Ord in beautiful Monterey, California. Bob returned to LSU and completed his doctorate in Industrial/Organizational Psychology with a minor in Management in 1979. He began his teaching career at the University of West Florida in 1978 in I/O Psychology, then transitioned into a business school in 1982 with a one-year visiting professorship in the Management Department at LSU. In 1983, he joined the Fogelman College of Business & Economics at the University of Memphis where he is now a tenured Associate Professor of Management and teaches in the Executive M.B.A., International M.B.A., Professional M.B.A., and the newly minted Customer Driven MBA programs.

Bob has a career distinguished by both creativity and service to both the University of Memphis and the Memphis community, as well as many years working as a trainer and consultant to some of the most prominent local and national businesses. Bob served as chairman of the Department of Management at the U of M for ten years from 2001-2011, and then stepped down to devote most of his time to directing the Memphis Institute for Leadership Education (MILE) Program that he established in 2006. The primary component of the MILE Program is an award winning and unique leadership mentoring program that matches business leaders with high ability undergraduate students for a year of leadership education and mentoring. Bob has written numerous academic articles and in 1995 published a textbook entitled, Management: Comprehension, Analysis, and Application. One of his crowning achievements came in 1992, when he received the U of M Distinguished Teaching Award. Because of his interest and skill in teaching Bob has been asked to teach in other universities including the University of Lethbridge, Canada, nearby at the University of Arkansas Little Rock in their Executive MBA Program and for the last 12 summers at the University of Eichstadt, Germany. After noticing - in 1995 - a deficiency in the offerings of the business college, Bob proposed that a new building be added to the UM Fogelman College of Business & Economics. His computer genius son developed the original design for a business education resource center, a building which ultimately became the FedEx Institute for Technology, standing adjacent to the University of Memphis Fogelman College of Business & Economics.

Bob began his consulting work during graduate school in the 1970's and developed his training skills at UWF and U of M in the 1980's. He consults and trains extensively in a number of leadership development areas and is proud that his client list includes a vast array of the major business organizations in the Memphis Metropolitan area, including FedEx, AutoZone, International Paper, Kroger, Buckman Labratories, MS Carriers, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, The Med, and others. He also conducts public programs in several management development areas through the Fogelman Executive Center at the University of Memphis, and through the University of Western Ontario, Continuing Education Division. His most recent training and consulting area is that of Leadership Ethics. Bob is a trained facilitator for the Institute for Global Ethics. He is particularly interested in ensuring that students in the MILE Program learn the principles of ethical leadership and that ethical leadership practices are instilled as the integral part of his most recent venture, Global Fund Management, LLC, a hedge fund holding company for the Spartan Phalanx Fund.

Jack R. Blair


Mr. Blair currently serves as a Board Chair and or Executive for a variety of profit and non-profit organizations. He currently serves as the Chairman of the Board for InMotion Musculoskeletal Institute and The Campbell Foundation. Mr. Blair is an investor with MB Venture Partners and serves on the board of NuVasive (NASDAQ: NUVA). During his 18 year career with Smith & Nephew ending in 1998, Mr. Blair served in various capacities with Smith & Nephew and Richards Medical Company, which was acquired by Smith & Nephew in 1986, most recently as group president of its North and South America and Japan operations. He held the position of President of Richards Medical Company until November, 2007 when the company was sold. Mr. Blair served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of DJO Inc., an orthopedic medical device company. He also serves as a Director of a privately-held orthopedic company, and a privately-held specialty chemicals company. Mr. Blair holds a B.A. in Government from Miami University and an M.B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Larry. W. Papasan


 Larry W. Papasan is the retired President of Smith & Nephew Orthopedics. He joined Smith & Nephew in July, 1991 as President of the Ortho Division and retired December 31, 2002. During this 11 1/2 year period, the division grew in sales from $300 million to $650 million while growing profitability at over 15% per year. Smith & Nephew Orthopedics is a company with manufacturing in Memphis and Germany. Mr. Papasan was responsible for Research and Development, Manufacturing, Marketing, Sales and all Administrative functions of the company during his 11 1/2 year tenure as President. He then worked for Smith & Nephew as Director and Lobbyist until the end of 2005. Prior to joining Smith & Nephew, he was President of Memphis Light, Gas & Water Division from 1984 until his retirement in 1991. He was employed by MLGW for 28 years.

Mr. Papasan graduated from Mississippi State University in 1963 with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. He has completed numerous professional development courses, including the American Management Association Management course, Senior Management course, and President's course.

He has been very active in the Memphis Community and was General Campaign Chairman of United Way in 1987 and Chairman of the Board from 1990-1992, President of Kiwanis Club and President of Junior Achievement. Currently, he is involved with several organizations, some of which are BioMimetic Therapeutics Inc., BioMedical Tissue Technologies Ltd., and the Shelby Farms Park Conservancy.

Larry is married and has two grown children and five grandchildren. He is an avid golfer.








MILE Memphis 10 Year from Forever Ready Productions on Vimeo.

Hear from Austin Baker about the MILE program

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