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Team of Experts


Melanie Toliver

Laura J.

Laura J. Phillips

Juanita H.

Juanita H. Nañez


Karen Cunningham


Carla Fulton


Linda Ellis

Susan A.

Susan A. Amason

Robin D.

Robin D. Jones

Melanie Toliver

Melanie has over 20 years of experience in people management strategy, having worked with numerous multinational companies throughout the years as HR Director, Senior HR Leader and HR Operations overseer for insurance firms and pharmaceutical companies. She also served as Entrepreneur and HR Specialist for several Center of Excellence teams, overseeing their Total Rewards Strategy.

Melanie’s industry experience includes working with high profile leaders in oil and gas, education, healthcare, engineering, airline and information technology sectors, to name a few. Her experience with HR strategy, workplace development, total rewards, mergers and acquisitions, HCM transformation and global human resources management is matched with a key understanding of leadership development. 

As Principal and Managing Director, Melanie manages day to day operations, business communications and client transactions, while overseeing the HR Associate Team. She is a member of the SHRM (Society of Human Resources Management) and WorldatWork Organization, and she has served on the Houston Compensation and Benefits Management Board and WorldatWork Advocate Council. Melanie holds a Master of Science degree in Human Resources Management from Houston Baptist University, and she’s certified through the HRCI (Human Resource Certification Institute as Professional in Human Resources (PHR), and the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) as a Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP). In addition, she is registered through WorldatWork as a Certified Compensation (CCP) and Global Compensation Professional (GRP).

Juanita H. Nañez

Juanita works with The Hopkins Group as a human resources and diversity consultant with a distinguished executive leadership career in the banking, energy, and hospitality industries. She has held the positions of Corporate Recruiter; Manager of Employee Relations; Executive Director of Corporate Human Resources and Employee Relations, and Vice President of Diversity. She actively and regularly engages with the Dallas community by working with various organizations whose mission is focused on diversity-based developmental and educational initiatives. She is fluent in both Spanish and English.

Juanita is a member of the Society for Human Resources Management, and the founding President of the Texas Diversity Council, as well as former member of the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Talent Management Committee.  She has also worked as Chair and State Rep for the Dallas Chapter of the Hispanic Women’s Network of Texas, and Membership Committee Chair for the Hispanic 100. Other accolades include  2012 Member at Large of the Hispanic 100, an active Big Sister in the Big Brothers and Big Sisters program, and their former Hispanic Advisory Board Member. She is also an appointed Commissioner to the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department Civil Service Commission, and a Board member of the Anita N. Martinez Ballet Folklorico. She has served as a founding board member of the Multicultural Foodservice and Hospitality Alliance, and the Business Advisory Board for Grambling State University, as well as Advisor to the National Society for Minorities in Hospitality.

She attended Dallas Baptist University, and holds an advanced level accreditation (SPHR) from the HR Certification Institute. She is a SHRM Senior Certified Professional, having earned a Certificate of Employee Relations from the Institute for Applied Management and Law in Houston, and she completed the Executive Development Program at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management.

Juanita has received numerous awards and recognition for her performance in human resources and diversity, and was nominated as a top-five finalist by the inaugural Dallas Arboretum’s Celebration of Diversity Award for her impact on diversity in the community. She has also been recognized for her outstanding contributions to Dallas Diversity Training by the Texas Diversity Council, while being referenced and featured in hospitality textbooks for her notable leadership in human resources. She also serves as a guest speaker and panelist for local, state and national human resources and diversity symposiums and conferences.

Laura J. Phillips

Laura is an expert when it comes to generalist human resources, information systems, operations and legal, both in the public and private sectors. Her experience spans more than thirty years, and spans everything from startups, to small companies looking for effective HR strategies and solutions. She has been actively involved in single and multi-site strategic planning, compensation and staffing plan development, not to mention benefits plan design, training program development, mergers and acquisitions, and turn-arounds. Laura has worked with a number of high profile clients in high tech, manufacturing, healthcare, retail, real estate, construction, and the municipal government. 

Laura has also shared her expertise as an invited speaker for universities, colleges and various associations all across North America. With a Bachelor of Science degree in Project Management from California Coast University, Laura is a Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP), a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), and a member of the Society for Human Resources Management. In addition, she is also a member of the Dallas Human Resource Management Association, a past facilitator of a Dallas human resources group, and she also served on the Executive Recruiting Board for Children’s Medical Center’s Red Balloon Run & Ride – an annual fundraising event.

Carla Fulton

Carla is a Senior HR Leader with extensive experience as a leader in manufacturing, retail and financial services organizations, as well as HR Generalist expertise in consumer products, oil and gas, and telecommunications. She has worked with various startups and established businesses on everything from HR Function, to mergers and acquisitions, and organizational redesign. She also specializes in compensation and benefits. 

Carla is a member of SHRM, and has served for many years as an officer in Dallas HR. She was a founding member of an HR professional organization, and is currently an active member of the Women’s Boardroom Initiative. She is also a passionate about animal rescue, and demonstrates this dedication with her work through the Small Paws Organization.

Carla earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, and a Master of Business Administration in Human Resource Management and Industrial relations from the University of North Texas. She is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources through HCI, and a SHRM Senior Certified Professional.

Karen Cunningham

Karen is a seasoned human resources leader with an accomplished history centered around strong strategic management skills, and a solid background in human resources. Her career has focused on creating value for organizations through the effective delivery of HR practices. Karen has demonstrated success in assessing organizational needs, and implementing Dallas strategic HR planning to enhance company performance.

Karen’s diverse background in human resources includes strong experience in recruitment, workforce planning, policy development, employee relations, performance coaching, investigations, payroll, benefits and HR strategic alignment. She has earned a reputation for increasing the credibility and effectiveness of the Human Resource Management function through her commitment to excellence in HR delivery, and strategic business alignment.

Karen has a broad range of generalist experience, and served as a hands-on HR leader for numerous organizations. Her 20+ years of experience in Human Resources spans numerous industries, and includes over 15 years in various leadership positions. She has managed all aspects of human resources over her professional career.

Karen is a dedicated community volunteer who serves as President of the Frisco Family Services Board of Directors, a social services agency helping prevent hunger and homelessness in the Frisco community. Karen also serves on the Board of Directors for the Frisco Chamber of Commerce, and served for over 10 years on various boards with the Dallas HR Management Association. Karen served on the 2011 SHRM Employee Relations Special Expertise Panel, and was a contributor for the research publication SHRM Future Insights Report 2012. Karen has been quoted in several publications on various HR topics. She is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) from the HR Certification Institute, and a SHRM Senior Certified Professional. Karen is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management, Dallas HR Management Association, and Frisco Women’s League. Karen graduated from Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana, with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.

Linda Ellis

As a Human Resources professional, Linda’s experience encompasses multiple disciplines including strategic planning, shared services, outsourcing, technology utilization, project management, benefit and HR program design and administration, in addition to financial and vendor management. She has serviced companies both great and small, right up to large corporations with 100,000+ employees. As a strong business partner, Linda has been recognized for her ability to communicate successfully with leaders, employees, consultants, vendors, and customers. Industry experience includes legal, financial, banking, retail, services, technology, insurance, manufacturing, and Dallas HR consulting services. She is known among peers for her strategic approach to benefit and HR plan design, development, implementation and administration.

Prior to joining The Hopkins Group, Linda was the Benefits Manager for a large Dallas law firm, and was the VP of Human Resources for a large insurance company servicing the self-employed. She also developed the HR/Benefits infrastructures for two new companies, and spent 20 years with Electronic Data Systems developing, implementing and serving as administrator for their retirement, savings and stock plans.

She is a Certified Employee Benefits Specialist (CEBS) through the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, and a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) through the HR Certification Institute and a SHRM Senior Certified Professional. Linda has held board positions with the Dallas Chapters of Worldwide Employee Benefits Association (WEB), and the International Society of Certified Employee Benefits (ISCEBS). She earned her Bachelor of Arts  from Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, TX.

Susan A. Amason

Susan has over 17 years of experience in various aspects of human resources management, including recruitment, policy design, industrial relations, HRIS, benefits, compensation and generalist roles for companies of all sizes. She has significant experience developing compensation strategy and policies, salary planning and costing, salary survey design, performance management system and incentive plan design, and salary structure design. She has a strong background in financial, retail and service industries with a keen emphasis on information systems organizations.

Susan has designed, implemented and administered all areas of the compensation function, from non-exempt to executive level, at both national and international levels. She has managed Dallas HR consulting services for  large and small compensation projects for clients using her extensive experience and wide reaching resources.

She has researched, planned, designed and implemented alternative pay plans, designed and implemented flexible total rewards plans for executive to exempt-level employees, including an easy to use computerized spreadsheet to enable each worker to assess the impact of their choices on their take-home pay. She conceived and organized a national, industry-wide focus group to help establish standards and policies for the insurance industry in Australia.

Susan’s survey experience includes the William M. Mercer Multi-Outlet Restaurant Survey, as well as the Dresser Industry Survey in Dallas for three years. She has also conducted multiple custom surveys for clients, as needed. For these companies and non-profit organizations, she was asked to analyze and obtain market data for all types of jobs ranging from hourly, non-exempt to the President/CEO. She benchmarked a minimum of 80% of all jobs in every case (up to 100% in some cases, depending on the industry).

Susan routinely provides compensation analysis and consulting for large and small companies and agencies nationwide, such as Southern California Edison (SCE), Los Alamos County, The Texas Methodist Foundation and CarterBurgess.

Susan is registered as an expert in the Fair Labor Standards Act, and co-authored an FLSA manual with the Law Department at the University of Southern California.

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Robin D. Jones, PHR, SHRM-CP

Robin is an accomplished HR professional with over 15 years of experience in both the private and public sectors. She has implemented Human Resources strategies to help develop executives and managers, which includes diversity awareness training and basic interviewing boot camps, with a proven track record of coaching and developing others. Robin has created Human Resource departments for various organizations which include wide ranging HR functions and processing such as payroll, performance management, benefits and staffing.

Previously, Robin was Vice President of Human Resources for the American Lung Association. During this time, she was accountable to the board for departmental activities and budget.  Robin is a regular volunteer for training opportunities to enhance interviewing and resume writing skills with various organizations such as Attitudes and Attire, Lewisville ISD, and Eastfield College, to name a few. She has previously taught in the Human Resources certificate program with Collin College.

Robin holds a Bachelor of Arts in Human Resources Development from Southwestern College,  in Kansas. She is certified through the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI) as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR), and the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) as a Certified Professional (SHRM-CP). Robin currently holds a board position with the National Association of African American Human Resources Professionals (NAAAHR). 

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