About Us

Our Team

Lisa Blanton, SHRM-SCP

Lisa Blanton possesses a diverse business background that includes over 30 years in corporate positions such as COO, CFO, and CHRO; including 13 years as a business owner.

Lisa has a proven track record of helping leaders drive for high achieving results through strategy, integration and people relationships with a focus on financial, people service, and enterprising aspects of a business.

Lisa’s career is filled with success stories of assisting entrepreneurs build the business functions of operations, finance, accounting, and human resources while they concentrate on the development of their product or service. She is passionate about guiding leadership teams to successfully build their organizations and provide the best environment and culture for their employees.

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Lisa teaches leadership teams to get what they want from their businesses. She does this by providing a complete system with simple tools to help teams achieve alignment in their vision, get traction to execute to achieve every part of their vision, and to help the leaders become a healthy, functional, cohesive leadership team.

Always wanting to help others, Lisa is an active member of the Austin Human Resource Management Association (AHRMA) and has served on the Board of Directors of the 800+ member association as the Treasurer, Co-VP of Conference, and currently as President-Elect. She also holds certifications as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and a SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) and has a MBA in Organizational Studies. In her free time, Lisa enjoys cheering for the Texas A&M University sports teams, traveling, and meeting new friends.

Her core values are help first, do the right thing, do what I promise, grow or die, and be humbly confident.

Specialties:

Strategic Planning, Ownership Transition, Change Management, Operations Management, Human Resources Management, and Management Advising.

Leah Jaramillo SHRM-SCP, Certified Instructional Designer (ATD)

Leah Jaramillo is a senior business management and organizational leader with over 15 years of experience utilizing and leveraging information systems to improve operations and client services.

Leah has a proven track record of helping leaders drive for high achieving results through strategy, integration and people relationships with a focus on financial, people service, and enterprising aspects of a business.

As an established business management and organizational leader, Leah teaches leadership teams to get what they want from their businesses. She does this through Strategic Planning, Benefits Administration, Human Resources, and Learning & Talent Development.

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Leah is an active member of the Austin Human Resource Management Association (AHRMA) and has been elected to the AHRMA Board as the Co-VP of Conference for 2020-2022. She also served as Vice President of Programs for WilcoHR in 2019.
Leah is a member of the Society/Industrial + Organizational Psychology (SIOP), holds certifications as a SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP), Licensed Texas Insurance Agent, Certified Instructional Designer (ATD). She is an Accredited Advisor in Insurance Management (AAI-M), and Leah is also a Certified Everything DiSC Facilitator.
She has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a Minor in Organizational Leadership & Communication and is currently working toward her MBA in Healthcare Management.

Specialties:

Business Optimization, Workforce Planning, Information Systems, Compensation Analysis, and Post-M&A Integration

Kim Jones, SHRM- CP

Kim is a native of Austin, Texas, has a diverse background in HR, and over 12 years’ experience in the field of Business Development. She has demonstrated success with multiple start-up companies and is excellent at identifying the needs of an organization while linking their business goals and objectives.

In the past, Kim has served as an individual contributor and consultant for small to mid-sized companies based all over the United States, giving her a wealth of knowledge that equipped Kim to be a valuable asset to businesses in both their start-up and growth phases.

While her range of experience is broad, she maintains specific skills in Finance, Accounting, Business Formation and Structure, Payroll, HRIS platforms, and Business Operations.

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Kim is a continuous learner and, in addition to her education, takes advantage of webinars, seminars, and blog posts to further her understanding of HR and stay up to date on policy changes around the country. Kim supports and provides counsel to women in business and enjoys helping entrepreneurs with the formations of their new business ideas.

In her free time, Kim enjoys spending time with family, camping, reading, and gardening. Kim has been a foster parent, has donated her time and baking skills to multiple foster care organizations, helped start and now manages a non-profit youth basketball league and regularly volunteers to read in the library to elementary age students.

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Tina Cooper, SHRM-CP

Tina Cooper comes to Austin Alliance Group with over 10 years of forwarding-thinking Human Resource experience. Her experience includes the five stages of the employee life cycle, performance management, benefits administration, HRIS management, employment law, and compliance. Her range of industries includes health care, manufacturing, retail, and construction. Her passion is helping others become a better version of themselves, through education. Tina has served as a link between management and employees by handling questions, interpreting and administering contracts and helping resolve work-related conflicts.

Tina earned a bachelor’s degree with a focus in Finance and a master’s degree with a focus in Human Resource Management from Columbia Southern University. She also holds a Professional in Human Resources accreditation (SHRM-CP).

Tina moved to Austin, Texas upon her husband retiring from the US Army with their 3 children. Her two boys are currently serving in the US Army and her youngest daughter is currently attending college in Austin, Texas.

Advisory Group

Austin Alliance Group - Advisory Group - Jack Guskin photo

Jack Guskin

Jack Guskin is a Human Resources professional who is a subject matter expert in compensation system design and development, employee satisfaction survey analysis, HR department audits, leadership team facilitation, and delivery of executive compensation analyses to Boards of Directors.

Over Jack’s more than 40 years of engineering, management, and executive experience in companies ranging from high tech start-ups to international enterprises such as IBM, HP, Fluke, and GenRad, he has focused on organizational improvement, leadership development, and product quality. He has worked extensively with engineering, project management, marketing, and sales teams designing and deploying solutions to complex and critical challenges in delivering quality products and services to customers and acquiring equipment, resources, and technologies from vendors. Jack is very focused on identifying key success factors and discovering organizational and process obstacles standing in the way of achieving success.

Jack belongs to many HR professional organizations, is certified as a Mediator and Senior Professional Human Resources (SPHR) and has received a BS in computer science from the University of Michigan, and participated in graduate programs at Columbia University and Carnegie-Mellon.

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Sue Breland, MSIS, CPM

Sue Breland is a free-lance consultant and facilitator uniquely adept at integrating the art and science of collaboration. Sue holds the national Certified Public Manager designation, a Master of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies degree from Texas State University, and is on the faculty of the William P. Hobby Center for Public Service and Texas State University. Sue also holds a BA in Speech and Drama, is a National Endowment for the Arts Fellow, and a local actress & performer. She began working with Austin Alliance Group on April 1, 2019.

Sue has a passion for individual staff development and instructional design, making learning opportunities more engaging and impactful. Learning opportunities that encourage participation, reflection, and meaningful transfer to the workplace are her specialty through the training materials she creates and a facilitation style of teaching that honors the “wisdom already in the room.”

As a meeting facilitator, Sue is effective in working with small teams as well as large stakeholder groups, line employees, executives, and community members. Whether leading clients through organizational visioning, problem-solving or strategic planning, Sue uses a variety of tools and techniques to move groups to their desired outcomes efficiently, with full engagement and fun.

Austin Alliance Group - Advisory Group - Darlene Templeton photo

Darlene Templeton

Darlene is the CEO and founder of Templeton & Associates. She is a professional speaker, certified executive coach, business strategist consultant, trainer, and author. Darlene specializes in leadership and transformation for corporations and professionals, specifically for those who want to make a greater impact personally and professionally. She held multiple management and leadership positions during her career at IBM. She brings her 36 years of experience at IBM, to her work and her clients, and provides a level of mastery that is extraordinary.

Darlene’s unique combination of extensive corporate experience, her own personal career journey, and her successful coaching and speaking business have given her the ability to work with individuals, small businesses, and Fortune 100 companies to help them define their goals, enhance their performance and put an action plan in place to achieve the results they desire.

Darlene is the founder and Chief Leader of the AMAZING Women Alliance®, a group of high-achieving women who meet monthly to inspire, motivate and support each other to achieve their goals. When Darlene was the Co-VP of Career Development she established the Mentoring Program for the Austin Human Resource Managers Association (AHRMA). She has co-authored three books, “The Unstoppable Women’s Guide to Emotional Well Being”, “The Success Guide for The Unstoppable Entrepreneur” and “Behind Her Brand”.

Austin Alliance Group - Advisory Group - David Hughen photo

David Hughen

David Hughen, Founder, and CEO of AustinWorkNet, a strategic human capital consulting firm. Most recently he served as Founding Principal of Austin HR and sold that business in 2018. He brings over 25 years of experience as both a business leader and executive coach. Over the past fifteen years, his firms have provided services to over 500 organizations in the Central Texas region adding significant value to their operations and positively impacting their bottom line.

Hughen’s emphasis is on optimizing employee commitment and productivity through highly effective leadership—linked to the organization’s strategic business goals. He has the rare advantage of coaching leaders with a number of early to mid-stage tech companies, a range of larger international firms, and the non-profit, mission-driven sector (notably, St. David’s Foundation and Communities in Schools – among others – see below). In his early career, Hughen led human resource operations of prestigious companies such as Applied Materials, Exterprise, ClearCommerce, NEC Electronics, and HelioVolt and consulted in a variety of industries — including public sector, nonprofit, semiconductors, internet, software, hardware, and clean technology. He holds a number of certifications as well as Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Human Resources and Organization Development.

Austin Alliance Group - Advisory Group - Jim Kochanski photo

Jim Kochanski

Jim’s superpower is consulting on improving organizational performance by diagnosing problems, designing organizations that work, aligning leadership teams, and supporting implementation. For 20 years Jim was a Senior Partner in Sibson Consulting, a Division of The Segal Group. During his time with Sibson, he served as Practice Leader for Performance and Rewards, Talent Management, and Organizational Effectiveness. In his role as a Partner, Jim was responsible for understanding client needs, determining appropriate solutions and resources for solving client problems, and leading consulting projects to successful conclusions.

He has consulted with leading organizations in Health Care, Energy, Financial Services, Professional Services, Higher Education, and Technology. He has focused on functional areas including call centers, sales, manufacturing, and Research and Development. Some of the clients he has worked with include Chevron, Disney, Citi Bank, Glaxo, Daichi Sanko, Duke University, University of Tennessee, Smith & Nephew, Avaya, and many smaller businesses and non-profits. His consulting career has focused on jointly optimizing the success of organizations and the people in them. Jim has a Bachelor’s degree from The University of Maryland and a Master’s degree from American University. He is the author of over 40 publications and has been a speaker at many national and international conferences.

Austin Alliance Group - Advisory Group - Susan Snipes photo

Susan Snipes

Susan Snipes is an experienced, certified HR and compliance professional who has provided Global HR and US compliance strategies to companies in a wide variety of industries. She is a published writer who has written expert content for such organizations as SHRM (HR Magazine), PeopleHR, Bonusly, and SmartPTO.

Susan holds her Masters of Science in HR Management and holds the following certifications:

  • Senior Professional Human Resources (SPHR)
  • Global Professional Human Resources (GPHR)
  • Certified HIPAA Privacy and Security Expert (CHPSE)
  • Certified Payroll Professional (CPP)

Christa Holmans

Christa Holmans is a central Texas native with a diverse business background. Her passion is helping organizations understand neurodiversity and how to best accommodate neurodiverse employees. She has also served roles in customer service, project management, employee relations, marketing, operations, leadership, and administration. Christa is an out of the box thinker with a proven track record of helping organizations, business owners, and teams to create more efficient and harmonious workspaces.

Always wanting to give back, Christa has sat on advisory boards for multiple nonprofits, including the Foundation for Life Guides for Autism and the International Board of Sensory Accessibility.
Founder of Neurodivergent Consulting and the internationally recognized Neurodivergent Rebel blog.

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Rachel Blanton

Rachel Blanton’s superpower is creating relationships and helping solve problems by discovering why people love what they do and helping them do it better. While her love for sports carried her through several job specialties throughout the collegiate and professional sports industry, her passion for helping people and their organization supersedes. Rachel is a certified Everything DiSC facilitator.

She is a graduate from Texas A&M University with a BS in Sport Management and a Minor in Business and found that her passion for helping people was a common thread. Rachel has experienced jobs that make her ability to work with diverse individuals natural; some of those jobs included working in marketing for Texas A&M Athletics and being a community relations ambassador for the San Francisco Giants. Most recently, she interned in the sales department of the Boston Red Sox.

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