Women in HR

CHR Spotlight: The Women Who Make Our HR Department Tick

Karen Roche, our executive vice president of human resources and general counsel, leads the all-female HR department at CHR. With a client-centric focus and attention that goes above and beyond daily HR activities, Karen and her team—Kelcey Castro, HR manager, and Ivonne Wareka, HR coordinator—ensure each client who engages with them always feels strongly supported.

Engagements with CHR cover an array of human resource activities, from administrative to advisory, tailored to each employer’s needs. These include reviewing employee handbooks and policies, drawing up contracts and agreements, handling disciplinary actions, customized coaching, and conducting employee training on different types of workplace situations. Regardless of the level of engagement, the team’s mantra is to always take care of the client in a highly personal way, which clients truly appreciate.

“Depending on what each client needs, we can be a resource for their in-house HR team or function as their outsourced HR department,” says Karen, who joined CHR in December 2022 after many years as an in-house labor attorney for private and public employers, and in private practice.

Customized engagements, client-first approach

“Our HR team’s approach is deep into soft skills that put the ‘human’ in human resources,” says CEO Brian Boffa. “We’ve had clients contract with us for HR support because they’ve heard from colleagues about the high level of attention Karen, Kelcey, and Ivonne provide.”

In addition to Karen’s employer-first mindset which infuses her team, clients also appreciate that they always have access to her expertise and guidance. “Everything that falls under employment law, I am here to help,” she says.

Karen assures all new clients that she is available as their labor counsel. She makes sure employment policies are in place and always adhered to, that employers are compliant with all state and federal regulations, and that they receive full support when a workplace situation arises. This support is provided on the phone, by email, or at their office. And when clients call CHR and Karen is not available, Kelcey responds to their needs. “Our level of accessibility and responsiveness sets us apart from other firms,” according to Karen.

Kelcey says one reason why she joined CHR in December 2023 is the team’s hands-on, client-centric approach, “As HR professionals, we believe you have to deal with the law but also show understanding, empathy, and patience with clients who are looking to us for assistance.”” As soon as we get details from a client, we always thoroughly research the issue to ensure the client remains compliant, fair, and consistent with regulations and the client’s standards and policies”.

Ivonne, who has been with CHR for 19 years, originally worked as a payroll specialist at CHR. She moved to the HR department and still works with some of the firm’s legacy clients she has helped for many years. Today, she coordinates all the documentation and client workflow, oversees daily operations, handles background checks, helps with application walk-throughs and system software, and trains employers and employees to use the onboarding portal.

“Clients tell me how much they appreciate Ivonne’s experience and knowledge as well as her ‘hand holding’ through their transactions,” says Karen. “Long-term clients are delighted to be able to continue working with her in this capacity.”

Bilingual in Spanish, Ivonne provided a Spanish translation of the firm’s sexual harassment training video and sometimes leads the training live in Spanish at clients’ offices. She also provides translation services if an employee needs it during an employer-employee situation.

HR team as the hub

Ivonne notes that “the HR team is the hub that can connect clients to other CHR areas we cover. We love to connect them with whatever they need to support their operation.”

If your organization could use some white glove treatment and personal attention to your HR matters, contact us for a free consultation.