March 29, 2023

BambooHR Announces Winners of Inaugural HR Experience Maker Award

Peer Nominations Identify Standout HR Professional's Efforts Across Addiction Training, Layoffs, Employee Experience and More

LINDON, Utah, March 29, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- BambooHR®, the industry's leading cloud-hosted software platform for human resources, today announced the winners of the HR Experience Maker Awards. Winners were selected based on peer nominations that identified HR leaders who go above and beyond, creating exceptional experiences for their organizations and employees.

"This year's HR Experience Makers represent some of the most strategic and thoughtful people leaders in business today," said Brad Rencher, CEO of BambooHR. "Experience Makers are able to sift through the administrative mire that can often bog down HR professionals and get to the most impactful part of the role which is engaging employees and leadership in ways that boost productivity and the bottom line. We're excited to name these professionals for the outstanding work they have accomplished."

HR Experience Maker Award winners:

Business Growth: Audra Bright, Senior Manager of Human Resources and Internal Systems at Textile Exchange

As the only full-time HR manager for the majority of its growth, Bright oversaw a four-time increase in headcount while embodying grace and strategic direction for employees and leadership. Nominators praise Bright for an inclusive, open, empathetic, and well-informed approach to HR. In 2022, Bright prioritized more than 120 individual check-ins with every employee in the organization, established new payroll processes and is now leading new initiatives as part of the company's continued growth, including an updated employee handbook, management training, new maternity leave policies, PTO increases, and more.

Career Growth/Advocate: Amber Howard, Head of HR at Intelliswift

Howard has established a reputation for taking new employees under her wing. In the initial days after a hire, peers praise Amber Howard for her ability to uncover employee interests in order to better direct them to success in those specific areas of their career. Nominees emphasize her ability to mentor employees and help individuals qualify for professional certifications, direct them towards career development training and resources as well as navigate corporate policies to unlock career potential. Amber Howard's ability to build talent internally has been a strategic asset for Intelliswift.

"I feel blessed to have found a career field that I love and am so passionate about," said Amber Howard. "Being a part of the shift of HR going from a more tactical field to being a true strategic business partner that has a hand in achieving business goals has been amazing to see. There is never a dull moment in HR and it is always changing so it keeps me on my toes, which is great!"

Employee Experience: Khadija Moore, Senior Manager of Organizational Development at Gildan

Peers recognize Moore for improving the company's employee lifecycle from onboarding to exit. She has enhanced the employee experience by conceptualizing and executing positive initiatives like an employee survey designed to gather insights across Australia, Barbados, China and the U.S and then advocate for those employees' needs in executive meetings to gain top-level buy-in.

These efforts resulted in tremendous engagement across the organizations. Nominees highlight Moore's weekly check-ins with staff where she leads the HR team in interacting with employees to hear and meet their needs. Her incorporation of separate manager and employee round table meetings provides an open forum for both groups to express views candidly. Peers respect Moore for her ability to take action on that feedback through coaching, training and policy advocacy that has a direct impact on the employee experience.

Heart & Soul: Cheryl Brown Merriwether, Vice President and Executive Director at the International Center for Addiction & Recovery Education (ICARE)

Merriwether is passionate about helping those in the workforce who struggle with substance use disorder (SUD) and other addictions. Knowing the need for more mental health programs for employees, she helped develop a free training program for the HR community. She is the immediate past president for the Greater Orlando Society for Human Resource Management (GOSHRM) and sits on the board of directors for Project Opioid. Cheryl partners with local resources to provide much needed SUD training to HR and community leaders so that businesses can better support employees during their times of need.

"HR has provided me with incredible opportunities to learn, grow, and achieve success, both personally and professionally," said Merriwether. "In this season of life, my mission is to use my influence to give back as much as I can, positively impacting the lives and careers of others whom I am privileged to meet and work with along the way."

Strategic Leadership: Sarah Stephenson, Vice President of Human Resources at Eleven Software

The company's acquisition in 2022 brought many changes for employees, from the retirement of a longtime CEO to shifting team structures. Stephenson's warm, steady, and strategic leadership helped shape and guide each step to ensure company culture never took a hit. Stephenson communicated and consulted with executives and legal counsel to help the shift go smoothly. She implemented one-on-one's between each employee and the two new leaders of the company to show employees each leader's humanity, building excitement for the diversity they bring (a female CEO and Hispanic President). New leaders began to rely heavily on Stephenson for her guidance. Because of Stephenson's strategic work, the company won a Top Workplaces award that same year despite all the changes behind the scenes.

"We live in a reality where, for the majority of people, working isn't optional. Most employees work for a company because they need the money in order to put a roof over their head, food on the table, take care of their family, etc.," said Stephenson. "I enjoy working in HR alongside executive teams that put employees first because it's an opportunity, within the work environment, to provide compassion, support, and tangible benefits through life's ups and downs."

To learn more about BambooHR's HR Experience Maker Award winners visit:

About BambooHR
BambooHR is the world's leading HR and payroll platform for growing businesses. We're on a mission to empower the three million employees across more than 30,000 organizations by giving them intuitive HR tools, insights, and support to curate an exceptional employee experience. The company was founded in 2008 by Ben Peterson and Ryan Sanders, who created a values-focused, award-winning internal culture that then provided inspiration for BambooHR's product and features. BambooHR customers include Asana, Foursquare, Stance, and Postmates. To find out more, visit, follow @bamboohr or come join 30,000 other HR change agents at our annual HR Virtual Summit.


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