Event Registration Details


Join Your Peers at the CUPA-HR SoCal Chapter Conference


Registration is now open for our conference at

University of California, Irvine

on September 20, 2019!

Registration is now closed.

Thank you for your interest!

Look for details here regarding upcoming conferences in 2020.

University of California, Irvine
Friday, September 20, 2019 | 8:45 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. (Registration & breakfast begins at 8:00 a.m.)

Join us for a great day of learning and networking! We are pleased to announce the theme for our upcoming SoCal CUPA-HR conference – Human Resources: Your Strategic Thought Partner.


8:00 – 8:45 a.m. – Check-in & sponsor showcase (Breakfast will be provided.)

8:45 – 9:00 a.m. – Opening Comments & Host Welcome

9:00 – 10:00 a.m. – Plenary speaker #1 – Reinventing HR presented by Ramona Agrela from University of California, Irvine

Bio: Ramona Agrela serves as the associate chancellor and chief human resources executive for the University of California, Irvine. She is the senior university official responsible for all human resources administration and operations and sits on the Chancellor’s Cabinet at campus and the CEO’s Cabinet for UCI Health. She is currently serves on the Board as Secretary for the SoCal CUPA-HR chapter.

Ramona is a dynamic human resource professional with extensive, award-winning experience across multiple disciplines including labor relations, compensation/classification, executive compensation, employee relations, HRIS systems, and organizational development. She has been successful in implementing human resource programs in support of business strategies that motivate, retain, engage, and attract valuable employees. Through strong faculty, staff and student relationships across the organization, she has built successful partnerships that have helped launch many innovative human resource programs.

Session Description: Ramona will share how the University of California, Irvine’s HR organization recently underwent large-scale change in order to turn a fractured HR infrastructure into a collaborative, strategic, service-driven HR model.

10:00 – 10:15 a.m. –  Break with sponsor visits (Reminder: Don’t forget to bring your business cards.)

10:15 -11:15 a.m. – Plenary speaker #2 – HR As A Strategic Business Partner presented by Linda Thai Schlossman the Principal Consultant, Organization Development within University of California San Diego

Bio: Linda Thai Schlossman is a Principal Consultant, Organization Development within UC San Diego’s Human Resources Staff Education and Development unit.  She finds great joy in her role as an instructor of change management and leadership development and as an embedded consultant for UC San Diego serving populations across academic, student, business and financial affairs.  There, she thrives in her role as a leader and change champion, bringing together her experience in human resources management, executive advising, instructional design and delivery, and business process engineering. 

Prior to UC San Diego, Linda worked and studied at Swarthmore College, Johns Hopkins University, Beijing Normal University, Nanjing University, and Harvard University.   As well, Linda worked at the San Diego Film Commission and San Diego Pacific Arts Movement as an international films recruiter. Consistent across all these roles has been Linda’s drive to meet new people and identify win-win opportunities by leveraging the talents of people with the systems, structures, processes of the enterprise.


Session Description: The key to redefining Human Resources’ value proposition requires re-branding itself as a strategic business partner.  Human Resources must move away from its traditional, compartmentalized identity with its transactional functions  (i.e. recruitment, benefits, payroll, training, etc.) and, instead, forge integrated partnerships throughout and beyond the organization that advocate non-reactive, pro-active, data-validated solutions.  In this new information age HR and the rise of the gig economy where the speed of change can present itself with high-velocity, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity, Human Resources has the opportunity to anchor the change by providing scaled-solutions that “honor the human in HR” throughout the trajectory of the employee experience.

11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. – Plenary speaker #3 – Legal Update presented by Casandra Secord and Aaron O’Donnel from Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo (AALRR)

Bio: Casandra Secord represents employers in single plaintiff and class action employment litigation involving allegations of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, failure to accommodate, wrongful termination, wage and hour violations, and misappropriation of trade secrets. She regularly counsels employers regarding human resources and employee relations matters, including state and federal wage and hour laws, leaves of absence, reasonable accommodation, discrimination, harassment, discipline, termination, reduction-in-force, and employment and severance agreements.

Bio: Aaron O’Donnell represents California community college districts, universities, and school districts in education and employment-related matters. He provides experienced advice and counsel to clients in all aspects of education and employment law, including compliance with Title IX and related federal and state laws, employee evaluation and discipline, employment discrimination and wrongful termination, labor relations, reductions in force, student discipline, disability accommodation, Brown Act compliance, conflicts of interest, First Amendment and other constitutional rights of students and employees, whistleblower protection, and investigations of employee misconduct. He represents education clients in grievance arbitrations, administrative hearings, and civil litigation in state and federal court.

12:15 – 1:00 p.m. – Lunch and sponsor visits

1:00 – 1:15 p.m. – Sponsor introductions and prize raffles (Reminder: Don’t forget to bring your business cards.)

1:15 – 1:45 p.m. – Roundtable discussion to share best practices related to theme.

1:45 – 2:45 p.m. – Plenary speaker #4 – Fostering Continuous Process Improvement to Achieve Institutional Effectiveness presented by Gail Deutsch from Marshall B. Ketchum University

Bio: Gail Deutsch currently serves as the Vice President for Human Resources (HR) at Marshall B. Ketchum University (MBKU), in Fullerton.  She is currently serves on the Board as the Past President for the SoCal CUPA-HR chapter.

Gail started her career at McDonnell Douglas (currently Boeing) facilitating teams in continuous improvement. She then went on to such companies as St. Joseph Health Systems and Volt Information Sciences, Inc. where she developed and delivered training programs to enhance leadership skills and the  organization in support of providing exceptional customer service.  She then moved back into manufacturing with Trojan Battery Company where she shifted her career into a Human Resources generalist role.

Gail received her BA in Applied Psychology and her MS in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from California State University, Long Beach. She also earned her Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and Society for Human Resource Management, Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) certifications.

Session Description: Strategically Implementing a philosophy of continuous process improvement at your institution requires everyone to understand the foundational tools and techniques required. This session will cover the basics from understanding workflow analysis and team development to facilitation skills and understanding customer requirements to achieve internal and external customer satisfaction.

2:45 – 3:00 p.m. Closing comments and dismiss

Networking Dinner:

On Thursday, September 19, 2019 there will be a CUPA-HR members-only complementary networking dinner the evening before the conference.  Space is limited to the first 20 who register, so please register early if you plan to attend.

Campus and Parking Maps

Address to the conference location is:

UCI University Club

801 E. Peltason Drive
Irvine, CA 92697

Downloadable directions here.

Parking: There are roughly 100 free parking spots in the parking lot adjacent to our conference location and we have over 100 registered participants, plus sponsors, so please plan accordingly. If you should arrive after the parking lot is full, there is paid parking in the multi-story garage to the left of our conference location about 0.3 miles away at the rate of $13.00 per day. If you can carpool, it would help enable all of the attendees to get free parking.

Conference registration is FREE thanks to our generous sponsors.


 *Special Note for Registration:

This registration form is for individuals from higher education institutions only.  If you are not employed with a higher education institution, you must sponsor the meeting in order to attend. Contact a chapter officer to learn about sponsorship opportunities. If you are a sponsor, an officer will reach out to you with special registration instructions.

Cancellation Policy: Please cancel one full week (7 days) before the date of the event. Any “no shows” on the day of the event will have a direct financial impact on the Chapter, which is a non-profit organization. All event coordination occurs from confirmed RSVP’s such as yours. Send an e-mail cancellation to Ramona Agrela at ragrela@uci.edu.