Leon Cerna, SPHR | President
Leon Cerna is a highly-skilled human resources professional with 20 years of experience in strategic management, employee relations, talent acquisitions, and training and development.
Leon’s interest in human resources was sparked by his childhood involvement with his family’s growing business where he learned the key elements of hiring, training, and effective conflict resolution from his parents.
These experiences taught Leon that the keys to creating a workplace that fosters employee engagement are effective management techniques and the ability to communicate a clear vision of future success. Leon instinctively understood these lessons and knew a career in human resources would offer the ideal platform for his developing interest.
Leon has held leadership roles in Fortune 15 and 300 companies and served in the public sector as a Chief HR Executive. He has provided strategic oversight of human resources departments and established foundations of respect, diplomacy, high ethical standards, and collaboration that have promoted the overall success of the organizations.
His exceptional skills have been sought after by a variety of councils, commissions, and committees including most recently the Personnel Merit Commission for the City and County of Broomfield. Leon’s philanthropic interests include mentoring and coaching recent college graduates who are entering the workforce.
Leon received his Bachelor of Science degree in Labor Relations Management from the University of the Pacific in northern California. He has a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) designation and maintains an Advanced Certificate in Employee Relations Law from the Institute of Applied Management & Law.
Originally from Southern California, Leon now lives in Colorado and outside of work, enjoys spending time with his family, his dog, listening to jazz music, and playing golf where he carries a five handicap.
Jeni Blood | Director of Client Services
Jeni is a proven human resources leader with 20 years’ experience leading national HR teams in the development, implementation and direction of compensation, recruiting, employee relations and services, HR management systems and employment law. She is a collaborative team player who recognizes the value of individual contribution in support of overall business strategy and seeks to align HR practices with the mission and goals of the business. Originally from Illinois, she began her career in Chicago serving the hospitality industry with a dual role in human resources and sales. Human resources proved a natural fit as Jeni thrives when opportunity allows her to collaborate and provide solutions for businesses and people. While in Chicago, she served an international law firm for many years where she led the human resources team nationally. The primary elements of her role included support and guidance to management on employee relations, HR best practices firmwide, compensation and performance, policies and business structure, compliance with state and federal labor laws.
Jeni received her Bachelor of Science degree in Communication from Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois and is member of SHRM locally and nationally.
She relocated to the Denver area with her family in 2014. Jeni enjoys hiking her new home state, camping and skiing with family and friends. Her passion is to travel to unique destinations and scuba dive.
James E. Venable, Jr., JD, SPHR
James Venable is a versatile human resources executive and skilled labor and employment attorney with team leadership experience at several Fortune 500 companies. He has expertise in the implementation of comprehensive employee engagement and labor relations plans and has more than 20 years of success across increasingly senior roles in Legal, Human Resources, and Compliance. He has been effective in helping to transform corporate functions and cultures, and promoting continuous improvement to create more productive, employee centered operations.
James has also provided effective and thoughtful legal counsel to C-Suite executives enabling them to make employee relations decisions with minimal legal exposure to the organization. He is a progressive problem-solver, utilizing sound judgement with a dedication to fairness and doing business the right way. When necessary, he can also be a zealous advocate on behalf of his clients and business partners.
Through his career, James has proven himself a dedicated leader and team member who enjoys expanding his scope of responsibility and taking on challenging situations. As Vice President of Human Resources, Employee Relations, Labor Relations, Compliance and Environmental Health and Safety for Comcast, James is responsible for engagement and labor relations activities for the company’s West Division Business Unit. His responsibilities include setting yearly engagement activities including coordinating employee surveys and partnering with business leaders to drive productivity and retention. James also oversees union avoidance plans, compliance training, workplace investigations and environmental health and safety activities. He also provides input on litigation strategy and assists in-house counsel with management of employment litigation.
Before joining Comcast, James was Senior Director for Labor Relations for Walmart’s East Business Unit. He was responsible for managing labor relations in a division which encompassed over one thousand stores. His responsibilities included overseeing employee and labor relations issues and investigating and responding to claims of unfair labor practices. He managed a team of six labor relations professionals and regularly partnered with human resources, operations, asset protection and media/corporate affairs. Earlier in his career at Walmart he served as Associate General Counsel, Employment Law in its legal department providing daily employment counseling to executive leadership, human resources and store operations.
Prior to Walmart, James served as Director of Employment and Regulatory Law for the Stop & Shop Supermarket Company, New England’s largest supermarket chain. His responsibilities included providing advice/counsel and litigation management for employment, regulatory and general litigation matters. James was a labor and employment attorney with the law firm of Day, Berry & Howard LLP in Boston.
He received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Connecticut School of Law and his BA in Political Science and English from the University of New Hampshire. He is licensed to practice law in Massachusetts and also has his Senior Professional in Human Resources Certification (SPHR) (2010-Present) and is certified in the Prosci Change Management Process (2014).
Natalie Mattern, MA
With over 10 years of experience, Natalie is an organizational development professional dedicated to helping others reach their potential and cultivating environments where culture can thrive. Her specialty is helping individuals and teams break through old, outdated thought patterns in order to embrace new, productive ways of thinking into action.
Natalie received her MA degree in International and Intercultural Communication from the University of Denver with an emphasis in cross-cultural training. Since then, she has coached, managed and led others in leadership and team development, global education and change management all over the world. She is also a skilled facilitator with accreditation from Insights Discovery® and a former participant of the Daniels College of Business’ High Performance Leadership Program.
Natalie was first introduced to leadership development while working closely with faculty and thought leaders at the University of Denver’s business school. During her time at DU, she worked closely on consulting projects with a number of Fortune 500 companies. She also led the MBA leadership development and global consulting programs for 550 students annually. Since then, Natalie has facilitated, coached and consulted with the world’s third largest bank, Checkers Safety Group, the Regional Institute for Health and Environmental Leadership and smaller organizations in the healthcare, higher education and energy industries.
In her free time, Natalie loves to bike, ski, rock climb and has many failed attempts at surfing.