Leon Cerna, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, ACC | 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, SPHR | 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.
Brooke Smith has spent her career working with start-ups in the education space. She was inspired by her own experiences in the classroom – too many moments were spent feeling like she wasn’t retaining the information, that she was just waiting for the sessions to end so she could receive credit. She decided to work towards making formal learning opportunities into experiences that individuals would look forward to while also finding growth and inspiration. She most recently established a partnership with her company Brelis Consulting and HR Advantage Group to best leverage her strengths to advise executives and business owners on the implementation and prioritization of Learning and Development across the employee lifecycle. She also works directly with Franchisors to create replicable training and onboarding for their Franchisee locations. Previously, she had a five year stint at General Assembly, an educational technology company, where she was the Regional Director of Colorado. This entailed building the campus from the ground up while overseeing sales, marketing, instruction, customer success and finances. Experiencing the ins and outs of a small business as the primary stakeholder gave her real perspective and experience that translates into her work. She emphasizes bringing data to the conversation whenever possible, and that engagement is the key to learning. Before General Assembly, she worked in education and operations for corporate retail and maker spaces in New York City. She oversaw instructional teams, customer success teams and event management. She was a part of companies as small as three people and as large as a thousand plus.
Brooke currently serves on the Women’s Council at The Commons on Champa, a leadership group dedicated to supporting the growth of female entrepreneurs, and as an executive board member for Blue Bench, a local non-profit. She also teaches regularly at General Assembly and leads events at the annual Denver Startup Week. She has a BA from Connecticut College and has received certificates from General Assembly in Data Analytics, Business Fundamentals and User Experience Design.