My name is Nicole Henneman and I am a leave management and strategic operations phenom.

What in the heck does that mean? Well, I’ve been in this human resources game for over 20 years’ now. My specializations grew over time but I’ve pretty much seen it all. I stumbled into the field fresh out of college, with my public administration degree in hand. Luckily, I landed at the Association Washington Cities (AWC) because I had no idea what I was doing. It’s also fortunate for you because I learned how to advocate for employees while also creating “wins” for the employer.This is far more difficult and way more rewarding than it sounds.

Over the course of my career, I saw that all the areas of human resources are interwoven. If you don’t have trained employees or a solid safety program, they get hurt. Lackluster benefits plans can mean employees go longer without treatment. So where are they going to get the treatment? Under your workers’ compensation plan. Don’t fool yourselves. Without a robust leave management/life-cycle program, you are taking from one hand to give to the other. In plain English, I am a pro in leave management, workers’ compensation, reasonable accommodations, safety programs, risk management, drug and alcohol program administration, training development and delivery, benefits management, program analysis and strategic planning/communications.

Ideally, this means your company will bleed out fewer dollars in claims costs, have happier and healthier employees and a more positive work environment. Remember, I said ideally. This process takes time, culture shifts and process changes. Sometimes entire policy overhauls. You are going to need a lot of communication and buy-in. It gets ugly, sometimes real ugly, in these trenches. That’s where I come in.

So did someone bless my expertise? You bet! I have many, many training hours, as well as several certificates. I am certified as a Disability Management Professional (CPDM) and Oregon Workers’ Compensation Examiner. I also hold the SHRM SENIOR CERTIFIED PROFESSIONAL (SHRM-SCP) designation. Plus, you know, I’ve actually done the work from the ground up and gotten good evals for it. There have even been some employees who commended me. Yes, I absolutely have proof of that last one.

But surely I won’t understand your employees, right? If you’re talking about a manufacturing floor or your operations in Micronesia, that has not been my environment but I have worked in the public and private sectors, as well as a non-profit. I’ve supported non-union/union and multi-union/multi-state programs with employee populations from 400-12,000(+). And, yes, this included call center and field employees.

So what industries do I have experience in? My private sector experience is in the utility industry (electricity and natural gas), and my public sector experience is in government. What kind of government? Glad you asked. While I don’t have federal or tribal experience, I’ve worked for county government, city government, state government, and a multi-city association.  Government is a little broad, right? I worked with transportation, public works, technology, police/fire, and general administration departments. I understand their work, the toll that work can take on their bodies and their, um, unique cultures.

As a creative, I’m active in the Goth community (I wear a lot of black) and I was a member of the Horror Writers Association.

I’m also a member of Mensa (not joking), and the state chapter of  Daughters of the American Revolution.

For Nicole’s other endeavors, please visit: