Stella received a business degree in Human Resource Management and Organizational Behavior from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. After graduating, she returned to her hometown to attend Case Western Reserve University Law School in Cleveland, Ohio. After several years working in traditional practice of law, Stella transitioned into a human resource consulting role. She liked the idea of working with employers upfront and taking a more proactive and preventative stance to avoid employment litigation down the road. She quickly learned intervening early and communicating clear expectations went a long way in defusing potentially litigious situations and costly claims.
Stella’s love and passion for all things work-related started in her early years working at her Dad’s waste removal (“garbage”) company. She attributes much of her HR mindset to her father who always preached a balanced approach when addressing employee relations issues (firm but fair; tough and compassionate; consistent yet flexible). His work ethic, caring nature and humility have always been her inspiration. Through her work today, Stella continues to keep her father’s workplace wisdoms and philosophies alive when helping companies develop employment strategies that become the foundation for their success.
In 2019, Stella had the idea of starting a consulting company on the premise that work should be energizing and engaging, and organizations that take thoughtful action to shape and mold the culture they want will reap the benefits of a high-performing workplace. She knew her legal background and proactive HR mindset could help employers identify compliance gaps while also looking for creative opportunities to motivate employees. She also realized the world of work was rapidly changing and there was a need for consultants who understood the delicate balance between having consistent policies and also being agile enough to bend and flex to meet the desires of a new generation of workers.
In addition to leading ImagineHR, Stella also serves as Of Counsel for Reminger Co., a Cleveland-based law firm specializing in litigation and insurance defense. When wearing her lawyerly hat, she handles cases involving discrimination and harassment, EEOC/OCRC investigations and mediations, union arbitrations, unemployment and workers compensation hearings and other workplace compliance issues. She believes keeping her foot in the door with legal matters helps her effectively advise clients in her role as a consultant on what could go wrong if proper HR policies and practices are lacking or when employers fail to cultivate a trusting and respectful work environment.
Today, Stella spends much of her time advising and counseling business leaders and managers on compliance, culture and employee relations issues. She has brought together a dynamic team of HR practitioners to assist clients in every phase of HR planning and implementation – from recruitment, hiring and onboarding to how to create a culture of accountability, engage a diverse workforce, effectively investigate complaints, respond to accommodation requests, develop fair and balanced employment policies and conduct workplace trainings. Because the HR umbrella is so wide and encompasses so many nuanced employment situations, there is never a dull moment.
Stella and her team are known for being ultra-responsive to client needs and relentless in making sure workplace issues are resolved in the most effective way possible (mitigating risks while maintaining morale). Knowing that every company’s issues are unique and each industry has its nuanced employment situations, Stella will ensure any HR and employment law advice and recommendations match the particular set of circumstances. Her most favorite activity is conducting an HR Audit, where she has the chance to learn about her client’s business and deep dive into organizational culture – identifying gaps, strengths and opportunities for improvement.
She often hears employers say they don’t know what they don’t know when it comes to HR and employment-related issues. They worry they may say or do something that can trigger an employment law claim. They wonder what their obligations are when it comes to handling employee complaints or providing a leave of absence. They want to know what else they can offer to incentivize and retain quality employees. They often feel morale and productivity could be better but are at a loss on how to inspire their teams. They want to feel more organized and confident (and less sporadic and reactive) and create an overall great place to work… so many questions!
At the end of the day, Stella is extremely appreciative and grateful to be in a position to help answer these important questions and support the amazing businesses and organizations in Northeast Ohio and beyond.