Maria N. Smirensky has spent her career in the Human Resources and Benefits arena. She has an extensive background working in the not-for-profit, financial, education, and healthcare industries.   Her educational background includes her SPHR, SHRM-SCP, MBA, and MS in Employment Law.

Maria has served on the NYS SHRM Council as the Chair of the Foundation Committee.  Maria is a member of the Hope House Board of Directors and sits on the Personnel Committee.  Maria has been a member of CRHRA, NYS SHRM, and SHRM for over 20 years and is the Chair of the Legislative Committee for CRHRA.

Keshana has over 15 years of experience serving youth, families, and community-based partners. Keshana holds a Masters in Human Resource Management and Health Professions Education Graduate certificate from the University of Connecticut. Keshana started her career in direct care, and care coordination for youth and families in residential treatment and recognized the many systems challenges one faces to access care. From a workforce perspective, Keshana recognized the need for training to navigate systems and meet community members where they are.  Keshana currently works for Alliance for Better Health as their Sr. Director of Community Empowerment, building social care networks that address the social determinants of health (housing, food insecurity, employment, transportation, etc.). Keshana also teaches Community Health Navigation and supervises interns in Hudson Valley Community College’s Community Health Navigation program. Keshana brings to CRHRA her community engagement, public health, performance management, workforce development, and benefit design experience.

Azita Hirsa is a lecturer in the Industrial Systems Engineering Department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Over the years, she has developed and taught a broad range of management courses at both the undergraduate and MBA levels, as a full-time faculty and an adjunct professor at various area colleges. Her main teaching and research focus include Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management.

Azita has been a member of SHRM since 2007 and a member of CRHRA since 2013. She served as a member of the Public Relations committee in 2015 and has been chair of the certification committee since August 2016. She has also served on the board of trustees at the Clifton Park_Halfmoon Public Library and as chair of its Personnel Committee.

Dr. Hirsa earned her Ph.D. at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Lally School of Management and Technology with a focus on
Interdisciplinary Collaboration.

Nafeesa is Director of Workforce Development and Culture for AIM Services, Inc. in Saratoga Springs, NY. She is a motivated, energetic professional with a combined 25 years of progressive responsibility in the hospitality industry, recognized for outstanding leadership as a General Manager. Nafeesa is committed to team dynamics delivering quality services in a customer-centered environment. 

Swinka Richards is a certified Human Resources professional in the Capital District Regional Area. She earned her Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Siena College in Accounting, and a Masters of Business Administration degree in Finance from Sage Graduate School. Swinka started her career at New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) over 17 years ago, as an Accountant for over 13 years, and as a Human Resources professional for over 3 years. Currently, she works as an Assistant in the Program/Retiree Services department at NYSUT.

Swinka became a Licensed Practical Nurse in 2009 and currently moonlights, in nursing homes and assisted livings, in her spare time when not bonding with her teenage son.

Swinka has been a member of both CRHRA and SHRM since 2017 and currently serves as the Chair of the Finance Committee. Her goal is to work with the members of the CRHRA Finance Committee to provide guidance on accounting and reporting practices, make financial planning recommendations, and presenting findings to the CRHRA Board Members.

Margaret D. Stephenson, Esq. is a Member at Dowling Law, PLLC. Ms. Stephenson advises and represents not-for-profit organizations and for-profit  corporations on employment and other matters in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York, New York State Division of Human Rights, the New York State Department of Labor, the New York State Unemployment Board, the OFCCP, and other federal and state courts and agencies. Ms. Stephenson also focuses her work on affirmative action compliance for federal government contractors and subcontractors, developing, maintaining, and advising contractors on Executive Order 11246, Section 503, and VEVRAA-compliant affirmative action plans 

Ms. Stephenson previously worked as an Assistant District Attorney at the Warren County District Attorney’s office, where she prosecuted numerous matters throughout the North Country. She is an active member of the Adirondack Women's Bar Association, previously serving as Vice President and President, and currently serving as Treasurer, and is a member of the Junior League of Albany.

Tom Schin, Creator of Build Better Culture, has been a staple in the recruitment realm for over 15 years working with businesses throughout the Capital District, small and large. Prior to this part of his career, he worked for 10 years as a leader and manager in the publishing industry. Tom brings with him broad training and relationship building experience. In recent years, he has served as President of CRRN, and currently is on the Board of Directors for the Home Made Theater. He is a 2016 graduate of Leadership Saratoga, and is a CultureTalk Certified Partner. By day he’s helping organizations find skilled team members, and by night he’s partnering with local companies to build stronger culture, engagement and leadership programs.

Joe is an HR Consultant / Business Partner with Integra HR, where he supports a wide variety of clients in all aspects of people management. His career has been characterized by a combination of broad operations management experience and human resource specialization in a variety of industries and environments, with a focus on employee relations, process improvement, and leadership development. He is passionate about making people and their organizations better.

Joe holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Siena College, as well as a Master of Science in Organization Management from Sage Graduate School. Certified since 2009, Joe is also a proud 2017 graduate of CRHRA’s HR Leadership Program. A member of CRHRA since 2008, Joe served on the Membership and Student Chapter committees before joining the Board in 2016. After 2 years as Vice President and 3 years as President, Joe is now serving CRHRA as the Past President. This role allows Joe to assist CRHRA’s strong, diverse, and passionate board and committee volunteers in their mission to ensure that CRHRA is the trusted resource of the HR professional.