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2011 Unsung Heroes – Human Resources

By: Jane Pribek//November 18, 2011//

2011 Unsung Heroes – Human Resources

By: Jane Pribek//November 18, 2011//

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Human Resources Professional of the Year

Mary Wilkes
Manager, Quarles & Brady LLP

Mary Wilkes is on the fast track.

Wilkes came to Milwaukee-based Quarles & Brady LLP in 2008. She started as a manager of six secretarial leaders, who in turn supervised some 90 secretaries in 11 practice areas.

A year and a half later, she was promoted to the firm’s human resources department, as manager of employee relations for all six offices.

In that role, Wilkes has created a professional development curriculum for supervisory personnel, standardized firm-wide hiring protocols and assisted in the establishment of performance standards for legal secretaries.

Recently, she coordinated an employee engagement survey for the firm and she’s part of the team that will present the results to Quarles’ executive committee.

As an active member of the firm’s paralegal committee, Wilkes said she is honored to be a contact person for those
members of Quarles’ staff.

“Because for me, it’s been very rewarding to gain that credibility and trust,” she said.

John Peterburs, the firm’s executive director, was a part of the team that initially hired Wilkes and later tapped her for human resources.

What made her the best choice both times, he said, was her personality and positive attitude.

“She lights up a room when she enters it,” Petersburs said. “She has a gift for making people feel comfortable. She’s just a delight.”

— Jane Pribek


Donna Boutelle
advanced payroll and benefit specialist, Wisconsin State Public Defender’s Office

Cheryl Olson
advanced payroll and benefit specialist, Wisconsin State Public Defender’s Office

“Cheryl’s and Donna’s assistance and expertise enter the picture after  staff are hired. As advanced payroll and benefit specialists, Cheryl and Donna work directly with every new hire.

They conduct a thorough instruction  on highly detailed policies and options such as time reporting and leave
accounting as well as the benefit  opportunities including insurance coverage and life insurance. Cheryl and Donna will also work with staff over  the course of their employment as  circumstances like marriage and  children affect their benefits. In addition, Cheryl and Donna have successfully converted the entire agency to an automated time and leave reporting system over the past year. They also implemented and tracked furloughs,  and were valued resources to staff concerning changes to state employee benefits and collective bargaining.

Between the two, Cheryl and Donna have a combined 25 years of experience in payroll and benefits.”

Kelli Thompson
state public defender,  Wisconsin

Margie Rem
senior human resources
specialist, Wisconsin State Public Defender’s Office

“Margie Rem, a senior human resources specialist, provides recruitment and staffing services for the full range of job classifications employed at the SPD. She is typically the first contact, and certainly a critical contact, individuals have with the agency. She works directly with job seekers looking for employment openings with the agency as well as job candidates and their respective application materials. Margie treats all contacts with great respect and kindness, all while disseminating accurate information in an applicant-friendly manner. Margie has a total state tenure of 35 years.”

Kelli Thompson
state public defender, Wisconsin


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