Join us Friday night, September 9, for a lively and informative look at our history from the creation of the School to tomorrow’s plans for success. Here are our featured speakers, who will be tasked with “lightning talks” to highlight our School’s legacy. They will be joined by Dean Ingrid Fulmer and Chancellor Robert Jones.

Please RSVP at and join us on September 9 at the School!

Carl Soderstrom, MD, is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology with the University of Illinois. He is the grandson of Reuben G. Soderstrom, 40-time president of the Illinois AFL-CIO. Reuben’s tireless work was integral to the creation of a “labor college” in Illinois, and later to the funding that created the LER building.  Dr. Soderstrom and the Soderstrom Family Charitable Trust have honored Reuben and his legacy through the creation of Soderstrom Plaza, and establishment of the Reuben G. Soderstrom International Labor Relations Professorship. Reuben was the first posthumous recipient of the Chancellor’s Medallion, the highest campus honor, in 2022.

Bruce Carmichael, AM 76, had a successful career with Amoco/bp as an accomplished human resources leader. He has been an LER convocation speaker and received the LER Distinguished Alumni Award in 2005. Since retiring in 2019, Bruce has been grandfathering, as he and his wife, Terry, have two grandchildren under age three and a third grandchild due in November. He has also been tutoring Afghan refugees with Terry at Forging Opportunities for Refugees in America in Chicago; joining the Student Advisory Council at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago where he takes acoustic guitar lessons; hiking in Scotland, with his fourth trip planned for this fall; and expanding his O Scale model railroad.

Joyce Ingram, AM/JD 81, is the first graduate of the joint-degree program between LER and the College of Law. She has been an LER convocation speaker and received the LER Distinguished Alumni Award in 2002. Joyce recently retired from the Florida A&M University having served as the Chief of Staff for Finance and Administration/Associate Vice President, and Chief HR and Diversity Officer. Prior to joining FAMU, she served as Assistant Vice President, Chief HR and Diversity Officer at Florida State University.   She began her career in human resources in higher education at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where she served in a variety of roles, including personnel officer, chief labor negotiator, and chief hearing officer for grievances.  Thereafter, she pursued a successful career in the private sector, working for various Fortune 500 companies, including Fisher Controls International, Inc., The Quaker Oats Company, and PepsiCo.

Dan Spaulding, MHRIR 00, Chief People Officer, Zillow Group

Dan Spaulding, MHRIR 00, is the Chief People Officer of Zillow Group, winner of the 2022 Distinguished Alumni Award, and former LER convocation speaker. He currently serves as the Chief People Officer for Zillow Group leading all aspects of people operations, recruiting, equity and belonging, total rewards, talent development, and employee success.  Prior to this role Dan served as the Vice President of US Stores and Operations HR for Starbucks, where his team drove strategy and support for ~8000 stores and ~140,000 partners across the country. Before that role, he helped lead Life Technologies through an M&A heavy strategy, resulting in the sale of the company to Thermo-Fisher Scientific. He started his career as a LER intern with Dell Computer, holding multiple HR roles and completing a three-year international assignment building HR operations across Asia based in Shanghai, China

Pat Walsh, MHRIR 05, Pat Walsh, MHRIR 05, is an LER Alumni Board Member and the Vice President and Head of Human Resources for OilDri Corporation. Prior to OilDri, he worked with both PepsiCo and Yum! Brands. He served as Senior Director of Talent Management and Culture for 58,000 employee North American business unit of a Fortune 50 organization and led the HR agenda and strategy for a $2 billion dollar+ sales region encompassing 15 states across the Midwestern US. He led a team supporting US Operations for the largest QSR pizza company, including a team of 15 HR Generalists and Talent Acquisition professionals, and led a $60 million investment in a large manufacturing and warehouse site expansion to revolutionize bringing products to the marketplace.

Kai Shen, MHRIR 17, Senior Consultant in the People Advisory Services at EY. He was a campus hire for Cummins, Inc., serving first as a summer intern and then as an HR partner for over four years post-graduation. He has direct experience in leading and participating in projects in Org Design, Talent Process Redesign, HR Transformation, and People Analytics. Kai was a May Family Fellow as a student at LER and has served as a speaker for LER’s data analytics classes for the past three years. In addition to his master’s degree he has earned a PHR Certificate.

Princess Draine, MHRIR 21, is beginning her career with PepsiCo in St. Louis, MO, as a Human Resources Representative in a unionized Frito-Lay Sales Distribution Center. She started this role in 2022, after serving as a corporate HR intern for PepsiCo in the summer of 2021. She serves as a member for the recruiting teams on campus at both the University of Illinois and Texas A&M University. She was an ASPIRE fellow through the Graduate College at the University of Illinois. In addition to her LER degree, she possesses a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Texas A&M University.