Hanold Associates Recruits Las Vegas Convention Authority CHRO

May 4, 2016 – Hanold Associates has recruited Barbara Bolender as chief human resources officer (CHRO) for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA). Founder Jason Hanold led the search.

Ms. Bolender will report directly to LVCVA’s chief executive officer and president, Rossi Ralenkotter. She will be responsible for leading, driving and managing change, identifying talent needs across the organization and devising a strategy for talent development, training, risk mitigation and performance management.

Most recently, Ms. Bolender was vice president of legal affairs, labor relations and assistant general counsel for Boyd Gaming. She brings with her several years’ experience in the hospitality and gaming industry.

“Barbara is an outstanding leader with the right blend of characteristics — passion for the broader Las Vegas community, human resources leadership and intellect to drive results in the complexity of an organization that is both a brand organization and a government entity that is the world’s most successful tourism and convention authority,” said Mr. Hanold.


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The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority is one of the most successful public-private partnerships in the country and the brand organization behind “What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas.” The tourism industry is worth nearly $50 billion annually to the region, and the LVCVA efforts are key to the economic growth and sustainability of the entirety of the greater Las Vegas region.

Chicago-based Hanold Associates specializes in senior level HR officer assignments and serves a wide-ranging list of clients, including Nike, Amazon, eBay, Fossil, Carnival Corporation, Outward Bound and Vail Resorts. The firm has been recognized as one of America’s fastest growing private companies by Inc. Magazine.

The firm recently recruited top CHRO’s for outdoor apparel company PatagoniaCPI Card Group, Friedman Operating Group, Video Equipment Rental, NYC Outward Bound Schools, Ferrara Candy Company, and Riddell. It also recently launched a CHRO search for Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) and was brought in to handle the CHRO search for the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

The role of the CHRO has changed dramatically over the years, say recruiters specializing in the sector. Once a mid-level staff position, the head of human resources today sits at the elbow of the CEO and maintains one of the most influential positions within senior management. The job now plays an integral, strategic part in driving a company forward.

The role of CHROs and their direct reports continues to evolve in terms of complexity and impact,” said Kimberly Shanahan, president and chief executive officer of accelHRate. These leaders, she said, are at the heart of linking business strategy with talent strategy and have an enormous amount of levers to work with these days.

A strong HR organization, she said, is now tasked with optimizing data / analytics, systems, talent development & management, talent acquisition, change management, workforce planning, M&A due diligence & integration, risk, succession planning, and total rewards, among other areas.

The role of the CHRO is no longer one that is just administration and transaction oriented,” said Mike Bergen, human resources global practice leader for Allegis Partners. The focus goes well beyond traditional people initiatives, he said.

“Today, CHROs are strategic executives that are constantly interacting with the CEO, members of the executive team, and the board of directors. They are business leaders first who happen to lead the HR function,” he added.

Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media

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