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ABOUT US > OUR TEAM

More Than Just Good Looks

 

With more than 200 years of recruiting and human resources experience among the core team, it's no wonder that some of the nation's leading companies are turning to Talent Connections for recruiting advisement, staffing and search. Rest assured that you will receive only seasoned professionals during your engagement. Meet the core team:

Tom Darrow, Principal

Jim Hartsook, Vice President

Rod Chally , Vice President

Lin Bennett, Vice President Business Development & Marketing

Patricia Hughes, Vice President

Teela Jackson, Vice President, HR Search

Allison Auld, Director, Talent Delivery

Gary Shaar, Director

Ginger Wallis, Talent Delivery Consultant
Vernesha Smith, Talent Delivery Coordinator


Tom Darrow

Principal
Email: TomDarrow@talentconnections.net

Telephone: 770-633-5242

Fax: 770-992-3521

Thomas M. Darrow is the Founder and Principal of Talent Connections, LLC (www.talentconnections.net).   Since 1999, the Atlanta based professional services firm has specialized in recruiting—including recruitment process outsourcing (RPO), executive search, HR consulting, and contract recruiting.  Current and past clients include The Coca Cola Company, Habitat for Humanity International, Mercedes-Benz USA, ADP, Booz Allen Hamilton, the American Cancer Society, Deloitte, Newell Rubbermaid, Microsoft, McKesson, Mercedes-Benz, and the Southern Company. Talent Connections was named in 2007 and 2008 to the Inc. 500 list of America’s fastest growing private companies for realizing 1700% revenue growth.

In March, 2009, Tom teamed with nationally recognized recruiting and career transition experts to launch Career Spa, LLC (www.careerspa.net).  The career management company is revolutionizing the way unemployed and misemployed workers are equipped to assess and proactively manage their careers. 

Tom has almost 30 years’ experience in the Human Resources and Recruitment profession -- including 9 years with the global professional services firms of Price Waterhouse (now PricewaterhouseCoopers) and Andersen Consulting (now Accenture).  

He is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Atlanta Chapter (SHRM-Atlanta).  At the National level, he has served on the SHRM Foundation Board from 2010 to 2017 and was Board Chair in 2015 and 2016.  He also served on the SHRM Staffing Management Special Expertise Panel from 2005-2008 and on the Cost per Hire (CPH) Standard Taskforce. In 2016, he was chosen at Inaugural Board President for the Association of Talent Acquisition Professionals (ATAP).  On a local level, he was the 2006 and 2007 President of SHRM-Atlanta, the largest city Chapter in the country out of 600 Chapters and served on the Board of Directors from 2005-2008.  Under his leadership, SHRM-Atlanta’s membership increased 60% to over 2600 members and the Chapter launched two programs that won a 2007 SHRM Pinnacle Award for membership growth and a 2008 SHRM Pinnacle Award for the Mayor’s Youth Program.  In 2015 he received the SHRM-Atlanta Lifetime Achievement Award and was named the HR Leader of the Year by the SHRM Georgia State Council.  He is the Founder and former Chair of the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) Recruiting Society and has served on the TAG Board of Directors from 2005 through 2009.  From 2005 through 2007, he was the Inaugural President of the TAG Leadership Council and served on the Executive Committee of the TAG Board. 

Tom earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Accounting from the University of Notre Dame.  He speaks internationally at conferences and workshops on topics related to improving corporate recruiting processes and career management best practices, and he has been quoted in publications including BusinessWeek, Inc. Magazine, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, The Atlanta Business Chronicle, The Washington Post, and HR Magazine and has been interviewed on National Public Radio (NPR) and WXIA TV – Channel 11 in Atlanta.   

In addition to his leadership in the Human Resources and Recruiting profession, Tom is dedicated to community service through many volunteer activities. He currently serves on the Board of Advisors for the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce.  As a lead volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta, he served as a Big Brother from 1991 to 1998 and was honored as the Big Brother of the Year in Gwinnett County in 1996. In 2002 he served on the Board of Directors and was Chair of the Ambassadors for Big Brothers Big Sisters.  In 2001, he was voted the Ambassador of the Year.  In 2005, he was the Co-Chair of the Arby’s Charity Tour golf tournament which raised a record $285,000.  He was Chair of the Board of the Inward Bound Center for Nonprofit Leadership from 2012 to 2015.  From 2003 through 2005, Tom served on the Board of Directors for The Partnership Against Domestic Violence.  He served as a Host Committee Member of High Tech Ministries from 1999 to 2011.  Tom founded and is President of the Atlanta HR Prayer Breakfast, Inc.  Tom has also a leader and frequent speaker in the Crossroads Career Network career ministry since 1997.  In 2008, 2011 and 2016, Tom was nominated for the Turknett Leadership Character Award in the CEO category and was a finalist for the North Fulton County Chamber of Commerce Small Business Person of the Year Award in 2008.

Tom lives in Murphy, NC and Atlanta, GA with his wife Anne and parrot, Mango.  He enjoys golf, Notre Dame Football, Christian music, spending time with family and friends, and comedy.  In 2004, he made his stand-up comedy debut at The Punch Line, the premier comedy club in the Southeast.  Tom is also a significant shareholder of the Green Bay Packers. 

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Jim Hartsook, Certified Coach and SPHR

Vice President
Email: JimHartsook@talentconnections.net

Telephone: 803-439-6055

Fax: 770-992-3521

Jim is currently Vice President of Coaching with Career Spa / Talent Connections. His objective is to help every individual and organization he works with achieve their highest potential and overcome the obstacles that may be holding them back. Jim is a certified coach and holds the HR certification of SPHR (Senior Professional in Human Resources). His specialties include Executive, Leadership, and Career Coaching.

Prior to his current coaching practice Jim spent most of his career with PricewaterhouseCoopers and Deloitte Touché where he was actively involved in coaching, human resources, training, and administration. His experience included strategic planning, leadership development, mentoring, recruiting, training, compensation, resource deployment, budgeting, benefits, evaluation, diversity/EEOC and legal issues. He holds a Masters degree in College Student Personnel with an emphasis in Guidance & Counseling and a bachelor’s degree in Education.

Jim holds membership in a number of professional organizations including the International Coach Federation; the Georgia Coach Association; and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

If you would like to know more about Jim you can visit his LinkedIn profile at https://www.linkedin.com/in/jim-hartsook-certified-coach-98b3279

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Rod Chally

Vice President
Email: RodChally@talentconnections.net

Telephone: 904-371-3104

Fax: 770-992-3521

As Vice President of the Jacksonville Practice for Talent Connections, Rod is responsible for business development and project management of executive search assignments.  He focuses efforts in Jacksonville as well as serving clients nationwide.  Rod has worked with clients in professional services, financial services, retail, manufacturing and healthcare.

Rod has an extensive resume of human resources and recruiting expertise.  Prior to Talent Connections Rod served as a Director of Executive search for ATS Services, a Jacksonville-based company providing recruiting solutions for clients.  He was responsible for relationship management and business development of executive search assignments with leading, global clients.  Previously, Rod recruited senior-level sales and marketing executives for Accenture in North America.  At Ernst & Young, he was a human resources consultant providing retained, executive search services and organization development consulting services for clients.   Additionally, he served as Vice President of Human Resources for a division of a leading apparel company, Hart Schaffner & Marx.

Rod received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Personnel Management from Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.   He enjoys spending his spare time on the wonderful golf courses of NE Florida.  His wife, Pam, is the Dean of the Brooks College of Health at the University of North Florida.  Their favorite time away from work is with their children and five granddaughters in Jacksonville and Atlanta.  For 18 years Rod has served as Chair of the Personnel Ministry at Palms Presbyterian Church in Jacksonville Beach.

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Lin Bennett

Vice President, Business Development & Marketing

Email: LinBennett@talentconnections.net

Telephone: 770-833-3246

Fax: 770-992-3521

Lin Bennett is the Vice President of Business Development and Marketing for the Atlanta area office of Talent Connections, LLC and Career Spa LLC.  She has over twenty years of extensive experience in relationship building, recruitment, and business development.   Lin believes that focusing on the needs of her clients first will foster partnerships that will benefit both the client and their firm.  She is known for her personal accountability to deliver extraordinary client experiences.

 

Lin has held corporate HR executive leadership positions in Talent Acquisition supporting Fortune 300 firms hire great talent across the nation.  These roles encompass relationship management for over 400 leaders and executives, leadership roles in B2B integration projects and executing multiple concurrent nationwide hiring campaigns. 

 

Prior to joining Talent Connections, Lin held Talent Acquisition leadership roles at Assurant and SunTrust for over 10 years.   She also has experience in Retained Search and IT Staffing where she held successful business development roles growing her firm’s business quickly.     Lin is recognized for her ability to partner with diverse leaders, listen to understand their needs and contribute to designing and delivering exceptional results.   Lin also has a passion for helping new talent find their place by supporting organizations like Year Up and designing campus recruitment programs.  Lin also supports American Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity by helping them launch new hope for others in need. 

 

Lin earned her M.B.A. and undergraduate degree from Babson College (ranked #1 Business School) in the Boston area.  She received her Professional in Human Resources certification in 2008.  She moved to Atlanta with her family and lives in Roswell with her husband, Rich and their dog Brooke.  Lin has trained with service dogs and plans to be a dog trainer one day as she believes dogs help us all live life fuller. 

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Patricia Hughes

Vice President, Metro Washington, D.C. office

Email: PatriciaHughes@talentconnections.net

Telephone: 770-633-3199

Fax: 770-992-3521

Patricia Hughes is the VP of the Metro Washington, DC office of Talent Connections, LLC. She is an experienced business leader with a background in HR technology and staffing.  She focuses on understanding her client’s requirements and delivering search solutions to help organizations acquire exceptional Human Resources and Executive level leaders that will help them meet their goals.

Patricia has held leadership positions with corporate and early stage technology and staffing providers, where she was responsible for growing revenue and partnerships.  She is recognized for her business acumen and collaborative approach, she focuses on building revenue streams and relationships for long term growth. Patricia has a strong track record in helping organizations realize returns on their talent development investments.

Before joining Talent Connections, LLC, Patricia realized a long-time dream and used her business experience and passion for helping others in the nonprofit space. Patricia spent two and a half years, supporting the launch of a new placement and career coaching organization, working exclusively with Year Up alumni. She was responsible for developing corporate partnerships to secure employment for urban youth and helped the organization grow from $250K to over $5M in revenue. She is passionate about Closing the Opportunity Divide that confronts many young adults today and continues to mentor and coach.

Patricia earned a degree in business management and economics from North Carolina State University and is a certified Strategic Alliance Professional.  She is an active community volunteer, leading fund raising and service projects.  Patricia lives in Alexandria, VA with her husband, Eric, a retired Army Officer and West Point graduate. Their son, Taylor, recently graduated from the University of Alabama and is working in Augusta GA.

 

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Teela Jackson
Vice President, HR Search
Email: TeelaJackson@talentconnections.net

Telephone: 678-522-6131

Fax: 770-992-3521

Teela Jackson has successfully partnered with organizations to identify, attract and acquire key talent.  She is Vice President, HR Search with Talent Connections. Teela has enjoyed a progressive career with the firm since joining in 2005 and leads the HR Search Practice.

 

Teela received the Atlanta Business Chronicle 40 Under 40 Award and is a member of the 10th class of honorees. She is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and serves as SHRM Georgia District Director.  She has been an active volunteer leader with the largest city chapter in the country, SHRM-Atlanta, for 10+ years and serves as a Board Advisor.  Teela was the first African-American female President of SHRM-Atlanta in 2014.  She has been awarded the SHRM-Atlanta Presidential Leadership Award and SHRM Georgia Volunteer of the Year Award.  She is also the founder of SHRM-Atlanta’s HR Young Professionals Community.  Teela has also served as a Board Member for the Brian Jordan Foundation (retired MLB player), volunteered with Crossroads Career Network, Atlanta Center for Self Sufficiency (ACSS), Habitat for Humanity and she gives time and clothing to foster children.

 

Teela is active across professional social media platforms – LinkedIn & Twitter.  She has been featured in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Atlanta Business Chronicle, WXIA-TV 11Alive News and frequently speaks at professional association meetings and conferences across the US.

 

Teela earned a Master of Business Administration degree in Management from Mercer University in Atlanta and a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Human Resources from The University of Tennessee at Martin.

 

Teela is originally from Nashville, TN and has called the Atlanta area home since 2000. 

 

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Allison Auld

Director, Talent Delivery
Email: AllisonAuld@talentconnections.net

Telephone: 404-444-2855

Allison Auld serves as Director of Talent Delivery.  Allison is an experienced HR professional who has worked in large and mid-size companies.  She has a passion for connecting with business leaders to understand how to best strategize and problem solve in finding exceptional talent for her clients.     Prior to Talent Connections, Allison was a Senior Human Resources Business Partner at Carter’s in Atlanta, GA.  Carter’s is the market leader of baby and children’s apparel under the Carter’s and OshKosh B’Gosh brand names. Prior to joining Carter’s, Allison was a Regional Director of Employment for Macy’s.

Allison has held roles in corporate Human Resources and Retail at various companies including Jones Lang LaSalle, Lord and Taylor and Books-A-Million.

Counseling others in career transition and helping them to prepare to successfully re-launch their professional brand is what drives her personal goal, which is to inspire growth in herself and others, through counsel and connection, fully engaged in serving the greater good.

Allison grew up in the Chicago suburbs and received her Bachelors of Science from Illinois State University.  She holds membership and is active in several professional HR organizations including Society Human Resource Management (SHRM), Certified Employee Benefit Specialists (CEBS), Atlanta Area Compensation Association (AACA), Association Talent Development (ATD), International Association of Information Management (IHRIM) and the Atlanta chapter of the American Payroll Association (APA).

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Ginger Wallis
Talent Delivery Consultant
Email: GingerWallis@talentconnections.net

Telephone: 770-617-9057

Ginger Wallis is a solid relationship builder with over 20 years’ experience in Talent Acquisition, Career Coaching, and Business Development. She has extensive experience in account management and full, life cycle recruiting, including: networking, creating a target list and cold calling, sourcing from social media, databases and job boards. Ginger possesses a strong attention to detail and customer service. In her work, she seeks to fully understand what client’s desire to achieve, and then Ginger works to make that happen.

Ginger attended Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business with an emphasis in Human Resources.  She began her career in the staffing industry rising to a Director of Operations role. She then moved to an Executive Search firm and placed high level Human Resources consultants and performed executive search in Human Resources, Finance & Accounting, as well as Sales & Marketing.  Ginger has been with Talent Connections since 2005, where she has been responsible for Talent Acquisition & Delivery across all industries for all levels of Human Resources professionals, as well as executive search in the non-profit space.

Ginger is a native Georgian, raised in Marietta and living with her family in Roswell. She is an active volunteer in the Cobb County School system, leads a Fellowship of Christian Athletes club and a Moms in Prayer community, as well as a volunteer for Career Crossroads at her home church, Johnson Ferry Baptist.

 

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Gary Shaar
Director
Email: GaryShaar@talentconnections.net

Telephone: 770-674-4685

With more than fifteen years of experience in contract recruiting and executive search and more than 20 years in government and corporate leadership roles, Gary has a wealth of know-how and professional contacts. He has conducted thousands of successful searches in his career across a number of industries and is excellent at defining job roles and placing long-term candidates in them. He is an expert in IT and Software recruiting for most skill sets and job levels.  Gary has completed successful long-term contract recruiting engagements with Microsoft, NCR, Equifax, Cox Automotive, Internap, Linux (formerly JBoss), Choice Point, Jackson Healthcare, The Georgia Technology Authority and several other well-known companies.

A former Navy officer and pilot, Gary holds a master's in finance and management from Webster University and a bachelor's of science in biology from Rutgers University. He is a member of the leadership team of the TAG Recruiting Society, on the leadership team for the Roswell United Methodist Church Job Search Ministry and a volunteer at Open Hand. Gary enjoys international travel, wine tasting and weight training.  His daughter is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and is a consultant with KPMG.

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Vernesha Smith

Talent Delivery Coordinator
Email: VerneshaSmith@talentconnections.net

Telephone: 404-474-0505

Fax: 770-992-3521

As Talent Delivery Coordinator, Vernesha plays a critical role in enabling our HR Search team to effectively fill open positions in record time.  She sources qualified candidates, keeps our network informed of full-time and contract opportunities, coordinates key human resources and recruiting community events, manages our database and supports our branding/marketing initiatives.  In many ways she’s the “glue” that holds everything together at Talent Connections and Career Spa.

Vernesha earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Human Resources from Georgia Southwestern State University.  She serves as the Youth Director for her church and she’s very active in the Pike County School System.   In her spare time, she enjoys spending time her husband, Harland and their three children. 

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