Tanjia M. Coleman, Ph.D. is a human capital strategist with more than 15 years of experience working as a senior level human resources professional in Fortune 100 companies including Microsoft, Starbucks, Sears and Motorola. Currently, she is the senior director, human resources for Kindercare Education. Kindercare Education is the largest early childhood education (ECE) provider in the United States with a network of more than 1,700 locations worldwide, employing over 30,000 education professionals, operating early childhood education centers, international schools and large school management systems, which together touch over 300,000 students daily.
As the senior director, human resources, Coleman supports a nationwide team of 50 leaders, at over 450 locations, in the acquisition, development, measurement and retention of talent that reinforces the continuous growth and improvement of Kindercare Education's fastest growing Champions brand. Prior to joining Kindercare Education, Coleman was responsible for driving employee engagement, developing training and managing human resources transformation efforts in talent acquisition, employee relations and organizational development at DeVry Education Group. Her contributions included creating New Leader Assimilation and New Hire Immersion processes. During her tenure she was the recipient of several awards at DeVry including PRIDE (Professional Recognition of Integrity, Dedication and Excellence), which is awarded to the top 5% of achievers; Legacy of Service for exemplary customer service; and Human Resources Newcomer of the Year.
Prior to joining DeVry, Coleman was a member of the Starbucks Corporate Human Resources management team and was responsible for leadership development, change management, organizational design and training. She received a certificate of appreciation for her accomplishments in May of 2008.
Before Starbucks, Coleman was the diversity program manager at Microsoft. Her focus was on expanding the organization’s diversity and change management initiatives. She impacted 76,000 employees with $2M in cost savings by developing a flexible work portal that supported telecommuters and the green initiatives of governmental agencies. Coleman earned a “You Are a Star” award for her efforts.
Coleman completed her dissertation to earn her Ph.D. in Organization Development in January 2016 from Benedictine University. In 2014 she received, “The Best Student Paper Award” at the Academy of Management - ISEOR conference in Lyon, France. She has completed research papers, presented as well as served as a reviewer and discussant at the Midwest Academy of Management, Southwest Academy of Management, Western Sciences Decision Institute and the International Socio-Economic Institute of Firms and Organizations. Her work was further recognized and published in the Recherches en Sciences de Gestion 2015 publication. Coleman also holds a Master of Science degree in Industrial and Employee Relations from Loyola University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from DePaul University.
Coleman is on the Education Committee of HRMAC (Human Resources Management Association of Chicago) and serves as a committee member of the Organization Development Network (ODN). Coleman is also a member of the Society of Human Resource Management, National Association of African Americans in Human Resources and Society for Hispanic Human Resource Professionals and presenter at the National Diversity Council.
Aimee Ford, is a full-time student, employee, business owner and mother of two boys.
Pranali (Mehta) Sirohi, O.D., C05, earned her B.S. in Health Science from Benedictine University. She was featured in the Winter 2016 issue of Voices magazine.
When Pranali Sirohi reflects on her time as a student at Benedictine, it’s the career guidance and preparation for her future she received that stands out the most. Today, she is an accomplished optometrist and small business owner in Naperville. She runs her own practice, The Eye World, along with her husband and is the proud parent of a newborn son.
“Benedictine really prepared me for my future experiences,” Sirohi said. “It was not only the detailed knowledge I gained from my classes, but in interacting with classmates and studying together that helped prepare me as well. My professors were also instrumental in guiding me in the right direction.”
As a member of the Optometry Club, she formed a close network with other like-minded students and consulted with them on which classes to take, asked questions about the profession, found a job shadowing opportunity and was able to research and compare notes on different optometry schools.
While in school, Sirohi became an optician at a local vision center at which she was able to shadow an optometrist, interact with patients, sell eyewear and learn more about the eye care profession. “It was an exciting opportunity,” Sirohi said. “I learned all the ins and outs of this fi¬eld before I started optometry school. The experience made my transition to my career smoother as I knew what to expect.”
After earning her Doctor of Optometry, she started working for a retail vision services chain. While she was able to gain important experience in the position, she soon realized this particular work environment, which drew an exceptionally high volume of patients, wasn’t for her. After two years, she decided to open her own practice at which she could spend more time diagnosing and treating people on a more one-on-one and personal level.
“The journey was like a rollercoaster ride with all the ups and downs of starting a business,” Sirohi said. “Nevertheless, nothing stopped me from doing what I always wanted to do, and in January 2013 my husband and I opened The Eye World.
“I must say it is not an easy task to own and run a small business,” she added. “There are many small things in everyday operations that need to be taken care of, but the satisfaction of doing what you love overcomes the stress you go through. I spend most of my time with patients, medical billing and continuing education to keep myself up-to-date with current medical research. Balancing both roles after three years is getting better with each coming month.”
At her practice, she provides comprehensive eye exams and consults with patients who have various eye injuries and diseases, such as glaucoma. She also provides free eye exams and eyeglasses to low-income patients, and for every patient who purchases a pair of glasses, she donates a pair to a resident of the community in fi¬nancial need.
Her medical expertise has also helped underprivileged people thousands of miles away. While on a mission trip to India, she and other medical professionals provided eye exams to 500 people living in a remote village, 100 of whom needed cataract surgery.
“My education in optometry made me realize how important our vision is and how some things should not be taken for granted,” Sirohi said. “I wanted to be able to give back to the poor and needy, and the gift of improved eyesight is the most rewarding thing to anyone who cannot see clearly.”
For students who are interested in following her footsteps, Sirohi recommends completing prerequisites in Health Science or Biology during the fi¬rst two years of undergraduate study to have the time to prepare for the Optometry Admission Test, visit optometry schools, shadow optometrists or work as an optician to get more experience.
She stays connected to Benedictine through faculty and friends and has hired Benedictine students who are interested in becoming future optometrists. “As an alumnus and someone who values time spent at Benedictine, I think it is important to help prospective students come one step closer toward their dreams for a profession,” Sirohi said.
“I love everything about my profession,” she added. “Owning my practice has allowed me to spend more time with patients and educate them about their eyes. Spending quality time, diagnosing, treating and providing quality eye care is what I enjoy most.”
David Sudzus, C87
Partner and Vice Chair of the Products Liability and Mass Tort Practice Group at Drinker, Biddle & Reath, LLC
David Sudzus is a partner and vice chair of the Products Liability and Mass Tort Practice Group at Drinker, Biddle & Reath, LLC, which focuses on product liability, mass tort, pharmaceutical, medical device and asbestos litigation and class actions. He represents manufacturers of medical devices and other products in single and multidistrict cases throughout the country. He advises companies in preparing product manuals, warnings labels and re-call programs. He helps clients guard against future claims and position themselves strategically to defend their products if litigation arises. He is a regular speaker and panelist on topics such as federal preemption, product recalls, Medicare/Medicaid reporting and biopharmaceuticals. He is also a member of the firm’s Public Interest Law Committee and was an originating member of the firm’s Electronic Discovery and Data Management Team. Sudzus has a long history of defending manufacturers of asbestos-containing products and clients involved in asbestos premises-liability claims. Sudzus is also active in pro bono matters, handling cases involving commercial disputes, alleged civil rights violations and other issues.
Sudzus earned his Juris Doctor from Northwestern University School of Law in 1990 and earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Benedictine University in 1987. While at Benedictine University, then known as Illinois Benedictine College, Sudzus was part of the Scholar's Program. He also participated in various activities including the Model U.N., a national mock trial competition and served as co-editor and editor of the school newspaper.
Sudzus is a product of Chicago's Southside and a lifelong resident of the city, where he currently resides with his wife and two children and staunchly supports his beloved Chicago White Sox and Chicago Bears.
Joseph Ward, C15
Guest Experience Manager at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort and Disney’s Pop Century
Joe Ward is a recreation guest experience manager at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort and Disney’s Pop Century located at the Walt Disney World Resort. Ward is a proud Benedictine alumnus from the class of 2015. He majored in Communications with a Theology minor. Ward also served two terms at student senate president where he influenced many university improvements.He also served as an honorary member of the Board of Trustees.
Robert Weatherly, M.D., C82
Chief of Otolaryngology and Vice Chair for Quality and Safety at Children’s Mercy Hospital
Robert (“Bob”) Weatherly, M.D. graduated from Benedictine in 1982 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry. He went on to attend medical school in Houston, Texas at Baylor College of Medicine from 1982 to 1986 and completed his Otolaryngology residency at Baylor from 1986 to 1992. He spent one year completing his fellowship training in Pediatric Otolaryngology at the Children's Hospital of Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts.
He went on to join the faculty at the University of Michigan from 1993 to 2003. This was the beginning of Dr. Weatherly’s career in academic medicine, and he was closely involved in education, research and clinical care. The University of Michigan gave Dr. Weatherly a solid foundation on which to build his career. He went on to take a position at The University of Kansas and Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City in 2003. Children’s Mercy is ranked as one of America’s best pediatric hospitals by U.S. News and World Report. They have an active Otolaryngology training program which includes resident physicians from several programs (most notably, The University of Kansas) and a Pediatric Otolaryngology Fellowship.
Dr. Weatherly currently serves as the Chief of the Section of Otolaryngology and Vice Chair for Quality and Safety in the Department of Surgery at the hospital and is an Associate Professor of Surgery at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine. His primary clinical interests are airway reconstruction and the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. He continues to be involved in many areas of medicine including education, research, clinical care and medical administration.
Dr. Weatherly says his teachers and professors at Benedictine had a profound influence on him. “I probably only now appreciate how much their investment of time and energy has helped me personally,” he said. When he looks back on his college days, he appreciates the fact that the education he and his classmates received was even more valuable than they realized at the time. “I think my favorite memory of IBC is to look back and realize that we were all growing in knowledge and wisdom together (especially when we were all working hard!).”