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Meet HR: Client partnerships – supporting employees and managers

The HR business partners (left to right, back to front): Venus Kirk, Trisha Milazzo, Veronica Potts, Gregg Cannella, Gabe Suarez, Karen Arnold and Sylvia Chan López.

The HR representatives who lead client partnerships help employees and managers with a variety of one-time, annual and situational concerns, from disability accommodations to performance management, onboarding, employee relations and assignments. 

Accommodation and Leave Services Team

 Team members:

  • Shannon Brooks, Accommodation and Leave Services Manager
  • Ted Dahl, HR Assistant

In about 30 words, what does your team do? We support employees with occupational and non-occupational matters who have or who may develop health issues that interfere with their ability to work, as well as provide consultation and services related to federal and state disability laws, University policies, and collective bargaining agreements.

What services does your team provide?

Provide consultation and management of (this is by no means an exhaustive list):

  • All types of leaves of absence (maternity, baby bonding, disabilities, etc.)
  • Return to work initiatives and reasonable accommodations
  • Worker’s Compensation
  • Policies and procedures to employees, supervisor and managers
  • Catastrophic Leave Sharing program

What’s one thing you’d like your colleagues at UCOP to know about your team?

Most people have a stigma about leaves of absence; discussing illnesses, injuries and/or needing time off work for various reasons.  We are here to support all employees in a comprehensive, holistic, compassionate and discreet manner, where all matters are important and treated with attentiveness and respect.

What’s the easiest way for employees to contact your team if they have questions about your services? You can reach Shannon Brooks directly at (510) 987-0649, or the Accommodation and Leaves team at For general information, visit Accommodation and Leave Services online.

HR Business Partner Team

Team members:

  • Karen Arnold, Sr. HR Business Partner
  • Veronica Potts, HR Business Partner
  • Trisha Milazzo, HR Business Partner
  • Gregg Cannella, HR Business Partner
  • Sylvia Chan López, HR Business Partner
  • Venus Kirk, HR Business Partner
  • Gabe Suarez, Sr. HR Generalist

In about 30 words, what does your team do?

As thought partners, we help develop strategies that ensure our clients have what they need to be successful, align employee efforts with the UC mission, and develop UC’s most important asset, its people.

What services does your team provide?

We partner with clients to provide advice and guidance on various HR topics including, but not limited to:

  • Workforce planning and staffing: We can help you determine the correct position titles and recruit candidates for open positions.
  • Strategic planning: As you envision the future of your team, we can anticipate and plan for coinciding HR needs.
  • Change management: If your team is restructuring, we can help you communicate about it with your employees.
  • Employee and labor relations: We can answer questions around break periods, PTO accrual, UC policy and other employee-related issues.
  • Performance management: We drive the annual performance management process and are available to help employees and managers with any questions.
  • Compensation: We’ll help you benchmark salaries for new positions or determine whether current salaries should be adjusted.

What’s one thing you’d like your colleagues at UCOP to know about your team?

HR is for everyone at UCOP. While we often work with managers and business leaders to address the needs of the business, we also meet with employees to help with their individual needs. We are always happy to discuss career planning and assist with any challenges employees may be facing at work. 

HR is often contacted to help solve a problem that has already occurred. But, we can help proactively prevent problems from occurring or escalating when we are involved early. Including your HR business partners in business-planning discussions and team meetings provides us with insight into your future needs so we can help you to plan proactively.

What’s the easiest way for employees to contact your team if they have questions about your services?

Visit our website to see which member of our team supports your division or sub-division at UCOP.

Special Projects Team

Team member:

  • Venus Kirk, Human Resources Business Partner

 In about 30 words, what do you do?  I support the HR team by training new staff, creating reports for managing and reporting on HR activities. My special projects include the new Talent Acquisitions and Management System (TAMS); performance management system (ePerformance) and electronic records management project.

What services do you provide?

  • Train new HR staff on processes, procedures and reports that are available
  • Serve on teams to improve processes and develop new ones
  • Provide reports to department/divisions upon request
  • Initiate employment service credit milestone notifications
  • Resolve UCPath issues for employees
  • Specialist in CATS and the UCLA Oasis systems

 What’s one thing you’d like your colleagues at UCOP to know about you?

I am available for questions or concerns about the UC HR systems, prior service credit and any other HR issues or concerns for employees.

What’s the easiest way for employees to contact you if they have questions about your services? You can reach me directly at (510) 987-0533 or

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