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APRIL 2024

In this edition:

ACC Welcomes Inaugural Director of Talent

Meet ACC's New Business Partners

From the VC

From Vision to Reality: Reflecting on Year One

Riverbat Faculty and Staff,

As my one-year mark approaches, I am grateful to serve as your Vice Chancellor for Human Resources. Reflecting on our journey, I'm proud of the foundational strides we've made in enhancing our HR services to best support you, our valued employees, and the strategic objectives of our College.

Upon joining the team, I introduced the Society for Human Resources Management's eight HR Functions to guide our efforts (pictured here). With a double-digit deficit in filled positions, a budget that remained stagnant for 20 years, and calls for better service, it was crucial to assess and prioritize our needs. In addition to right-sizing the staff, I worked with college leadership on safety/legal compliance, HR staffing effectiveness, student-facing needs, and college strategic initiatives while responding to daily individual inquiries and immediate needs. 

Addressing critical concerns demanded gritty determination, particularly in areas like revising our I-9 process and refining hiring protocols. Despite these operational challenges, we remained steadfast in our commitment to improving HR effectiveness. Recognizing the need for structural reinforcement to support critical needs across ACC, we created four pivotal positions: HR Managing Director, HR Communications Coordinator, HR Business Partner, and Director of Talent.

Identifying talent from within is a cornerstone of our approach, empowering individuals like Soledad Garcia-Brady, Alisol Martinez, and Erica Breedlove to assume new responsibilities and lead positive change within our team. With these additions and promotions, our HR team is now nearly fully staffed with 32 members out of a budgeted 33, each with a defined role to best serve ACC employees.  

Navigating diverse perceptions of what HR does or should do has been a challenge, but stakeholder feedback has been invaluable in shaping our direction. We're committed to fostering understanding and transparency, including introductions to your dedicated HR Business Partners. These individuals will serve as liaisons with the HR “Home Office” and College leadership in support of enhancement of the ACC employee experience and achievement of our collective goals.  

Looking ahead, we're excited to introduce a series of education and training opportunities aligned with our core values, designed to foster a culture of Belonging & Connection. Additionally, our Compensation & Classification study will inform a fair and sustainable organizational structure, ensuring equitable compensation and opportunities for growth.

As we continue to evolve, our commitment to you remains steadfast: to cultivate a workplace where every individual feels valued, supported, and inspired to thrive. Together, we can navigate the journey ahead, knowing that our collective efforts will shape a bright future for the ACC of today and tomorrow. 

Warm Regards,

Kelly Torrico

Vice Chancellor of Human Resources


Meet ACC's New Business Partners

In the last HappyHr newsletter we introduced the concept of HR Business Partners as our three new hires began settling into their roles. In this edition, we'll learn more about their backgrounds and what they bring to ACC.

Donald Jackson has more than 15 years of experience as a Human Capital professional, most recently as an HR Manager for the City of Austin. He is a proud veteran of the US Air Force and his background includes stints as HR Director for the Department of Veteran Affairs and adjunct college professor. Donald holds an MBA from the University of Phoenix, a BS in HR Management, and professional certification from the Society for Human Resource Management. During his free time, Donald enjoys traveling, attending live entertainment events, and spending time with family.

Aly Wang was part of the HR leadership development program at Baker Hughes before coming to ACC. That position gave her opportunities to work with a variety of HR teams such as talent management, HR technology, and talent acquisition. Aly has a Master’s degree in Human Resources from University of Minnesota at Twin Cities and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from UT Austin. She enjoys exploring coffee shops, going to parks, and spending time with her family.

For many at ACC, Erica Breedlove needs no introduction. She has served the college as its Employment and Outreach Services Manager for more than 23 years, helping both employees and new hires with their employment needs. She also has worked as the Director of Workforce Development at the Austin Area Urban League and as an Account Executive/Recruiter with Spherion. Erica has a Master's in Organizational Change and Leadership and a Bachelor's in Human Resources Management. She volunteers with Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and enjoys good food, 90’s R&B music, and candid conversations with family and friends​.

All three business partners have been meeting with their assigned dotted-line supervisors, the vice-chancellors over their assigned areas of responsibility. They're also undergoing on-the-job training to ensure consistency in our business practices. Erica continues to assist "Home Office" HR while transitioning from her role of Employment & Outreach Manager.

Read more in the FacStaff InfoHub and stay tuned for updates in the next edition of HappyHr!

HR Welcomes New Talent Director

One of the things you've been asking for is enhanced career and succession planning. HR's latest hire is tasked with doing exactly that!

Welcome Wade Trost, our new Director of Talent. He will lead our existing Professional Development team in proividing high-quality career transformational goods and services to all ACC staff through consultation, skill, and behavioral-based education. He will focus on fostering employees' talents and creating new opportunities for self and professional growth.

Wade has nine years of combined experience in the professional services industry working for Ernst & Young in a variety of roles including talent acquisition, learning and development, and employee relations. Prior to that, Wade worked in banking in roles focusing on customer engagement and portfolio management.

At home, Wade enjoys time with his "furson" Cooper and the rest of his family and friends. He's an avid movie, theater, and music goer, and loves baking and helping others.

Wade holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Texas State University. He also is a SHRM Certified Professional and is currently working toward his coaching certification through Coach Diversity Institute.

Leadership Academy

Accepting Applications NOW!

The Austin Community College Leadership Academy is made up of a select group of individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to ACC and potential for professional growth. This year-long program is open to dedicated full-time faculty and staff who have been at ACC for a minimum of two years.


Does this opportunity fit in with your leadership development goals? Find out Wednesday, April 23, at 3 p.m. in the second of three virtual informational sessions. 


The third and final information session will be

Wednesday, May 8, 12 p.m.

And the deadline for submitting applications is Friday, May 24.

Don't miss this opportunity to take your leadership skills to the next level!


Yes, there's a lot of magic that happens in HR, but what we're talking about today is our new Mojo ticketing system. It's helping us track turnaround time, ensure requests get to the appropriate party for response and follow-up, and collect the appropriate quality and quantity of information we need from you.

Bookmark this link!

This is the best way to connect, but you can also reach us through or any friendly hr staffer as well.

Research tells us advising is key to an ACC student's success. And when determined students pair up with exceptional advisors, a positive outcome is almost guaranteed. Our Supervisor Spotlight today shines on one of those exceptional advisors, Amy Koch, Student Affairs' Supervising Advisor at Cypress Creek.

Amy's manager, Student Affairs Dean Jonathon Tyner, says Amy makes coming to work a joy. "She is simply a genuine person who cares about others," Tyner said. "She intentionally seeks ways to enhance staff experiences while also working toward improving the student experience. She is empathetic and leads with kindness in all situations. She possesses the unique ability to recognize when someone is in need and knows how to appropriately offer the right kind of support."

Amy loves connecting with students, but sees her mentorship to team members as an equally rewarding experience. "The most important aspect of what I do is support our Student Affairs team, meet them with empathy, and encourage them in their work so that they can, in turn, go out and provide all of those same benefits to our students -- hopefully with their cups full and their hearts on fire for service."

Of ACC's four values, Amy says compassion is the most important. "Compassion allows us to dive deeper, to look for the space in someone that needs the most support and then search for ways to fill up the need they are experiencing," she said. "All of the other values flow from that." She checks on team members every day and works with them on an individual level, " allow a safe space where people can openly share their opinions and ideas with no off-limits topics, and having an open door policy where no matter what, I am interruptible," she said.

Amy's reports are quick to praise her leadership skills. 

"Amy is a powerhouse of knowledge about advising and the college as a whole. She can untangle the stickiest whole. She

can untangle the stickiest situation and equip staff in the process so they can address similar issues in the future. She gives 100% of her attention to the person she is speaking with, making them feel valued and wanted at ACC. The entire team trusts her implicitly and would follow her anywhere." Dana Ellis

"She handles tough situations with kindness and tact. She can manage all of us, each with our unique personalities and quirks while still being a genuine and kind person." Alicia Cordero 

"Amy is the personification of support. She is our boss but she is also the biggest cheerleader to make sure we succeed in anything." Philip Andrews


"After going to the Data Summit I have been thinking about the values -- Courage, Compassion, Joy, and YES. I must say I am thankful I work for such an amazing boss who embodies these values 1000%." Cynthia Ott

"One Friday I thought I might have misadvised a student. I thought about it all weekend. I called Amy on Saturday, and she eased my mind. She's always in a good mood, and easy to talk to. She goes with the team to lunch on Fridays and listens to our suggestions. Plus, she likes horror movies, like me!" DanYelle Grundy

Amy's professional peers across the state hold her in the same regard. Recently she was awarded the 2024 Outstanding Academic Advisor Award by the Texas Academic Advising Network.

Congratulations, Amy, and thank you for making ACC your work home!

Who are the rock star supervisors in your orbit?

Click on the button below to tell us about them!



"The Theory of Change (ToC) calls on us to foster a culture of Belonging and Connection for students to succeed. How will ACC ensure our workplace also embodies a culture of Belonging and Connection for employees?"

While Theory of Change initiatives may be targeted at student success, we can't expect our students to succeed unless our employees are equally supported. The HappyHr newsletter will be your best resource for information about how HR will support the ToC. For instance, the steps we've taken to integrate HR Partners which we believe will result in more proactive and timely support for staff and faculty, including development and resources for leaders who are charged with upholding ACC's Values within their teams. Chancellor Russell Lowery-Hart assures us employees will benefit from the changes we're making as much as our students will. Be on the lookout for a special message from him on this very subject!

What else do you want to know about HR?

We'll answer your questions in every newsletter.



The Data Summit was an eye-opener for many of us. In HR, we know data is essential for making informed decisions, predicting future trends, managing performance, attracting and retaining talent, ensuring compliance, and fostering employee engagement. Occasionally in our newsletter, we'll share data that's pertinent to employees, like this graphic illustrating our hiring successes so far this year.


Sole Garcia-Brady | HR Specialist

With more than 2,400 people working in hourly, temporary, and work-study roles at ACC, Sole Garcia-Brady's responsibilities are a critical part of the Human Resources department. Sole serves as the college's primary recruiter for hourly and temporary positions. She has 20 years of experience in human resources and has been an HR Specialist here since 2019.

Sole is a proud ACC graduate who relishes the sense of achievement she gets from the work she does. She says she loves being an active part of ACC's mission by serving its employees, applicants, candidates, and students.

Sole is originally from Mexico and loves her family of six: her canine "babies" -- Jesus, Mar-Lee, Apple Jacks, and Athena -- and a handsome cat named Mr. Flash. And her spouse, of course! In her free time, you'll find Sole taking walks with her babies, going camping, or traveling around the world.

We're lucky and grateful to have Sole on our team!


ACC HR is finding JOY with the help of a collection of joyful team members. The HR Joy Committee is working on new ACC Proud shirts, new swag for new hires, and opportunities for the HR staff to spread Joy in the community. Next Friday, the Joy Committee will wrangle all HR staff to attend the Wellness Fest at Eastview.

Next month, the whole staff will spend the morning volunteering at the Elgin campus, picking weeds, walking dogs, cleaning kennels, or whatever else is needed.

Thanks to our committee members Brittney Tran, Devynn DeVilbiss, Vicki Franklin, Josh Williamson, Avery Bell, Ling Cheng, Inelia Caimanque, Lexie Barron, Mauri Winters, and Kelly Torrico.

Your team should create a Joy Committee, too!

Do you have great ideas to make the workday more fun? Drop them in our feedback form HERE.

ON THE Elgin

The kennel is always a big hit when guests visit the Elgin campus. The cattle were already gone, but our HR staff enjoyed meeting dogs, cats, sheep, and chickens during our recent visit. Campus Coordinator Sonya Rendon-Rangel, Farm Manager Matt Olson, and Student Affairs Dean Heather Elias showed us the crops students grow before selling them to ACC staff and faculty and where students learn how to do small-animal surgery. And a great group of Elgin employees gathered to ask their HR questions and to offer ideas for improving HR services across ACC.

The Elgin campus's 17 acres of student-run farmland provide students with both agricultural production knowledge and business skills training. Courses range from foundational principles in soil science to marketing. They get hands-on instruction to cultivate a working knowledge of ecological farming practices and the seasonal processes.

"Big Dog" Kelly Torrico discusses leadership with Big Dog Larry as Larry takes a break from herding sheep on the Elgin farm.

Students in ACC's Vet Tech program get hands-on experience in surgery, dental work, and radiology, with dogs, cats, bunnies, cattle, and more.

On the Road takes us to the Hays Campus May 15.

Get your questions ready. We look forward to seeing you!

Protect Your Privacy!

Have you completed your new task in Workday? We need to know your preferences in terms of privacy of information.

The Texas Public Information Act (TPIA) is legislation that ensures transparency and accountability in government operations by granting the public access to certain government records, including those held by ACC. However, while transparency is crucial, safeguarding your privacy is equally important.

Under the provisions of the TPIA, certain personal information, like home address, social security number, and personal phone number, can be withheld from public disclosure, protecting your privacy rights. You just need to select YES (giving permission for that personal information to be released) or NO (prohibiting the release of such information when you open the task.

The “Change My Privacy Preference” task was sent to your Workday inbox last week. Please take a few moments to select your preference and submit the task. By completing this task, you will help us better protect your privacy while fulfilling our obligations under the law.

New Jobs Hub

Are you looking for new job opportunities at ACC? Workday has fully adopted Jobs Hub as the one-stop shop for internal job searches and application tracking. If you have used the Career worklet in the past, "Career" will now be replaced with "Jobs Hub".

Here's how to replace the Career Worklet with Jobs Hub, and you can review the updated "Find and Apply for Jobs" here. Happy hunting!

Don't Miss Wellness Fest!

The most productive employees eat well, get enough sleep, and exercise. The happiest employees make time to celebrate each other, too!

Don't miss the 2024 Wellness Fest on Friday, April 26, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Eastview campus courtyard.

There will be games, activities, competitions (watch out, IT!), food, and prizes. And, perhaps most importantly, camaraderie.

Jordanian Mediterranean and Make Your Day Ice will be there, as will vendors focused on health and wellness. If you're lucky, you may win one of a bunch of great prizes, including a bed-and-breakfast stay, a night of glamping, a private sunset bat-watching excursion on Lady Bird Lake, tickets to Bat Fest, a taping of ACL Live, happy hour at Fast Eddie's Billiards, and tickets to Texas Stars hockey.

We’d love to know you’re coming; you can RSVP here. But if you find out at the last minute you’re free, join us anyway! It’s a great chance to get out of the office, connect with your peers, and celebrate JOY!

In the next edition of happyhr:

HR Business Partner Assignments

Values-Based Leadership Skills Workshop

Past happyhr newsletters can be viewed on our website here!

ACC HR is here for you!

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