Board of Directors



President  Robert Vaughan

Robert is a Sr. Retirement Plan Consultant at UBS where he serves the needs of corporations and non-profits.  He was recognized by PlanSponsor as a finalist for "Retirement Plan Advisor Team of the Year" in 2012, '13, '14 & '17 and as one of PlanAdvisor's Top 100 Retirement Advisors from 2012 - 2017. He graduated from Baruch in New York City with a MS in Finance, and later earned the Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA®) designations from the Wharton School of Business.  Robert also served in the United States Army and earned the Combat Action Award.

Alma Mater: Baruch College
Years on HC&B Board: 1st Year
Favorite Attribute about HC&B: The ability to network with like mind individuals
Industry Advice: Make sure you do not end your career with regrets
Most Interesting Fact about Me:
I am originally from NY/NJ Area




Vice President Elect – Kylee Beth Ngo, PHR, SHRM-CP

Kylee Beth Ngo joined Genesis Energy, LLC in 2014, and is currently the Director - Compensation and Benefits. She is responsible for directing total rewards for Genesis Energy, LLC as well as corporate services for Genesis Alkali, LLC. Her responsibilities include executive compensation, compensation and benefits strategy and execution, policy development and implementation, and program administration. Kylee hold a BBA from the Red McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas – Austin and a MS – HR Management from Houston Baptist University. Her certifications include SHRM-CP and PHR. 

Alma mater: The University of Texas, Houston Baptist University
Years on HC&B Board: 1st year on the Board
Favorite attribute about HC&B: Developing lasting connections, gaining valuable knowledge and experience at events, continuing education development
Industry advice: Communication is key.
Most interesting fact about me: I love sports and go to every sporting event my husband will let me go to (I do drag him along with me)!







Past President  Robert Pesch

As a Principal in Mercer’s Health & Benefits practice, Robert assists employers with the execution of their overall healthcare strategy.  Previously, Robert was the leader of the benefits practice for a major consulting firm over the timespan of eleven years.  He has extensive experience working on the design, strategy and administration of compensation and benefit plans for publicly held and private companies.  He is a Certified Employee Benefits Specialist, which is a co-sponsored program under the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.  In addition to serving on the Board for the Houston Compensation & Benefits, Robert is a Director for the Texas Total Rewards Alliance.

Alma mater: Robert earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance, Risk Management, Insurance and Actuarial Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Years on HC&B Board: 4
Favorite attribute about HC&B: HC&B is a welcoming group of talented individuals who are truly dedicated to our profession.
Industry Advice: Continue to look for ways to step outside of your comfort zone and you will continue to advance in your career.
Most Interesting Fact about Me: Robert was the lead singer of a polka band at the age of 5.

Treasurer – Richard Smith, CCP, GRP, PHR, SHRM-CP

Richard Smith is currently a Total Rewards Advisor with EnscoRowan, a global provider of offshore drilling services to the petroleum industry.  He has over 20 years of experience in Human Resources in the areas of compensation, benefits, payroll, policies and procedures, process improvement, recruiting, and testing, recommending modifications, and implementing Human Resources Information System conversions and upgrades.  Richard has held corporate compensation positions for global employers in the energy services and financial services industries such as Saudi Aramco, Schlumberger, Smith International, Baker Hughes, Halliburton, JPMorgan Chase, Invesco, and the local health care industry with CHI St Luke’s Health.  He has served as Treasurer for Houston Compensation and Benefits since April 2009 and also served as Chapter Webmaster for HR Houston and on their Membership Committee.  Richard holds a BBA from the University of Houston Downtown.


Alma mater: University of Houston - Downtown
Years on HC&B Board: 10 years
Favorite attribute about HC&B: Networking to keep abreast on what's changing in Total Rewards
Industry Advice: Keep in touch with your network - you never know when you will need help
Most Interesting Fact about Me: I worked in Saudi Arabia and have completed the BP MS150 three times!







Secretary  Ashley Kobelan

Ashley Kobelan is the Compensation Manager at Berry Appleman & Leiden, a global firm singularly focused on meeting the immigration challenges of corporate clients around the world in ways that make immigration more strategic and clients more successful. In her role, she manages all aspects of Compensation for over 1,000 employees. Ashley has held various roles in accounting, finance and human resources over the past 10 years, with her last 4 years focusing in Compensation and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance from Texas State University. 

Alma mater: Bachelor of Science in Finance at Texas State University
Years on HC&B Board: 2
Favorite attribute about HC&B: I value the connections and knowledge I have received since joining the HC&B Program. Through the interactions I have had in each of the meetings I have attended, I have been able to gain valuable knowledge and tools. HC&B draws in Houston’s most intelligent and respected professionals in the field, and I am honored to be a part of the program.
Industry advice: You can never truly know the outcome or the impact that a new opportunity may bring, so always be open to them when they are presented to you. No matter where you are in life, there will always be room to develop personally and professionally. 
Most Interesting Fact about Me: In my free time, I enjoy playing tennis and catching up with my family and friends. I am fortunate to have the majority of my family living in Houston where I was born and raised.


Sponsorship Director Mike Lopez, Ascende

Mike Lopez has over 10 years’ experience in Human Resources as a consultant. His focus is business development and client relationship management to ensure his clients are being served with high touch service and subject matter expertise.

Alma mater: University of Oklahoma
Years on HC&B Board: 3 years
Favorite attribute about HC&B: Networking, events, relationships
Industry Advice: Go for it!
Most Interesting Fact about Me: Wouldn’t you like to know?!








Communications Director – Brittlyn Pohl

Brittlyn Pohl is the Compensation and Benefits Manager for Frank’s International, LLC, a global oilfield services company that provides a broad and comprehensive range of tubular running services, tubular fabrication, and specialty well construction/well intervention solutions.  She is responsible for driving the strategy, design, development, and cost-effective management of employee benefit and compensation programs in support of the long-range goals of the organization.  She has over 10 years of versatile experience in both the public and private sectors with a focus in employee relations, benefits, and compensation.

Alma mater: University of Texas in Austin
Years of HC&B Board: 1st year on the board
Favorite attribute about HC&B: Increased networking and professional development opportunities, the ability to stay up to date on industry standards and broaden your knowledge base.
Industry advice: Begin with the end in mind and be sure to communicate effectively along the way.
Most interesting fact about me: I love all things outdoors! In my spare time, I enjoy running, hiking, fishing, and spending time with my husband and three daughters.

Professional Development Director Denise Guerra

Denise Guerra is a Compensation Manager at The Friedkin Group, a privately-held consortium of businesses and investments and affiliated with one of the world’s largest independent Toyota distributors.  She was recently awarded the “Friedkin Award of Excellence” for outstanding customer service.  In her role, she manages all aspects of Compensation for over 3,000 employees.  Her responsibilities include compensation strategy development for executive and incentive compensation. In addition to compensation program development, implementation, and administration for salaried and hourly employees.  Denise brings over 18 years of experience in human resources having worked across multiple industries – financial services, healthcare, chemical, automotive, and oil & gas.  Denise holds a BBA from the Hankamer School of Business at Baylor University, and holds the CCP (Certified Compensation Professional) certification.  She is currently working towards the CBP (Certified Benefits Professional) certification.

Alma Mater:  Baylor University
Years on HC&B Board:  1st year
Favorite attribute about HC&B:  The sharing of knowledge, giving back to the community, and building strong relationships with colleagues.
Industry Advice:  Always be flexible and creative when looking at Total Compensation and Benefits, and keep up with the latest trends.
Most Interesting Fact about Me:  I am a proud soccer mom to three amazing children!

Membership Director Katie Bolan

Katie Bolan is a Senior Compensation Analyst at CITGO. She is responsible for providing analytical and professional level support to the Compensation function by maintaining and administering competitive programs for 3,400 employees across the United States. She brings over 10 years’ experience in Human Resources with the last six years focusing on Total Rewards and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resources Management from The University of Texas, San Antonio.

Alma mater: The University of Texas, San Antonio
Years on HC&B Board: 1st year on the Board
Favorite Attribute about HC&B: The opportunity to gain valuable knowledge and insights from top professionals in Total Rewards.
Industry advice: Never stop thinking of ways to improve how you do your job each day.
Most interesting fact about me: I love to travel which probably began when I lived overseas as a child. I have been to 17 different countries and there are so many places I still want to see!

Programs Director DW Mann

DW Mann is Sr. Manager, Total Rewards at MRC Global, the largest distributor of PVF to the energy and industrial markets.  He is responsible for the design and administration of executive and broad-based compensation, benefits, global mobility, HRIS and analytics for 3,600 employees in 22 countries.  He brings 10 years of experience in total rewards. 

Before joining MRC Global, DW held various roles in total rewards at ConocoPhillips and Pacific Drilling, and began his career in benefits consulting at Willis Towers Watson.  He holds a bachelor's degree in Actuarial Science from Florida State University and the SHRM-SCP certification.

Alma mater: Florida State University
Years on the HC&B Board: 1st year on the Board
Favorite attribute about HC&B: Every meeting makes this huge city and industry feel a little smaller.  The opportunities to learn and network vastly outweigh the dues.
Industry advice: Never say no to a project or new responsibility.  You never know where it could lead.
Most interesting fact about me: I'm a music geek.  I began college in piano performance and still play whenever I can.

At Large Kerri Franz, CPA

Kerri’s more than twenty years of experience in public accounting has provided her with extensive knowledge of accounting and technical reporting standards, as well as experience with financial audits in various industries, tax and accounting services. She has spent the last ten years practicing in employee benefit plan audits for a variety of industries, including several publically traded companies that sponsor multiple plans.

In addition to being a certified public accountant, Kerri holds memberships with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Houston chapter of the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants (TSCPA). She graduated cum laude with a bachelor of business administration in accounting from St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas.

Alma mater: St. Edward's University in Austin
Years on the HC&B Board: 2
Favorite attribute about HC&B: Networking with a lot of great people.
Industry advice: Don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone.
Most Interesting Fact about Me: I was a college athlete and continue to love sports to this day.






At Large – Junaid Karimi

Junaid Karimi currently serves as Benefits Manager at BJ Services, a leading provider of oilfield services in North America. He brings more than a decade of total rewards experience. Prior to joining BJ Services in 2017, Junaid worked in benefits consulting. He started his consulting career with Willis Towers Watson’s Retirement practice and most recently worked as a Senior Consultant with Buck Consultants’ Wealth practice. His areas of expertise include the design, financial management, administration, and communication of global employee benefit programs.

Junaid attended The University of Texas at Austin and received bachelor’s degrees in Actuarial Science and Economics. He is an accredited US pension actuary.

Junaid loves to spend his free time with his family. He also likes to stay involved in the local community.

Alma mater: The University of Texas at Austin
Years on the HC&B Board: First year on the Board
Favorite attribute about HC&B: The opportunity to learn and grow by interacting with interesting people.
Industry advice: Always keep an eye on the end-users of your work and look to create positive experiences for them.
Most interesting fact about me: I started doing Crossfit a couple of years ago and wish I had started sooner.