Board of Directors





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.


Vice President Elect - Cindy Stein

Cindy Stein is the Director of Talent Management for Alert Logic, a managed security services provider. She is responsible globally for directing all aspects of Compensation and HR Services for over 600 employees. This includes compensation strategy, benefits program administration, employee relations, HRIS, HR measurement/analytics, immigration and global mobility.

She brings more than 20 years’ experience in human resources serving companies globally, designing and developing human resources programs, compliance, and building strong teams. Before joining Alert Logic, Cindy spent 8 years at Rackspace, as the Director of Global Compensation and Mobility, based in San Antonio where she was responsible for compensation, relocation, immigration, and new market setups in the EMEA/Asia-Pacific regions and the United States.  Previous to Rackspace, Cindy held consulting positions at BHP Billiton and Accenture.

Past President - Jonathan Covington

Jon Covington has been a member of Houston Compensation & Benefits since 2010 and has served on the board since 2013. He also has served on the Texas Total Rewards Alliance board for over 4 years, holding the positions of Communications Chair, Treasurer and two years as President. Jon currently is Director, Total Rewards at Precision Drilling, the second largest onshore drilling contractor in North America. He has over eight years of experience in compensation and benefits in global corporations and as a consultant. He has been used as a resource in the media and co-authored several publications regarding compensation best practices. Jon holds a BBA in Accounting, as well as the Compensation Committee Certification through the Economic Research Institute.

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

Richard Smith is currently a Sr. International Compensation Analyst with Ensco, a global provider of offshore drilling services to the petroleum industry.  He has more than 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, Van Kampen Investments, 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.

Secretary - Fernando Herranz, SPHR

High energy and enthusiastic, with more than 20 years of professional experience in varied areas of Human Resources, including Compensation, Benefits, HR Systems, Sales Compensation, Training, Performance Management and HR Generalist. Last 15 years have been with international responsibility. Fernando’s recent experience has been in high tech industry, with positions held at Duracell Inc, Compaq Computer Corp, Hewlett Packard Co., BMC Software and most recently at Exterran and Weatherford, where he currently holds the position of Director Global Compensation. Fernando holds a BBA from Universidad de Las Americas, an HR degree from Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile and an MBA from University of Houston, C.T. Bauer College of Business. Fully bi-lingual in English and Spanish.


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 – 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)!


Professional Development Director - Ashley Kobelan

Ashley Kobelan is a Compensation Analyst 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 is responsible for analyzing all aspects of Compensation for over 1600 employees. Ashley has held various Accounting and Finance roles throughout the first six years of her career, and has focused her career in Compensation for the last two and a half years.

Alma mater: Bachelor of Science in Finance at Texas State University in 2008
Years on HC&B Board: 1st year on the board
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.


Membership Director - Waland Walsh

Before joining Weatherford International in 2008, Waland worked 15 years for a diverse range of top performing financial and healthcare organizations, including Nations Bank (now Bank of America), Living Centers of America, and US Oncology. In his roles, Waland has been responsible for financial, operational, and business analytics reporting to senior management that was vital to growing and or maintaining his organization’s market share, operational excellence, and competitive compensation programs. Waland is a 1992 graduate of Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University) with a BBA in Finance, a husband to Marcell Moran, and the father to three daughters, Waily, Wesley, and Walker.


Programs Director - Kerri Franz

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.


At Large - Tonia Emery

Tonia Emery joined Houston Compensation and Benefits at the end of 2017.  Tonia currently holds the position of Vice President of Organizational Performance and Effectiveness at Precision Drilling.   She has over 20 years of experience as an employee and a consultant with a focus on Human Performance Improvement, Organizational Development, Learning, HRIS and Human Resources.  Tonia holds a BA in Psychology, MS in Counseling and has completed her PhD (ABD) work in Organizational Psychology.

Alma Mater: BA – State University of New York, MS – Canisius, PhD – Walden University
Years on HC&B Board: New member
Favorite Attribute about HC&B: The focus on the development and competency of total rewards professionals
Industry Advice: Working in the drilling industry means not only geographic impacts to business cycles but also rapid changes in market conditions.  Total rewards programs must be designed to serve the long term people strategies to ensure incentives and rewards drive the right behaviors for the long term organizational performance objectives.
Most Interesting Fact about Me: I love mentoring up and coming HR professionals.  As people enter this professional they often have a siloed approach to what “stream” they want to be in.  I’ve had the opportunity to lead various functional areas in HR as well as be on the business partner side so I’ve been lucky to see how it’s all integrated.  I enjoy time within the profession making a difference.


At Large - 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