Executive Management Bios

Rebecca Hunter


Rebecca Hunter serves on Governor Bill Haslam’s cabinet as Commissioner of the Department of Human Resources. Prior to this appointment, she spent six years as the Director of Human Resources for Hamilton County Government in Chattanooga and held management positions in governmental finance for over 25 years. Rebecca is a Certified Public Accountant and is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources.
During her tenure with State government, Rebecca has established the Department of Human Resources as a leader in innovative human resources practices, while shaping the best workforce for state government. She led a successful effort to transform the State’s employment practices with the passage of the T.E.A.M. Act, which is moving the State from a focus on seniority to a focus on performance. As a result, all state employees have a S.M.A.R.T. performance plan which aligns their work with the agency goals and the Governor’s priorities.
Rebecca’s commitment to excellence and performance shines not only in her leadership of the department, but extends to her leadership on various boards and committees. She serves on the board of the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence, whose mission is to drive organizational excellence in Tennessee. She is the immediate past president of the National Association of State Personnel Executives and the Tennessee Personnel Management Association and is an alumnus of the inaugural class of Leadership Tennessee. She also serves on the Tennessee State University College Advisory Board and the board of HealthCare 21 Business Coalition. She is a Commissioner for Hixson Utility District and was appointed by Governor Haslam to the Utilities Management Review Board. She is a member of the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System Board of Trustees and the LEAD Tennessee Executive Leadership Council. Along with Governor Bill Haslam, she serves as the co-chair of the Tennessee Employee Charitable Campaign.
Rebecca strongly believes that continuous improvement, life-long learning and performance excellence are keys to success both personally and professionally, and she demonstrates her commitment to collaboration and teamwork in her daily management style.

Dr. Trish Holliday, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Assistant Commissioner and Chief Learning Officer

As the state’s CLO, Trish creates and leads learning efforts focused on the mission and goals of a customer focused government, building a common culture through a rigorous and consistent set of business and leadership skills. Dr. Holliday’s commitment to public service and her passion for helping professionals reach their greatest potential is rooted in her experience as a certified facilitator, adult educator and executive coach, and her early years in full-time ministry as a missionary in Tennessee Appalachia. The state of Tennessee was the first state in the country to have the executive role of CLO developing and guiding an enterprise wide learning and development strategy. 

She provides state appointing authorities with executive coaching in workforce planning and leadership development. Trish drives the overall curriculum focus and development of all statewide leadership programs. Her passion and talent for developing successful leaders and purpose-driven individuals are reflected in these nationally recognized programs. In 2017 Trish was recipient of the CLO Learning Innovator Leader of the Year, which honors, recognizes, and promotes leaders committed to championing excellence in talent acceleration and bottom line results.


As a successful change agent, facilitator and storyteller, she is often asked by state leaders to undertake complex problem solving opportunities by bringing people together and helping them discover innovative solutions and develop the leaders needed to execute. In recognition of her work in the state-wide LEAD Tennessee leadership development program, Trish was selected as a 2017 Winner for the Leadership Excellence Awards in the Top Corporate Leader Award – Over 35 category. She was ranked 2nd worldwide from three hundred fifty nominations.

Trish received the 2016 Edwin L. Swain Award of Excellence, the IPMA-HR Southern Region’s highest award given to an individual who has distinguished her/himself throughout their career in HR. Recently she was asked to facilitate the International Public Management Association – HR (IPMA-HR) 2020 strategic visioning task force, identifying critical leadership competencies needed for the future success of the HR profession. In 2016, Trish was also awarded the MTSHRM Development Professional of the year. Trish’s influence reaches beyond state government by serving as an executive leadership coach for private sector businesses, impacting leaders from Kingsport to Memphis.

 As a result of her influence as a leader, Trish was selected to participate in Leadership Tennessee, Class IV, an initiative of the College of Leadership and Public Service at Lipscomb University. Trish is an active member in the following international, national, state and local organizations: TNCPE, IPMA-HR, TPMA, MTSHRM for Talent Development, TNSHRM, and the NASPE.

She serves on the Board of Visitors for the College of Education at Lipscomb University, Tennessee State University’s College of Public Service and Urban Affairs Advisory Board, Impact Nashville, Habitat for Humanity of Tennessee, past-president of Toastmaster’s International Tennessee Government Leadership Chapter, Tennessee SHRM state council board member, and past board member of Special Olympics Tennessee. In 2016, Trish was elected to serve as the Middle Tennessee State Director on the SHRM State Council. Trish earned her Doctorate of Education with an emphasis in Learning Organizations and Strategic Change from Lipscomb University in December, 2015.

Doc Holliday is driven by a passion to help leaders develop strategies to create learning organizations and implement effective change initiatives!

Holliday, T., 2017, contributor to Chapter 3 in Learning for the Long Run, Holly Burkett, pp. 67-84.
Holliday, T., (2016) HR2020 Shifting Perspectives: A Vision for Public Sector HR, Primary Author: Talent (pp. 11-13), Co-Editor, http://ipma-hr.org/hr2020.
Holliday, Ed.D., T., HR News Magazine – IPMA-HR, July 2016, Avoiding the Dark Side, http://ipma-hr.org/context/publications/hr-news?items_per_page=All, page 18.
Holliday, T., Rushing, J., Williams, B., (2015).  A Post-Secondary Matriculation Case Study of Two Rural Tennessee Counties (doctoral dissertation). Lipscomb University, Nashville, Tennessee.
Holliday, T., (Volume 5: Issue11, November 2015) HR Professionals Magazine, Reinventing HR: Educate. Motivate. Inspire., www.HRProfessionalsMagazine.com, pp. 38-39.
Holliday, T., (Volume 5: Issue 6, June 2015) HR Professionals Magazine, A Call to Urgency: 21st Century Leadership Competencies Needed for Success, www.HRProfessionalsMagazine.com, p. 40.
Holliday, T., (Fall 2014) The Public Manager, Been There, Done That: Overcoming ‘Check-the-Box’ Training Syndrome, www.thepublicmanager.org, pp. 17-21, copyright Association of Talent Development (ATD) 2014.
Holliday, T., (Volume 4: Issue 3, March 2014) HR Professionals Magazine, Success(ion) Planning: The Learning Community Circle of Life, www.HRProfessionalsMagazine.com, pp. 22-23.

Stephanie Penney

Assistant Commissioner

Stephanie Penney serves as Assistant Commissioner of the Department of Human Resources (DOHR). In her role, Stephanie oversees the State of Tennessee’s Recruiting Center, Agency Resource Center, and HR Service Center of DOHR.
Prior to her current role, Stephanie served as Director of Recruiting Management Services for DOHR. Her division processed more than 330,000 applications for employment and worked with hiring agencies to recruit for the best and brightest. She also served as Staffing Manager for Hamilton County Government in Chattanooga, TN. Her responsibilities included serving as the FMLA Administrator, ADA Coordinator and the online applicant tracking system’s on-site administrator.
Stephanie is a graduate of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with concentrations in both Human Resources and General Management. She is currently attending UTC’s MBA program. Stephanie also earned the designation of PHR from HRCI in 2009 and her IPMA-CP from IPMA-HR in 2009 as well.

Stephanie is currently a member of LEAD TN Alliance Five and is an alumnus of the Tennessee Government Management Institute and the Human Resource Master’s Class presented by the state of Tennessee. She is a graduate of the Chattanooga Women’s Leadership Institute and Hamilton County’s Professional Development Academy. She was recently awarded the designation of Insight Professional User by Neogov Applicant Tracking Systems.

Terence Donaldson

Assistant Commissioner & Chief Operating Officer

Terence Donaldson serves as the Assistant Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer for the Tennessee Department of Human Resources. In this role, he oversees the efficient and effective delivery of service and support to state employees through leadership of the department's fiscal, information systems, human resources, employee engagement, records management, and quality assurance functions.
Prior to joining the department, Terence served as the Executive Director of Human Resources for the Department of Children Services. Prior to his tenure in State Government, Terence gained 20 + years of human resources management, operations, and leadership experience in the private sector, most previously with Deloitte and Comcast where he served as Area Director of Human Resources.

Over the years, Terence has continually and increasingly focused his approach to human resources leadership on continuous improvement – “in the purest sense continuous improvement refers to taking what you do well or improving upon the way you do something and sharing it with others so they can also do well”.

He is a graduate of the University of New Mexico where he earned a Master’s Degree in Organizational Communication and a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication. He is certified in Labor and Employment Law (IAML) and is a graduate of LEAD Tennessee.

Kim T. Yap

Assistant Commissioner & Chief Human Resources Business Partner

Kim T. Yap serves as the Assistant Commissioner/Chief Human Resources Business Partner. In his capacity, Kim leads human resources professionals to shape the direction of state-wide practices. He is responsible for working with agency leadership across the enterprise to assure the Department provides value added services with a customer focused approach. This role shapes the human resource practices and talent management process in Tennessee.
Kim joined DOHR in September 2015 as the Director of HR and Talent Management. In this role, he supported nine other state departments/commissions and oversaw the efficient and effective delivery of HR services to department leaders and employees at every level. Kim has more than fifteen years of HR management and related experience in the public and private sectors, including finance, engineering, and manufacturing. Prior to joining the department, he served as Director of Human Resources for the Department of Children Services. In that role, he helped establish customer-focused HR operations as a value-added strategic business partner. He is known for coaching leaders at all levels to manage employee relations with integrity as a method to achieve sustained business results.

He earned a Master’s degree in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from Western Kentucky University. He also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a clinical focus. Kim is an alumnus of the Young Leader’s Council Nashville, LEAD Tennessee, and the state’s HR Master Series.

Lesley Farmer

General Counsel & Assistant Commissioner

Lesley Farmer serves as the General Counsel for the Tennessee Department of Human Resources. In her capacity, she oversees all legal issues within the Department, offering counsel and advice to her agency, other state agencies and individuals on employment law matters. In addition, all matters dealing with departmental legislative affairs, employee records, employee relations, mediation, as well as the review of certain statewide employee transactions fall under her review.
Lesley has served as the EEO Administrator & Deputy General Counsel for nearly four years, joining the department in February 2013. In this capacity, she offered advice and counsel to her agency and state agencies in the areas of employment law, ADA, FMLA, workplace discrimination, harassment, and investigations. Lesley has experience in state and federal civil rights laws, employment laws, and affirmative action. 

Prior to joining the department, she served as the Assistant General Counsel for Civil Rights for the Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE). Her responsibilities in that role included investigating civil rights complaints within Tennessee public schools K-12 and employment issues within TDOE. Lesley provided training, legal advice and technical assistance to TDOE and Tennessee school officials on school law, employment law, and civil rights matters, including assistance in creating the Tennessee Bullying Prevention Program in schools. Prior to joining TDOE in April 2007, she worked for a private law firm in Memphis, practicing in the areas of criminal defense, family law, personal injury, and general civil litigation.
Lesley is a graduate of both LEAD TN and TGEI, and she is currently a participant in the Tennessee Bar Association’s Leadership Law. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and her law degree from the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphrey’s School of Law.