Executive Management Bios

Rebecca Hunter

Commissioner

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.
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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.

Danielle Barnes

Deputy Commissioner & General Counsel

Danielle Whitworth Barnes serves as the Deputy Commissioner & 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.
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The Board of Appeals and its responsibilities fall under the administration of Ms. Barnes. Further in her capacity, she oversees the administration of state government’s Performance Management Program, which was recently overhauled to focus on objective performance outcomes. Along with that program, Ms. Barnes is charged with the design and implementation of pay for performance in State government.

Ms. Barnes has experience in various matters pertaining to Title VII, the ADEA, ADA, FLMA, FLSA, THRA, and other state and federal employment laws. She has experience in all types of employment matters and has counseled clients regarding discrimination, retaliation, harassment, wage and hour issues, and affirmative action. She initially joined the Department of Human Resources in October 2007 as the Assistant General Counsel, Director of Equal Employment Opportunities Division and Legislative Director.

Prior to joining the Department, she served as the Legislative Coordinator and Assistant General Counsel for the Tennessee Department of Human Services. Her responsibilities in that role included representing the Department before the Tennessee General Assembly. She also served as legal counsel to the Department in various matters, including matters before the EEOC and THRC, general employment law consultation, contract disputes, and administrative hearings. Ms. Barnes also worked for a private law firm in Nashville and Memphis, practicing in the areas of employment law, insurance defense, general civil litigation, contract matters and government relations.

Ms. Barnes holds certification as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and International Public Management Association Certified Professional International Public Management Association Certified Professional Human Resources Specialist (IPMA-CP). In addition, she is a Rule 31 Listed Mediator.

She earned her undergraduate degree from Spelman College and her law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law. She is a graduate of Tennessee Government Management Institute, LEAD Tennessee, Leadership Nashville and Tennessee Bar Association Leadership Law.

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.
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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.

Dr. Trish Holliday, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Assistant Commissioner and Chief Learning Officer

Dr. Trish Holliday is Assistant Commissioner and Chief Learning Officer of the State of Tennessee.  Commissioner Rebecca Hunter appointed her as the State’s Chief Learning Officer (CLO) in 2012 as a member of her executive team.
 
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. 
 
As the state’s CLO, she 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.
 
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. 
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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 2016 Winner for the Leadership Excellence Awards in the Top Corporate Leader Award – Over 35 category. She was ranked 6th in the top 30 winner’s circle which were chosen from over three hundred applicants. 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. 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.
 
Trish is an active member in the following international, national, state and local organizations: Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence, IPMA-HR, Tennessee Public Management Association, Middle Tennessee Society for Human Resources, Association for Talent Development, Tennessee Society for Human Resources, and the National Association of State Personnel Executives.
 
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, president of Toastmaster’s International Tennessee Government Leadership Chapter, Tennessee SHRM state council board member, and past board member of Special Olympics Tennessee. In 2015, Trish earned her Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) with an emphasis in Learning Organizations and Strategic Change from Lipscomb University. Doc Holliday is driven by a passion to help leaders develop strategies to create learning organizations and implement effective change initiatives.
 
Publications:
 
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.
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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.

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.
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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.