Power Moves: Meet the HR lead powering NewDay USA's plans to hire 500+ people - Technical.ly Baltimore

Professional Development

Jun. 9, 2020 11:10 am

Power Moves: Meet the HR lead powering NewDay USA’s plans to hire 500+ people

Plus, Sherrod Davis on Protenus' chief of staff role, Shelonda Stokes permanently becomes Downtown Partnership of Baltimore's president and R2integrated has a new tech solutions engineering lead.
Pooja Bansal joined NewDay USA as SVP amid big hiring goals.

Pooja Bansal joined NewDay USA as SVP amid big hiring goals.

(Courtesy photo)

Power Moves is a column where we chart the comings and goings of talent across the region. Got a new hire, new gig or promotion? Tell us: baltimore@technical.ly.


Fulton-based NewDay USA hired Pooja Bansal as SVP of human resources and communications amid big goals to expand its team from 500 to more than 1,000 people over the next year.

Having previously worked as an AVP and service manager for Barclays USA and at SEI Investments, Bansal brings experience in technology, operations and building culture focused around customer service. One part of the role at Barclays, she said, was communicating between technologists and those who are in other kinds of positions.

Along the way, she has been passionate about connecting people with coaching opportunities and to enhance skills. She has led initiatives to promote women into technology and leadership roles and will now incorporate that work into the culture at NewDay USA, which serves veterans through home loans and mortgage refinancing, and is looking to grow a diverse team.

In her new role, she will develop programs and systems for hiring, selection and development of new and existing team members, as well as lead efforts to bring efficiencies to the organization. NewDay USA’s preparations to ramp up hiring included launching a new online training system.

“I’m going to take that as a drive for me to build that program where we can train the best people and let them succeed in the NewDay environment,” said Bansal, who received her MBA at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, of the ambitious plans.

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Shelonda Stokes was named president of the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore (DPOB) following a period as interim president of the organization focused on the neighborhoods in the city’s central business district.

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Stokes, who previously founded and led digital media company greiBO Media, was selected for the permanent role after an international search led by Maryland-based HR Strategy Group, LLC. It came after former longtime president Kirby Fowler stepped down to lead the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore.

Shelonda Stokes is president of the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore. (Courtesy photo)

“Shelonda is a successful entrepreneur and business executive with deep Baltimore connections,” said Mark Wasserman, the Partnership’s acting board chair and head of the search committee, said in a statement. “She was selected after a deliberative and thoughtful search, because the committee felt she is the absolute right person to lead us into the future.”

During the pandemic, the organization launched initiatives including the #CurbsideBaltimore gift card program for local restaurants and the #ArtofBaltimore program to bring public art to streets during the pandemic, and took over Heart of the Park, which delivers 250 free meals daily. On Friday, DPOB staff painted colorful expressions of support on plywood that was placed on downtown businesses ahead of protests over the murder of George Floyd.

“Like other businesses, the Partnership is facing one of the most challenging times in its over 35-year history,” Stokes said in a statement. “As we face this global pandemic and economic crisis, we will work together to recalibrate ourselves and address our dynamic environment and the changing needs of our community.”

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Sherrod Davis joined Protenus in January as chief of staff.

As chief of staff at Protenus, he is supporting CEO Nick Culbertson as a “force multiplier” in a strategic and operational capacity. It is a role that works on initiatives both internal to the Fells Point-based healthcare compliance analytics company and externally with the city’s wider community as it it looks to work with other startups. We’ve seen the chief of staff role growing inside tech companies over the last couple of years, and Protenus was an early adopter.

Davis brings startup experience to the role, having most recently worked at Baltimore data privacy startup TrackOFF as VP of operations prior to its acquisition by Avast.

Sherrod Davis. (Courtesy photo)

“It was a natural fit for me given my general jack of all trades background in the startup community and in Baltimore,” Davis said. Plus, he added, I’ve always admired Protenus from afar.”

Protenus looks at its chief of staff role on two-year cycles. By the end, the idea is that a chief of staff is equipped to move into a C-level role or lead an organization.

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In May, Inner Harbor-based digital marketing agency R2integrated brought on Dan Hixson to lead in technology solutions engineering. It’s a role that involves working with clients to identify and adopt marketing technology solutions.

He brings more than a decade of experience in digital transformation at a time when the company is adding tech leadership.

“From the outside, I’ve admired R2i — there’s a clear track record of success and the awards to back that up,” Hixson told us. “Having met and interacted with everybody over the years, I wanted to join the team because the people are fantastic. Smart, talented people who really care about doing excellent work is a proven recipe for success and I couldn’t be more thrilled to be a part of it.”

Based in Southern California, Hixson joins R2i several months after the company brought on Michael Paige as CTO. The company will continue to seek out tech talent in its home city, Hixson said.

“Our headquarters is in Baltimore, and we’re proud to be a part of the community,” he said. “We’ll always look first to hire great talent from our own backyard; it’s worked for us. We also expect our teams to evolve as our clients’ needs around technology grow and change.”

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