The Team

The Work Effects team boasts a diverse range of talents, but is uniformly passionate about delivering quality results to our clients. Click the arrows to scroll through the team and learn more about them.

Michael Stewart

Aside from setting the company’s direction, I encourage employee creativity, commitment and discipline to deploy solutions that have lasting impact for our clients. With the great team I have, I mostly stay out of their way as they do their magic. My special talent is an ability to merge two seemingly opposing ideas and create something better than both.

Ever since I got my bachelor’s degree in MIS and Organizational Communications from the University of Wisconsin and my MBA from the University of Minnesota – Carlson School of Management, I have been working in leadership development, employee engagement, organizational development and assessments (with a short stint in outplacement and executive search). My employers and clients were the Who’s Who of Fortune 500 companies.

That background is critical as we help our clients create a competitive advantage by aligning their cultures and developing leaders who are the ambassadors of that culture; we help clients by providing thought leadership, creative solution design, hands-on work with them and putting the right people in place to execute on the promises we make to them.

Since I’m not able to convince my body to continue competing in Olympic-level gymnastics, I get my adrenaline fix by racing Porsches to hone my competitive microsecond thinking. In a less frenetic vein I love woodworking and helping my wife remodel and flip houses.

Candy Kirchner

My passion for sports and technology integrates with my personal traits as a competitive driver and leader. I’m a hands-on play-caller who is responsible for the vision and the execution of technology at Work Effects. It’s my job to coach, inspire and motivate the team and orchestrate plans to drive quality results and create a partnership with our customers.

I earned my BS in Computer Science from the University of Minnesota and my MBA (with a Technology concentration) from the University of St. Thomas. I have been fortunate to use my education over the past 20 years as a software developer and IT Director in several industries.

My other passion is hockey. I officiate games for NCAA WCHA Division I and III, International Ice Hockey Federation, Minnesota State High School League and USA Hockey. When not on the ice I may be at the lake treating my Labrador’s tennis ball and swimming obsession… or at Starbucks reconnecting with caffeine and peers.

Belinda Egan

My passion and belief that human potential is unlimited has been the catalyst to my career in Organizational Leadership. I wholeheartedly believe and have experienced the potential that people are capable of when they are surrounded by the right Leadership and Culture. I’ve had the opportunity to successfully create cultures that grow great employees and develop into high performing teams.

In addition to my professional work in this area I volunteer my time to local organizations that work with our impoverished communities and assist in the areas of professional and emotional intelligence. I facilitate workshops that assist in guiding individuals through everyday life challenges as well as assisting with resume writing, interviewing skills, and helping individuals to navigate their way to securing employment.

I completed my B.A. in Organizational Studies and my M.A. in Organizational Leadership from Bethel University.

In my downtime, I’m often spending time with my family, and love to go for a run or enjoy a hot yoga class. As an avid reader, I can also be found with my head buried in a book. I love to learn, so I always make it a point to stay on top of the latest professional and personal development books. My new copy of “The 100 Best Books of All Time” will be my guide for my 2017 reading list; though at first glance, I’ve put a good dent into the recommended reading thus far.

Brian Hash

I joined Work Effects in March 2015 after 5 years working in the selection and assessment space. I have a Master’s degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from San Francisco State University, and my career has mostly focused on the hiring phase of the employee lifecycle (e.g. personality testing). The Client Ambassador role is a great opportunity for me to apply analytical and relationship-management skills, while helping clients achieve their strategic objectives through cultural alignment.

Before Work Effects I worked with a large tech company in the Bay Area, and I was a member of the US Navy prior to attending college. I love playing and watching most sports, especially soccer and football.

I also really enjoy being outdoors (hiking, camping, etc.), though I’m still getting used to the weather in Minnesota (I was pretty spoiled in the Bay Area). My other interests include photography, traveling, and dabbling in new adventures like hang-gliding, archery, and sky diving!

Heather Mewhinney

My favorite thing at work is helping clients implement a project. I document the project, communicate with the client and keep track of crucial details to a successful implementation. I’ve been involved in thousands of 360 surveys and market research projects and have expertise in communications, process design and service. I won’t settle for second best when it comes to delivering for the clients.

My bachelor’s degree from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb was in Social Science and Secondary Education, and I earned a certificate in Human Resources Management from Cardinal Stritch University in Edina, Minnesota.

Although I do like theatre events, and camping and hiking with my dog, most of my free time is spent following the two best teams in the NFL and MLB, the Vikings and the Twins. Go Minnesota!

Amanda Kopydlowski

From designing scoring engines and doing survey analytics to revising/writing survey items and designing competency models, I’ve held a wide variety of roles and tasks since I joined Work Effects in January 2014. I am very excited to currently be on the client-facing side of the business as I partner with organizations to increase their health and strategy-culture alignment.

I graduated from St. Olaf College with my B.A. in Psychology, and I am currently pursuing my Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology at the University of Minnesota. I have a passion for people, particularly people in the work context, and my goal is to help turn workplaces into sources of growth, connection, and thriving.

Despite being a Minnesota native, I still enjoy playing tourist in the Twin Cities by taking advantage of everything the area has to offer: restaurants, theaters, breweries, museums, sporting events, concerts, etc. I am also a lover of “Dad-jokes”, and I take more delight than I should in making the people around me laugh (or groan, which is more likely) in response to my puns and corny humor.

Bryan Gertonson

Most of my existence is working or playing in a digital world. I strive to develop stable technological solutions for clients. Prior to Work Effects, I worked with three of the largest companies in Minnesota on technology consulting projects and code development.

I earned my Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from the University of Minnesota.

I can easily get computers to do what I want, but if you have any advice for me on how to get my three small children to listen to me, I’d be grateful. I love spending time with my family doing just about anything. With what little personal time I have, I enjoy playing the newest video games and consuming music of all sorts.

Jerry Backer

I'm a software developer with almost 20 years of experience writing data-driven applications. I've been hooked on programming since I wrote my first line of code in high school (a long time ago). I feel fortunate to work in a field that gives me plenty of opportunities to exercise both my creativity and my problem solving skills. Before joining Work Effects I worked on applications in the fields of public broadcasting, telemarketing, inventory management and human services.

When I'm not busy keeping my technical skills up-to-date I enjoy watching sports, reading and going to concerts.

John Lick

I have a passion for learning new technologies and adopting them when there is an advantage to them. With over 20 years of experience developing software, I have experience working in every size company from under 5 employees to some of the largest banks and insurance companies in the US. My experiences prior to Work Effects have been primarily in the legal and financial industries, but I have done some work in many other industries as well, including warehousing, fulfillment, and online sales. I attended both Michigan State University and Western Michigan University.

I am a college sports fan, primarily basketball and football. My first trip to Minneapolis was to see the 2001 final four, and I fell in love with the twin cities. I moved here a few years later. I am an avid outdoor cook and a certified BBQ judge through the Kansas City Barbeque Society.

Katie McMurchie

My passion for sports has developed me into a real team player at Work Effects. I act as a utility player for the marketing team, and lend a helping hand in various departments. This allows me to create and execute our social media and PR strategies, assist our client ambassadors by providing quality assurance to client deliverables, and maintain Managing Director, Michael Stewart’s calendar.

I graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato with a B.S. in Marketing, and minors in Business Administration and Entrepreneurship.

In my free time I can be found coaching girls J.O. volleyball or playing in adult volleyball and bowling leagues. I also love watching the Minnesota Wild and visiting local breweries!

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