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Embrace the pace!

All things People for growing organizations

Resources – HRT Panel: Ethical Implications of New Tech


Perspectives and commentary on AI and implications in the workplace

• The Data & Trust Alliance“brings together leading businesses and institutions across multiple industries to . . . develop . . . responsible data and AI practices.” Published Safeguards as a resource for responsible vetting of AI vendors by employers.

Partnership on AI, a non-profit group of academic, civil society, industry, and media organizations creating solutions so that AI advances positive outcomes for people and society.

The AI Now Institute at NYU produces interdisciplinary research and public engagement on the social implications of artificial intelligence.

Data & Society, a non-profit research organization believes that empirical evidence should directly inform the development and governance of new technology. We study the social implications of data and automation, producing original research to ground informed, evidence-based public debate about emerging technology.

• From the World Economic Forum, Human-Centered AI for HR is “a practical toolkit to promote the responsible use of artificial intelligence-based tools in human resources. . . the toolkit includes a guide covering key topics and steps in the responsible use of AI-based HR tools, and two checklists – one focused on strategic planning and the other on the adoption of a specific tool.”

The Tech Policy Lab at the University of Washington provides resources and research on the implications of new tech for under-represented populations.



Announcement of EEOC’s initiative on AI and algorithmic fairness in employment.

EEOC “Listening session”, a hearing with experts re AI/ML in the workplace re disability.

National Law Review article on the history and implications of the EEOC Initiative.


Other regulators’ commentary on approaches to responsible AI in industry

Federal Trade Commission (also here).

Security and Exchange Commission. (also here).

Food and Drug Administration (re medical devices; also here). Your comments, questions, or additions are welcome!

Building Your Team in the US 

Thank you for attending the panel discussion! We have listed below resources that you may find helpful when you are ready to build out operations in the US.

Let us know if there is something else that may be useful to include and we will add it to this list. If you would like a personal introduction to any of the individuals listed, I would be happy to provide that:

Please don’t hesitate to reach out if there might be a way in which we at HR Futures can help jump-start or accelerate your US operations. We do all things “People” for growing organizations. And if we can’t provide what you need, we’ll connect you with someone who can. Excelsior!


There are a multitude of good recruiters who understand Silicon Valley. Our advice would be to talk to several to assess their approach and their appreciation for your work and aspirations. You should also check references where there have been recent placements in roles comparable to yours.

(A similar comment could be applied to all of the resources suggested later in this document)

Max Shapiro

Jennie Ellis

Kevin Kinkor

Payroll software vs. PEO

What is a PEO?

A PEO or professional Employer Organization takes the responsibility of the employer

through co-employment. In this situation the PEO performs various employee administration tasks such as payroll and benefits administration on behalf of the employer.

Is it better to use a PEO or payroll software?


  • PEO takes some risks from the business such as payroll mistakes
  • Experts at government related compliance and employee paperwork
  • Frees up time and allows businesses to focus on strategic decisions
  • Collective bargaining power: benefits and health insurance


  • Expensive, complicated cost structure and costs add up quickly
  • Customer service is impersonal, high volume, possible bottlenecks
  • Customer interface-poor technology compared to payroll software
  • With risk sharing, some control is lost
  • Difficult to replace PEO

When is it good to use a PEO

  • For very small businesses
  • High employee turnover
  • Labor law compliance across multiple states or internationally

Sample of PEO Vendors

What is payroll software?

It is a cloud-based solution that manages, maintains, automates payroll and manages benefits for employees. It assists companies with tax compliance in a cost effective manner.

Below are some  examples of the services that are offered:

  • Full payroll service
  • Time and attendance management
  • Hiring and onboarding resources


  • Simple, affordable price structure with no hidden fees
  • Full control of employees and policies


  • Payroll risks are solely on the employer
  • A third party required for HRIS, HR support, and to administer benefits and 401k

Payroll software options

Benefit consulting

Generally, if you are not using a PEO you will need to engage a benefits consulting firm that can help design, source, and administer employee benefits programs. Some contacts for this purpose include:

Joe Daynes,

Mark Mangiola,

Darren Brown,


Individuals or small firms for employment issues (cost effective)

Sejal Mistry
Lisa Chapman
Jeff Snyder                      

Larger employment firms



SV Employment Law

External General Counsel  

Phyllis Simon
Christopher Jaap
Steven Lee     


Work Visas

Your Canadian citizen employees may have straightforward access to work in the US via the NAFTA Professional TN visa. It is possible for your Canadian citizens to quickly gain work authorization by following the directions on government sites such as USCIS. Ironically, visa authorization can be more complicated for founders.

Regardless, we always recommend consulting immigration counsel, as the rules or guidelines hve change, or different points of entry may apply different standards

Immigration Counsel

Sajal Raja
Nathan Grow
Sophie Alcorn

Other resources

California Chamber of Commerce – Assists with doing business in California and has a number  of compliance-related materials.

A guide for Canadians moving to San Francisco

Remote/hybrid work resources

Ezra Klein Show: The office is dying. It’s time to rethink how we work   

Shelby Wolpa Consulting: Building a Remote-First Company Culture

GitLab: Hybrid-Remote: Understanding Nuances and Pitfalls

You have our very best wishes for great success!  I look forward to talking with you soon.


Steve Mac

Steve McElfresh, PhD, JD


HR Futures

Set up a time to talk here

What We Do

HR Leadership

When your HR organization needs hands-on interim leadership due to an unanticipated exit, the need for department renovation, or new leadership to carry you through a downsizing or growth spurt, we are there. Full or part-time, we can help you bridge the gap.

Turnover Reduction

High turnover can be crippling, even fatal, to organizations. We develop the analysis, planning, and actions that allow you to re-engage the energy and commitment of your people.

HR Policies, Administration, and System Implementation

We make the difficult easy, whether by producing context-sensitive policies, supporting system implementations, refining internal processes, or managing the introduction of new programs — we are there to support your HR operational needs.


Compensation Design

Well-designed pay and incentive programs are critical to retain and motivate your people. We can analyze your market position, reconcile disparate titles, ensure pay equity, and provide a plan for allocating stock options across roles, tenure, and stages of growth. And we can help you communicate the results with empathy and impact.

Talent Acquisition

Hiring quickly, well, and cost-effectively is a competitive advantage. We will review and assess hiring practices, technologies, employment branding, and hiring outcomes to design a talent acquisition engine that can drive growth ahead of the competition.

Coaching for Success

Sometimes leaders need a trusted, confidential resource to advise, reflect, and guide; even to provide an occasional “whup upside the head”. We have been-there-and-done-that and can help your leaders take advantage of our experience without the otherwise-requisite effort and travail.

Enabling HR at every stage of growth

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. —John Quincy Adams
A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves. —Lao Tzu
You manage things; you lead people. —Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper
Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others. —Jack Welch

Who We Work With

Who We Are


Steve McElfresh

Steve is the principal and founder of HR Futures®. He was recently the SVP/People of Duo Security, managing their integration with Cisco. He was previously the chief HR officer of four companies (including leading through two IPOs), as well as the president and CEO of the international HR consulting firm, Saratoga Institute. 

Steve taught at the Boston College School of Management and the University of Massachusetts.  He has served on the Boards of Directors or Advisory Boards of Palo Alto University, UC Santa Clara HR Management Program, Bay Area HR Executive Council, and Bay Area Organizational Development Network. He was a charter member of the SHRM National Panel for Human Capital Measurement/Metrics, and a member of SHRM’s Investor Metrics Workgroup. Steve earned a Ph.D. in social/organizational psychology from Boston College and a JD from Santa Clara University. 


Lara Lyness

Lara is an experienced entrepreneur as well as a skilled HR professional with experience advising senior management, designing systems and processes, coordinating ethnically and geographically diverse teams, and conducting challenging recruiting. As a consultant for HR Futures, Lara brings an authentic, hands-on, and empathetic approach. She is skilled at implementing strategic and transactional systems and is driven to support the growth of people and their organizations.

Lara earned a B.S. degree in Psychology and Social Anthropology from the University of Cape Town and a B.S. in Organizational Psychology at the University of South Africa. Lara lives in Seattle and is kept busy by her two children. When unwinding she can be found on her bike on the Seattle trails.



Jill Polgar

Jill has over twenty years of experience as a strategic HR professional and has worked globally in a wide range of industries. As an HR Consultant for HR Futures, Jill focuses on supporting clients in core Human Resources, Talent Management, Leadership Development, and HR Compliance. Her strength is building rapport and trust through an empathic approach. Jill quickly diagnoses, generates alternatives, and implements novel solutions.

Jill earned her B.S. at Emerson College, majoring in Communications, Politics, and Law, with a concentration in Law. She maintains the senior-level certification SHRM-SCP. Jill lives desert-to-sea, commuting regularly between her beloved Tuscon Mountains (AZ) and her extended family in San Diego.


Senior Consultant

Jerry McCreary

Jerry is a Senior Consultant at HR Futures®. He was most recently the Senior Director, Human Resources of Ruckus Networks and was the founder of AG-HR, a HR consultancy.  Jerry’s experience includes public companies and start-ups of all stages, seed, Series A through E and one IPO. 

Jerry is an active advisor to early-stage companies.  Jerry is versatile, action-oriented, likes a challenge. He has expertise in core HR, total rewards, talent acquisition and learning and development. He has established himself as a hands-on builder who uses objective data to guide the work.  Jerry earned a B.A. in Psychology and an M.S. in Organizational Psychology from Villanova University.

Senior Consultant

Scott Trossen

Scott has thirty years of experience in Human Resources and after working in six large organizations, he has been consulting for small- and mid-size companies for fourteen years. As an HR Consultant for HR Futures, he concentrates on compensation design and analysis, and on HR compliance. Scott’s experience across multiple business sectors enables him to serve clients with breadth and depth of insight. Scott has lived for two decades in Michigan and, from there has served clients across the country (including several in the Bay Area). He has an MBA from the University of Notre Dame with a concentration in Human Resources and maintains the senior-level certification of SHRM-SCP. Scott’s four young-adult children keep the home busy as they move out, in, and out again. Faith keeps them grounded, lifted, and connected in the community.

What They Say

The following is a sample of past and present clients and what they say about working with HRF. 

With his wealth of experience and considerable capability, Steve is a rare blend of strategy, execution, and emotional intelligence. He leads from the intersection of business strategy and analytics, providing holistic solutions to the kind of complex people challenges that paralyze many practitioners. A lifelong learner, his thoughtful and consultative approach makes him an asset to any team navigating change or growth in their organization.

Ambrosia Vertesi

Operating Partner, Operator Collective

All organizations are “lengthening shadows of one person”. This is certainly true of HR Futures. This consulting firm will be of remarkable help to developing organizations by assisting them with creating a people first culture. Their CEO, Steve McElfresh Has a PhD in social psychology and a JD in law. This combination along with his commitment to his clients’ success, makes HR Futures a key element In developing a positive trajectory for any developing organization. I recommend, without reservation, the group of dedicated individuals who make up HR Futures!
Allen Calvin

President Emeritus, Palo Alto University

HR Futures has been a critical partner for me at two companies. I engaged with HR Futures when I transitioned as a new HR leader. I was looking for strategic guidance and Steve provided valuable advice, and mentorship. Later, when I needed direct support, Shanna worked on systems and benefits implementations, and compliance planning and programs. When I transitioned to a new company, I brought in HR Futures to support my team. From top-level executive strategy to HR administrative work, HR Futures is a consistent, responsive, and valuable partner.

Josh Loehrer

VP People & Strategy, BridgeBio

It was been a pleasure working with Steve McElfresh and his team at HR Futures. Steve connected our organization to Jill Polgar, our HR advisor. Jill has been an invaluable resource for our team of eleven employees in all facets of HR, including safety and compliance, risk management, team building, recruiting and staffing, and training and development. Her positive demeanor, communication style, and candor has allowed all members of our team to feel valued and supported. She has brought structure and order to our workplace. We consider her to be an integral part of the Berggruen Gallery team.


Berggruen Gallery

Steve and I worked together while I was leading engineering at a rapidly growing consumer tech company. Our collaboration started off with him offering strategic advice which quickly turned into Steve taking on an operational role leading the recruiting and People functions to fill an emergency need.
Steve and HR Futures brought the necessary expertise and a deliberate approach to problem solving. They were able to quickly gain the respect and collaboration from the leaders across the company with long tenures. This was critical to continued momentum in growth of a company producing a product beloved by tens of millions of consumers.
I continue to seek counsel from HRFutures on people matters and would love to work with the team in the future.

Pramod Thangali

Engineering Executive

As an engineering leader, it was great to have Steve as a true partner. He has the rare ability to add value in both the tactical day to day world, right at the intersection of people and technology, as well as a valued voice and thought leader in broader strategic initiatives. I’d be pleased to work with Steve and the HRF team at any point!

Paul Melmon

VP, Engineering, Pure Storage

Let’s climb mountains together!

Tell us how to reach you and we’ll reach out within two business days.

Whether you’re making your first hire, choosing a benefits plan or creating company values, the decisions you make will have a long term impact on your culture and ability to succeed. There’s no need to go it alone. By blending the art and science of HR, we develop the tools and strategies that are right for your company.