Chief Executive Officer
Meet Celia, our Founder and CEO!
Born and raised in Chicago, Celia has been working in Human Resources and Talent Acquisition for over a decade. Celia has had the opportunity to partner with publicly traded global companies, early stage startups, and privately owned, mission-driven for profit businesses. All of which lead her to founding Work Friendly in 2016.
Meet Work Friendly's Chief Executive Officer, Celia Balson! As a leader in her field, Celia is passionate about helping companies of all sizes maximize their greatest asset - their people. She founded Work Friendly in 2016 and has since created an experienced team that specializes in helping quickly growing or transitioning companies build strong Human Resource and Talent Acquisition strategies. Today, Celia uses her wealth of industry knowledge and expertise to deliver cost-effective and strategic solutions for companies both big and small. She's passionate about helping organizations embrace their team's potential, utilizing her own drive and enthusiasm to create positive change. With an ever-growing team of industry experts and a keen eye for detail, Celia continues to set the bar for modern HR strategies that make workplaces more productive and engaged.
Chief Operating Officer
Meet Ben Balson, the Chief Operating Officer at Work Friendly! With first hand experience and success in the start-up space, he understands just how crucial those early years are for venture capital backed businesses. Prior to Work Friendly, Ben co-founded the Automotive Keys Group, the nation's leading automotive key supplier, and helped lead their operations to an eventual private equity acquisition. From there, he helped Work Friendly build from the ground up as a Strategic Advisor, before joining us full-time as Chief Operating Officer in 2022. Ben now brings his passion for success and knack for efficient people practices to our clients, determined to help other start-ups invest in long-term solutions from the get go.
Lauren is an Oklahoma transplant who has been in Chicago now for over eight years. Lauren has a Bachelors in Psychology from Mercyhurst University and Masters in Community Counseling from Loyola University of Chicago. Lauren began her career in the non-profit mental health field. She transferred her love of helping people to HR and recruitment. Most recently Lauren worked in the Telecom staffing field. Lauren brings experience helping small companies scale their policies as they grow. Outside of work, Lauren loves to run with her two rescue dogs (May & June) and just completed her 4th Chicago Triathalon. Her favorite method of self-care is making homemade pizza with her husband and re-watching Gilmore Girls or Mad Men.
Meet Work Friendly's People Expert, Julie Blomsterberg! Julie is an experienced leader in people operations and human resources, bringing with her 17 years of expertise in recruiting and HR. Always looking for ways to support her clients with strategic initiatives, change management, employee experience and technology solutions, Julie knows how to take a problem and find the solution. With passion for people, she knows that HR creates meaningful differences for employees and employers.
Head of Client Relations
Meet Work Friendly's Head of Client Relations, Ashley Bernheim! Ashley has built her career over the past eight years at a number of Human Resources and technology startups, having worked in tech sales positions for a little over five years, eventually selling HR software for Yello, gaining her initial exposure to the field of HR from the technology side. Ashley has served as a Head of People and HR Business Partner for a number of Work Friendly clients over the last three and a half years. She has an uncanny understanding of the venture capital space and the power that top talent brings to any business. She is passionate about recruitment and people strategy, priding herself in making a difference in how organizations achieve their people operations goals.
Meet Work Friendly People Expert, Cori Anderson! With 12 years of experience in corporate and consulting human resources, Cori has worked extensively with companies of all sizes, from start-ups to Fortune 500s, providing invaluable support and inspiring strong partnerships with her clients. Her passion and expertise make her an invaluable asset to any team.
Meet Work Friendly People Expert, Erin McCourt! With years of litigation experience and a deep understanding of corporate governance, particularly in labor and employment law, she made the transition to the world of recruitment. Trusted by colleagues and leaders alike, her fresh perspective on recruitment has enabled her to connect countless talented individuals with attractive employment possibilities with remarkable success. Passionate about transforming recruitment solutions and developing meaningful associate initiatives at the ground level, Erin is committed to creating a world-class candidate experience and is eager to make a positive impact.
Say hello to Paige, our People Expert!
Meet Work Friendly People Expert, Paige Vazquez!! With a passion for helping organizations achieve healthy and sustainable workplace cultures, Paige has dedicated her career to creating and implementing attainable and positive people practices. After 7 years in the industry, she remains passionate about igniting lasting transformation that starts from small, everyday interactions - an approach that has led to extraordinary success. Paige is excited to continue paving the way for best-in-class people practices.
Meet Work Friendly People Expert, Molly White! With a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology and 7 years of experience as a Behavior Analyst, Molly has developed an unparalleled passion for helping organizations develop their greatest asset – their people. She brings extensive experience working with new startups to fulfill all people needs, from performance management to employee engagement. Her enthusiasm is contagious whether she's supporting existing teams or helping to launch new ventures. Molly is an enthusiastic people expert who believes everyone deserves to be seen and appreciated.
Meet Work Friendly People Expert, Jess Young! Her expertise draws from an impressive decade of experience in helping businesses get the most strategic and compliant outcomes from their people practices. Working first-hand with both Fortune 500s and fast growing start-ups, Jessica understands the power of creating a strong culture and sense of belonging at work. Not only is she adept at using existing tools and systems to optimize people programs - she's also no stranger to building programs and processes from the ground up.