Denise Carissimo – Nominated by Justin Hall, Paige Rassega, and Michael Villanueva

Carissimo smallI love it when the nominator does my job for me by putting a lot of detail into a nominee. I love it even more when THREE people do it!

That’s right – our first nominee for December is Denise Carissimo was nominated by three individuals. That’s how you know someone has had impact. Congratulations Denise!

From Justin Hall

Denise has been in HR for a long time and I met her during a class I took at Youngstown State University where she is an adjunct professor in the department of management. The main course she teaches is “Managing Diversity in the Workplace” and it was my favorite class. On top of that and her work schedule, she is very involved with YSU’s student chapter of SHRM. She serves as our college liaison and connects students to professionals in the field as well as connects us to professional SHRM chapters in the area. Denise is also someone I know any student can go to and get advice or help in HR, whether that be coursework or help in the actual field. All in all Denise is a great HR practitioner and even more importantly to my heart a great role model and mentor to the students she teaches no matter who they are or what they plan to pursue in life.

From Paige Rassega

Denise is a professor in the Management Department in the Williamson College of Business Administration at Youngstown State University. She teaches Managing Diversity and is heavily involved with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) student organization. She is very kind, considerate and connected to her students. She is a very upbeat, funny and outgoing who makes learning a wonderful and entertaining experience for all of us. Her unwavering enthusiasm is apparent in her warm welcomes and instantly assures students that they are capable of achieving all their ambitions. She is a true role model, modeling valued behaviors, attitudes and skills that aid students in achieving competence, confidence and a clear professional identity. She has earned a staggering amount of respect from all of her students.

Denise goes above and beyond the call of duty. She is an icon of guidance and leadership for students here at Youngstown State University. She inspires and impacts all those she comes in contact with each day. I have gone to her innumerable times with what must have seemed like trite issues to her but were big issues at the time. She always responded with care and concern, no matter how busy she herself may have been at the time. It has been a rewarding experience to have her guidance throughout my undergraduate education. 

In Denise’s role as College Relations Chair, she serves as a liaison between the local HR Chapter/community and the student chapter at Youngstown State University. She has served as a mentor for the students who are enrolled in the Human Resources program at the university. She has helped guide the students in becoming more knowledgeable about SHRM and its benefits to students and meeting the requirements of a student chapter. Denise has assisted the students in submitting for the Student Chapter Merit Award through SHRM. Denise has continually promoted the students at the local chapter level to which students regularly attend the meetings and programs. These students have the opportunity to network with local professionals and to receive continuing education through the topics presented at the local chapter meetings. Local chapter members have given presentations on HR topics at the student chapter meetings. In addition, many local companies have had the opportunity to grant these students internship opportunities. Denise is truly committed to advocating for the HR students at YSU as they are the future of the workforce in the Mahoning Valley in which she lives and works.

In Denise’s tenure as College Relations she has faced challenges over the years engaging students and increasing membership in the student chapter. Through these times of student turnover, minimal involvement and lack of student leaders; she has persevered as the student chapter membership is at a record high this year and the students have participated in more activities and volunteered than in any other year. To her credit Denise has never wavered in her commitment to the students and helping to guide them in being successful and affording them all possible opportunity. Her energy and passion is motivating to the students and hopefully the students are learning to incorporate this type of attitude and presence in their personal and professional life as they prepare to graduate and move into the workforce.


In addition to her professional guidance, Denise also consistently reminds us that it is important to keep a balance between school and personal life. Everyone stays in touch with her after graduation, as she is someone that has made a huge impact on our lives. Her impact on our lives and the lives of students she has taught is profound and I can think of no other individual more qualified or deserving of this award. She is more than just a professor; she is a mentor, an inspiration and a friend. These intrinsic qualities are the basis for my unconditional support for her. It is my pleasure to recommend Denise Carissimo for this award.

From Michael Villanueva

Denise goes above and beyond the “call of HR duty” with employee relations, training, and mentoring. She leads by example and sets the bar very high with her organizational and professional skills. She has volunteered with SHRM for over 10 years in leadership chapter roles. She is a great HR resource for any organization.

What a great tribute! Please share this post with your fellow HR pros and think about someone you know who has had long-term impact as an HR professional in their own company – or in the industry of HR in general.

Again – Denise – Congratulations!