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Absence, Productivity and HR Consulting brings a wealth of knowledge and hands on experience to Employers, Service Providers, and those in the Broker/Producer community relating to all aspects of Health & Productivity. Our Principals are experienced in disability, absence, stay at work and return to work programs, paid leaves, paid time off, ADA, Workers' Comp, medical management, integrated benefits, health & wellness and Legal/Compliance issues.

Michael J. Dunst

Mike is an industry "Thought Leader" with 25+ years of absence management and disability leadership experience. His career has focused on employer based solutions related to operational efficiencies, claims management,  health & welfare strategies to promote workplace productivity and product development.  He founded and operated a nationally recognized absence & disability TPA firm that focused on Fortune 500 customers before selling to a major consulting firm. Mike has held leadership positions at several Tier 1 insurance companies as well as a national consulting firm. He has been a member of the IBI Executive Board of Directors and DMEC Advisory Board. He has presented on several occasions at industry conferences and published white papers on disability, return to work, and technology solutions for the disabled.

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Leigh Stepan, CEBS

Leigh is a leader in the benefits and risk management industries with over 25 years’ experience. She is a subject matter expert in both casualty claims and benefits, with particular expertise in workers compensation and time away from work programs including leave, disability, sick pay, PTO and various vacation plan models.  Leigh was Director of Benefits as well as Casualty Claims Manager for a fortune 100 retailer and Senior Vice President for the largest third-party administrator in the U.S. Leigh understands the industry from both the vendor and the employer perspective and is well versed in program design and  operational delivery. Leigh is a current board member for the Twin Cities Chapter of the International Society of Certified Employee Benefits Specialist(ISCEBS) and has previously served on national committees for the ISCEBS, the Corporate Board for the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP) and the board of the Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI). 

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Ophelia Galindo

Ophelia brings over 30 years of experience focused on time away, leave of absence, disability and accommodation, with a commitment to helping clients develop programs that are compliant, scalable, sustainable, disciplined and, of course, customer-centric. Her clients have included employers, public retirement plans, unions, third-party administrators and insurance carriers. Ophelia most recently led the Global benefit services, leave of absence, disability and accommodation case management teams at Amazon.  Ophelia insourced and integrated the Amazon leave/disability and accommodation in 2020, onto a single, Salesforce-based tech platform. 
Before joining Amazon, Ophelia was the National Lead for Buck Consultant's Absence & Productivity Solutions group. Prior to Buck, Ophelia was at Mercer HR Consulting in a similar role. 

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Stan Kulesa
Sr. Consultant, Disability and Claim Operations

Stan is a seasoned Claims leader with significant experience in building and directing high performance operational businesses. Being a student of the business, he has proven results in claim management, cross-functional interactions, regulatory and compliance expertise, organization skills, and continuous quality improvement. He is recognized as developing leaders and building and capitalizing on strong and positive relationships with all aspects of an organization such as sales, underwriting, marketing and product development.  He is experienced in developing and refining approaches to claim analytics to produce tangible results. Stan leverages his extensive industry experience to advocate for disability interests through speaking engagements, published articles, lobbying activities, and volunteering.

Michael Klachefsky

Michael is a nationally known expert in workplace productivity, leave, absence and disability management. He has helped over 130 employers, carriers, brokers, associations, governments and unions to evaluate, design or outsource their leave, absence and disability management programs. His experience includes consulting in both the USA and Canada. Michael has created over 120 media articles, webinars, conference presentations, and podcasts. He is considered a pioneer in the measurement of the total cost of absence and lost productivity and he has developed industry leading approaches to resolving mental health claims.

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Marie J. Killian

Marie is a human resources leader and employment law attorney who combines Fortune 100 business experience, subject matter expertise in human resources, and sound understanding of employment regulations. She has a proven track record in improving human resource management efficiencies and reducing the potential for regulatory noncompliance by conducting human resource audits, developing employment strategies, drafting policies, and implementing procedures for employers. Additionally, she has managed leave of absence programs for employers. Marie has been responding to employers' increased requests for third party investigations and sexual harassment training.

Ronald S. Leopold, MD, MBA, MPH
Chief Medical Officer

As a credentialed and experienced occupational physician, Dr. Leopold brings credibility and a breadth of knowledge as a consultant, client advocate, and marketplace spokesperson. He is an industry thought leader in medical costs, employee benefits and health and productivity. Dr. Leopold has additional expertise on a variety of benefits-related topics, including the strategic value of employee benefits, the four generations in the workplace, the value of financial wellness and the implications of health reform for the benefits community. 

His  book on the future of employee benefits entitled The Benefits Edge: Honing the Competitive Value of Employee Benefits has been described as a blueprint for benefits in the decade of healthcare reform. He is also the author of A Year in the Life of a Million American Workers, an almanac of absence data, in addition to numerous by-lined articles in the benefits media. 

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Maranda Childress
Sr. Absence and Disability Consultant

Over the past 25 years, Maranda has gained significant experience leading leave, disability and accommodation strategies focused on operational initiatives with many of the largest U.S employers. Maranda has spent her career leading initiatives both on the employer operations side and within third party disability absence operations. Under her leadership she has implemented: in-source/out-source of absence and accommodation systems and administration, operational re-vamps, process re-designs, benefit plan changes, change management strategies, vendor selections, operational training, call-center and intake operations enhancements, organization-wide communications, employer managed 2nd/3rd level appeal adjudication and process/plan audits. Her holistic views are instrumental in blending innovation, operations, compliance and employee centered leave, disability, leave and accommodation programs.

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