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Employee Manager

Our core competency is helping you manage the most important part of your company – your people.

Cognos HR is a human capital consulting organization that possesses unparalleled industry vision and expertise. We provide our clients with a blend of strategic consulting, technology and day-to-day Human Resources services which help drive overall business performance.

Our goal is to help our clients improve productivity and lower overall employment costs by leveraging our HR expertise, infrastructure and group benefits relationships.

Working with cognos hr

When it comes to human resources, a “one size fits all” approach doesn’t usually work. We make it a point to learn as much as we can about our clients’ culture, employees and business objectives so we can develop HR solutions that meet their needs and generate organizational success.

Our team possesses a rare combination of industry experience, effectual knowledge and passion for delivering superior HR, payroll and benefits services for our clients. We serve our clients with a blend of personal service and technology that enable us to be a truly valuable partner - both short and long term.

If you’re running a small business, your time and energy should be focused on generating revenue and increasing your bottom line…we’re here to take care of the rest.

Learn More About how we can help your company get to the next level...

Interested in a career at CognosHR? Visit our careers page to learn more!

Our Leadership Team

Robert Cerone

President and CEO

20 years’ experience has given Bob a veteran’s perspective on the Professional Employer Services (PEO) and Human Resources... (HR) Management space. Bob serves as the Midwest Leadership Chair for the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (NAPEO), which is the governing arm of the PEO industry. He stays grounded volunteering his time as a mentor at the Junto Institute - the only leadership and revenue accelerator for growth-stage companies.

Bob entered the PEO space in 1995 when he founded EmPowerHR. In 2011, EmPowerHR was sold to Laurus Strategies, where Bob subsequently served as CEO. In 2015, Bob started Cognos HR and continues to play an active role in providing the highest level of human capital and benefits service to our clients.

Prior to his work in the PEO business, Bob worked for Canon USA, Philips DuPont Optical Company and Xerox Corporation. He also served as an educator and facilitator for adolescents with special needs.

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Mary O’Keeffe

Co-Founder & COO

Mary brings a level-headed perspective that can only come 20+ years of experience in the HR space. Serving as Director of... Human Resources and Employee Benefits at Belmont Trading, Director of Benefits at Empower HR, and Senior Consultant at Laurus Strategies has given Mary the opportunity to discover and understand the nuances associated with human capital consulting. Her problem-solving acumen and steadfast approach instills a sense of calm in the office.

Mary directs a team of 10 here at Cognos. She has implemented benefits strategies for corporations ranging in size from 5 to 5,000 employees. Mary holds a PHR – Professional in Human Resources and is a NAPEO participant. When not at the office, Mary enjoys lounging on her couch with Lance and their three rescue dogs.  She also likes spending time with her tight-knit group of friends; their interesting adventures provide plenty of humor around the office water cooler.

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Janis Kanzler

Vice President of Payroll & Administration

Janis leads by example with a sharp attention to detail, problem solving, and a focus on bottom line results.... She provides daily supervision of all payroll related areas and accounting functions within a complex multi-state payroll system. Janis is a Controller with significant experience in reorganizing and developing accounting and operational process. She’s responsible for preparation of budgets ($400M gross revenue), coordinating year-end financial audits, while leading our tax and accounting team and managing the accounting/operation infrastructure.

Janis earned her CPA and has industry-specific expertise, which includes construction, retail, manufacturing, not for profit, and governmental institutions. She was elected to the Board of Commissioners at Lisle Park District - while serving as appointed treasurer, Janis led the finance team to investigate and uncover fraud, recovering $450k in missing revenue. Aside from working at CongosHR, Janis volunteers her time as Treasurer for Lisle’s baseball and softball organizations.

When she’s not working, Janis enjoys time with Mike, her husband of 28 years, and two boys, Kevin and Bryan.

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Susan Matejka

Director of Leadership Development

In addition to serving as an Executive coach, Susan partners with clients to provide guidance on strategic planning, communications..., recruiting, Board/leadership development initiatives, and overall organizational management. She is certified in administering the Judgment IndexTM and the Myers-Briggs Type Inventory®.

Susan is a current member and past President of The Woman’s Board at Rush University Medical Center. During her tenure, Rush completed a successful $350,000,000 capital campaign to build a new state-of-the-art hospital. As a part of this initiative, The Woman’s Board raised $12,000,000, the largest single gift in the history of The Woman’s Board.

Susan’s also served as President of the nation’s premier provider of services for people with severe mental illness - Thresholds, a Chicago based organization. She chaired the CEO search committee, served as Chairman of the Governance and Recruitment Committee, and was instrumental in securing several major gifts from individual donors. Susan was presented with the Community Leader Award from DePauw University and has been featured as a prominent fundraiser and volunteer in several Chicago publications.

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