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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

We begin by getting to know your culture and business objectives, then creating cost effective and measurable HR solutions that match the unique needs of your company.

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 with a blend of strategy, personal service and technology that enables us to be a truly valuable partner for our clients - both short and long term.

Your time and energy should be focused on generating business and increasing your bottom line…we’re here to take care of the rest.

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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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Edmund Fleming Jr.

Co-Founder / Partner

With 18 years’ experience in early stage/fast growth business scenarios, Ed brings a fresh perspective to the service side... of HR. Ed has long been an advocate of the value a PEO can provide, because he’s seen the value from challenges as a client - in accounting discipline and risk management. He continues this advocacy and plays a key role in providing unique insight - now having spent time as both a client and provider.

As a part of his management duties, Ed has lead teams across many disciplines - accounting, sales, client services, marketing, and business development. This included multiple successful exits due to acquisitions.

Ed finds himself in the role of serial entrepreneur while juggling the demand of being an active father to two young boys - finding plenty of opportunities to volunteer as lunch dad, art helper, library duty, fieldtrip chaperone, and even Cubs Scout den leader.

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Tom O'Grady

Vice President of Sales

With more than 17 years’ experience growing and managing businesses, Tom is a seasoned leader with measurable success in... driving revenue, developing relationships and delivering results. Tom brings an unparalleled enthusiasm to win as a team, and has consistently exceeded corporate growth goals. He’s a Chicago native that has developed an extensive network of professional contacts across a number of industry verticals.

Prior to joining Cognos HR, Tom’s sales and management expertise was honed on early stage startups, while serving as part of the management team at both Performics, an affiliate and search engine marketing technology, and AdGooroo, an online advertising competitive intelligence provider.

When he’s not at work Tom volunteers for Bridge Communities, holds an Illinois Teaching Certificate, has taught middle school math and special need, and has been part of several neighborhood renewal projects in his town of Glen Ellyn, IL.

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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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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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