Taking a Systematic Approach to Improving Individual and Organizational Performance

Honored instructor Terri Lynn Cardona leverages her impressive work experience into training the next generation of HR professionals

The origins of Terri Lynn Cardona’s business success lies in a typical college job: slinging coffee and snacks. From there, she continued in public-facing roles such as a hotel convention services coordinator and a training restaurant manager for Wendy’s.

It was during this professional-developmental time that Terri Lynn earned her first certifications—in situational leadership and targeted selection.

“Certifications hone your skills and help define areas you may not know you love, refine areas you need to stretch and give you foundational knowledge,” Terri Lynn says.

So it should come as no surprise that Terri Lynn is a vocal advocate of continuing education—a passion she brings to her classes and one of the many reasons why she is a 2019 Honored Instructor.

A Professional’s Professional

Terri Lynn understands the difficulties of combining full-time work and studies because she’s done it herself. While advancing in her career—and working an additional “full shift” at home as a mother of two—Cardona earned a master’s of science in instructional and performance technology through Boise State University. This degree completion took her to new career heights, succeeding at multiple jobs in human resources at the director and VP levels.

Along her career path, she worked as a senior vice president at Prometheus Real Estate Group, director of human resources at W Hotel, vice president of team support services at FoodFun Inc. and director of training at Golden Gate Doughnuts, a Krispy Kreme franchise.

“Under each role,” she outlines, “I was able to apply a systematic approach to improving organizational, work unit and individual performance by aligning all of the tools, resources, data, incentives and motives that attract, engage and retain employees.”

And, of course, there are multiple awards that testify to her prowess! During her tenure, Prometheus Real Estate Group received multiple recognitions:

Today, she is running a nimble company, Stone Soup Performance Consulting, which focuses on improving employee performance through strategic alignment, HR consulting and team development.

Transition Into Teaching

Based on the accolades and experience, Terri Lynn is a walking and talking refutation of the old saw, “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.” Because she clearly can. So why teach? Why take on additional workload?


“My favorite instructor was Terri Lynn Cardona, otherwise known as ‘TLC. She was my instructor for Effective Performance Management  and Aligning Human Resource Initiatives With Business Success. She used her many years of experience in HR to bring the material to life. Her courses were my most challenging and yet my most enjoyable. She went above and beyond by helping students secure internships, and in some cases job opportunities. She loves to teach and it shows. I will always remember her as one of my best teachers, and I am happy and proud to now call her my friend.”

Yvonne Ayala, Certificate Program in Human Resource and Management graduate


The first reason is that Terri Lynn is like many of our instructors: She has a long history of professional success in her field and a benevolent desire to share her knowledge and expertise with up-and-comers.

The second reason is a bit more self-serving. “I wanted a way to network with potential candidates, and teaching made that possible as it puts your name out there as a thought leader and represents your company,” she explains. “The second part of my selfish answer is as a trainer, you always learn more from the teaching. Being a teacher keeps me honed in the discipline of human performance.”

Her work experience gives her a vast reservoir of skills to impart in the HR realm, including:

  • implementing HRIS, payroll and ATS systems
  • designing benefits
  • planning compensation
  • building an employee brand and culture

Applied Skills Are Paramount

Just as her classes at Boise State were experiential, Terri Lynn strives to make her lesson plans count, both intellectually and as applied to actual HR practices. She understands what it means to pay for your education, both in dollars and in using precious discretionary time for classwork.

Her curriculum concentrates on participation, targeted thinking and class participation; ultimately, her class centers on producing work that can help her students create portfolios to enter or advance in the field of HR.

“I design my courses to tap into the different learning styles and to simulate the role HR professionals have at work through collaboration, sharing business acumen, working in teams and delivering on business results,” she expands.

Ongoing Relationships

Terri Lynn Cardona in the hallway at UC Berkeley Extension's San Francisco Campus

Part of being a business success is benchmarking and analyzing data to continually improve your processes. Based on her students’ successes, it’s clear that Terri Lynn is a sensational teacher.

Her students are gainfully employed in HR, some even have lead roles at their organizations.

Her students are leading with new ideas about recruitment branding. Many work for the best companies in the San Francisco Bay Area. A number of them have gone on to attain their Professional in Human Resources® (PHR®)  certification.


Terri Lynn’s Top Suggestions for Certificate Success
Follow these expert tips to get the most out of your certificate experience.

  1. Pencil out what this program means and why you want to enter it. Have the goal in mind at the beginning.
  2. It’s not about the grade, it’s about your performance in class. You are “showing up” for your class, for your team, for yourself. Your reputation is your calling card.


Cardona knows this because she still keeps in touch with many of her students. It’s part of her teaching philosophy. She makes it clear to her students that managing ongoing relationships with peers is an essential HR skill.

In fact, Terri Lynn is blunt about that need: “HR can be a lonely profession,” she tells her students. “In this classroom, you now have X number of peers who will always be there to help. Stay connected.”

Terri Lynn models that advice every day. It’s one of the many reasons we value her as an instructor and why she was named an Honored Instructor for 2019.