Success Stories
About Us
  Our Team
  Our Coaches
  Board of Advisors
Contact Us

The Career Spa Team

Tom Darrow, Principal

Susan Kent, Vice President, Houston Office
Rod Chally, Vice President, Jacksonville Office
Teela Jackson, Faculty
Gary Shaar, Faculty
Vernesha Smith, Project Manager


Tom Darrow

Thomas M. Darrow is the Founder and Principal of Talent Connections, LLC (www.talentconnections.net).   Since 1999, the Atlanta based professional services firm has specialized in recruiting—including recruitment process outsourcing (RPO), executive search, HR consulting, and contract recruiting.  Current and past clients include The Coca Cola Company, Habitat for Humanity International, Cingular, ADP, Booz Allen Hamilton, Deloitte, Newell Rubbermaid, Microsoft, McKesson, and Emory Healthcare. Talent Connections was named in 2007 and 2008 to the Inc. 500 list of America’s fastest growing private companies for realizing 1700% revenue growth.

In March, 2009, Tom teamed with nationally recognized recruiting and career transition experts to launch Career Spa, LLC (www.careerspa.net).  The career transition company is revolutionizing the way unemployed and misemployed workers are equipped to assess and proactively manage their career transitions. 

Tom has over 21 years experience in the Human Resources and Recruitment profession -- including 9 years with the global professional services firms of Price Waterhouse (now PricewaterhouseCoopers) and Andersen Consulting (now Accenture).   

He is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Atlanta Chapter (SHRM-Atlanta).  He was the 2006/2007 President of SHRM-Atlanta, the largest city Chapter in the country out of 577 Chapters and served on the Board of Directors from 2005-2008.  Under his leadership as President, SHRM-Atlanta’s membership increased 60% to over 2600 members and the Chapter launched two programs that won a 2007 SHRM Pinnacle Award for membership growth and a 2008 SHRM Pinnacle Award for the Mayor’s Youth Program.  At the National level, he serves on the SHRM Foundation Board and served on the SHRM Staffing Management Special Expertise Panel from 2005-2008. He is the Founder and former Chair of the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) Recruiting Society and has served on the TAG Board of Directors from 2005 through 2009.  From 2005 through 2007, he was the Inaugural President of the TAG Leadership Council and served on the Executive Committee of the Board. 

Tom earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Accounting from the University of Notre Dame.  He speaks nationally at conferences and workshops on topics related to improving corporate recruiting processes and career transition best practices, and has been quoted in publications including BusinessWeek, Inc. Magazine, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, The Atlanta Business Chronicle, The Washington Post, and HR Magazine and had been interviewed on National Public Radio (NPR) and WXIA TV – Channel 11 in Atlanta.   

In addition to his leadership in the Human Resources and Recruiting profession, Tom is dedicated to community service through many volunteer activities. He currently serves on the Board of Advisors for the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce.  As a lead volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta, he served as a Big Brother from 1991 to 1998 and was honored as the Big Brother of the Year in Gwinnett County in 1996. In 2002 he served on the Board of Directors and was Chair of the Ambassadors for Big Brothers Big Sisters.  In 2001, he was voted the Ambassador of the Year.  In 2005, he was the Co-Chair of the Arby’s Charity Tour golf tournament which raised a record $285,000.  From 2003 through 2005, Tom served on the Board of Directors for The Partnership Against Domestic Violence.  He has been a Host Committee Member of High Tech Ministries since 1999.  Tom founded and leads the Atlanta HR Prayer Breakfast.  Tom has also been a leader and speaker in the Crossroads Career Network career ministry since 1997.  In 2008, Tom was nominated for the Turknett Leadership Character Award in the CEO category and was a finalist for the North Fulton County Chamber of Commerce Small Business Person of the Year Award.

Tom lives in Murphy, NC and Smyrna, GA with his wife Anne and their three dogs and parrot.  He enjoys golf, Notre Dame football, Christian music, shows at the Fox and Alliance theaters, eBay shopping, spending time with family and friends, and comedy.  In 2004 he made his stand-up comedy debut at The Punch Line, the premier comedy club in the Southeast.  Tom is also a minority owner of the World Champion Green Bay Packers. 

^ Back to Top


Susan Kent
Vice President, Houston Office

Susan was strategic in launching Career Spa in Atlanta in 2009, and is now responsible for the Houston, TX office, newly opened in mid 2011.  Susan is focused on building customized solutions for clients who are faced with redundancies as a result of shrinking budgets or during a merger or acquisition.  She also delivers strategies for reduction-in-force planning that enables companies to assist transitioning employees in a cost effective manner while minimizing impact to the organization.

Susan has thirty years experience in Human Resources within the energy industry at Southern Company, Georgia Power Company, and most recently at Mirant, a global competitive energy provider.  She has led two recruiting functions in these corporate environments and has experienced the challenges of human resources during times of growth and times of downsizing.   Susan is experienced in working through start-ups, acquisitions, and through bankruptcy as well as emergence from bankruptcy.

Susan was also a Principal Consultant in Organizational Effectiveness & Staffing at Southern Company, designing and implementing efficient and compliant transition processes during times of staff reduction.  She has designed and delivered severance packages to employees during multiple downsizing programs.  As a Sr. Human Resources Generalist, Susan understands the client’s perspective, especially when there is a need to balance business need with employee performance, while managing budget constraints and executive expectations.  She’s a proven business ally - - someone who can empathize with both client’s needs and employee’s needs, seek win-win solutions and build business relationships based on integrity.

Susan has a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management from Georgia State University, and has held numerous leadership positions in both professional and community organizations.  In her spare time, she enjoys golf, tennis, volunteering for mission work through her church, and vacationing at the beach.  Susan and her husband, Ron, reside in Houston, Texas where they are fortunate to be near their son who is an engineer in the oil & gas industry in Houston.

^ Back to Top



Rod Chally
Vice President, Jacksonville Office

As a Vice President of the Jacksonville Practice for Career Spa, Rod is responsible for business development and project management of career transition solutions for clients and candidates.  For more than 20 years as a human resources executive Rod was involved in designing and implementing reorganization plans for national retail organizations.  He was project manager for a major reorganization plan for a leading Midwest electrical utility.  As an executive recruiter he has assisted many displaced executives with the development of job search campaigns to land new positions.

Rod brings to Talent Connections an extensive resume of human resources and recruiting expertise. Most recently Rod served as a Director of Executive search for ATS Services, a Jacksonville-based company providing recruiting solutions for more than 30 years. He was responsible for relationship management and business development of executive search assignments with leading, global clients. Previously, Rod recruited senior-level sales and marketing executives for Accenture in North America. At Ernst & Young, he was a human resources consultant providing retained, executive search services and organization development consulting services for clients. Additionally, he served as Vice President of Human Resources for a division of a leading apparel company, Hart Schaffner Marx. During his career, Rod has recruited positions from the Director/Manager level to CEO’s for companies in a variety of industries.

Rod received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Personnel Management from Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois. He enjoys spending spare time on the wonderful golf courses of NE Florida. He also enjoys watching college and professional sports with favorites being football, basketball and golf. His wife, Pam, has worked most of her career in college administration currently serving as the Dean of the College of Health at the University of North Florida. Their favorite time away from work is with their children and three granddaughters in Jacksonville and Atlanta. For 10 years Rod has served as Chair of the Personnel Ministry at Palms Presbyterian Church in Jacksonville Beach.

^ Back to Top

Teela Jackson


Teela Jackson brings over ten years of recruiting expertise to the career transition industry.  Prior to joining Career Spa, she focused on recruitment of executive level Human Resources professionals as a Senior Talent Consultant with Talent Connections. This experience transitions well into the job search and career transition industry because she has the “inside track” on what companies are looking for in new candidates for their openings and she has previously provided counsel to candidates on the best ways to go about finding an new position.  Teela also provides job search assistance to individuals through volunteer work with Crossroads Career Network and DeVry University’s HR Management program.  Teela has been most complimented for her ability to give clear, concise advice to job seekers. 

She began her recruiting career with CIGNA Healthcare, a Fortune 100 provider of benefits where she was responsible for recruiting for a large, high-volume call center and claims service center.  She was also responsible for attending job fairs on behalf of the company to locate the best and the brightest for her openings.  Following her experience with CIGNA in Tennessee, Teela moved to Atlanta and began working with a national executive search firm that specialized in placement of HR talent.  During her tenure with the firm, Teela developed and implemented new sourcing strategies and recruiting processes that ultimately resulted in the successful addition of two divisions and the ability to focus on clients’ needs in other areas.   Following her search firm experience, she worked for Georgia Pacific, a Fortune 100 forest products company, where she was responsible for recruiting for their corporate office and 55 field locations. 
Teela earned her master’s of business administration – management from Mercer University and her bachelor’s of science – human resources from The University of Tennessee. A native of Nashville, she enjoys spending time with her daughter and husband, reading, making beaded jewelry and is active in her church.

^ Back to Top







Gary Shaar

With more than ten years of experience in contract recruiting and executive search and more than 20 years in government and corporate leadership roles, Gary has a wealth of know-how and contacts. He has conducted hundreds of searches in his career across a number of industries and is excellent at defining job roles and placing long-term candidates in them. He is expert in finding and hiring hard-to-fill skill sets. He is co-chairman of the TAG Recruiting Society and on the leadership team for the Roswell United Methodist Church jobs ministry.

A former Navy officer and pilot, Gary holds a master's degree in finance and management from Webster University and a bachelor's of science in biology from Rutgers University. Gary enjoys traveling, weight training and quality time with his teenage daughter.

^ Back to Top




Vernesha Smith
Project Manager

As Project Manager for Career Spa, Vernesha Smith ensures everything is running smoothly behind the scenes. She plays a crucial role in maintaining our network database, updating member resources such as networking channels and recruiting events and supports the marketing activities. Vernesha was a key member of the Habit for Humanity recruiting team and was responsible for managing their applicant tracking system, developing job descriptions and acting as a liaison between hiring managers and candidates. As a Talent Coordinator with Talent Connections she oversees a network database of over 14,000 contacts and plays a crucial role in supporting the efforts of the recruiting team enabling them to fill open positions in record time.

Vernesha earned a bachelor's of science in business-human resources from Georgia Southwestern State University. In her spare time, Vernesha enjoys playing various sports, traveling, and spending time with her family.

^ Back to Top