Behind the name Leath HR Group is a reputation.  That reputation is perpetuated by solid careers in HR leadership across various industries—small-business, manufacturing, pharma, government, law firms, utilities, retail, healthcare.

This woman-owned company was founded in 2017 to partner with business leaders who want to update people systems and processes with the help of modern HR professionals. We believe the research – that by operating from a positive place and eliminating dysfunction to the extent possible, businesses and employees become more productive.

We enjoy thinking big but working hard and leaving our clients with the tools to sustain the progress we made together.  We like what we do and we hope it’s contagious.

Headshot UWCFALisa Leath, SHRM-SCP



After graduating from the School of Labor and Employment Relations at Penn State, I gained generalist and benefits experience in a boutique law firm in Manhattan. From there, I changed industries to both non-union and union large manufacturing facilities with a Fortune 300 specialty materials company at multiple plants across North Carolina in lead Labor Relations and HR Manager roles. After eight great years, I moved on to lead and transform a HR function at an international pharmaceutical contract development manufacturing organization with seven global locations. Most recently, I have been spending time working as an outsourced HR leader with pharmaceutical companies, healthcare, start-ups, technology companies and non-profits.

No matter the business or industry, the approach over my career in Human Resources has remained consistent – use bench-marked best practices to tailor pragmatic HR solutions to specific industries or situations.  I have a reputation for building great HR processes and strategic direction for businesses and demanding clients.  I know that it’s very important for an HR professional to quickly understand business challenges and be adept at providing appropriate solutions, not just sit on the sideline.  I like to start with a real conversation about what you’re experiencing so we can determine which projects I can take off of your plate to make the biggest impact on your business. I look forward to working with you.

Endorsed ~700 times on LinkedIn by colleagues for HR expertise.

Strengths Finder Top 5: Maximizer, Woo, Positivity, Strategic, Arranger.

DiSC: D, i

Proud Nittany Lion. We are!

Beth Looney, MPA, SHRM-SCP

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I have 19 years of HR experience and I love connecting people to meaningful work and philanthropic causes.  My strengths are recruiting, on-boarding, employee relations and strategic planning.  Having owned a small business, managed HR teams and guided non-profit teams, I have a broad understanding of what is needed to build and maintain success.  I earned my SHRM- SCP certification as well as a Master’s degree in Public Administration.

I know that small firms and nonprofit organizations need talented HR leadership and guidance but rarely have the funds to dedicate full-time staff to that role. I am excited to partner with Leath HR Group because Lisa and her team offer cost-effective solutions for that business landscape.

Wilmington has been home for my children and since 2003. I love the beach and if I could find a way to monetize sea glass hunting, I would retire tomorrow!

Jillian Howden, MPA



I have over 20 years of negotiation skills, conflict resolution and facilitation across a broad audience base. I love facilitating vital programs such as sexual harassment, workplace harassment, multicultural awareness and career/life development.

Over the last two decades I’ve trained across organizations and developed outreach programs throughout significant communities such as Los Angeles. I double majored in Social Welfare and Public Health Education at University of California Berkeley then earned my Master’s in Public Administration from California State University Dominguez Hills and obtained my teaching credential in Health, Family and Consumer Sciences, and Physical Education from California State University, Long Beach.

I am a California transplant with British roots who currently lives in Wilmington, NC with my husband and 3 awesome kids. I am a certified yoga instructor and my DiSC profile is High I, High S.

Meet The Advisory Board

ericabarker Erica Barker, JD


As a former litigation attorney involved in mass tort employment discrimination and labor law claims, I am aware of the multitude of potentially devastating and expensive legal consequences of inadequate HR support for businesses.  As a litigator, I was often frustrated by the simple mistakes and improper procedures implemented by a corporation that would result in protracted litigation between an employer and employee.  My in-house experience allows me to apply the knowledge I gained as a plaintiff’s attorney on behalf of employees to the benefit of both the corporation and the employee by creating and advising on comprehensive employment practices to reduce the risk of litigation.

In my ten years as a practicing attorney, I have dealt with a wide variety of employment related legal disputes having worked both as a plaintiff’s litigation attorney and in-house for a general counsel’s office.  My HR philosophy embodies a holistic approach that accounts for my experience resolving disputes on behalf of both the employer and the employee.  This unique perspective allows me to provide comprehensive risk management techniques in order to maximize business results and minimize litigation risk.  I believe in creating practical policies and procedures tailored to the needs of an individual business that are compliant with the law.

The law related services I offer as a consultant with the Leath Consulting Group are not legal services and do not create an attorney-client relationship.

 Betsy Buckley, MPA


Prior to moving from Corning, NY to Wilmington, NC, I held several interesting Human Resource roles.  For the 15 years before my retirement, I worked for Corning Incorporated. My last HR client group included 150 attorneys, located worldwide and reported to the General Counsel of the Fortune 300 corporation. In addition to managing HR day-to-day issues for the legal group, I was responsible for the chief technology office (CTO) as well as it’s direct reports at the research center. This included negotiation and understanding Steel Workers union contracts, safety and environmental issues.  Prior to this, I was the human resource manager for all human resources employees, located worldwide. This position required the ability to rally employees around the globe and share new policies implemented by the HR function in a meaningful and understandable way. This role required an ability to keep HR employees moving forward on implementation while working through language and time barriers.

My corporate experience was rounded by previously teaching six years at Penn State University where I taught employment and labor law as well as an introduction to labor relations. Board Member Emeritus, Alumni Board, School of Labor and Employment Relations at Penn State University.

ddzim Deana Zimmerman, MS


I am a passionate and successful human resources professional who has worked in a variety of industries.  After receiving my Master’s Degree in HR from Purdue University, I have worked at Boehringer Ingelheim – a privately-held pharmaceutical company, Ann Inc. – parent company to the iconic women’s clothing brand Ann Taylor, and Sikorsky Aircraft, a Lockheed Martin Company – the manufacturer of the distinguished Blackhawk Helicopter.

My passion for improving business results starts with providing strategic guidance and creative solutions to the talent equation.  Throughout my career, I have picked up a variety of tools and process expertise –  with an emphasis on Talent Acquisition and Talent Management.

The talent game is more competitive than ever.  Trying to win this game takes ingenuity, confidence and an appetite for learning.  One of my strengths is the ability to get to know the business I support quickly – to ensure an understanding of where I can quickly add value.  Furthermore, I am a firm believer in organizations hiring talent for their strengths and providing opportunities for enhancing those strengths.

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