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University of Phoenix Alumna Linda Kalaf Honored with AI O'Connor Lifetime Achievement Award by AZSHRM

By Michele Mitchum

Award recognizes individuals who display a lifetime of exemplary service to the field

University of Phoenix is pleased to announce that Linda Kalaf, a distinguished alumna, has been awarded the prestigious AI O'Connor Lifetime Achievement Award by the Arizona Society for Human Resource Management (AZSHRM). This recognition is a testament to Kalaf’s remarkable contributions to the field of human resources and her unwavering commitment to excellence.

"In receiving this award, I want to emphasize four key principles that have helped me along the way," shared Kalaf. “First, invest in your education—it is the best investment in yourself. Second, cherish relationships, as they play a pivotal role in your success. Third, recognize that you are the CEO of your life; build your Personal Board of Directors wisely. Finally, celebrate and embrace diversity, for it is our differences that make us unique. As my mom wisely said, 'Cada cabeza es un mundo'—every head is a world. By engaging with those who are different from us, we often discover unexpected commonalities. Let's value and embrace our differences."

The AI O'Connor Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to an HR professional or business leader who has exemplified a lifetime of exceptional dedication to the HR field. This recognition is awarded to individuals who have demonstrated outstanding leadership, innovation, and commitment to advancing the HR industry through publications, instruction, career achievement, and education/certifications, as well as through volunteer leadership, support for HR-related initiatives, and significant contributions to promote and support HR professionals.

Kalaf's educational journey began at the University of Phoenix, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Management and her Master of Arts in Organizational Management. Kalaf says her education at the University of Phoenix helped equip her with the skills and knowledge necessary to excel in her career. “I really believe that earning my Master of Arts in Organizational Management helped to open doors for me in my career,” she shares. “It allowed me to grow professionally and to take on leadership roles within the field for which I’m extremely grateful.”

Throughout her career, Kalaf has contributed her time, talents, and energy to human resources. She has authored insightful publications, served as an instructor for HR courses, achieved remarkable success in the corporate world, earned multiple HR and diversity-related awards, and demonstrated her commitment to the profession through volunteer leadership on various boards, organizations and initiatives. Her dedication to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace has been noteworthy, positively impacting organizations and communities.

"Nurturing talent is at the heart of what we do at the University of Phoenix,” shares Associate Dean for the College of Business and Information Technology, Natalie Pratt. “Linda’s journey from our institution to receiving the AI O'Connor Lifetime Achievement Award is a testament to her immense dedication and the transformative power of education. We congratulate Linda on this well-deserved recognition and commend her for the remarkable impact she continues to make in the field of HR. Her achievements are an inspiration to our entire University community, and we take immense pride in her accomplishments."

Kalaf’s professional experience includes America West Airlines/US Airways, where she held pivotal roles, contributing significantly to corporate policies and initiatives such as the Non-Discrimination in Employment policy, and Mentoring Program for high potential females and diverse employees. Beyond her corporate endeavors, Kalaf has been a fervent advocate for diversity, serving as President of the Arizona Affirmative Action Association and participating in influential boards.

Kalaf is both a leader in her field and a dedicated educator. She pioneered a graduate-level course on "Managing a Culturally Diverse Workforce" and created impactful diversity training programs at Veolia Transportation. Holding esteemed HR industry certifications from SHRM and HRCI, Kalaf has shared her expertise through numerous speaking engagements. Her strong commitment to mentorship is reflected in her creating a Mentoring Program for the Tempe Chamber of Commerce Women in Business Council in 2011 and is still offered today. Linda’s legacy extends to personal growth, with certifications in yoga and meditation. 

Her dad’s influence, and favorite quote, “Si Se Puede” is reflected in her “Yes You Can” attitude.

Learn more here about Kalaf’s work and the 2023 Al O’Conner Lifetime Achievement Award.

About University of Phoenix

University of Phoenix innovates to help working adults enhance their careers and develop skills in a rapidly changing world. Flexible schedules, relevant courses, interactive learning, skills-mapped curriculum for our bachelor’s and master’s degree programs and a Career Services for Life® commitment help students more effectively pursue career and personal aspirations while balancing their busy lives. For more information,