About Us

Who We Are

Next Level Strategies was founded in 2003 to provide a tactical and strategic support for all areas of Human Resources Management by the project or as a totally outsourced function in the greater San Francisco Bay area and Austin, Texas.  We coach our clients through all facets of employment – from recruiting a key employee, to managing conflict in the workplace, writing an employee manual, delivering annual harassment prevention training, eliciting top performance from all employees, and guiding companies through terminations and layoffs.

How We Are Different

Staff: Our staff is typically more senior than those of PEO’s or our competitors, which allows us to provide both strategic and tactical services to our clients, while other firms only provide tactical services. We also think like business people not “classic HR” people. We are not road blocks to success, we are facilitators of it.

Service: We are very hands on. Our clients are not directed to a website where they have to find their own answers.  We go onsite, learn their culture, integrate into it, and take care of things seamlessly, saving our clients time and effort.


Julie A. Chendes, SPHR, Founder and CEO

Julie’s 26 years of experience includes work in the high tech, non-profit, and marketing industries. Julie holds an M.S. in Human Resources Management, a B.S. in Public Relations, and a Human Resource Certificate from San Francisco State University. She is a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and Professional in Human Resources-California (PHRca) as certified by HRCI. Julie taught seminars and consulted with clients at the San Francisco Small Business Development Center for six years. She served on the Board of Directors of Instituto Familiar de la Raza for five years. Julie takes an evening walk and feeds the feral cats in her neighborhood.

Taune M. Lima, SPHR, HR Consulting/Recruiting Director

Taune joined NLS 13 years ago as an HR Consultant and her background includes an additional 11 years in restaurant management.  She provides tactical and strategic HR support and solutions that work for our clients’ individualized needs. She has an A.A. in Merchandise Management Marketing, holds a Human Resource Certificate from San Francisco State University, and is a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) as certified by HRCI. She has recently relocated to Austin, Texas and has begun our Austin division. Taune enjoys listening to podcasts in her new infrared sauna.

Katie O’Donnell, Senior HR Consultant

Katie has been a Human Resources Professional for 15 years. Her background includes six years in recruiting and technology industries delivering high-level, strategic HR support.  She has deep experience in employee relations, recruiting and compliance. Katie holds a Master’s in Business Administration from San Francisco State University, and she is a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) as certified by HRCI and a certified HR professional by SHRM (SHRM-CP). Katie drinks lots of water and her favorite book is The Kite Runner.

Alexis Haman, HR Consultant

Alexis has been an HR Professional for six years.  She has over eight years in the high-tech industry, her background includes experience in the full lifecycle of employees: on/offboarding, recruitment, leaves of absence, performance reviews, compliance management, workers compensation, employee events, perk and benefit programs, day-to-day HR management, and project management (diversity, values, and culture). She holds a Bachelor of Arts from San Jose State University, a Human Resource Management Certificate from SF State Extended Learning and she is a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) as certified by SHRM.  Alexis loves super chicken burritos, with fresh pico de gallo, sliced avocado, shredded cheese, rice, beans, the works.

Joy Vail, Operations Manager/HR & Payroll Consultant

Joy joined NLS four years ago as our operations and office manager, payroll/accounting specialist, and OSHA-certified safety expert. Her background includes work in the non-profit sector in health and human services and higher education areas.  She also has experience in the restaurant industry.  The scope of her experience includes benefit management, on-boarding, separations, training, payroll, accounting, and non-profit financial audits. She has extensive administration experience including customer service, office organization and management.  She is currently pursuing a degree in Business Administration. Joy takes a walk at lunch every day, she enjoys quilting, embroidery and baking.

Cecilia M. Reynoso, HR Assistant/Translator

Cecilia joined NLS almost four years ago as our Human Resources Assistant and Spanish Translator..  Her background includes nine years in human resources support including administration, workflow, translations, on-boarding, trainings, audits, record keeping and employee engagement.  Along with her translation of employment documents and trainings, she focuses on assisting our Senior Human Resources Consultants with software including our cloud server, all files, forms and documents.   She has a B.A. in Communications, a minor in Spanish, and a Human Resources Management Certificate from California State University-Fullerton. Cecilia’s favorite movie is Bohemian Rhapsody. She enjoys jamming on the guitar with her son on the drums.