Speaker Bios U-Z


Karen Ward, CPP
Payroll Tax & Analyst Supervisor, Southwest Airlines Co

Karen began her payroll career as time keeper/recorder in the late 1980’s and by 1997 had advanced to Payroll Administrator for a division of Phillips 66 Petroleum. Karen first became a Certified Payroll Professional the following year and maintains her certification.

Karen grew up and spent most of her payroll career in the Houston, Texas area. She has always been very active in the American Payroll Association holding various positions on the boards of both the Houston and Galveston Bay Area Chapters of the APA, including Chapter Treasurer and Chapter Coordinator, among others.

Karen moved to the Dallas area in 2009 and immediately became active with the Dallas Chapter even serving as the Chapter Treasurer. Because of her passion for payroll and her “pay-it-forward” attitude regarding payroll education, Karen received the Dallas Chapter APA Special Recognition award in 2012. She is actively involved with the FPC/CPP review, the Fundamentals of Payroll courses, and the Mastering Payroll Concepts classes. Because of her extensive knowledge and experience in all aspects of payroll her participation in the teacher mentoring sessions is invaluable and was bestowed with the Payroll Professional of the Year-Dallas Chapter 2015. She IS the trainer who trains the trainers.

Karen has payroll experience in a multitude of industries including manufacturing, non-profit, oil & gas, construction, local government and currently transportation. She is the Payroll Tax & Analyst Supervisor for Southwest Airlines Co. Past employers include Shell Oil Company and City of Houston-Police Department.

She volunteers for the Annual Texas Payroll Conference, the American Payroll Association National Congress, The National APA Hotline and in the past the Certification Advisory Group and is a member of the National Speaker’s Bureau.

Karen’s preferred payroll system is SAP because of its complexity and flexibility. According to Karen, if it has to be done in payroll, SAP can do it. She considers Union shops the easiest payroll because the rules tend to be laid out and very structured.

Karen’s ideal job would be a full time Payroll Instructor. She is very passionate about payroll and the payroll staff’s very grave responsibility of insuring that all employees are paid timely and correctly. Her goal is to instill that passion into all payroll practitioners.



Keith Webb
Vice President Technology Consulting, Ultimate Software

Keith Webb is the Software as a Service (SaaS) Technologist for Ultimate Software and is responsible for supporting the Business Development Team for North America and member of the Thought Leadership Speaker Group providing Security, Big Data, and Generational content across North America.

In his eleven year tenure at Ultimate, Keith has participated in the software industries fundamental shift from traditional license acquisition to the fully hosted SaaS model, and the complexities and challenges to that shift for CIO’s responsible for global workforces.



Gerald Whittmore, CPP
Vice President of Payroll, Conduent Business Services

Gerald Whittmore currently holds the position as the Vice President of Payroll for Conduent Business Services. Gerald started his career in St. Louis, MO as a Payroll Technical Support Supervisor. He has over 25 years of diverse experience in multiple payroll processing systems, multi-state tax filing, system implementation and accounting to name only a few of his business acumen.

In September 2001, Gerald obtained his CPP certification and he joined the Dallas Chapter APA in September 2002. Gerald has served as the Government Liaison Officer from 2005-2006, Vice President 2006-2008 and President 2008-2010. He also helps with chapter classes that are offered by the Dallas Chapter and one day seminars. In addition to working with the Dallas Chapter, Gerald has volunteered numerous times as a speaker for the Texas Payroll Conference and APA Congress. Gerald completed serving 6 years in 2011 on the Texas Payroll Conference Board of Directors. Gerald also served on the Board of Advisors from 2014-2016 for National APA.



Joe Wilson
Chief Technology Officer-North America, Workday

Joe Wilson, Workday’s Chief Technology Officer -- North America, represents the company’s single code line, Software-as-a-Service solution for both Human Capital and Financial Management. He holds a BA from The University of Texas at Dallas (Richardson, Texas) and an MBA from the University of the Incarnate Word (San Antonio, Texas). No stranger to the technology industry, Joe has worked in web development, product management, and technical consulting during his nearly 20-year career. In addition to technology, he has spent the last 18 years in both Air Reserve Components of the United States Air Force and currently serves as Commander, 55th Aerial Port Squadron based at Travis Air Force Base, California.