How We Help You Grow 

We provide innovative, proven people strategies that drive results.
We fuel businesses with top talent, so you can achieve your goals.
We help you develop and engage the talent you need to grow.
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We believe every company deserves to have a proven
strategy to attract, develop and retain the right people.

We understand that many businesses don’t have the talent they needed to
fuel growth. After seeing these challenges in our work with 250+ companies,
ML Talent Strategies was created to help ensure that more businesses can have a proven
system to have the right people, with the right talent, at the right time to grow their business.

With help from a network of top talent experts, our team is ready to help you
customize a step-by-step talent strategy to grow your business with confidence.

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Meet Our Leadership Team 

Chris Mills

Chris Mills

Chief Operating Officer/Partner

Chris is an innovative, service-oriented leader with 27 years of experience across multiple industries including manufacturing, healthcare, business to business service, energy, and consumer products.

She believes that through effective talent strategies, Human Resource leaders can have a larger impact on the organization outside of the traditional HR scope. That’s why she enjoys coaching leaders to achieve their best self and drive organizational performance by helping them develop goals and strategies to ensure talent is the engine for growth.

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Azure Gray

Bryan Kelley

VP, Business Development

Bryan, an Indiana native, received his Bachelor of Arts degree from IUPUI and has 30 years of seasoned, professional experience in relationship and business development, event management, marketing, nonprofit operations, partnership development, sales, and nonprofit fund development. His prior professional experiences and expertise has been shaped by organizations that include Indiana Black Expo, United Negro College Fund – Indiana, the Indy Chamber, National FFA, and the Indiana Convention Center.

His role will be to lead new membership sales for trueU and ML Talent Strategies and help develop deeper relationships with current members as well.

Bryan who resides in Carmel, is driven by his faith and family, and has been married to his wife Stacy for 20 years and has two children, daughter Courtney (19) and son Cameron (15) who inspire him daily.

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Shannon Stroud

VP, Talent

Shannon Stroud is a solutions-driven professional with more than 30 years of experience as a leader in areas including Human Resources, Training, Professional Development, Coaching, Marketing, and Operations. She is highly skilled at building successful teams that not only achieve their goals but exceed them.

She began her career in the banking industry working for a Fortune 100 bank. Here she held numerous positions within banking centers before moving to the commercial side of the bank. It was there she held positions in sales, marketing, and training & development while supporting global activities with an emphasis in Latin America. She has also worked for a Not-for-Profit, a SaaS organization, as well as a professional coaching firm.

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Carla Downing

VP, Talent

Carla has a well-established record of results, with more than 20 years of experience teaching, training, designing, developing, and managing high-end learning solutions and programs and 15 years of experience developing high-performance teams.

She delivers successful outcomes by listening to client needs and ensuring the alignment of desired outcomes with individualized and team-focused deliverables. Her background in learning research allows her to streamline the training process by combining the use of instructor-led training, job aids/infographics, and eLearning solutions.  Primary focus areas include gap analysis; instructional design; eLearning design and development, process design and aligning performance metrics to measurable outcomes.

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Amy Jones

VP, Talent

Amy brings over 25 years of Human Resources experience to ML Strategies.  Amy has worked in a wide array of industries and environments, including insurance, high tech, and clinical based settings.  She has worked as a department of one, and has multi-state and global experience, as well.  Amy’s “sweet spot” is in building out HR systems and teams to enable organizations to grow and thrive.   Amy’s primary focus is in working with small organizations to understand their business to leverage HR solutions that reduce churn, increase employee engagement and help the company achieve its goals.  In addition to building out HR teams, Amy’s focus is in benefit plan design and administration, employee relations, talent acquisition and training and development.

Amy believes in establishing trust as an essential building block for the development of high performing teams and works with leaders at all levels to lead with trust, empathy, and continual, honest feedback.

Amy received her Bachelor’s degree in Management with a specialization in Human Resources from Ball State University.  She is a voracious reader and a die-hard Colts, Ball State, and IU fan.

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Matt Wiegmann

Talent Business Partner

Matt is a curious and energetic leader with five years of experience recruiting in nonprofit and for profit industries. He has helped companies refine and simplify their systems and processes to hire more and better people. He loves to talk with people, learn about their strengths, and help connect them to the right opportunity.

Matt believes when a business places people first, everything else falls into place. With that in mind, he sees recruitment as one of the most impactful ways to contribute to a business’s success.

Matt studied Leadership and Psychology at Indiana Wesleyan University where he received his Bachelors. He resides in Indy with his wife and their two little boys. In his spare time, he enjoys disc golf, outdoors, and learning new skills.

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Sara Bieneman

Talent Business Partner

Sara is a motivated and “people first” individual who is passionate about employee relations and employee wellness. She brings years of experience in human resource activities and her work recently focused on project management. Sara’s work has positioned her to find the connection between individual strengths and overall team goals. Sara loves to get to the heart of a project and uncover the detailed pieces that are needed to position the initiative for long-term success.

Sara loves the fact that human resources can be utilized to make a difference in an organization and believes that when they focus on the small things, big changes happen.

After earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work and Psychology from Valparaiso University, Sara then earned her Master’s in Public Health from Indiana State University. Sara is a lifelong resident of Indianapolis. In her free time, she enjoys hiking with her husband and their dog Denali, reading, and cooking. An avid learner, Sara is always looking for new ways to grow and adapt in the ever-changing age of technology.

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Mike Lantz


Mike’s purpose in life is to lead, inspire and coach others to reach their greatest potential. As an entrepreneur, talent expert, and a highly sought after talent strategist; working in business and talent strategy, training, leadership development, and talent attraction for over twenty-five years, Mike knows how challenging growing a company can be.

Mike has worked with companies in business and talent strategy and employee development solutions across 31 different industries, helping him to refine a proven system that works for any size company or industry.

As Chief Learning Officer at DEFENDERS, Mike fueled rapid expansion for the company by casting a vision of making talent the engine for growth.  Under his leadership, DEFENDERS’ Leadership & Development department was recognized by Training Magazine as the 17th Top Training organization in the world.

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