How To Begin

NACPA has conducted consultation services with many organizations, including Dioceses, Religious Congregations, Catholic Charities, National Organizations, Parishes, Campus Ministry Centers, Retreat Centers, Schools and School Systems and others.

With a thorough review of compensation and benefits programs, administrative and organizational audits, and priests’ and religious institute human resources services–among others, NACPA has the resources that you need.

How NACPA Can Help in these Uncertain Times: Brochure

Meet Our Consultants

Getting in Touch
Contact NACPA for detailed proposals with action steps and a comprehensive budget.
Call 571-551-6064 or email [email protected]

Administrative & Organizational Audits

Designed for schools, colleges, seminaries, national organizations, social service agencies and cemeteries, this study enables the organization to evaluate staffing levels, roles, responsibilities, HR systems and communication and operating procedures.

Diocesan Organizational Audit

This audit looks at the structure of the diocesan central office, including the placement of offices and agencies, their effectiveness and the level of communication and collaboration. It assesses reporting relationships, office policies and procedures, staffing levels, training and development needs, and key personnel practices.

Diocesan Human Resources Audit

This review encompasses services that a diocese provides to parishes for their pastoral needs. Surveys and meetings are conducted with pastors, council members and pastoral ministers to identify which diocesan services should be modified if needed.  The audit also reviews how effectively the diocesan office responds to pastoral needs.

Parish Administrative Audit

To assist with their mission and goals, parishes can benefit from an assessment of their organizational structure, administrative practices and human resource and financial utilization. The audit evaluates operating procedures, personnel policies, accountability relationships, job descriptions, staffing levels and qualifications, the compensation program and other HR practices.  The review also includes key parish programs such as worship, pastoral services, faith formation, school and childcare, development and volunteer programs.

Motherhouse Organizational Audit

The goal is to enhance effectiveness, collaboration, accountability, communication and the use of human resources. The review addresses common issues such as the appropriate level of involvement of congregational leaders in administration; identifying overlapping structures and functions; dual accountability and complex communication lines, ambiguous administrative roles and conflicting or merged job descriptions. This audit usually includes a look at multiple organizations, functions, and activities occurring at the motherhouse location.

Policies and Benefits Consolidation

This service supports merging organizations by consolidating various personnel policies and benefits programs for different locations or entities. It includes the development of cost estimates prior to final recommendations, implementation strategies and communication plans.

Compensation & Benefits

Compensation Consultation

This service assists dioceses, national organizations, religious congregations, parishes and other church-related organizations in developing their compensation philosophy and procedures, in structuring pay and benefits plans based on their philosophy of compensation and in developing other aspects of their compensation program tailored to their organizational needs. These include:

• developing a job evaluation system (market ranking) to determine internal equity among jobs within your organization

• obtaining and analyzing comparable job market data to determine external equity between your jobs and those in similar organizations, and to recommend appropriate pay ranges

• proposing pay adjustment strategies and models to assure individual equity among employees within your organization

Compensation system consulting services also evaluate the organization’s compliance with legal requirements and recommend approaches to handle everyday workplace problems such as setting initial hire rates, handling requests for job re-evaluation, determining the number of annual increases and maintaining competitiveness over the years.

Benefits Consolidation

Varying benefits programs for different locations or entities are reviewed and consolidated. The service includes the development of cost estimates prior to final recommendations, implementation strategies and communication plans.

Pay Rate Update

The Pay Rate Update offers an inexpensive way to maintain a compensation system after it has been installed. To maintain a compensation system, salary survey data needs to be obtained and analyzed. Pay Rate Update assists organizations with this potentially difficult and costly effort. NACPA conducts several national salary surveys and purchases others for use during compensation audits. NACPA consultants can review your pay program and recommend adjustments and models for distributing pay increase based on the data and your philosophy for setting pay rates. To be most effective, review and adjustments should be made on an annual basis.

Human Resources Programs

Specific NACPA Consultations

A consultation can be designed to address any of a number of issues based on your needs, including the following examples:
• Creation of Job Descriptions
• General review employee benefits
• Development of flexible benefits plans
• Development of grievance procedures and mediation and conciliation processes

Human Resources Review

The Human Resources Review is a professionally conducted analysis of a current or projected human resource system and its place within an institution. The review identifies strengths and weaknesses and sets the direction for making the human resource system more effective. The review includes the organization of leadership and staff, policies and procedures, staff competence, recruitment and hiring, placement processes, compensation and benefits, performance appraisal, personnel data and files, professional development, crisis intervention processes, pre-retirement and retirement education and planning, grievance procedures, and termination.

Personnel Policy, Procedure, & Handbook Review/Development

Personnel Policy, Procedure, and Handbook Review/Development provide the expertise needed to create legally and canonically correct policies. Existing policies can be reviewed and updated. Entire policy books can be created. Simplified Employee Handbooks can be created to supplement detailed Personnel Policy Manuals. Supervisor Handbooks can be created to arm supervisors with the type of information they need to provide effective leadership to employees.

Policies/Benefits Consolidation

The Policies/Benefits Consolidation service enables merging organizations to develop uniform and consistent policies and benefits. The service consolidates varying personnel policies and benefits programs for different locations or entities. It includes the development of cost estimates prior to final recommendations, implementation strategies and communication plans.

Meet Our Consultants

NACPA Consultant

Mary Kessler

Mrs. Mary Kessler has more than thirty-five years of human resource experience in a church environment. For fifteen years she served in the Catholic Diocese of Rochester, New York, first as the Director of Parish Personnel Services and then as the Diocesan Director of Human Resources.  Mary served on the NACPA Board and as Board President. For ten years she worked as the Director of Program Services for the National Association of Church Personnel Administrators (NACPA) and for the last ten years she has served parishes and religious institutions as an independent contractor. In all of these roles, she has assisted parish and diocesan staffs, Catholic agencies, religious congregations of both men and women and priests in creating personnel systems grounded in social teaching on workplace justice.

In workshops all over the country, Mary has provided management training in the areas of church personnel/human resource administration. Topics include: creating and maintaining healthy workplaces, preventing sexual harassment, appreciating the richness of diversity in the workplace, writing and administering policies, compensation systems and procedures, conducting a successful hiring process, ministry transitions, establishing a performance planning and review process in a Church setting, and conflict management. She has presented seminars for groups of priests, congregations of women and men religious and lay diocesan and parish managers. She co-presented a two-year management training and diversity program for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

In her work as an organizational consultant, Mary has conducted human resource audits to assess effective administrative practices and organizational operations. She worked on-site as a human resource director for parishes, Catholic Charities agencies, dioceses and religious congregations. In addition, she has conducted several executive searches and retirement studies for both men’s and women’s religious congregations.

Mary Kessler holds an education degree from Madonna University in Livonia, Michigan and a Certificate in Business Management from St. John Fisher College in Rochester, New York. Her office is in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.


Jim Smith

In the 1970s and ’80s Jim owned and operated an Independent Insurance in Waco, Texas and did pro-bono fundraising for the parishes and schools of the northern part of the Diocese of Austin. In 1985 accepting a position with the Archdiocese of San Antonio Jim became their first Director of Stewardship and Development and an Insurance Advisor. While, with the Archdiocese, he began a self-insured employee benefits program for health, dental, and life insurance. In the absence of a formal HR department, he worked with the Finance Office to develop job descriptions for newly hired employees.

Additionally, Jim served as the Mass site Coordinator and Chairman for the visit of then Pope John Paul II to San Antonio in September 1987. Overseeing all activities of site selection, site construction, coordinating security with the US Secret Service and Local and State law enforcement. The Mass was attended by over 250,000 faithful from throughout the State of Texas.

In 1993 Jim became the Finance Officer and Business Manager with the recently established Diocese of Tyler in East Texas. In this position, he was responsible, as typical in small dioceses for all operations including what HR activities as were necessary for the Chancery and the parishes of the diocese. While with the Diocese of Tyler he established a multi-diocese self-insured benefit program for employee health, dental, and life insurance. In addition to the Diocese of Tyler the other diocesan participants were the Dioceses of Amarillo, Corpus Christi, and Lubbock. The Catholic Employee Benefit Group was established as a separate Non-Profit Corporation in the State of Texas. Jim served on the Board of Directors as President until his retirement from the Diocese of Tyler in July 2015.

In September 2016 Jim began serving as a NACPA Consultant working under the direction of Bill Daly. While working with and learning from Bill, Jim was able to assist with several dioceses both large to small and with multiple Religious Congregations. Jim looks forward to continuing to serve the Members and clients of NACPA with his experience in finance and accounting as well as in the areas of employee benefits if needed.

Following Jim’s retirement, he and his wife Karen moved from East Texas to Raton, New Mexico.

Shannon Drohman, CCP, SPHR, SHRM-SCP  

Shannon has more than 25 years of experience in compensation and human resources.  She began her HR career working “in house” in payroll and benefits, over time growing into various positions of increasing scope and responsibility, finally landing as a VP of Compensation. 
In 2011, Shannon moved to consulting where she has designed compensation and classification programs, conducted market studies and custom surveys, created internal value systems including job level guidance, and performed pay equity analysis. As a consultant, Shannon has had the opportunity to work with several religious employers, including Archdioceses, Dioceses, Catholic Schools and Parishes, Catholic Cemeteries and Catholic Community Services.
Shannon holds a Bachelor’s in Education from Western Washington University and a Master’s in Human Resources from Chapman University.  Her credentials include a Senior Certified Professional (SCP) certification from the Society of Human Resource Management and a Certified Compensation Professional designation from World at Work, the largest professional association for total rewards practitioners.


Ricardo Serrano

Ricardo served as the Director of Human Resources for the Diocese of Tucson for 14 years. Prior to this, Ricardo Served the IBM Corporation for 26 years in Human Resources and Administrative Management, including 8 years as the Internal Audit Manager responsible for Latin America. Ricardo also served on the Board of Directors for NACPA.


Kathy Marek, CCP, SHRM-SCP
Kathy has more than twenty years of experience in compensation and human resources.  Her career started as an internal HR team member, eventually working into the role of compensation analyst. 
Beginning in 2010, Kathy transitioned into consulting work and has developed compensation programs, performed market studies, designed pay structures, analyzed benefits programs, and conducted employee pay analysis.  Kathy has been able to perform consulting services for Archdioceses, Dioceses, Parishes, and Catholic Cemeteries.
Kathy holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Western Washington University. Her credentials include a Senior Professional in HR (SPHR) from HRCI and a Senior Certified Professional (SCP) certification from the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM).  Kathy has also earned the Certified Compensation Professional designation from World at Work.

Getting in Touch

Contact NACPA for detailed proposals with action steps and a comprehensive budget.

Call 571-551-6064 or email

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