Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Midwesterners Join in the Great American Shakeout

If you have not heard about the recent earthquake and the tsunami in Japan you must have been off of the planet for a week or so.  The event has given me cause to contemplate how well my company is prepared for an earthquake. Even though we are in the heartlands here in the mid-west, most life long mid-westerners know that we are near of adjacent to the New Madrid FaultResearchers tell us that this fault is as, or even more likely to have the “big one” than the San Andreas Fault. 

In many organization the responsibility for employee safety is nestled somewhere in the HR realm, as it is with my company. Recently I had an employee ask me “What should we do in the event of an earthquake?”   I suspect like most mid-western businesses, schools, churches etc. we don’t practice or drill for this, or teach our employees what they should do at work or at home.  My bad!

After a few google searches I was amazed to find out that there are plans for a big earthquake drill here in the Midwest.   Somehow though The Department of Homeland Security has done an excellent job of keeping  the event quiet.  

So,  I found out about The Great American Shakeout which is scheduled for  April 28 at 10:15 a.m.  If you go to the site and sign up and agree to participate DHS will provide you with additional resources.  The State of Illinois has on-line resources for the event as well.

And I have to give the shakeout planners some social media kudos;  you can find them on facebook or twitter.

So on the morning of April 28th you will find me under my desk at 10:15 am. seeing if I make it through the drill.
-Dave Ryan Director of Social Media ISC-SHRM

Sunday, March 20, 2011


SHRM is excited to bring the 2011 SHRM North Central Regional Student Conference and Case Competition to Illinois.  The North Central Region consists of the states of IL, IN, IA, MI, MN, ND, NE, OH, SD and WI.  As SHRM’s Field Services Director based in Illinois, I’m thrilled that this year’s event will be held at Lewis University in Romeoville on April 8 & 9, 2011.  In recent years, the conference has been held in Indiana, Minnesota and Nebraska and was last held in Illinois in 2007 at NIU, DeKalb.

The regional student conferences (there are 5 nationwide) are a great way to provide our student members with educational sessions, opportunities to exchange new ideas and participate in the new Regional Case Competition.

The Case Competition is a high-energy, interactive program enabling participating students to showcase and apply their HR knowledge to real-life business situations, gives them a more realistic job preview and reinforces the mindset required of HR professionals.  Students respond to multiple issues within a given situation, drawing on assimilated knowledge of a subject area, within a restricted timeframe and in different formats required by management.  Schools in the region may send a team of 2 to 6 students who are enrolled in undergraduate or graduate HR programs to compete against teams from other schools. 

If you are an HR student or know of one that might like to have this information, the link to more information and to register is:

Registration is $30 for members and $35 for non-members.  This is a great event for students, whether you’re on a competitive team or a student who is solely interested in attending the educational and networking sessions.

Case Competition Teams: After each team member is registered for the conference using the link above please download and complete the "2011 Regional Case Competition Team Application". Download the form here. Please note: There will be a cap of 24 teams.

and we need your support and assistance to make it a success!

Volunteers: We are still in need of volunteers to serve as Presentation Judges, Written Judges and Room Monitors for the Competition – and that’s where you come in!   We hope you will attend the event – and bring a few of your HR colleagues along with you!  There is no cost for volunteers to attend.  To view the volunteer position descriptions, please CLICK HERE or to register to volunteer, please CLICK HERE.

Speakers:  We are also looking for a few more speakers for Saturday, April 9th in the mid-morning and afternoon.   Below is a list of suggested topics based on student feedback:

Speaker Topics:          

·          Emerging Trends in HR
·          Your HR Career
·          Leadership Development
·          HR Competencies
·          Tapping into the Hidden Job Market
·          Value of HR Certification
·          Ethical Issues in HR
·          Networking
·          Interviewing Skills
·          Graduate Programs
·          Internships
·          Diversity
·          Reducing College Debt
·          Resume Writing
·          Business Literacy
·          Volunteerism
·          Generational Issues

If you are interested in speaking or know someone who might be, please contact Maureen Flaherty as soon as possible. Maureen can be reached by email at or by phone at 703-535-6423.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions:, 703-535-6290 or 630-208-0920. 

We look forward to seeing you in Romeoville, April 8th and 9th to watch our next generation of HR professionals in action!

Martha Ramirez, SPHR Field Services Director, North Central SHRM