This year we at Illinois SHRM would like to showcase each of our chapters. That is to say talk with them and write a blog post about the group and what they are doing. Our local chapters are at the heart of SHRM so we want to let you know about your fellow SHRM members around the state.
Our first effort at this is with the Central Illinois Chapter of SHRM, also know as CIC-SHRM #223. So to find out more about the chapter I went right to the top to Chapter President Mary Curl. Like so many of the volunteers at the local level Mary has served here local board for a long time. She is heading into her 9th year on the board and is in the first of her two year presidency.
Mary is very proud of her 107 member chapter. As part of SHRM's Shape Program The CIC-SHRM chapter was recognized as a Platinum Chapter for 2012. Mary is pleased with the work of her board for attaining this award. Her chapter is the only one in Illinois to receive the top award from SHRM National.
Mary says one of the hardest things to do as a chapter is to retain current members, while recruiting new ones. Membership is at the core of the chapter's on-going activities. Mary says, she has had so many people tell her that their employer will pay for a local SHRM membership, or for a National SHRM membership - but not both. Mary says this is often an obstacle when it comes to recruiting members. Mary says she has been lucky thought, the chapter has always had top quality volunteers as the membership chairperson, which has help keep membership levels around 100 members.
Despite the challenges of recruiting members, Mary said that chapter meetings usually have 80 + members in attendance at it's bi-monthly meetings. The chapter has lunch meetings, and meets on the campus of the University of Illinois at the Springfield Campus. Mary says the members continue to enjoy the content that is provided and find the presentation relevant to their work and timely as to what the current HR hot buttons are.
After 9 years on the board you might think that Mary could be growing weary of her volunteerism. But she explains that away by saying that her employer is most supportive of her volunteer work. In fact,, as part of a membership organization herself, Mary has become the go to person for her association when it comes to HR issues.
Mary looks for the Springfield chapter to continue to grow steadily and put forth new efforts. Mary says they have established a mentoring program and continue to support a local program called Dress for Success.
Asked what she gets our of her volunteer efforts, Mary says that she love the networking and getting to meet new people, people that she would not have met had she not be an active volunteer SHRM Leader.
-Dave Ryan Director of Social Media ISC SHRM