Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Future's So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades

The following article was written by Donna Rogers, SPHR, Outgoing State Director 

Michelle, Carolyn, John and Donna (L to R)
As I begin to reflect on the last couple of years as ILSHRM Director, I can’t stop thinking about the future and the song written by Pat McDonald which I have titled this article.  However, first a few words about the past which has brought us to the present transition from me and my predecessors (pictured to my right from left to right: Michelle Jackson, Carolyn Sperl, and John Jorgensen) to my successors (lower pictured to my left in the photo: Cathy Plouzek and Connie Wolgemuth) who I am confident their success will be so bright that you will have to wear shades

Donna, Kathy and Connie (L to R)
As the song says “I got good grades” which is why the future is so bright…I think I would have to say that part is true and that’s because I had some fantastic teachers.  In addition to learning from my early teachers Deneen Costa and Michelle Jackson since I have been on the board since 2001, I had the pleasure of learning from both Carolyn SPERL and John Jorgensen since I served as both of their state director elects.  Over the past two years, I took a little from each of these “teachers” and worked to continue their work as well as ad a few of my own goals.

Since I teach what I do at UIS, grades are often on my mind, so let’s take a look at the top ten goals for ILSHRM that I posted two years ago and see how we did as a team in my humble opinion:
1.       A+ 100% Chapters signing the ESGR Statement of Support (;2.       A    Build SHRM Affiliate Chapters in the Southern part of the state (working on 3 already);3.       A-  Increase awareness of ISC-SHRM & SHRM resources among all state legislators (with SHRMs help as one of the 10 states they plan to work with this year);4.       A-  Reach 1000 attendees at our annual conference (in Aug at Drury Lane in Oakbrook);5.       B+ Reach 100 attendees at our 1st Annual Legislative Conference (last year was our inaugural event);6.       A-  100% Chapter participation in the annual Chapter Basket Raffle Fundraiser at State Conference;7.       B   Develop a formal Succession Plan with the assistance of a Nomination Committee to be appointed;8.       B   Finalize and implement a formal strategic plan started at last year’s Leadership Core Planning meeting;9.       A   Finalize and implement an updated Website with the help of Carrie Gurski which was started last year;and10.   B   Analyze our financial situation and develop a backup plan to sustain our council and support our mission for a year or two in case our income is impacted (primarily our attendance at annual conference).

In February of 2012, I posted an update to the above list after one year of progress and below have updatedagain to accommodate the current status as I see it, although I expect Cathy will continue to make additional progress as we move forward into her term as Director.First, Joe Smedinghoff has graciously taken the workforce readiness role to heart especially as it has to do with the military.  He and I share a love for assistingveterans with our military background.  So far he has worked with Angela Rachel to get a link on the front page of our website to the Military Toolkit to help HR professionals hire and retain veterans.  Patty Curry has taken numbers received monthly from SHRM and analyzed uniquely so we all know as a board each month how many SHRM members it will take in the chapters statewide to achieve platinum status as a state council via SHRM’s affiliate excellence program.  She also has taken a three year process that she helped John and I with from the beginning to make the Metro East chapter idea a reality.  They had their first meeting in December and have already chosen their inaugural officers to hopefully achieve SHRM affiliate status in 2013.  As of November we have two new SHRM affiliate college chapters and one new professional chapter.

In addition, the changes in Illinois on the legislative side with a whole new slate of representatives and senators have made our progress in this area both a challenge and a godsend.  I say the latter because this coming year will be great timing to put our second year of lobbying and the development of a plan primarily led by Kay Titchenal into place due to all the new legislative incumbents.  We expect new representatives to be ripe and open to calls from local HR professionals to share your expertise and how proposed bills in this state can help or hurt your business.  I am extremely excited about this aspect of our progress over the last couple years and although we have a B- in achieving 100 attendees at our conference, Tami Ireland and Kay have both made unparalleled progress.  Personally, I am psyched that we again will be teaming up with CIC-SHRM to make this 4th year Advocacy day a true success.  There will be 100 attendees at this conference one day.  I can feel it.

John Jorgensen and Sabrina Baker have teamed up to make the last two years attendance the greatest it has been in our history.  Having joined the board as a co-conference director in its second year and seeing it through its 13th annual, I can truly say that reaching the quality is far superior to reaching the quantity of 1000 which is the only reason my grade was not an A+.  If I had reworded the original goal to accommodate the quality there would be no question.  While we are talking about the conference the next goal was to get 100% participation in our chapter basket raffle which has helped us raise a few thousand dollars a year since its inception while I was the SHRM Foundation director a few years ago.  Over the last two years the quality and desirability of those baskets by conference attendees has continued to grow and like the comment above goals should not always be about quantity.  There are situations beyond our control at the chapter and state council board level that prevents us from the 100% participation sometimes but I can guarantee every chapter does have the desire to help the SHRM Foundation which through their research and products shows us what is next in our profession.  What was next this past couple years is that we at the state council was able to match what was brought in which took our total contributions past what it was the two years prior even without meeting our goal exactly.

The next two goals on my original list, succession planning and strategic planning, is a bit more long term and while I believe we have made some strides towards accomplishing, you are really never done with them and we do have a ways to go for what I would consider to be A+ work.  What I am really excited about though is John Jorgensen is staying on the board as the District Director At-Large, after his outgoing director term ended in 2012, for at least another two years.  At this year’s SHRM Leadership conference I heard about a committee that advises chapters and state councils made up of past board directors and other positions.  This new committee that John is looking into starting would be good topics for the committees input in my humble opinion.

While the website is in constant improvement status and has been since the update in the spring of 2011, it has come a long way from the site we had prior to my directorship.  I am grateful to both Angela Rachel who has taken the lead on making the improvements and to Dave Ryan for his work on the social media sites which are linked to each other.  Finally, from a financial management perspective we went through a process of determining if we needed a chapter management professional to help with the more routine tasks that are expected of us as a volunteer board.  However, the decision is to continue status quo for now with some improvements that should be handled as our treasurers transition and take the process from manual to electronic.  So all in all, I am truly happy at the progress we have made as a team and could not be more excited to work with Cathy and Connie over the next couple years as the outgoing director in my SHADES!  The future of the HR Profession in HR is bright and dedicated volunteers are one of many reasons that statement is so very true!