Monday, December 7, 2015

Dive In – My First SHRM VLS Experience

Today's Post is from Mike Spinale.  Mike currently is the IL SHRM Director of Diversity. Look for more posts from Mike as we move into 2016.  We thank Mike for his contribution and look forward to hearing more from him. 

I recently attended the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) annual Volunteer Leaders Summit (VLS) in Washington.  This annual event brings together HR professionals from across the country that volunteer their time in dedication to our profession.  About 800 leaders, of Chapters and State Councils, came together to discuss best practices, share ideas, and celebrate the work we do through these roles.

The ILSHRM delegation at Sen. Kirks Office.
This was my first SHRM VLS, and while I was looking forward to the learning I’d get by attending sessions at the conference – I was even more excited for Advocacy Day, which brought delegations of HR people to Capitol Hill to meet with our respective Senator’s and Representative’s offices about important employment laws affecting the HR field and the businesses we serve.  

My excitement turned to anxiety, however, when I found out that I had been “nominated” (read: voluntold) to be the lead speaker on behalf of our ILSRHM delegation.  “What?  Me!??!  During my first VLS?!?!?  Nooooooo!!”  But with the encouragement and coaching of our leadership and my colleagues, I fought my discomfort and while I was obviously nervous, I was able to muster the courage and make our case.  I felt great and the positive feedback received from my colleagues made me feel proud.  I strolled off Capitol Hill with an extra bounce in my step.

After going through this experience, it reminded me of how important it is to push the envelope, to not be afraid of uncomfortable situations, and to put yourself out there.  I learned so much from the actual doing, much more than if I sat back and observed.  So don’t be afraid – do the talking and take the lead – and you’ll see how much you’ll learn!  

Mike Spinale  ISC SHRM Director of Diversity

Monday, November 23, 2015

SHRM 2015 VLS Wrap Up

The SHRM Volunteer Leaders’ Summit is wrapped up, and we are about to turn the page on another year.  This year I found a new and different SHRM.   SHRM is listening to its member and changing. SHRM members are not nearly as combative this year as they were in 2014.  So, IMO as we say on twitter, I think most of those who attended, came, participated, lobbied, listened and were energized, which I think is the purpose of the event.

SHRM CEO Hank Jackson at the VLS.
Gone were the distractions of the SHRM “Certification”.   Changes were announced to the Volunteer Leader’s Resource Center (VLRC), we saw changes in the name and the styling of the entire event now call VLS (even though the hashtag #SHRMLead) still remains, and this is strictly a personal observation of mine, but I saw a new and different CEO.  The Hank Jackson we saw in 2015 is the guy who runs SHRM.  He is totally comfortable with that, and that he has a bunch of Human Resources Pros around him at the events.  Hank laughed and joked with us and even cracked a joke or two when talking about problems.  He has assumed the role and it just feels like he has become very comfortable with his staff and his membership and his role at the top.

Steve Browne at the VLS.
We also saw at this meeting where our collective friend Steve Browne made the transition to the “other side.”  No longer is Steve a chapter or state council official, he is now on the board of directors of SHRM.  Those of us who know Steve are proud of him and look to him to share our vision of HR with the board.  I am sure he will excel in this role, and I wish him well.

For those who are new to chapters or state council operations, an appropriate amount of learning and resources was offered up. The sessions I attended were spot on and offered me a lot of ideas and ways to attack problems in my upcoming role as State Director. As best as I can tell from a show of hands, it looked like about 50% of the attendees were first time attendees.  The more veteran members could work on being a little more welcoming IMO.  And we need to get more millennials at these events!! (Repeat that last sentence!)

A concept of #HR two point oh or 2.0 was rolled out. What is it? I am not sure we know. Things are changing rapidly and I feel we are being asked, to be ready, to deal with these changes.  Tom Peters spoke of these coming days in “Thriving on Chaos” in 1987; I think we are there and HR 2.0 looks a lot like that.

For me thought the best part of this, and any other SHRM conference is seeing old friends and making new ones! That is simply grand and cannot be replaced by anything else.

ILSHRM Members in the Headshot Lounge
Like most of the other attendees, I am going to head home and pour this renewed vim and vigor into my role and do my damnedest to make #ILSHRM the best we can be. The event allowed me to spend a lot of time with my #ILSHRM people and build a stronger bond with all of our board members, which is great as I am going to need their knowledge, skills and abilities to move ILSHRM forward.

I nearly forgot to mention this, the Marriott Marquis is simply over the top - top notch facility.  It is a prIivileged to stay at properties of this caliber.

Lastly for me, this is simply fun, I enjoy the whole conference atmosphere (meetings, airport delays, drinks, sleep deprivation, smiles, knowledge, being out of town, the SHRM Store… you get the drift) and I think that is why I stay involved.  Being a SHRMie and attending these events gives me something I don’t get anywhere else – so I have to keep coming back.

This is not to be patronizing in anyway, but I also want to thank all of the SHRM staff for being so engaging and making these events the way they are. By reading this you know how I feel about SHRM Conferences, and it is all of the work that you do that creates those feelings in me – and I am sure I am not alone!

Dave Ryan ISC SHRM Director Elect

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

SHRM VLS 2015 - Continued

Yesterday I posted about attending the SHRM Volunteer Leaders’ Summit (#SHRMLead) and talked about the Pinnacle Awards.  And while the Pinnacle awards are a big part of the event, there is another aspect of the event that continues to take place year after year.  I am going to call it SHRM Lobby Day.  Every Thursday morning on the week of the event the SHRM ATeam  (Mike Aitken and his most capable staff) very quickly turn HR pros into amateur lobbyist. 

SHRM trains and equips these folks for a trip to Capitol Hill, to talk to their Senators and Representative and provide them with SHRMs position on the Legislation d’jour.  Every time I have ever attended I share’s SHRM’s position on these issues to a tea.  What this does is it not only allows the HR pro to articulate SHRM position on the matter, but they can then embellish that position with stories from their state or HR shop – adding to SHRM’s credibility as the go to source on HR matters. I am convinced this impacts our legislators.

I have had the pleasure of making this trip six times.  Five times were as a part of the SHRM Leadership event and I attended once as part of the SHRM Legislative Conference.

The trips are empowering and make HR pros feel like you actually can have an impact on the going ons in Washington DC.   So if you are afforded the chance to go to Capitol Hill … do it, the experience will be most enriching.

Now for a different prospective on the event I want to share/recycle an older blog post written by someone I think very highly of, my son Danny Ryan.  Danny got to hang out with his dad for a couple of days at the event in 2012, and see what it really goes on at the event.  So for a different prospective on the event, please click through and check out this post called On Vacation at SHRM Leadership.

Monday, November 16, 2015


I don’t know how many times I have written this post, and I don’t really care to go count them, but this week is the annual SHRM Volunteer Leaders’ Summit (VLS).  Previously this event has been known as SHRM Leadership (and the twitter hashtag remains #SHRMLead).  I have attended this event in many different capacities. And each time as I attended I felt a different set of responsibilities with my attendance.  This year I somehow feel like I am carrying a larger load, although I am proud to do so and it is of my own choosing.

To the best of my recollection the first SHRM Leadership I attend was when Johnny Taylor (2005-2006) was Board Chair. Mr. Taylor was quite an engaging fellow, and was very passionate about HR’s role in the workplace. He pumped me up and made me a proud SHRMie. I was also introduced to the Pinnacle Awards at my first Leadership Conference.  I recall being so moved.  The work these HR pros had done and continued to do brought tears to my eyes. They were amazing! I knew then I wanted more of that – whatever that was.

Today I have gotten more, a lot more. Ten years after my first leadership conference I was asked to be a one of the judges for the Pinnacle awards for 2015.   I was truly humbled, and accepted without question.   This meant I got to read about all of the work that fellow HR people were doing out in their world.  Upon completing my review of the submission, I was reminded of how awe inspiring these activates truly are. Most of the submission came in the areas of workforce readiness, assisting veterans and generally helping people better themselves for their jobs, their work or the task of finding work.

The part that resonates so with me is this.  Nobody told these people, to do this or how to go about it.  There were no specific templates to follow.   These HR pros in their chapter, saw a need and took the bull by the horns and with tremendous tenacity and grit they tackled these issues, in ways that worked in their communities.

So when the awards are handed out, sadly not every chapter will get an award, but this in no way diminished what they have done.  They are all winners as I see it because they had the guts to take on some tough problems.  If you do not know about the Pinnacle Awards I suggest you Google them and learn a little more, so when the awards are handed out, you really understand why the winners cry, scream, shout, jump and down and hug anyone within reach – because no matter what they have done, to even be considered for this award is nothing short of amazing!

Let’s connect in Washington DC

-       Dave Ryan ISC SHRM Director Elect

Monday, September 21, 2015

ILSHRM in the Books

This year was a bifurcation point for Illinois SHRM. We moved the conference from Oak Brook to Tinley Park.  The reason for the move was two-fold.  The move was supposed to help us reduce the cost of putting on the event, and the board was hopeful that it would result in an increase in attendance.  ILSHRM also made a planned effort to go nearly paperless, opting for all information to be disseminated via our Crowd Compass on line app.

Janine Driver showing Hank Jackson the "power" handshake.
The unofficial total for the event was 553 paid attendees and a guestimate of another 150 folks, including speakers, exhibitors and volunteers. All told we had about 700 folks in the house for the two day event.  Another change was going from three to two keynote speakers.  There is no doubt that both of our keynoters knocked the socks off of everyone.  Janine Driver was our opening speaker, and she was simply amazing.  She even had SHRM CEO Hank Jackson (who was in attendance at ILSHRM) participating in her presentation.

Our closing keynote speaker Bill Rancic is a hometown boy and talked of growing up “right down the street” in Orland Park.  Bill shared some great insight into his success and how he deals with and manages people, a great message for all of the HR folks in attendance. At the close of his presentation he was doing a little Q. & A. with the audience.  When asked about his television mentor Donald Trump, Bill would only say that he liked Mr. Trump and that he was a good man.

From the conversations I had and that were overheard all of our breakout sessions got high marks.  This blogger’s opinion is unscientific, but I am sure will be borne out by the evaluations, which were completed on our conference app.  I can honestly say that all of the sessions I attended were well executed.
We also had a couple social events, both Sunday evening and Monday evening.  While both events were well done, I would have like to have seen more attendees at each.  In fact I would have like to have seen all of the attendees at both events, but that is probably not going to happen.  On Monday we had the pleasure of listening to a folk/rock grunge/blue-grass group called The Way Down Wanders

As was mentioned earlier, we did have a sort-of surprise visit from SHRM CEO Hank Jackson. Hank joined us on Monday morning and spoke to the crowd sharing the direction of the organization and the current hot topics.  ILSHRM is fortunate to have had Hank join us as he only has plans to attend two state conferences this year.

There also were some things we could do better.  This is my list of things I will be recommending to the board.
  • ·         Ensure that the Wi-Fi service meets our needs
  • ·         Speed up the Food service
  • ·         More seating for lunch
  • ·         Better control of room temperatures

I believe that the collective reviews will show that the conference was successful.  Whether or not the location was an improvement remains to be seen.  We will see what our attendees have to say. And once those results are in we will do our best to share that information.

To those who attended and participated in our 2015 ILSHRM Conference, a BIG THANK YOU.  To those who missed the event, we will soon have a date for you to add to your calendar, so check our website for that information.

Dave Ryan ISC SHRM Director Elect

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Look Whose Coming to #ILSHRM15

Tomorrow is the pre-conference day for Illinois SHRM 2015 style.  This year we are in a new location, with a new State Director and we are trying something different things with our opening keynote speaker. So we have thrown caution to wind and are going for it, to see how this works out.
Cathy Plouzek (Past state director) with Hank Jackson
And we have one other thing up our sleeve.  We have a special guest joining us on Sunday and Monday.  The Big Guy, Mr. Hank Jackson, in the flesh.  I do not know what he has in store with his visit, but I am sure it will be enlightening and exciting, just having him join us Sunday night and Monday morning. On Monday he is going to speak to all of the attendees and share what he has for us.  You can see that Hank's connections to ILSHRM Leadership is strong, as the paparazzi has done his homework well, in the pictures to the left.  He always seems to be a good sport about pictures. Introduce yourself to him, he is actually a very friendly fellow! 
Cathy Plouzek (Past State Director, Hank Jackson
and Connie Wolgemuth (Current State Director)

Otherwise our conference planners Sabrina Baker and Julie Rischmiller have done an outstanding job of putting together a line up of sessions which will provide you information on most everything that is currently going on in the field of Human Resources. It would be at this point to where it would be appropriate to thanks them for their 12 months of work in putting this event together.

In our break out sessions, we have a number of returning favorite speakers, ones that are a hit year after year like Mike Vandervort, Broc Edwards, Lisa Callaway,  and Dwane Lay.  We also are bringing in some new blood like Heather Kinzie, Mary Faulkner and local Chicago Favorite Bill Rancic. 

On Monday evening, we are going to give everyone time to go grab some dinner and then get back to the conference venue around 6:30 to listen to The Way Down Wanders perform.

The event should be epic.  You can follow the twitter activity with the hashtag #ILSHRM15 and you can see more on our Facebook Page as well.

And if your are attending please DOWNLOAD THE ILSHRM App as this will be the guide to the event.
See you soon!

- Dave Ryan Director Elect ISC SHRM

Monday, March 30, 2015


The theme of the 2015 ILSHRM Conference is Level Up Your HR Game. Our intention is to meet practitioners where they are while encouraging them to "level up".  We want to stretch the imagination, encourage courage and help you be better where you are while strategically planting seeds for the future.

We believe that one of the ways HR practitioners can Level Up Their HR Game is by learning from business leaders outside of the HR space.  Sure, we will have tons of HR and recruiting pros sharing their knowledge in amazing concurrent and mega sessions, but on the big stage, we wanted business leaders outside of HR to help give us new perspective.

To that end, I am very excited to announce that the ILSHRM15 crowd will be hearing from Chicago native, Bill Rancic.  Bill Rancic burst onto the national scene when he was hired by Donald Trump as the winner of the first season of NBC’s breakthrough program “The Apprentice”.

Currently, Bill is speaking to businesses and organizations around the world on motivational and business topics, developing real estate in Chicago, and producing and appearing in several television programs.

A published author of a New York Times best-selling book, Bill wrote You're Hired: How To Succeed In Business And Life. This book chronicles Bill's successful life, experience and proven advice. He continued to make a name for himself as an author by writing Beyond the Lemonade Stand to help educate and motivate young people worldwide about the value of money and how to leverage skills, talents and abilities at an early age.  All proceeds from the sale of this book have gone to charity. Bill has also co-authored I Do…Now What with his wife Giuliana Rancic where they share secrets to everlasting love.

Bill's keynote session will consist of 45 minutes of speaking followed by 15 minutes of Q&A.  Bill's books will be available in the bookstore and he will be doing a book signing at the end of his session.

We are very excited to hear and learn from Bill and his experience.  If you'd like to read more about Bill you can read his full bio on our website.

We have much more to share and will be revealing our second keynote, concurrent sessions and pre-conference workshops in the next few weeks. Stay tuned to the blog, website and mailing list for more.

To register for the conference, visit

Hope to see you in September,

Sabrina Baker & Julie Rischmiller

ILSHRM Conference Co-Chair