March 2008

In This Edition

By Anthony Dix, PHR,
GMA SHRM President

GMA SHRM Board of Directors

FMLA Amended to Add New Military Leave Benefits
- By Adam Jensen, JD, CEBS, FLMI, Virchow Krause Employee Benefits, LLC

Wisconsin Senate Passes Punitive Damages Bill for Discrimination Cases.
Extracted from a Legal and Legislative Update written by Robert E. Gregg, Boardman Law Firm

What's Cool in HR in the Greater Madison Area?
Decide to Recognize

- The GMA SHRM Communications and Marketing Committee

- Advancing the Profession!

- March 18, 2008 GMA SHRM Summit
Topic: Energizing and Engaging for Performance

- Interested in Volunteering?

- Welcome New Members

- In Transition

- Movin' Up

Click here to see the full GMA SHRM Event Calendar.

- March 18, 2008 GMA SHRM Summit
Topic: Energizing and Engaging for Performance

- March 25-27, 2008
World at Work, Certification Course and Exam

T1: Total Rewards Management

- April 15, 2008 - My GMA SHRM Toolbox
Topic: Recruiting Trends and Best Practices

- April 17, 2008- New Member Welcome
Location: Boardman Law Firm


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Anthony Dix, SPHR
2008 Corporate Partners

Boardman Law Firm
Lee Hecht Harrison
Melli, Walker, Pease & Ruhly, S.C.

Fidelitec, LLC
Physicians Plus Insurance Corporation
Right Management
UW Credit Union

Career Momentum
Edgewood College
Neider & Boucher, S.C.
Payroll Data Services
QBE Regional Insurance
Stark Company Realtors

Thank you!

Hi Everyone,

At the end of February I had the honor of volunteering at the HR Games competition which was held in conjunction with the annual Student SHRM Conference at UW-Whitewater. The HR Games are a fun way to motivate and prepare students for PHR certification. Winning teams at the state level earn the right to compete at the regional competition. The HR Games are an event that offers the opportunity to bring professional chapter volunteers, students and student chapter advisors together in a meaningful way. The effort it takes to plan and conduct the games is worthwhile and beneficial to the professional members as well as the students. The volunteers conducting the games get a refresher course in the body of knowledge required of a human resource professional as they listen to the students answer questions. The students receive an opportunity to network with other students and showcase their knowledge to HR practitioners.

Congratulations are in order for UW-Whitewater, winner of the 2008 WI HR Games competition. UW-Whitewater will receive funding to attend the 2008 North Central Regional Student Conference, April 11-12, at the University of Nebraska - Omaha. I had the opportunity to network with several students from various student chapters throughout the state. I would like to acknowledge John Komosa, Director of Education and Development for his support and dedication to the student chapter leaders on their work to make the HR Games and Student Conference such a success. If you have never attended the HR Games, I would highly recommend it.

SHRM Foundation Update : On February 5, 2008, SHRM Foundation announced that the Neenah, Wisconsin-based J. J. Keller Foundation, Inc. will underwrite $100,000 for the 2008 SHRM Foundation Regional Scholarship Program. The SHRM Foundation funds 100 scholarships and created the program to support SHRM members pursuing a college degree or professional certification.

“We place great value on forging partnerships, and this one is ideal from a number of perspectives,” said Robert L. Keller, President of the J. J. Keller Foundation Board of Directors. “This is a unique opportunity to invest in one of our Foundation’s focus areas (Education) in the markets and professionals we serve.”   

The donation will sustain the program now in its eighth year. Two types of scholarships are available: academic scholarships, which are funded at $1,375 each, and certification scholarships, which are funded at $750 each. The scholarship program is administered by SHRM member services. A total of 40 academic scholarships and 60 certification scholarships will be awarded to recipients across five U.S. regions. SHRM volunteer committees will coordinate the judging process and distribute eight academic and 12 certification scholarships per region. The application deadline is July 15, 2008. Scholarship winners will be notified on September 30, 2008. For more information, visit the SHRM Foundation web site at:

I look forward to seeing all of you at our March Summit, which will be held at the Alliant Energy Center. Dr. Theresa Welbourne, Ph.D., President and CEO of eePulse, Inc. will speak about “Energizing and Engaging for Peak Performance.”

Anthony Dix, SPHR, MBA
GMA SHRM Chapter President

GMA SHRM Board of Directors

Back row (L to R): Christopher Dyer – Chapter Administrator, Sue Estes – Immediate Past President, Kari Lauritsen – VP, Programming, Anthony Dix – President, Cassy VanDyke – President Elect

Front row (L to R): Heather Dyer – Chapter Administrator, John Komosa – Director of Education & Development, Chris Berg Thacker – Secretary/Treasurer, Mike Leibundgut – Director of Communications & Marketing

Not pictured: Kris Schmitt – VP, Membership

FMLA Amended to Add New Military Leave Benefits
By Adam Jensen, JD, CEBS, FLMI, Virchow Krause Employee Benefits, LLC

For the first time since it was enacted 15 years ago, the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) was amended to expand its scope and provide new leave benefits to military families.   

What has changed?
On January 28, 2008 the President signed into law H.R. 4986, the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2008 (NDAA). The NDAA provides two new types of FMLA leave benefits to military families.   

The first new type of leave amends FMLA to permit a "spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin" to take up to 26 work weeks of leave to care for a "member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or Reserves, who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy, is otherwise in outpatient status, or is otherwise on the temporary disability retired list, for a serious injury or illness."   

The second new type of leave permits an employee to take 12 weeks of FMLA leave during any 12 month period for "any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the spouse, or a son, daughter, or parent of the employee is on active duty (or has been notified of an impending call or order to active duty) in the Armed Forces in support of a contingency operation."  

When is this effective?
The provisions in the NDAA creating this leave are generally effective as of the date of the President’s signing on January 28, 2008 and includes the 26-week "providing care leave".  However, the 12-week "qualifying exigency leave" is not effective until the Secretary of Labor issues final regulations defining "any qualifying exigency." The Department of Labor (DOL) is currently preparing such regulations. In the interim, DOL is encouraging employers to provide this type of leave to qualifying employees. 

What do employers need to do now?
Employers should review their federal FMLA policies now and add these two new leave benefits.  Human resource departments should train their own personnel and any managers or supervisors who are responsible for administering FMLA within their firm. 

Adam P. Jensen is a Senior Consultant with Virchow Krause Employee Benefits, LLC and has worked in the insurance and employee benefits industry since 1986. Adam specializes in providing regulatory compliance and plan design services for health and welfare plans and qualified retirement plans. He also advises executive clients on non-qualified deferred compensation issues. Phone: 608.240.2582 Email:

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Wisconsin Senate Passes Punitive Damages Bill for Discrimination Cases.
This is material extracted from a Legal and Legislative Update written by Robert E. Gregg, Boardman Law Firm

On January 31, 2008, the State Senate passed SB 165, allowing unspecified punitive damages in discrimination cases, plus a 10% surcharge to the state treasury. Wisconsin law currently allows only economic damages, attorney fees and injunctive relief, so this would be a huge change. It would probably destroy one important purpose of the court administrative process—to enable common people and small businesses to resolve or contest discrimination issues without the complexity and expense of full-blown, attorney-involved litigation. (The federal courts and Title VII, etc., are available for that.) The bill also creates a committee to study pay disparity in the state. The bill will now go to the State Assembly for debate and vote.

If you are interested in this bill contact your elected Assembly Representative : Click here

Bob Gregg , a partner at the Boardman Law Firm in Madison, Wisconsin, has been professionally involved in Employment Relations and Civil Rights work for more than 30 years. He litigates employment cases. A recognized educator and trainer, Bob has conducted over 2,000 seminars throughout the United States and authored numerous articles on practical employment issues.

The opinions expressed or implied are those of the author and may not represent the official position of GMASHRM. This article is intended for general information purposes and highlights developments in the legal area. This article does not constitute legal advice. The reader should consult legal counsel to determine how this information applies to any specific situation.

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What’s Cool in HR in the Greater Madison Area?

Decide to Recognize!

Do you remember the last time your work efforts were acknowledged? I do. It felt magnificent! Not only did I feel competent but I wanted to push even harder, and my commitment level rose even higher. In too many organizations today employees feel undervalued – often due of the lack of simple acknowledgment of hard work. Unfortunately, a prevailing thought among many managers is “Why should I acknowledge and show appreciation for employees just doing their job?” Managers are losing out on the immense power positive reinforcement yields. It’s not just the good thing to do – it’s smart! It reinforces and rewards the behaviors and results you want happening in your organization.

Recognizing employees encompasses everything from immediate recognition – appropriately giving positive, honest feedback at any point in time, to the more structured rewards and recognition programs. Shelley Kemp, HR Generalist at Milio’s Sandwiches describes Milio’s recognition efforts ranging from catching team members in the act of providing legendary customer service to the planned annual rewards banquet, recognizing individuals for achievement of set goals and standards. These recognition efforts contribute to employee satisfaction and the company’s success. They support the ideals and principles upheld by Milio’s (legendary customer service) and facilitate the company in achieving its targets and goals (increased sales volume, reduced work injuries, etc.).

The aim of any recognition strategy is to validate performance and motivate employees to continuous improvement. Michelle Baldwin, HR Manager at Hausmann-Johnson Insurance, conveys that an important recognition practice in her organization is to send out and share corporate-wide, the positive comments Hausmann-Johnson staff members receive from clients. Smart companies realize that recognition is a potent communication tool that not only influences recognized individuals, but their coworkers as well.

When employees feel their performance is not valued, believe that wrong behaviors are recognized, or perhaps that a few individuals are singled out for recognition, it’s likely to result in disengaged and less productive employees. Therefore, it’s key that we not only decide to recognize, but do so effectively. In designing rewards and recognition initiatives it’s crucial to incorporate some key guidelines:

  • Criteria should be based on an achievable set of standards of which employees are aware.
  • Rewards associated with recognition should have value to the recognized individual.
  • Make recognition and rewards visible and consistent with the objectives the company wants to achieve, as well as, the culture it wants to create.

Michelle Baldwin understands the importance of recognizing and rewarding effectively. She advises, “Keep at it – it takes time to develop and then you may need to make modifications”.

For more information on Rewards and Recognition check out the report Cash May Not Be "King": A study of cash and non cash rewardsauthored by March Summit presenter, Dr. Theresa Welbourne, Ph.D., President and CEO of eePulse, Inc. Dr. Welbourne will be speaking about “Energizing and Engaging for Peak Performance”.

What’s going on in HR in your workplace?

We want to hear about it! Share it with your HR colleagues in HR InTouch. Send us an e-mail

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The GMA SHRM Communications & Marketing Committee
By Mike Leibundgut, SPHR
GMA SHRM, Director of Communications & Marketing

The Communications & Marketing Committee has played a key role in keeping our members up to date on the plethora of events, activities, volunteering opportunities, and overwhelming amount of Human Resource information needed so we can be successful in our profession.

Each year the committee coordinates a variety of activities such as: the GMA SHRM Member Directory, contacting and establishing GMA SHRM Corporate Partners, coordinating the annual salary and benefit surveys, providing marketing support for the various events held throughout the year, providing Human Resource related articles and updates on employment law, and acting as public relations representatives to the community.

In an effort to meet the multitude of tasks and requests throughout the year, a number of dedicated GMA SHRM members have offered their skills, knowledge, contacts, experiences and time to help support this wonderful organization.

I would like to recognize our committee members for their efforts and time in continually creating top-notch articles, directories, useable surveys, etc.; there’s simply too much to list. Our 2008 goals continue to support our existing activities but also focus on expanding the number of members in GMA SHRM, providing exciting new ideas for our website and determining what our members really want and need from our organization.

A special recognition needs to go out to our committee Co-Chairs, Dave Furlan, PHR and Tara Cassady, who have taken on a large portion of the tasks by themselves or coordinating the tasks through others. Meg Arneson, SPHR has also done an excellent job with our monthly newsletter by collecting articles, editing them and supplying them to our Administration office.

For a complete list of all the great professionals in our Communications & Marketing committee, CLICK HERE .

Thanks again to all our dedicated volunteers!

Mike Leibundgut, SPHR

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Advancing the Profession!

SHRM 30-Second Ad Exposed To Nearly 5 Million Viewers

The CNN Democratic Debate in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, made history Monday night and SHRM was there to witness it.  Almost 5 million people viewed the telecast on CNN, making it the highest rated debate in cable news history.

SHRM President and CEO, Sue Meisinger attended the debate with SHRM members Elissa O'Brien (Vice President, HR, Wingate Heath and SHRM Labor Relations Panel Member) and Kay Kush, (Director, Human Resources, The Unity Group and Legislative Co-Chair for the South Carolina SHRM State Council).

"The issues that the candidates are discussing are the same issues and challenges that HR professionals face everyday," said Susan R. Meisinger, SPHR, SHRM president and CEO.  "The 2008 presidential elections will have a profound impact on the future of the nation, and it's critically important that we as a profession be engaged in the national dialogue."

SHRM's 30-second commercial, "Most Important Asset", was broadcast during the debate.  By showing SHRM's message during election program coverage, viewers were able to see the connection between HR and the major workplace issues facing the nation and o ur leaders.  These activities are only the beginning of an exciting ATP campaign for 2008.

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GMA SHRM Summit – March 18, 2008

Topic: Coaching for Performance
Location: Alliant Energy Center

Dr. Theresa Welbourne, Ph.D., President and CEO of eePulse, Inc. will speak about “Energizing and Engaging for Peak Performance.”
Click here for Program Details

Sponsored by GMA SHRM Gold Partner Lee Hecht Harrison

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Interested in Volunteering?

Whether you can only commit to a short-term project (i.e., panel discussion), or would like to get involved in a longer-term capacity, GMA SHRM has a variety of volunteer opportunities with varying term or time commitments. Volunteering provides an opportunity for networking, interaction, professional development, and fun!

Consider one of these Chapter leadership areas:

    • Board of Directors
    • Communications & Marketing
    • Programming
    • Government Affairs
    • Membership Interaction & Orientation
    • Workforce Readiness
    • Certification & College Relations
    • Philanthropic (i.e., golf outing, other charitable giving)

More information can be found at:

You will gain:

  • A network of professionals providing access to HR information
  • Best practices that have been effective in other organizations
  • Relationships and contacts in other companies to share information on HR concerns
  • Exposure to other HR professionals and companies
  • Leadership & professional skills, making you more valuable to your current employer and more marketable to potential employers
  • Recognition as a leader who has a commitment to the HR profession and is willing to give back to help others in the profession
  • A reputation and credentials in the HR field through your involvement as a volunteer leader for SHRM
  • Volunteer experience to add to your résumé —employers recognize the valuable experience that volunteer leadership provides.

For more information:

For more information on becoming involved in the GMA SHRM chapter and maximizing your membership, contact Kris Schmitt, Vice President of Membership, at (608) 277-2653 or

Refer a friend!

Know a colleague or friend who might be interested? Refer them here:

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Welcome New Members

GMA SHRM welcomes the following members who joined our chapter in January 2008.

Jackie Anderson

HR Generalist


Judy A. Balistreri

Contact Center Manager


Ann Marie Becker

HR Administrator

The Guild, Inc

Mary Borland

Dir Marketing & Member Services

The Alliance

Thelma Busker

HR/Payroll Manager

Patch Products

Karen J. Digman

Administration Specialist

General Casualty Insurance

Wade C. Harrison


Godfrey & Kahn, S.C.

Vicki Ingalls

HR Administrator

Chartwell Midwest Wisconsin

Karri Keepers


UW Credit Union

Roger Maclean


UW-Madison Executive Education

Amanda Millett

HR Business Systems Analyst

American Family Insurance

Dan G. Sackash

Manager Recruiting Services


Dawn M. Sharer

HR Manager

YMCA of Dane County, Inc.

Rena Somersan

Director, Strategy & Human Capitol

RSM McGladrey

Stuart B. Swanson

Vice President, Human Resource

Furst Group

Kalee J. Werth

Account Executive


Amy Wilcox


Dental Health Assoc of Madison, Ltd.

Kathryn A. Williams

Recruiting Consultant

QTI Professional Staffing

Kelly L. Zidek

Human Resources Assistant

UW School of Medicine & Public Health


In Transition

If you are a member who is in between jobs, or who is currently employed but seeking new positions or career paths, write us a brief description of your skill set, areas of expertise, what you’re looking for, etc . . Send us an e-mail. We’ll publish your information in the next HR InTouch.

Movin' Up

Have you started with a new company? Has your organization recently promoted you to a new position? Or do you want to recognize a new person or promotion within your department? If so, we want to hear about it. Send us an e-mail, and we’ll publish your good news in the next HR InTouch!

HR InTouch Guidelines

Article Writing:

Do you have an interest in writing for the HR InTouch? We have an interest in learning more about your area of expertise!

Why should you volunteer? Top three reasons: 1) to share your knowledge and experiences to educate others; 2) to become more connected in the HR and Dane County communities; and 3) to contribute towards the advancement of GMA SHRM and the HR profession.

The first step is for you to choose a submission option: you can pre-submit an article to GMA SHRM at any time for us to use in any of the upcoming newsletters, you can sign up to write for a particular month, or we can put you on a list of people to contact in future months whenever we need articles.

Article length:

Because the HR InTouch is now in an online format, the size is flexible. The article should be engaging and hold readers’ attention. Include the core information in your article, and we will advise if it is too lengthy.


GMA SHRM is conscious not to allow solicitation through the articles, in an effort to protect the interests of our partners and members. The nature of the article should be educational (i.e., what are the business advantages of having a product like yours) or informational. Otherwise, if you truly are interested in advertising through the HR InTouch, you can work with our Marketing Committee. As a rule of thumb for article writing, if the submission relates to a for-profit event, or specifically markets your company (vs. your industry), it is an advertisement, and should be purchased. If it is a not-for-profit event that your company is hosting, or an announcement (i.e., a SHRM member recently joined your company), it is an acceptable addition to the HR InTouch content. If you have any questions related to the appropriateness of your submission, please contact us.

If you have questions, or to submit an article, contact GMA SHRM at .










Greater Madison Area SHRM, Inc.
2830 Agriculture Dr.
Madison, WI 53718
(608) 204-9814
fax: (608) 204-9818

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