April 2007



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2007 Corporate Partners

American Family Insurance
Lee Hecht Harrison
Melli, Walker, Pease & Ruhly, S.C.
Right Management

Fidelitec, LLC
Klaas Financial

Higgins Hemb Insurance Group
Neider & Boucher, S.C.
Payroll Data Services
Physicians Plus Insurance Corporation
Stark Company Realtors
UW-Madison Executive Education
Winterthur North America / General Casualty

Thank you!


ark Your Calendar

Click here to view the full calendar of events and meeting notices.

April 11 - Member Welcome and Orientation

Register now for the upcoming Member Welcome and Orientation meeting on Wednesday, April 11th.  This is a great opportunity to get to know other HR professionals and learn more about the chapter.  We would like to invite all new members as well as members who have never attended orientation.

Program Details

April 17 - Chapter Meeting, Volunteer Recognition and Student Night
Marriott Madison West

Join your friends and colleagues for a wonderful evening as we recognize our volunteers, student chapter members and supporters of GMA SHRM!

Program Details



Registration Open Soon!
2007 Human Capital Conference
Investing in the Profession, Investing in You

Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Marriott Madison West

Join over 200 of your friends and colleagues for this 2nd annual full day conference! Nine breakout and 2 keynote speakers have been selected to benefit you professionally and personally.

Featured Keynotes-
- Bill Schrum, SPHR presents 50 Years to Here, But 50 Years to Where?
Jon Gordon, National Speaker and Author presents
The Energy Bus, 10 Rules to Fuel your Life, Work and Team with Positive Energy


News/Updates - for more information, click topic in left hand column

- SHRM National news  
- State Council news  
- Committee announcements  
- View 2006/2007 GMA SHRM Board of Directors  
- New members  
- Job line See the latest job postings!
- Office News  
- Partner Program Learn more about our Corporate Partner Program and other Sponsorship Opportunities
- Certifications  

Printable version

By Sue Estes GMA SHRM President

"We make a living by what we do, but we make a life by what we give." — Winston Churchill

April 17- 21 is National Volunteer Week. The theme for this recognition program, sponsored by the Points of Light Foundation and Volunteer Center National Network is “Inspire by Example”. While the focus of National Volunteer Week is on volunteers working on solving serious social issues, I feel it is also a great time for us at GMA SHRM to recognize the many volunteers who give their time and talents to make our Chapter strong, as well as those members who give back to our community in the name of GMA SHRM through our Workforce Readiness programs. I hope that you will attend the April 17 th Chapter Meeting when we will recognize our Chapter volunteers as well as Student Chapter members. Whether you are a volunteer being recognized or someone who would like to acknowledge the work our volunteers do, please join us for an evening of great food, fun, and recognition for those who make a difference. (It’s free and did I say it’s going to be f un?!)

We are fortunate to have a great Chapter Administrative staff, but there are many jobs that are done by our 80+ volunteers. Did you know the following are just some of what our volunteers do for the Chapter?

  • Planning programming events, including securing speakers for monthly meetings and the annual conference
  • Securing Partners who support our Chapter financially
  • Writing and producing the monthly newsletter
  • Writing press releases and connecting local media with members
  • Securing advertisers for the member directory and proofing the directory
  • Working with several student chapters, providing mentors, programs and volunteers for HR Games
  • Administering student and professional scholarships
  • Hosting orientations and providing information about professional HR certification
  • Coordinating member surveys, compensation surveys, and benefit surveys
  • Organizing and hosting member orientations and networking events
  • Making welcome calls to new members
  • Providing resume help, interview tips, and career information through our Workforce Readiness programs to youth and adults in our community who are in need
  • Strategic planning for the Chapter
  • Financial planning and budget preparation for the Chapter

The list could go on, but I think that you can see that we could not operate without the volunteer efforts of our members. So, on behalf of the members of GMA SHRM, I would like to thank each and every one of you who have given your time to make our Chapter what it is today…strong and vibrant! And to those of you GMA SHRM members who volunteer your time in schools, with your church or synagogue, with community and youth organizations, hats off to you too! Some of you are also charged with leading your workplace volunteer activities and deserve recognition for that important role. Volunteering does have its rewards. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself. ”

And finally, my President’s Message couldn’t be complete without mention of our Chapter’s 50 th Anniversary this year. Once again, I will transport you back in time to another era to take a look at what that year meant in terms of the HR profession. This time (in honor of Women’s History Month in March and my upcoming 35 th high school reunion –yikes!) we will take a peek at the challenges the “Personnel Boss” faced at Levi Strauss & Co. in San Francisco. From the archives of March 20,1972, Time Magazine,pleasetake a look at the article titled “The Levi Experiment”. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,942543,00.html

The HR function began to increase in importance and visibility as it became important for employers to be in compliance of the new laws that were enacted in the 1960’s, designed to root out job discrimination in the US. This included the Equal Pay Act which prohibited employers from making gender-based distinctions in pay for equal work and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibited discrimination in any aspect of employment—including hiring, wages, working conditions, promotions or terminations—on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin or religion. New government entities, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), were created to eradicate job discrimination.

Those of us who entered the workforce after that era can be thankful for those involved in the Civil Rights Movement and the Women’s Movement, as well as for the HR professionals who were part of this workplace cultural change.

Yes, as HR professionals you can make a difference in your workplace…in your community… and in your GMA SHRM Chapter.

Thank you to all of you who make a difference!

Sue Estes

Do We Really Have to Hire a Convicted Sex Offender?
By David R. Friedman, Friedman Law Firm

Recently every where you turn there seems to be a discussion about how society should deal with convicted sex offenders. Many people on hearing the term convicted sex offender think of a pedophile. However, the phrase covers a number of different crimes. The crimes covered range from sexual assault of a child to exposing a child to harmful material. In all likelihood your company will receive an application from a convicted sex offender and you will wonder what to do. Your decision making process will not be comfortable nor will the ultimate decision be easy.

Wisconsin ’s law makes it illegal to discriminate against an applicant or an employee because of the employee’s arrest or conviction record. Yet it is not uncommon for an employment application to ask if the employee has ever been convicted of a crime. This is because the law contains exemptions that allow an employer not to hire the applicant based on the applicant’s crime. However, there is no provision that automatically allows an employer to refuse to hire a convicted sex offender.

The broadest exemption is where the circumstances of the crime substantially relate to the circumstances of the particular job or licensed activity. When interpreting this law it must be remembered that the Wisconsin Supreme Court concluded that the legislature sought to balance society's competing interests in rehabilitating convicted criminals and protecting them from employment discrimination with society's interest in protecting its citizens.

What adds to the confusion regarding sex offenders is Wisconsin’s fair housing law. For example, a landlord, if asked whether a person is a convicted sex offender, has to disclose that information if the landlord has actual knowledge that the person is a convicted sex offender. A landlord is also immune from liability for any act or omission related to disclosure if the landlord gives the requesting person written notice of the Department of Corrections web site for registered sex offenders: http://offender.doc.state.wi.us/public. The employment law is silent on both of these requirements.

The first thing an employer has to do when considering a convicted sex offender’s application is determine the job’s duties and responsibilities. Next the elements of the crime have to determine what, if any, character traits are revealed by the conviction. The court has said the circumstance of the offense is determined by reviewing the elements of the crime and that an extensive review of the factual details surrounding the crime is unnecessary. In making your determination, you should also consider whether the character traits revealed by the person’s conviction are likely to reappear, making the risk of recidivism too great to require the employer to bear.

Caregivers, including nursing homes, hospitals, community-based residential care facilities and home health agencies, have a duty to conduct a background check as well. Even in this process, a refusal to hire because of a conviction must meet the “substantially related to the circumstances of a particular job” test.

Finally if you are in the City of Madison, generally you cannot use the conviction if it occurred more than 3 years before the person has applied for the job.

None of these criteria are easy to apply. If you decline to hire a convicted sex offender, the initial challenge to your decision will be made to the Equal Rights Division. On appeal, the courts have been deferring to the agency’s decision. If your company is defined as a caregiver, there are different hearing procedures.

What this all means is that a convicted sex offender is not automatically disqualified from the job. If your organization’s practice is otherwise and you automatically disqualify applicants based on an arrest or conviction record, you may want to review your hiring procedures and job requirements against the applicable law.

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.

Website of the Month : WorkSource Wisconsin

Mike Leibundgut and Karol Buckingham, Co-Directors on the Board for Workforce Readiness, recently attended an information session about a new resource for the Wisconsin business community. WorkSource Wisconsin, The Employers Resource on Employment and Disability has launched through its website www.worksourcewi.com and its toll-free phone number 1-866-460-9602. This new information resource and technical assistance center will provide Wisconsin business with the tools and information to hire, support and retain employees with disabilities. Information, resources and training available through WorkSource Wisconsin include: workplace accommodation, employment law and human resource management practices. WorkSource Wisconsin has been created with advice and oversight from a dedicated Employer Advisory Committee to assure business needs are met and exceeded.  GMA SHRM member, Bob Gregg of the Boardman Law Firm, serves on this committee. To learn more about the project please visit the website. If you wish to request a presentation by WorkSource Wisconsin to your organization, contact Mike Meulemans, WorkSource Wisconsin Project Manager at 264-9869. 


National Member Benefits: Business Literacy Toolkit

You may have worked hard in your position to become knowledgeable about all facets of human resources. However, perhaps you lack all of the business know-how to run an organization, know-how that is critical as HR becomes a more strategic business function.

Your national SHRM organization offers an online toolkit to help you in this area. The business literacy toolkit offers glossaries, FAQs, and templates on a broad range of business functions. You can also find white papers and information on budgeting, marketing/public relations, taxes, and business planning. Several of the resources connect you to external websites, some of which are not updated. However, HR professionals should find the business literacy FAQs very helpful to address particular situations such as mergers and acquisitions and strategic planning.

To check out the toolkit, click here.

Wisconsin SHRM Job Board

Employers, do you have an opening for a Human Resources position? To find the best talent in the profession, turn to the Wisconsin SHRM Job Board. This Web site is the premier source to recruit Wisconsin Human Resources professionals. As a GMA SHRM member, the cost to post a position is only $100.

To access this Web site, and for instructions on how to post a position, log on to the GMA SHRM Web site at http://www.gmashrm.org/ and select the "Job Board" link on the bottom left side of the home page.

50 th Anniversary Thoughts and Memories
Past President Reflections – Stephanie Pohlman, PHR

There have been many significant changes I have seen in the Human Resources profession during my career. In general, it is Human Resources moving from tactical to strategic that I see as most significant. In the past, the Human Resources Department was involved in day to day business transactional activity for a very specific purpose – recruiting, compensation, benefits, etc. While all of those functions continue to be performed by Human Resources - that is only a small part of the role we play within our business units today. We are now a strategic partner with a role in the key imperatives our groups define each year. There is a bigger emphasis on the “people” part of our business and successful companies understand how that “people” piece fits into everything they do.

GMA SHRM has provided me many great opportunities through the years, starting when I was in college. I went to UW-Whitewater and became involved with the student chapter. This group provided me the opportunity to see what the HR field was like and at that point, I knew it was what I wanted to do when I finished college. When I started my first job out of college and was the only HR person, SHRM provided the needed resources and contacts for me to really learn my job. I served on the Board of Directors as the Secretary/Treasurer, President and Past President. It opened up a new world of people, experiences, and knowledge that I learned a lot from and while it is a big commitment, it was well worth the reward!

The future of Human Resources looks bright to me. There is still so much growing we can do as profession. We will continue to play a major role in the success of the companies we work for. In order to be a successful Human Resources professional, we must continue to learn more about the world. US based companies continue to expand out side of the US, and we play a key role in this activity. Advice I would give anyone getting into the field would be to get as much experience and understanding of international business as they can. It is an exciting time to be in HR!


April Program Meeting: Volunteer Recognition and Student Night

On April 17 th GMA SHRM will be holding its Volunteer Recognition and Student Night where we’ll be recognizing the efforts of committee members who have been involved in making GMA SHRM a great success this past year.In this newsletter edition we would like to highlight a few of our long-time GMA SHRM volunteers.

Sharon Harkins, SPHR has been a member of and served GMA SHRM for over 27 years! Her primary volunteer experience has been on the Programming/Planning Committee. Sharon and her committee members are diligent in gaining an understanding of the needs and interests of our membership and identifying speakers who are experts on those topics. Incidentally, Sharon is very excited about the programming for the upcoming one-day conference on Wednesday, May 23, at the Madison Marriott West, for which we are expecting a record turnout.

Sharon feels she benefits from her volunteer activities for a couple of reasons. One being, she learns from her committee members. For example, they may heighten her awareness to hot button issues that are important, but that she may not be dealing with at the present moment. In addition, it’s her philosophy that it is important to give back to the group that supports her professionally. Sharon participates in new member orientations, welcoming and offering her vast experience to new GMA SHRM members, and attends as many of the monthly meetings as her schedule permits.

Pat Miller, PHR, CPC , is a long-time volunteer (since 2000) and has been instrumental in working with the committee members in coordinating some incredibly successful, well-attended events including Chapter meetings, Wednesday in the Park sessions, and one-day conferences. Having served as a co-chair, Pat encouraged the growth of the Programming Committee, increasing the number of committee members who work together to ensure that our programming reflects the requests from our chapter membership.

Pat is proud of the fact that they have been able to bring nationally-known, professional speakers who received high-ratings at SHRM National conferences to our GMA SHRM Chapter meetings. She’s also excited that they’ve established a core panel of GMA SHRM members and subject matter experts who regularly offer their expertise on legal issues and best practices and deliver them pro bono to our members, including Bob Gregg, Jennifer Mirus, Bonnie Wendorff, and Lauri Morris.

Pat feels strongly that she enriches her HR experience by serving on a committee because it gives her the chance to perform job functions that she would not get the opportunity to perform in her employed position.

Sharon and Pat are just a couple of the many volunteers who serve our chapter with great dedication every year. The chapter wishes to thank ALL of you. Please join us for our recognition event on April 17 th!

50 th Anniversary Golf Outing

GMA SHRM is celebrating 50 years!! As part of the celebration, we are hosting our first ever golf outing at the Oaks Golf Course on Wednesday, June 20 th. It will be a 4-person scramble, so golfers at all skill levels are encouraged to participate. We are playing for fun! You can sign up to play with a specific foursome or as an individual and we will pair you up with a group. The cost of the event will be $79 and this includes 18 holes of golf with a cart, a box lunch, and an informal reception with appetizers after golf. We will have a shotgun (means everyone starts at the same time but each foursome begins on a different hole) start at 9:30am, so registration will begin between at 8am. More details to follow. Registration forms for the event will be available on the GMA SHRM website soon!

Sponsorship opportunities are available as well. As a sponsor, you will have the opportunity to post an advertisement or wish GMA SHRM a Happy 50 th electronically on each pair’s golf cart for only $50. Other sponsorship opportunities are available as well. Please contact Stephanie Pohlman at 245-7076 or by email at stephanie.pohlman@covance.com for more information. Sponsorship proceeds will benefit the Madison Area Literacy Council.

Please plan to join us for a great, relaxing day of fun!!

Welcome New Members!

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

Lara A. Bush-Pensy

Manager of Employee Services

Elder Care of WI

Loraine R. Bussman

Branch Manager


Kathleen R. Dannemiller, SPHR


Resources Global Professionals

Gloria G. Kelly

Regional Consultant


Lisa F. Marks

Personnel Director

Apex Property Management, Inc

Melissa R. Marthe

Employee & Labor Relations Assistant

UW Hospital & Clinics

Jason D. Marty

Benefits Specialist


Tammy T. Schmieden


HR Solution Center, LLC

Christina M. Shaughnessy

HR Admin. Assistant

Madison Gas & Electric

Thomas R. Steinback


Advantage Business Consulting


4C Board of Directors Seeking Volunteer

Volunteer and have a positive impact on our community’s children! The Community Coordinated Child Care (4C), Inc. would like to increase the human resources capacity on its Board of Directors, and we would appreciate your participation. 4-C is part of a network of accredited, non-profit Wisconsin Child Care Resource & Referral agencies providing advocacy and support services for child care in Columbia, Dane, Dodge, Jefferson and Sauk Counties and the Ho-Chunk Nation. The agency strives to advocate for the well-being of children in early childhood care and education and to assist parents and providers in creating quality care. Please take some time to visit our website to learn more about the agency http://www.4-c.org/index.htm. As a Board member, approximately 3-5 hours of your time is needed each week, in addition to our regular meetings 6 times a year. Expertise in developing position descriptions, personnel policies, and personnel evaluations is expected. If this sounds like you and you’re ready for a rewarding volunteer experience, please contact Marni Bekkedal at 608-333-7285 or 2steps@charter.net for more information.

Community Events


ASTD-SCWC Leadership Workout: 2007 Annual Program, 8:30 AM - 4:00 PM, Lussier Family Heritage Center,

3101 Lake Farm Road , Madison . Program fee is $129.00 for SCWC C hapter Member and $179.00 for Guest Attendee. Due to sponsorships and cost sharing arrangements, ASTD is able to continue to offer the early registration rates through April 15. And more importantly, your registration dollars pay for you AND A COLLEAGUE* to attend the Leadership Workout. * For event details, click here .

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 chapteradmin@gmashrm.org .







Greater Madison Area SHRM, Inc.
2830 Agriculture Dr.
Madison, WI 53718
(608) 204-9814
fax: (608) 204-9818
Web: http://www.gmashrm.org/

© 2004; Greater Madison Area SHRM, Inc. All rights reserved.