August 2009


In This Edition

By Kari Lauritsen, SPHR,
GMA SHRM President

Bizarre Laws: Careful Where You Camp

Expansion of Wisconsin FMLA to Cover Domestic Partners
- By Tammy Barden, WPS Health Insurance

2009 GMA SHRM Compensation Survey

New Minimum Wage - July 24,2009

Are Employees Engaged in Your Corporate Diversity?

The Topic of the August 18, 2009 - My GMA SHRM Toolbox

Information Regarding HR Certification

Interested in career possibilities for you or have an HR opening in your company?


Community Events
- Area Agency on Aging of Dane County presents - Understanding the Impact of Caregiving in the Workplace

GMA SHRM Member of the Month
- Jeff Westra

- Volunteer Opportunity

- Welcome New Members!

- In Transition

- What's Cool in HR

- Movin' Up

Click here to see the full GMA SHRM Event Calendar.

August 18, 2009 - My GMA SHRM Toolbox
Topic: Are Employees Engaged in Your Corporate Diversity?
Location: City Center West
Program Details

August 20, 2009 - Summer Networking Event
Location: The East Side Club
Program Details



Printable version


































2009 Corporate Partners

Boardman Law Firm
Galaxy Technologies
The Payroll Company

Hays Companies
Lee Hecht Harrison
Physicians Plus Insurance Corporation
Virchow Krause Employee Benefits

Melli Law, S.C.
Bunbury & Associates
Career Momentum
Stark Company Realtors
Gardner & White
Higgins Insurance Group
Liberty Mutual
The Alliance

Thank you!

Kari Lauritsen, SPHR,
GMA SHRM President


The world of the HR practitioner is one in which no two days are alike. We must learn to be flexible, recognize the gray in situations and understand that when dealing with people, inconsistencies will rule. With that in mind, I would like to take the opportunity to remind you of all of the wonderful resources GMA SHRM has available to you as members. Our education and development opportunities, website, membership directory, salary/benefit surveys and networking events (to name a few…) all offer you everything you need to get through those gray spots and bring each situation into the light.

Our board of directors is working hard to continue to offer you the exceptional tools and services you have grown accustomed to. We will have four new focus areas over the coming year:

  • Community Outreach – Providing HR programs, services and/or resources to small businesses and community organizations
  • Knowledge transfer & orientation for new volunteer leaders – This initiative will allow our volunteer leaders to feel better prepared to take on their new role and will allow us to operate in a more efficient manner
  • Increase number of volunteers – Ensuring our organization is prepared to take on the challenges of the future.
  • Succession Planning – Build a strong and formalized succession planning program for GMA SHRM leadership

As we move forward with these specific initiatives, we hope to continue to brighten your HR world and ensure you feel you have everything you need right at your fingertips with GMA SHRM.

Kari A Lauritsen, SPHR
GMA SHRM President

Return to To Top

GMA SHRM Board of Directors

Kari Lauritsen, SPHR

Dave Furlan, PHR
President Elect

Cassy Van Dyke, SPHR
Past President

John Komosa
Secretary Treasurer

Kris Schmitt
Director, Education & Development

Chris Berg Thacker, PHR
VP, Membership

Mike Leibundgut, SPHR
Director, Government Affairs

Zach Penshorn, PHR
VP, Programming

Jake Siudzinski

VP, Marketing & Communications


Melissa Wieland
Director Workforce Readiness & Diversity


Return to Top

Bizarre Laws

Next time you think about camping on or near the highway, beware of Wisconsin state statute 86.025.  "It shall be unlawful for any person or persons to camp in wagons, tent or otherwise on the public highways or lands adjacent thereto. . .Any person or persons violating the provisions of this section shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof shall be fined not exceeding $10, or imprisoned in the county jail not exceeding 30 days, or both."

Return to Top

Expansion of Wisconsin FMLA to Cover Domestic Partners
By Tammy Barden, WPS Health Insurance

On June 29, 2009, the Wisconsin Family and Medical Leave Act was amended to cover same-sex and opposite-sex domestic partners. Covered employers must provide up to two weeks of family leave to eligible employees to care for their domestic partner who has a serious health condition. This new amendment would also allow two weeks of family leave for employees to care for their domestic partners’ parent who has a serious health condition. This change does not cover the domestic partners’ child. Employers with 50 or more employees should update their policies to reflect this change and begin allowing leave for domestic partners immediately. They should also display a copy of the updated poster in the workplace, which can be found at:

The amendment includes both registered and unregistered domestic partners. For more information, go to:

Return to Top

2009 GMA SHRM Compensation Survey

Last year GMA SHRM partnered with enetrix, a Gallup Company, to provide premier on-line surveys.  The 2008 GMA SHRM Compensation Survey is a comprehensive on-line survey that has the flexibility to produce reports based on revenue size, industry, type of ownership, and number of FTE’s.  The 2008 GMA SHRM Compensation Survey had over 100 companies of all sizes in the greater Madison area that provided salary information for more than 200 benchmarked jobs.  Our hope this year is to increase the number of participants.   Participating members receive a significant discount on the cost of the survey!

If you would like to participate, please go to  Select “Click Here to Register” on the right to create an individual and company profile and create your username and password. If an individual from your company has already registered for an account, they will need to grant you permission to enter and review data for your company. Select “Participation” and follow the steps to enter your survey data.

Return to Top

New Minimum Wage Goes Into Effect July 24, 2009

The federal and Wisconsin minimum wages will both increase to $7.25/hr on July 24, 2009.  Employers can still use the existing Federal wage poster; however an updated State of Wisconsin poster will be required. 

A free downloadable Wisconsin poster is available at:

If you have any questions, please contact Christine Storlie, Manager of HR Services, Cottingham & Butler at 608.240.2473 or  

August 18, 2009 – My GMA SHRM Toolbox
Topic: Are Employees Engaged in Your Corporate Diversity?

Do your employees know what diversity really is? Does your organization actively train employees on diversity? Are employees engaged in your corporate diversity?

During the August Toolbox session, Rhonda Schemm HR Supervisor with Network Engineering Technologies and Diversity Facilitator, will explore the topic of diversity and discuss what diversity truly means and how incorporating diversity into your corporate culture can be beneficial for all stakeholders, employers, employees and customers.

Additionally, the program will discuss the following learning topics:

  • Employees in all shapes & sizes - what's different and what's the same
  • Diversity - The organizational perspective
  • Risks associated with not addressing diversity
  • Benefits of addressing diversity
  • Employee engagement

For more information or to register for this event, click here.

Return to Top

Information Regarding HR Certification

It's hard to believe that summer is already half over! As summer winds down and fall approaches, some of you may be thinking about pursuing your HR certification. If you are thinking about applying, below is some important information regarding the exam application and available resources.

The winter exam window is December 1st, 2009 - January 31st, 2010. The application deadline for the winter exam window is October 9th. If you miss the deadline, you can still apply, but a $50 late fee will apply for applications received after October 9th. No applications will be accepted after November 15th, 2009 for the winter exam window.

Please be aware that there are only three testing windows available before the new eligibility requirements go into effect. For additional information on the new eligibility requirements, please visit the HRCI at

Recently earned your certification? HRCI will update your credentials on your online profile in mid-August. Your membership credentials will also be updated if you have chosen to share your information with SHRM.

There are several great tools and resources available to assist you with studying for the exam.

  • Study Groups - These are study groups are sponsored by GMA SHRM and are free of charge to you! For those that are interested, study groups are offered during the winter and spring exam windows. If you are interested in getting involved with a study group, contact Kris Schmitt at for more details.
  • SHRM Learning System - This is an excellent resource that provides very detailed information on the six different domains. It is a great study tool for gaining the knowledge needed in order to apply it to the exam. The cost is $595 for SHRM members.
  • PHR /SPHR online assessment - These assessments test your knowledge across six different domains and they use old exam questions. The assessment also scores like the real exam and takes about 80 minutes to complete. This is a great indicator for how you need to study or to take before the exam to see how you do. Cost is $45 for a single online assessment or $75 for two assessments. Additional information can be found at
  • Free Quizzes - These are available on the HRCI website and are a great way to practice prior to taking the exam. The quizzes provide a series of practice questions with the correct answer provided after each question as well as the rationale for determining the correct answer. The questions are linked to the exam's body of knowledge and you can take them as often as you need.
  • Wisconsin School of Business – The SHRM Learning System Course - A structured 12-week, instructor-lead course that goes through each body of knowledge of the SHRM Learning System in detail. The cost for the course is $1,095 for SHRM members. For additional details contact Barry Roberts at 608.263.0224.

Congratulations to the following recently certified GMA SHRM members!

Nancy Buss, PHR
Keri Cavitt, PHR
Julie Patterson, SPHR
Kristine Roessler, SPHR

If you have questions regarding certification, please contact Kris Schmitt at

Interested in career possibilities for you or have an HR opening in your company?

Visit the GMA SHRM website and click on “Job Board” under the Resources to learn about opportunities all over Wisconsin or to advertise your opportunity in Wisconsin, inviting other SHRM members to apply. Even the fees are reasonable:

$100 per job – if affiliated with a local Wisconsin SHRM Chapter 
$200 per job – if no chapter affiliation

For more information on the fees and how to have your opening posted, click here.


Return to Top

Area Agency on Aging of Dane County presents - Understanding the Impact of Caregiving in the Workplace

Save the Date - This two part session will be held October 7th and 14th. Click here to view the event poster from Area Agency on Aging of Dane County.

GMA SHRM Member of the Month

Name: Jeff Westra

Where do you currently work? Herzing University

What is the focus of your position? As the Career Services Director at Herzing University, I assist students and graduates with obtaining employment in their career fields, which includes advising students in their career/job search. I am also responsible for developing employer relationships and keeping the lines of communication open with HR professionals with whom I work with to identify employment opportunities for our graduates.

How long have you been in the Human Resource field? I’ve served in this Career Services role for four years and I have over 20 years of management experience in which I have been responsible for many Human Resources functions.

Which of your career accomplishments makes you proudest? I spoke with a member of our alumni after he had started his own business. During my visit to his business we had a discussion in which he told me that he was ready to drop out of school after his third semester. He then informed me that he didn't because of a conversation the two of us had that same day he had wanted to drop out. The funny thing is that I have no recollection of the conversation, but just knowing that I made a difference in that young man's career gives me a great deal of pride in what we do here. That individual has since been added to the Herzing University Wall of Fame for his professional accomplishments.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received? I have two that stand out. As a young man, my uncle told me that if you want to get ahead at work you need to be clean cut and well dressed. Appearance matters if you want to be successful, so make the right first impression with customers and employers. The other piece of advice that sticks with me is from my current Campus President here at Herzing University, and that is to empower your employees. No one likes to be micromanaged. If given the opportunity to take ownership your employees will take initiative and therefore take pride in everything they do. In the end the team will be stronger and you will get better results.

Why did you decide to join GMA SHRM? To network with HR Managers who would be interested in hiring people with the education and technical skill sets we provide to our graduates. I also wanted the opportunity to stay informed about issues and trends in HR.

If you’d like to be featured as the Member of the Month in an upcoming issue of HR InTouch, please e-mail Kate Karre at

Volunteer Opportunity

August 19, 2009 – Volunteer Opportunity

The Workforce Readiness Committee is partnering with the Wisconsin Women's Business Initiative to teach an HR 101 class to their new small business owners and entrepreneurs. Their website is The first class will be on August 19th, from 9:30 - 11:00 am. If you are interested in helping lead this class, please contact Melissa Wieland at

GMA SHRM is LinkedIn

 Come join our GMA SHRM Chapter group on LinkedIn! What is LinkedIn? It’s a business-oriented social networking site that can be used to connect with friends (old and new), find or post jobs and get information. In order to join, sign in at and keyword search GMA SHRM Chapter.


 Return to Top

Welcome New Members!

GMA SHRM welcomes the following members who joined our chapter in June of 2009!

Laura K. Gill, PHR


Econoprint, Inc.

Ashlie B. Johnson, PHR

HR Generalist

Ultratec Inc.

Tara R. Tomter

HR Representative

Baker Tilly

Adrienne E. Whitish

Staffing Supervisor

Kelly Services


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.

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

What’s going on in HR in your workplace?

Have you…

  • completed a major project,
  • implemented something new,
  • managed a change,

Is there something…

  • your company/dept does really well,
  • interesting about your company culture
  • that makes your company an employer of choice

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


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

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