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Tuesday, 08 February 2011 09:23

Southeast District Director of the Year – Territory A

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For the second year, the Southeast Region is recognizing the important role of the District Director. The winner for 2010 District Director of the Year, Territory A, is Debbie Winkles, SPHR, in Florida. SHRM could not be successful without the hard work and support of the volunteer leaders. The District Directors are particularly important volunteers, as they are the primary contacts in their states for the chapter presidents. SHRM relies on the District Directors to provide SHRM membership presentations, support to chapter boards, and much more. This award recognizes District Directors who epitomize the volunteer role.

The late Senator Robert F. Kennedy spoke of the type of dedication and passion that Debbie Winkles has brought to the role of District Director when he said, "There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask "Why?" I dream of things that never were, and ask "Why not?" As a credible activist, Debbie is respected, admired and listened to. She offers a point of view, takes a position, and challenges authority by delivering results for the state council with integrity. She dares to think outside the box, believing that there is a smarter way of accomplishing a goal.

Winkles, a Senior HR Professional, with nearly two decades of experience in the field, was pleasantly surprised and humbled by the recognition, which places her in the company of SHRM's finest District Directors. Her commitment to the advancement of the profession began in 1998, when she earned her PHR and subsequent SPHR certifications. Debbie Winkles is the SVP-Director HR, Great Florida Bank and current District Director for South Florida's District 11, which includes Greater Miami, Broward County, and the Florida Keys.

As District Director since 2008, Winkles voluntarily serves the professionals in South Florida by mentoring and helping them to develop their knowledge, skills, and careers. Winkles said, "In the financial field, we have developed a banker's group of human resource professionals who serve as peer-support and business allies, because there are times when you need the nurture and support of those who know HR."

Debbie Winkles believes that no one person can do anything. Because of that belief, she is carving a legacy of solid leadership built on a foundation of respect and trust. As she coaches and counsels HR professionals in her district, Winkles employs the skills of good listening to help them find proactive solutions to a vast array of issues and opportunities. The result is that she has helped to set the agenda for the HR profession by developing strong boards. The chapters in District 11 are among the largest in the state. Winkles says that the excellent leadership in greater Miami, Broward, and The Keys has been groomed for their duties through succession planning that facilitated a smoother transition into their roles. Winkles recalled that in 2006, 18 of 20 board members had served with her on a previous board. The ability to retain organizational knowledge and to develop a prolific leadership pipeline has much to do with the success of District 11. Because of the strong leadership within the local chapters, the job of District Director has been simplified, freeing Winkles to focus on developing strategies to execute the ongoing work of the council with excellence.

As a winner of the 2010 District Director of the Year Award, Debbie Winkles offers the following advice to her fellow HR professionals: "It is important for HR Professionals to take the job seriously. We must help and support our colleagues, as well as our organizations. Dare to be a spokesperson and advocate for our profession. Dare to think outside the box; that is how we broke many barriers over the past 10 years. Dare to have confidence that you can do what you set your mind to do, and then make it happen."

Betty Jackson, SPHR, Director of Public Relations for HR Florida, is also President of BJ Magnum & Associates, a management consulting firm that initiates and influences progress while ensuring results. She is CFC-ASTD V.P. of Membership and the Orlando Careers and Workplace Examiner for As Chair of the Education Committee for the Florida Diversity Council and a member of the Board of Trustees for the Orange County Bar Association's Legal Aid Society, Betty Jackson brings to the HR Florida Board a wealth of experience in the community. She has more than 20 years experience maximizing human performance with programs that increase organizational ROI.