Friday, October 18, 2019
Wednesday, 11 March 2015 20:00

Three Chapters Receive 2014 HR Florida Chapter Excellence Awards

Written by Kara Palmer Smith


Cheers and excitement filled the room when winners of the HR Florida chapter excellence awards were announced.

Annually, the HR Florida Council recognizes the diligent work of local Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) affiliated chapters with the presentation of the chapter excellence awards. The awards focus on the demonstrated achievements, execution and success of one or more leadership core areas. The core areas include: diversity, workforce readiness, college relations, membership, certification, global affairs and legislative affairs. Charlotte County SHRM (CCSHRM), Greater Orlando SHRM (GOSHRM) and Sarasota-Manatee Human Resources Association (SHRA) chapters were all recognized for their accomplishments in various core areas. Community partnerships were key to the success for each initiative.

Charlotte County SHRM was recognized for an increase in chapter membership. The chapter’s membership growth was the highest among State of Florida chapters as of June 2014. Recruitment and retention have historically been a challenge for CCSHRM. So the chapter decided to focus on sustaining and growing membership. Gaps in membership were identified through the auditing of membership rosters. Small business owners have not traditionally been an area of concentration for the chapter, but was identified as a target group for this membership initiative.

CCSHRM developed a multi-pronged strategy, implementing recruitment and marketing tactics to target the small business owners along with other groups of interest. Charlotte County SHRM led the creation of a strategic partnership to include the local Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development organization, CareerSource Southwest Florida and Goodwill Industries. CCSHRM and the other community partners conducted workshops, providing resources for small business owners from HR professionals. This initiative was a CCSHRM team effort of both the board and general membership and provided an opportunity for members to give back to the community.

Chapter Presidents
Chapter Presidents: Sandra Guerra, Wanda King and Jean Raskin

“As one of the smaller SHRM chapters, it is truly an honor to be noticed for our hard work and accomplishments”, said Wanda King, chapter president, Charlotte County SHRM. “An increase in membership means a boost in community engagement and partnerships.”

Greater Orlando SHRM was recognized for their workforce readiness and diversity program. In 2014,

GOSHRM launched the “Bridges to Work Veteran’s Mentorship Program”, an outreach initiative focused on service members who have served and protected the nation. The program provided an opportunity to work with injured and displaced veterans with the goal of getting them back to work. The program provided an engaging opportunity to get chapter members involved in community outreach. The initiative created a bigger footprint within the greater Orlando area to establish the GOSHRM chapter as experts in the HR industry.

Due to the initial results, GOSHRM is making plans to introduce a phase two of the program. Approximately 70 percent of the original mentors developed strong relationships with their veteran mentee.

“We are very pleased to be recognized for the work we are doing in the Orlando area”, said Sandra Guerra, chapter president, Greater Orlando SHRM. “We chose the veteran population because we wanted to help them get back to work. This was a labor of love between the chapter and community partners.”

Sarasota-Manatee Human Resources Association was recognized for its focus on certification. The chapter created a world class certification program, including a committee. The certification committee and board members worked together to set realistic goals. One goal was to offer professional development certification classes to chapter members. To spread the word, SHRA marketed information about the certification classes throughout the HR community in various forms. In the past year, SHRA has achieved a 100 percent pass rate. Each class has been consistently above the national pass rate, with the most recent results above average by double digits. SHRA and Webster University have a long term strategic partnership. The Webster partnership provides a state of the art classroom, which makes facilitation of the certification classes more efficient and effective.

“I am delighted to accept this honor on behalf of the Sarasota-Manatee Human Resources Association (SHRA). Our members and volunteers have worked diligently over the past several years to achieve these outstanding certification results”, said Jean Raskin, chapter president. “To be recognized by the HR Florida Council for our efforts and results is extremely meaningful. SHRA’s success with certification and HR Florida’s recognition of that success allows us to continue our mission of serving our members and our profession and to increase our exposure in our community. We are grateful to the Council for their leadership and support.”

The chapters were recognized in the space of 1,500 HR professionals from around the world during the annual HR Florida conference and expo. They each received an honorarium of $1000.

Kara Palmer Smith is the Director of Client Services & Advancement at CareerSource Capital Region in Tallahassee, FL. Kara holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s in Sport Management. She served as a Big Bend SHRM board member for many years and is the volunteer Public Relations Director for the HR Florida State Council.