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Monday, 14 November 2016 10:16

3 Chapters Receive 2016 HR Florida Chapter Excellence Awards

Written by Kara Palmer Smith

Chapter presidents waited patiently to hear if their chapter would be announced as one of three honorees for the 2016 HR Florida Chapter Excellence Award during the August HR Florida Council meeting.

Annually, the HR Florida State 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 and the 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. Human Resources Association of Palm Beach County (HRPBC), HR Tampa, and Mid-Florida SHRM chapters were recognized for their accomplishments in the areas of workforce readiness, diversity, and membership respectively. Community engagement, hard work, and partnerships are key to the success for each chapter program or initiative.

HR Review Magazine spoke with the current presidents of the winning chapters. Katie Beirne, HRPBC, Melissa Robinson, HR Tampa, and Traci Hall, Mid-Florida SHRM.

HRAPBC was recognized for its workforce development initiative. Below are a few highlights:

• Developed a “Job Readiness Guide,” “Top 10 Interview Tips,” and “Successful Resume Writing Techniques for Seniors, Veterans and Persons with Disabilities” to assist local talent find employment.

• Re-launched the “HR in Transition and Competitive Edge” quarterly workshops, in partnership with CareerSource Palm Beach County, for 15 to 25 attendees that included workforce readiness resources for professionals that are in transition. Topics included: image coaching, resume formatting, and interviewing techniques as well as a featured guest speaker. The goal is to grow and support the HR profession with professional HR leaders and assist the local workforce to find gainful employment.

• Partnered with NSU Career Development to collaborate with the Department of Defense, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), and Veteran Resource Center, along with the NSU community, to host a Veteran Career Development Seminar. The goal of this seminar was aimed at helping veterans explore different majors and career paths and provide strategies to build their professional network and brand.

Katie Beirne HR Award

Katie Beirne of HRPBC accepts an award from Carol McDaniel, HR Florida president

HR Review Magazine: What does this award mean for your chapter?

Beirne: The HR Association of Palm Beach County (HRPBC) is absolutely delighted to have received the Chapter of Excellence Award for our Workforce Readiness initiatives. HRPBC is humbled to have been recognized by [the] HR Florida State Council for such a prestigious award especially among many other great HR chapters in Florida.

HR Review Magazine: What did the chapter gain/learn from offering/providing this workforce readiness program?

Beirne: HR Association of Palm Beach County (HRPBC) is fortunate to be partnering with CareerSource on a continued basis to be stewards of the HR community in helping others that are in transition to build their skill sets, providing great network opportunities, [and] giving candidates guidance, as well as vision, to know what it takes to find their next great place of employment. Lisa Turner, Aimee Mangold, Karen Huegel, and Darron Davis are the pioneers that had the vision and drive to create these workforce initiatives. I also want to acknowledge Dominique Cultrera and Gary Sapir. While Mike Powers has done an absolute tremendous job in bringing the South Florida market together in providing weekly guest speakers on his Monday HR Skype calls to provide valuable tools and knowledge to those that were in transition or seeking new job opportunities; it is HRPBC’s mission to continue to help strengthen these workforce readiness projects along their path and to build upon them for the future.

For more information, visit the HRBPC website at: www.

HR Tampa was recognized for its Diversity initiative; highlights include:

• HR Tampa launched a Veteran Initiative in early 2015. The main goals promote HR Tampa’s presence as a community leader to both the military and civilian audiences identify and partner with veteran-friendly organizations and establish an organized infrastructure to sustain partnerships in the years ahead.

• Over 40 HR Tampa volunteers provided assistance to over 300 military personnel with resume review, job search techniques, skills translation, etc., either in person, electronically, or through speaking engagements. HR Tampa volunteers attended over 20 veteran-related events to promote HR Tampa’s Veteran Initiative.

• The creation of an increasing network of over 30 veteran-friendly organizations. Some of the partnering organizations include: HR Tampa’s Board of Directors, MacDill Air Force Base Transition Assistance Program and Color Guard, United States Chamber of Commerce/Hiring our Heroes, CareerSource of Tampa Bay/Pinellas County, Employer Support of the Guard and the Reserve (ESGR), 841st Engineering Battalion (Avon Park, FL), Paralyzed Veterans of America, and Florida Diversity Council.

Overall, the Initiative has provided a myriad of opportunities for HR professionals to serve the military community whether on or off base, at job fairs or networking events, or through social media and electronic communication.

Melissa Robinson Award

Carol McDaniel presents an award to HR Tampa’s president Melissa Robinson

HR Review Magazine: This is the second year in a row that your chapter has been recognized with this award: last year workforce, this year diversity. What motivates the chapter to give back and produce award-winning/worthy work?

Robinson: HR Tampa has strived for the last two years to become the largest, most engaged chapter in Florida. Our members want, and expect, more than just a monthly meeting as a means to be involved and grow in their profession. Every new initiative we commit to as a chapter is centered around the question “how does this benefit the members?” Passion for the profession is what motivates HR Tampa to give back. Contagious enthusiasm is what enables us to achieve these amazing recognitions.

HR Review Magazine: What did you find most rewarding about the project?

Robinson: The most rewarding part of this initiative is that we are bridging the gap between employers and our veterans. Stereotypes are being broken. Language barriers are lessening. And, as one business owner described why he hires vets, “They show up on time. They are team players. They are continuous learners. They perform well under pressure.”

For more information, visit the HR Tampa website at:

Finally, the Mid-Florida SHRM chapter was recognized for membership. Here are a few highlights:

• The Mid-Florida SHRM board of directors became active ambassadors on behalf of SHRM National and HR Florida, showcasing that involvement with SHRM both nationally and locally were valuable to members, and specifically that members can advance their development and the profession. Through persistent and varied efforts, Mid-Florida SHRM increased membership by 25.74 percent in a single year.

• During this time, the chapter also achieved a SHRM-national affiliation rate of 91.61 percent, moved 93 percent of certified membership through the pathway to the new SHRM certifications, and by the end of the year, had voted to become a 100 percent chapter. Since transitioning to a 100 percent chapter in 2016, they have added another 21 members so far, which is 16.5 percent increase from halfway through last year.

• The chapter focused on educating members about the sometimes overlooked benefits and resources of SHRM. This included showing videos, a special presentation by the certification chair to encourage national membership, and engaging games and activities during the “trade show” preceding every monthly meeting that spotlighted SHRM resources.

• Given the concern about the new SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP certifications, Mid-Florida SHRM focused on supporting the ongoing professional development of chapter members by assisting certified members transition to the new SHRM-SCP and SHRM-CP certifications.

traci Hall award

Katie Beirne, president of HRPBC, and Traci Hall, president of Mid-Florida SHRM

HR Review Magazine: What does this award mean for your chapter?

Hall: To be recognized by HR Florida is a tremendous honor. We have made a concerted effort to not only grow our chapter, but to provide additional resources to develop our members and advance our profession. This feels like validation for our focused efforts. We are blessed with an amazing group of HR professionals on our board and in our membership. We will continue to increase the value proposition for our members and focus on meeting their needs and exceeding their expectations.

HR Review Magazine: What was your initial reaction when you heard your chapter being announced as the winner?

Hall: I was simultaneously surprised and delighted for our chapter. I felt a great wave of emotion as I heard them call our chapter’s name. We had put so much work into our membership that I was hoping it would be recognized. It was a great privilege to accept this award on behalf of our chapter.

For more information, contact Mid-Florida SHRM at:

The chapters were also recognized in front of 2,000 HR professionals from around the world during the annual HR Florida Conference and Expo. They each received an honorarium of $1000. HR Florida is proud to honor Human Resources Association of Palm Beach County (HRPBC), HR Tampa, and Mid-Florida SHRM chapters with the 2016 HR Florida Chapter Excellence awards.

Kara Palmer Smith is the Public Relations Director for HR Florida.

Kara Palmer Smith