Biztucsonwinter2016 shrm

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Innovation Workplace

in the

Society for Human Resource Management – Greater Tucson

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Supporting People Who Manage People


SHRM-GT Offers Resources, Camaraderie By Christy Krueger Human resource professionals in the Tucson area have a large, active industry association to support their career roles and development. Its members regularly offer HR-focused expertise to the rest of the business community through special speaker events, legal seminars and online job listings. Society for Human Resource Management of Greater Tucson, with approximately 300 members, is a local affiliate of SHRM national. SHRM is the world’s largest HR organization, said Janet Rico Uhrig, SHRM-GT’s 2016 president. One of SHRM’s main objectives is providing certification opportunities for its members. This includes re-certification, an important ongoing process of training and testing professionals employed in human resources, an industry that is constantly evolving. “Continually training is good because things can change in our profession and in laws,” Uhrig said. Meeting peers in the industry and exchanging ideas are also major advantages of membership. “For me, the networking, committee work, connecting with other members and building a portfolio of contacts is very valuable,” said Uhrig, who is director of talent acquisition, recruitment and retention for Tucson Unified School District. Other members of SHRM-GT agree with the importance of training and developing contacts. Heather Arnaud, HR director of Gadabout SalonSpas, said membership with the organization keeps her up to date on legislation. “Without SHRM, how would we know about these changes?” She also

feels monthly networking provides an important support system. “At the lunches, sitting at a table with other HR employees, I can say, ‘This is my situation,’ and I can feed off the knowledge and experience of others.” Even HR specialists at organizations the size of the University of Arizona, with its 11,500 benefits-eligible employees, appreciate the opportunity for exchanging information through SHRM membership. Allison Vaillancourt, UA’s VP for human resources and institutional effectiveness, attends SHRM-GT functions. She said there are two primary ways the group benefits her and her staff: “Professional development contacts for UA employees who are members – and hearing what other employers in the Tucson region are facing and compare ourselves and offer support.” SHRM National Founded – 1948 Members – 275,000 in 160+ countries Chapters – 575 Website: Events attended by SHRM-GT representatives: • Annual Conference & Exposition – June Exhibitors, master-series speakers and workshops that qualify for certification credits • Leadership Summit – November, Washington, D.C. Chapter president-elect and past president connect with legislators on a national level

The chapter holds monthly lunch meetings with educational workshops that regularly attract 100 members. Its special events, which are open to the general business community, can bring in from 100 to 300 members and nonmembers to hear top-notch presenters. These include the employment law update in April, the national speaker event in September, and the Celebrating Innovation in the Workplace Awards in November. Topics are applicable to a majority of industries and nonprofits, with an emphasis on issues relevant to Tucson companies. Tickets will be available at as the events get closer. The November awards ceremony is a large, first-class affair organized by three subcommittees. The awards recognize organizations and individuals who best exemplify innovation in the field of HR in such categories as diversity and inclusion, community impact and leadership. In order to maintain the multiple functions SHRM-GT provides, it requires and receives help from a large percentage of members who spend countless hours chairing and serving on committees and the board of directors. The programs committee, which organizes workshops and presentations, has expanded some of the events, Uhrig said. For example, the annual employment law update previously involved one law firm. Now, four firms are invited to speak, bringing more information to members. Forty years ago SHRM national created a 501(c)(3) fundraising arm to offer continued on page 172 >>> Winter 2016 > > > BizTucson 171


For me the networking, committee work, connecting with other members and building a portfolio of contacts, is very valuable. – Janet

Rico Uhrig 2016 President SHRM-GT

continued from page 171 grants for academic research pertaining to HR practices, as well as scholarships for SHRM members pursuing degrees in HR-related fields or certification. In past years the Tucson chapter was only involved through its donations. Recently, members decided to step up their participation, creating a committee to work with SHRM Foundation. Its responsibilities, Uhrig said, will include encouraging local companies to apply for educational certification opportunities. Last year SHRM-GT formed a community relations committee to help get its name out into the public, offering to be a resource for small businesses and civic groups that may not have an HR director. “This year we hope to expand our brand through media and social media and working with the state chapter,” said Uhrig. Another way SHRM-GT is reaching out to the Tucson community is through its website’s classified job listing page. This is a place where companies can post HR job openings. There’s no charge for member organizations to list jobs. The cost for nonmembers is $95 for 28 days. Some of the companies that use the site include Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, University of Arizona, Pima Community College, City of Tucson and Pima Medical Institute. The service is available free of charge for job searchers. If the success of an organization can be measured by how well it achieves its objectives, SHRM-GT’s members would likely give it an A. They value the opportunities for training, making contacts and collaborating with colleagues. As UA’s Vaillancourt said, “We’re committed to working collectively. When we have conversations together, we’re in a better position to move Tucson forward.”


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2016 Workshop & Events SHRM-GT presents HR-related educational programs each month throughout the year. In addition to those programs, new-member orientation breakfasts are held the first Tuesday of every month from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. at the Blue Willow, 2616 N. Campbell Ave.


Creating and Implementing a Succession and Development Planning Program. Speaker is Kisha McCabe, assistant human resources director, Town of Marana.

Feb. 9

HR Metrics. Speaker is Karen Stafford, Arizona VP of membership development, Mountain States Employers Council.

March 8

Making Sense of the Assessment Nonsense. Speaker is Bill Wade, coach, Organizational Quality Associates. 174 BizTucson


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The 2016 events scheduled to date are listed below. Others will be added to the website at as they are confirmed. Unless otherwise noted, these events include lunch and will be held at the Sheraton Tucson Hotel & Suites, 5151 E. Grant Road.

April 21

Annual Employment Law Update – full-day program at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort, 7000 N. Resort Drive. Presenting law firms are Lewis Roca Rothgerber, Snell & Wilmer, and Mesch, Clark & Rothschild.

May 10

Topic pending. Speaker is Trish Kordas, VP of human resources and development, Tucson Federal Credit Union and immediate past president of SHRM-GT.

June 14

Annual Wellness Month presentation by University of Arizona Department of Life and Work Connections, plus member trade show, at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort.

Sept. 21

National Speaker Event at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort.

Nov. 1

Celebrating Innovation in the Workplace Awards and trade show at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort.


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Board of Directors/Society for Human Resource Management of Greater Tucson

Sandra Abbey President/CEO, Leader Discovery Abbey leads a company dedicated to transforming supervisors and managers into leaders, helping individuals achieve the highest leadership potential and providing human resources consulting to small to mid-sized organizations. She serves as the SHRM Foundation director for the local chapter, helping to raise funds. Abbey volunteers her time with the Pima County Workforce Investment Board, the Pima County Self-Insurance Trust Fund Advisory Board and the Tucson chapter of the Association for Talent Development. Ann Berkman Consultant, Organizational Excellence Berkman provides services in the areas of employee relations, performance management, leadership coaching and organizational analysis. Her main role with SHRM-GT this year is chairing the programs committee, which identifies topics and speakers for monthly workshops and special events, such as the annual Employment Law Update. The committee helps members attending the training workshops meet certification requirements by submitting speaker bios and topics to the SHRM national recertification board. Berkman was a nominee for the AZSHRM Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015. Gary M. Bridget Human Resources Director, Town of Oro Valley Bridget directs all human resources functions such as employee and labor relations, recruitment, compensation, training and HR consulting for supervisors and employees. His current role with SHRM is director of the college relations committee, which partners with local colleges to provide assistance to students pursuing HR careers. He’s also director of the Arizona SHRM workforce readiness committee. Bridget is a retired first sergeant with the U.S. Air Force.

Ila Cipriani Employee Services and Support VP, Goodwill Industries of Southern Arizona Over the past few years Cipriani has co-chaired SHRM-GT’s professional certification committee, which conducts study groups to help individuals prepare for professional-level HR certification. The multi-week course provides information relevant to the test material and offers test preparation tips. This year the position of SHRM-GT VP has been added to her responsibilities. Cipriani also volunteers with Junior Achievement.

Chris Dominiak Lead Benefits Analyst, University of Arizona Dominiak is a liaison between the Benefits Unit and University Information Technology Services. He uses PeopleSoft HRIS to monitor benefit transactions, research and resolve issues and ensure accurate benefit deductions for the university’s 12,000 benefits-eligible employees. He’s the 2016 SHRM-GT secretary/treasurer and he serves on the programs committee. Dominiak is also a member of UA Eller College Associates, the school’s alumni volunteer program. Brandy Ferrer President and CEO, Pathfinder Strategies Ferrer oversees operations and management of a growing consultancy company that specializes in leadership, team and talent development. Outside of work, she holds the positions of co-chair for SHRM-GT’s program committee, chair of National Association of Women Business Owners’ professional development committee and is a member of Foothills Club of Tucson. Ferrer was a finalist for the Better Business Bureau Torch Awards for Ethics-2015.

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Rebecca Fuentes HR Manager, Cushman & Wakefield|PICOR Serving in a department of one, Fuentes is responsible for HR budgets, benefits, recruitment and workforce development. She also manages the administrative department of four employees and an office of 40 staff members. Fuentes serves as SHRM-GT’s chapter engagement chair. She’s been honored with the C&W/PICOR President’s Award for Excellence, serves on PICOR’s Charitable Foundation and is a Casa Maria Catholic Worker Community volunteer. Kate Goldman HR Manager, The Offshore Group Goldman serves as the leader of human resources for the corporate sites of this international organization headquartered in Tucson. The Offshore Group is a leading provider of Mexico outsourcing solutions, helping manufacturers establish low-cost, low-risk operations. She holds the position of SHRM-GT diversity and inclusion committee chair. In 2014 Goldman and The Offshore Group were winners of the SHRM-GT Celebrating Innovation in the Workplace Awards in the diversity and inclusion category.

Cynthi Knight Director, Team Member Services and Development, Tucson Airport Authority Knight’s department provides human resources products and services to TAA, including recruitment, employee relations, training and performance management. As HR certification chair for SHRM-GT, she facilitates study groups for members seeking SHRM or HRCI certification. Knight is an honorary life member of National Charity League, Tucson chapter, and serves on its national leadership development team. In addition, she volunteers with Therapeutic Riding of Tucson. Trish Kordas Human Resources & Development VP, Tucson Federal Credit Union Kordas drives the development and execution of the HR & D strategic plan and initiatives, which promote a unified positive company culture. She’s past president of SHRM-GT (2015) and currently holds the position of community outreach director. Outside of work and SHRM, she serves as board VP of Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation. In 2015 she was an AZSHRM Judith Krebs Memorial Volunteer of the Year Award nominee.

Garrett Kowalewski CEO, Staff Matters As CEO, Kowalewski is responsible for managing all aspects of business operations for Staff Matters, a locally owned recruiting firm. This includes strategic direction, financial and operations management, account management and staff development. He is past president (2014) of SHRMGT and currently serves as the membership committee chairman. Kowalewski is a member of Southern Arizona Leadership Council, BioIndustry Organization of Southern Arizona and chairs the ambassadors committee for Arizona Technology Council. Bonnie Mattes HR Adviser, American Red Cross Mattes serves as adviser and consultant for more than 400 employees in the Red Cross Biomedical Division. She partners with business leaders to advise on current and future employee issues including policies, development and employee relations. Her roles with SHRM-GT for 2016 are chair of the legislative committee and editor of the monthly legislative newsletter. She serves on numerous Red Cross task forces across the country.

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Norma Ortega Assistant Director, Residence Life Human Resources & Operations University of Arizona Residence Life Managing and leading the HR and operations functions for UA’s housing department are among Ortega’s primary responsibilities. Recruiting, hiring, employee relations, payroll, purchasing and travel all fall under her department. She currently co-chairs SHRM-GT’s workforce readiness committee.

Linda Pitney HR Generalist, CARF International CARF’s human resources generalist supports the organization’s mission and strategic goals by performing functional HR resource activities that are in compliance with company policies, applicable laws, regulations and contractual obligations. Pitney’s work with SHRM-GT includes chairing the workforce readiness committee, which offers high school students job-search and career-building skills. She also is a member of Southern Arizona Roadrunners and received the Wellness Council of Arizona Champion of Worksite Wellness award. Janet Rico Uhrig Director, Talent Acquisition, Recruitment & Retention – Human Resources Tucson Unified School District Assisted by her team members, Uhrig coordinates the district’s recruitment of qualified individuals to fill academic and business-related positions. She is the 2016 SHRM-GT president, following terms as president elect and VP and chair of the diversity and inclusion committee for 2012-2015. Other community involvement includes volunteering with Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona and Superior Court diversity training and education program.

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Gladys Walker Human Resources Manager, Lasertel Walker is responsible for overseeing HR functions including compensation and benefits, recruitment, training and employee relations programs. She supervises the implementation of processes and policies in compliance with corporate strategies to ensure that financial and strategic goals are attained. She is a past and current committee co-chair for the SHRM-GT Celebrating Innovation in the Workplace awards. Walker volunteers with YMCA youth programs and with Pima County One-Stop/LeadLocal’s mentorship and internship workforce development opportunities.

Join SHRM of Greater Tucson Prospective members must be currently employed and/or meet the membership qualifications outlined on this site and within the SHRM of Greater Tucson bylaws. The cost for membership is $85.00 per calendar year for Professional and General Members, $110.00 for Associate Members and is payable by check or credit card.

The Application Process Once completed, your application will be routed to our Membership Committee and reviewed by the Board of Directors. Once a decision has been made, you will receive notice of your membership status and dues amount along with all the pertinent new member information.

Apply Online If you are not already a member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) nationally we encourage you to join and experience the exceptional professional development and services offered by this international organization! For more information visit We look forward to your joining us and to advancing the HR profession in Southern Arizona!

For details, contact Garrett Kowalewski at

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