Community Spotlight – HR Florida District 4
By Scott Bowers, MA, SHRM-SCP, District 4 Director
District #4 is geographically a wide territory that combines the beautiful Nature Coast’s Human Resources Society’s Counties of Pasco, Hernando, and Citrus where manatees and mermaids frolic in clear springs and with many crossing waterways that promote Tampa Bay and black water canoeing, kayaking, and wake boarding.
Speaking of lakes and nature, Lake / Sumter Counties SHRM Association’s two counties have over 1,000 fresh-water lakes and hundreds of trails for walking, biking, and motor sport vehicles. Recently one of the largest retirement communities in the USA, The Villages, with just under 100,000 residents and over fifty golf courses has made the two counties one of the oldest population areas in Florida with 56% over age 65.
Mid Florida SHRM Polk County which has a rich history that includes the State’s first theme parks, cattle and citrus industry and phosphate mining. Lakeland is the home of Publix, one of the largest grocery chains in the USA with over 240,000 employees and their representatives and many others from other large and small businesses make up a diverse membership.
While the Chapters are diverse in size and types of members, they are well represented in HR Florida’s volunteer family for many years and regularly attend events in large numbers. In addition, all three Chapters had double digit percentage membership growth so far in 2023.
Mid-Florida is the oldest of District #4 Chapters and their focus is serving the Community. They have supported “Volunteers in Service to the Elderly” for many years with meal deliveries during special holidays. They also support “Heartland for Children” with Christmas Toy Drive and donations of clothing to transitioning youth. They also donated Prom Dresses to “Angels of Destiny.” This year they added “Little Libraries” which collected books for Summer Reading as well as preparing Meal Care meal boxes for children.
Monthly meetings which are either breakfast or dinner meetings are held at the Lakeland Country Club are well attended and a new tradition was started of recognizing several members as “Monthly Stars.” As such they introduce themselves to the meeting attendees, covering where they work and an interesting fact.
Lake Sumter SHRM
Lake Sumter SHRM is the middle chapter in age and size of District #4. The Chapter has increased its membership to fifty-two in the last year and was one of HR Florida’s Chapters first to go to in person meetings after COVID. It has been a steady small chapter with membership between thirty and fifty for many years. Meetings are held in Leesburg at the Venetian Center at lunchtime. Ten meetings are certified by SHRM and HRCI each year and they hold an annual conference at the same location each year for between 60 and 90 HR professionals and small business owners/managers. This year’s attendance was up and provided excellent speakers and networking opportunities.
They are strong SHRM Foundation sponsors with a $500 gift every year. In addition, they collect “hotel toiletries” for a local day shelter for the homeless and this year collected gently used sneakers for a local charity. As with any small chapter they have been affected by inflation in chapter costs of operation and are studying ways to survive and provide meaningful contributions to the HR community.
Nature Coast Human Resource Society
NCHRS is the smallest of the three chapters making up District #4 and over the last several years has faced multiple difficulties. Chapter membership has fluctuated with changes in meeting locations and leadership but hopefully has steadied this year under a resolute President and a dedicated small board of directors and the outstanding support of the Express Employment Professionals.
The geography of the chapter is huge so finding a convenient location and meeting time is critical. This year they have provided a breakfast meeting at the Elfers Senior Center in New Point Richey. They have brought in great speakers on HR and Management topics which have all been granted certification credits. They have added four new members who were SHRM members this year. To increase visibility in the community they have held joint meetings with the Pasco County Manufacturers Association, which increased attendance from fifteen to over thirty. They have also upped their Social Media presence by increasing Facebook followers by 64.9%; Chapter followers by 35.1%; and engagement on all sites is up by 500%.