Monthly District Spotlight: District 1
By Alonzo Smith, District 1 Director
HR Florida District 1 covers the area from the extreme western border of Escambia County to the extreme eastern border of Walton County. Within the geographical boundaries of the district are our two award winning chapters. For the second consecutive year, both Greater Pensacola SHRM (GPSHRM) and SHRM Emerald Coast Chapter (SHRM ECC) received the prestigious SHRM EXCEL Platinum Award. This is the highest award presented for chapter operations and it goes without saying that we are extremely proud of all the HR professionals that participate in and provide support to these chapters. We also want to acknowledge that the chapters could not achieve this level of success without the backing and guidance provided by the HR Florida State Council Executive Committee, CLAs and the remainder of the support staff.
Both chapters also are highly supportive of the state council. Besides both chapter presidents being members of the council, GPSHRM is the home chapter of Dana Mullins, HR Florida Vice President, and Mike Owens, previously HR Florida Workforce Director and currently District Director for District 2. SHRM Emerald Coast Chapter is my home chapter and also that of Shari Bruns, who is the State Council Awards Director. Mallory Whalen in addition to her other council duties, also provided technical support for the HR Florida Legislative Conference.
I want to begin by congratulating GinNeal Mcvay, GP SHRM President-Elect on starting her new role as Chief Executive Officer at Amplified HR solutions.
Stephanie Norment, the Chapter President, is currently on military duty so when you see her at the HR Florida Conference in August, let’s all thank her for her service.
GP SHRM got off to a great start this year. After holding their installation of officers and board members, they conducted a strategic planning session. During this session they revised their mission and vision statements to better reflect their purpose. The new mission: We create partnerships and connections to educate, serve, advise, and empower our local workforce communities. The new vision: To be the premiere HR resource for our local workforce community.
Deeply involved in the community, GPSHRM has established a robust partnership with Junior Achievement of Northwest Florida to help prepare young people for the real world by showing them how to generate wealth and effectively manage it, how to create jobs which make their communities more robust, and how to apply entrepreneurial thinking to the workplace. In March, the chapter participated in the Junior Achievement of Northwest Florida Mardi Gras Bowl as a Moon Pie sponsor.
On May 17th, they participated in JA for a day. Four Greater Pensacola SHRM members and a representative from Junior Achievement visited Deliverance Tabernacle Preparatory Academy and taught the “JA Our Community” program to 2nd, 3rd, and 4th graders. This program emphasizes work readiness intersected with standards based social studies learning objectives. Topics include careers, production, innovation, earning, taxes, government, money, business, and decision-making. It is designed to help students develop a sense of career awareness and learn how all jobs help a community.
Also in May, GPSHRM hosted their 19th Annual Legal Conference. The theme was “Leading in a World Disrupted.” The event was attended by over one hundred human resources professionals from the local area. They had a great lineup of speakers that included Chad Sorenson, HR Florida President, as the keynote.
Lastly, the chapter participated in the “Stamp Out Hunger” campaign with Feeding the Gulf Coast. The “Stamp Out Hunger” food drive is the country’s largest one-day food drive, providing residents with an easy way to donate food to those in need. Customers left their donations of non-perishable food items next to their mailbox and the letter carriers collected the food donations. When the letter carriers returned to the post office, Greater Pensacola SHRM members assisted Feeding the Gulf Coast with unloading and sorting the non-perishable food items to prepare them for transport to the warehouse.
Turning to the SHRM Emerald Coast Chapter, congratulations are in order for Mallory Whalen, SHRM ECC President, on her new role as Human Resources Manager for Summit Exercises and Training; and to Aimee Shaw, SHRM ECC President-Elect for her new role as HR Director at RealJoy Vacations.
Since the Chapter held its Board and Officer Installation, SHRM ECC has not missed a beat in its continuing efforts to support and be a key partner in the community and a workforce champion
Through its Suit Up to Move Up clothing drive, the chapter has continued to sponsor the CSOW Lending Closet that provides suitable interview clothing for job seekers in Okaloosa and Walton Counties who might not otherwise have proper attire.
This spring SHRM ECC collaborated with their strategic partners at Career Source of Okaloosa and Walton Counties, the Military Family Readiness Centers at Eglin and Hurlburt Air Force Bases and the Panhandle Job Fair Foundation to present to present a hybrid virtual and in-person job fair to help address the job matching problem job seekers and employers were having. The job fair was well attended and resulted in several on-the-spot matches. Gabriela Leysath, the ECC Workforce Director and Marchantia Ivey, the College Relations Director conducted a LinkedIn workshop to assist job seekers in setting up and enhancing their profiles.
SHRM ECC, led by the Workforce Director, has also started a Professional Development Mentorship program. The program is designed to provide emerging HR professionals in the Okaloosa and Walton County areas the opportunity to grow, develop, and supplement their on the job experience with continuous coaching and feedback from seasoned HR professionals.
The chapter additionally provided another scholarship to a student Northwest Florida State College student majoring in Human Resources through it’s endowed scholarship.
Pictured below is Tami Maynard, past president spending time with a Mattersville Wolf. Mattersville is a nonprofit that helps to eradicate veteran homelessness, help end veteran suicide and care for those suffering from PTSD. Also, Michele Crocker, past president, attends the opening of the USO Gaming Complex at Eglin AFB.
Finally, both chapters were well represented at the HR Florida Legislative Conference in Tallahassee. Below is a great group picture that includes ECC, GPSHRM, and Bay County SHRM representatives, otherwise known as the “panhandle gang”.
Needless to say both these phenomenal chapters have many other things going on, but I’ll close for now by saying that I couldn’t be prouder to represent the Platinum Human Resources professionals of District 1 as their District Director.