HR Florida


Florida State Council Affiliate of SHRM

Monthly District Spotlight: District 2

By Mike Owens, District 2 Director

HR Florida District 2 covers the areas of Bay County, Gadsden, Jefferson, Leon and Wakulla counties. Within the geographical boundaries of the district we have two award winning chapters.

Bay County SHRM is a previous Pinnacle Award winner and a Chapter Excellence Award by the HR Florida State Council in 2021.

For the second consecutive year, both Bay County SHRM and Big Bend SHRM   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, Big Bend SHRM is also the home chapter of Monique Akanbi,  Field Service Director for SHRM.

I want to begin by congratulating Stephanie Conn, Bay County SHRM Chapter President.  Stephanie received the Chapter Presidents award from the HR Florida State Council in 2021.  Under Stephanie’s leadership the chapter has continued to recover from Hurricane Michael over the last few years and rebuild its membership base.  The chapter was able to return to in person meetings this year after hosting them virtually during the COVID period.

In addition to resuming in person meetings this year, Bay County SHRM prepared for and  hosted their annual conference in May.  While they had a slate of great presenters, they were fortunate to have Jonny C. Taylor, President and CEO of SHRM.  Jonny did a great job of energizing the audience with his presentation on “The World of Work Has Changed”.  The Bay County SHRM Board of Directors did an outstanding job of ensuring they had a great event for their members.  With several vacant board positions, the BOD wanted to ensure they provided the best experience possible for their members,  Stephanie enlisted the help of her husband, Mike Conn and the President-elect, Bob Borrelli’s wife Wendy was there as well to help out. They both checked members in, sold raffle tickets and assisted with logistics during the day to keep the conference moving smoothly for all attendees.  The Board of Directors were able to secure a strong group of sponsors for the event and many great raffle prizes for the members during the day.  I was able to attend the event and was impressed with how well the event went overall and was an engaging and fun day for everyone who attended. 

Being the caring and supportive leaders they are, the Bay County SHRM Board of Directors host two fund raisers during the year at Board and Brush to support the SHRM Foundation and raise funds for Feeding Florida.

Turning to the Big Bend SHRM  Chapter,  I would like to thank  Katrina Lee, Chapter President for her all of her service of over 10 years to the chapter and under her leadership the chapter has continued to have many successes.  The chapter has a rich history of over 33 years of strong membership, achievements and representing well on the State Council.  

The highlight for the year, was their annual conference, HR Tallahassee Conference & Expo, “The Great Recovery”.   The had an impressive slate of speakers and presenters, the keynote and headliner, Jonny C. Taylor, President and CEO of SHRM. Jonny energized and electrified the sold-out audience of over 200 people.  After Jonny’s presentation of how, “The World of Work has Changed”, citing material from his recently published book, “Reset”, he later participated in sit down Q & A session. 

As an attendee, I witnessed firsthand the huge success the Big Bend SHRM Board of Directors had with additional speakers and presenters and the level of interaction and engagement was impressive.  The audience had a lot of fun with J. Lenora Bresler’s presentation as she energized, engaged, and entertained them all at the same time. J. Lenora also has a long-standing relationship with HR Florida State Council serving and presenting at many events over the years.

The Big Bend SHRM Chapter is very engaged and supportive of HR Certification and offers chapter members the opportunity to apply for scholarships through the Joyce Chastain and Big Bend SHRM Certification Scholarship program.  With these scholarships, the chapter has supported and paved the way for many members to achieve their certifications.  The chapter also hosts and has a strong certification study group that lends credit to their mission and vision statements and their guiding principles.

Needless to say, both of these chapters are high performing, award winning and dedicated to serving their members and representing HR Florida State Council as such.  I am honored and humbled to represent a high caliber of Human Resources professionals and leaders of District 2 as their District Director.