HR InTouch

The Monthly Newsletter of the Greater Madison Area SHRM

In This Edition

President's Message

By Dana Denny

Government Affairs & Legal Updates

Threat of Discipline is Enough to Trigger FMLA Interference Claim

Professional Development and Events

How Well-Meaning Managers Kill Employee Engagement

Our Next Professional Development Summits

The Importance of Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

Workforce Readiness, Diversity & Inclusion

How ERGs Can Support Women Working in Hybrid Environments

Volunteer Opportunity - Resume Reviews and Interview Preparation

Helpful Link from Wisconsin DWD:  - Wisconsin Bone Marrow and Organ Donation Leave Act 

Diversity Observances in August

GMA SHRM and Member News

Committee Spotlight - Membership Retention and Recruitment!

Welcome New Members!

Member Awards and Recognition

In Transition





President's Message

2022 Corporate Partners

Platinum Level

Boardman & Clark Law Firm
Delta Dental
Hausmann Group
The QTI Group
Wisconsin School of Business Center
for Professional & Executive Development


Gold Level

The Alliance
Group Health Cooperative of
  South Central Wisconsin

Silver Level

Cottingham Butler
Edvest - Wisconsin's College
  Investment Plan

Incredible Bank
KerberRose (formerly Career Momentum)

Bronze Level

Carex Consulting
Carlson Dettmann
M3 Insurance
Restaino & Associates Relocation
Reynolds Transfer
Robert Half

Thank you!


Ahoy GMA SHRM Members!

Ever since elementary school, I’ve loved the rituals associated with back-to-school – purchasing school supplies (remember that cherished Tracker Keeper?), buying new shoes, and selecting that perfect first day outfit that would knock ‘em dead! I was raised in Illinois, where classes started the week before Labor Day. I was always astonished by the transformation upon walking into school that first day – possibilities of newfound BFFs, a locker assignment down an unknown hallway, the smell of new textbooks, and a teacher “adjustment.” Especially remarkable was how as students we were thrown back into a routine we had cheerfully abandoned only three months prior, which we now considered “old hat.” Interestingly, the comparison between back-to-school and GMA SHRM is similar as August is the official start of our 2022-2023 Event and Education Schedule. You’ll be excited to learn your new GMA SHRM Board has been hard at work planning outstanding programming and network events for not only this month, but the coming year ahead, and I’d like to provide you with a brief overview of what’s upcoming  – for more in-depth information on any of these offerings, please visit

On August 15, our upcoming August Professional Development Summit will host two sessions. During our first program, speaker Justin Vajko will present “Video Best Practices in Recruiting and Onboarding,” and Josh Bergman and Lisa Metcalf will follow with our second program, “Best Practices and Strategies for Inclusive Benefits.” GMA SHRM Professional Development Summits continue to rate highly as member “fan favorites” and I am pleased to report that unless dictated by unforeseen public health advisories, all programming will remain in person this calendar year.

On the heels of back-to-school and the advent of football season, please save the date for the September Professional Development Summit on September 20th from 8:00am-12:15pm where Session 1 is “Creating a Culture of Productivity: Creating Real Results,” presented by Nina Ferraro and Session 2 is “I Feel Safe: How to Create Thriving Cultures”, presented by Tim Mousseau. Other great September networking opportunities include GMA Revealed, held on September 15, open to new and seasoned members as an opportunity to learn about GMA SHRM committees and how Chapter involvement may be beneficial to your career. Attendance also includes the enjoyable and entertaining GMA SHRM Jeopardy game – always a crowd pleaser. Also consider attending our ever-popular HR Roundtables where you may informally exchange on-demand, top-of mind human resource topics with colleagues.

Many of our GMA SHRM board members also attended the two-day WI SHRM Leadership Conference in LaCrosse, WI where chapter volunteer leaders from across the state congregated for networking and sharing of best practices as we find ways to continue to strengthen our chapters and provide member value.

When I started the August column, my intent was simply to provide a brief update on our Chapter offerings. Much like the summer, though, I had more content than time, and the foreboding and rattling hum of the cicadas now remind me we have only three weeks until school starts. I hope to see you at some of our summer events and wish you safe touchdown if you plan to take advantage of any last-minute travel plans!

All the best,

Dana Denny, IPMA-CP
GMA SHRM Chapter President

Click here to view the full GMA SHRM Board of Directors


Government Affairs & Legal Updates

Threat of Discipline is Enough to Trigger FMLA Interference Claim

Submitted from Brian P. Goodman, GMA SHRM Programming Member, Sarah J. Horner, and Storm B Larson, all Attorneys at Boardman & Clark LLP, a Platinum Sponsor

Brian P. Goodman

Sarah J. Horner

Storm Larson

A recent decision from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals emphasizes the importance of handling employee requests for federal FMLA leave properly. In Ziccarelli v. Dart, the court clarified what might constitute an interference claim under the FMLA. The court held that an employer does not need to actually deny an employee’s request to trigger an interference claim. Rather, threatening to deny such a request may be sufficient.

This case involved an employee who sought treatment for PTSD and attempted to use FMLA leave. The employee had previously used some, but not all, of his available leave under the FMLA. When he requested to use his remaining leave for additional treatment, he alleges that his employer threatened to discipline him, which he understood as a threat of termination. The employer disputed that characterization of what was said, and ultimately, the employee did not take leave and retired instead. The employee then filed suit.

The court concluded that the employee had presented enough evidence from which a reasonable jury could find that the employer interfered with the employee’s right to take FMLA leave. Specifically, the court determined that it was sufficient for the employee to allege that he was threatened with discipline as a result of his leave request.

Ziccarelli serves as a reminder that employers must be careful with their messaging surrounding FMLA leave. The fact that the employer and employee both hotly disputed what was said during the verbal request for leave further underscores the necessity of clear written documentation of such leave requests. Disciplining or threatening to discipline an employee for requesting FMLA leave might constitute interference.

Return to Top

Professional Development and Events

How Well-Meaning Managers Kill Employee Engagement

Submitted by Submitted by Darcy Luoma,, GMA SHRM Speaker

Picture the scene. One of your top employees is struggling with her manager. The employee is razor-sharp, produces results, and she just “gets it.” There isn’t active conflict with her manager, but the communication appears to be breaking down. She’s not as engaged as she once was and her manager, while doing the best he can, is stretched thin. And then on Friday morning, you get the email that you had a feeling was coming. She put in her notice.

Sound familiar? If so, you’re not alone. 

Across America, thousands of HR professionals are struggling to retain their talent. The nation’s “quit rate” reached a 20-year high last November, to the point that analysts coined the term “The Great Resignation” to describe the phenomenon. 

Issues of retention and turnover are at the top of every HR leader’s mind. A recent Pew research poll found that, of people who quit a job in 2021, 63% left because pay was too low or there were limited opportunities for growth. However, 57% left because they felt disrespected at work. While limited resources might mean there isn’t room for increased pay or retention bonuses, creating an environment where employees feel engaged and respected is always possible.

As an executive and team coach, I’ve seen my fair share of toxic managers who create hostile work environments. But what I see more often are leaders with good intentions who unknowingly sabotage the engagement on their team.

How many of these types of managers have you seen in your organization?

Priscilla, the predictor

Let’s start with Priscilla, the predictor. Priscilla has been a leader in the organization for almost 30 years, and in that time she’s seen and learned a lot. As such, she’s a valuable member of her team: there’s almost no crisis that she hasn’t weathered before. 

Where Priscilla’s experience sometimes backfires though is when she meets employees at the water cooler, or at corporate events she’s planned. Because she’s been in the industry so long, she feels like she’s heard every employee complaint in the book, to the point she can often predict what people will say. So she cuts them off mid-sentence to do exactly that.

Priscilla’s intention is to share with her colleagues some of the wisdom she’s learned over her career. She’s also trying not to waste her time, or her colleague’s, by getting to the point straightaway. But she can end up missing what the issue really is and her employees feel cut off. 

Andy, the advisor

Andy is all about being helpful – that’s why he got into HR in the first place. He loves to help employees deal with their problems. If you come to him with a question, he’ll always have a solution for you. Sounds great, right?

The only issue is Andy’s unsolicited advice sometimes gets in the way of employees solving their own problems. Andy might be full of solutions, but what we are also seeing in the research is that employees, especially younger employees, want coaching. 

Dianne, the diffuser

Dianne’s main goal as manager is to maintain harmony in the teams she works with. If two leaders are arguing, you can bet Dianne will be involved as a mediator in some way. As a result, she is well-liked and trusted by most people in the office.

One day, Dianne receives a visit from Sue, a senior employee in the marketing department. Sue is frustrated with her boss, who she feels never listens to her strategic input. She tells Dianne how she’s tried over and over to reason with him, but he always brushes off her suggestions and never seems to have time for her. 

“Don’t worry,” says Dianne, in an attempt to diffuse the situation. Dianne’s learned that worrying about problems rarely makes them better, and her intention is to put Sue at ease. But this ends up backfiring. Sue has a lot of experience, and she’s already tried everything she could think of to solve her issue with her boss. 

So when Dianne tells her not to worry, Sue feels like her concerns aren’t being taken seriously – which was the exact issue she had with her boss. Sue is not feeling heard.

Going slow to go fast

What do all these stories have in common?
  • In each case, the manager had the best of intentions, whether it was to provide a helpful solution, to use time as effectively as possible, or to maintain harmony on the team.
  • In each case, the manager ended up unintentionally sabotaging the engagement of the employees they were talking to. 

My work as a coach has shown me there are times when you have to go slow to go fast. Managers have a variety of roles to play. At different times they need to be the problem-solver, the facilitator, or the consultant. But employees, at times, are looking for a coach, a mentor, or a partner as they work on different tasks. That’s where the disconnect can occur and communication can begin to break down.

My team and I work with managers on a daily basis to explore the roles they play and assess what role is needed at different times. Using my leadership model, Thoughtfully Fit, we explore how managers can practice Strength and expand their range, in order to consciously choose what role to take in any given situation. Sometimes an employee is looking for their manager to solve their problem for them. Other times, the employee just wants to be heard. It might mean taking more time at that moment, but the payoff can be well worth it.

Just like doing bench presses at the gym, building Strength takes effort and consistent practice. Just like you can’t wake up and run a marathon if you haven’t been training, you can’t connect with employees without intention! So let me leave you with a core workout you can practice in your own time or share with the well-intentioned managers on your team. The next time an employee comes to you to talk about an issue in their work:
  • Pause: Take a few seconds to collect your thoughts before responding immediately. 
  • Think: What does this person need right now? (Pro tip: Ask them!) What role would be best for you to take on: problem-solver, coach or something else?
  • Act: Make a conscious choice to take action from the role you choose.

Return to Top

Our Next Professional Development Summits

  • August 16,  2022 - Professional Development Summit

Alliant Energy Center

Session 1:  Video Best Practices in Recruiting and Onboarding
Session 2:  Best Practices and Strategies for Inclusive Benefits

Program Details and Registration


  • September 20,  2022 - Professional Development Summit

Alliant Energy Center

Session 1:  Creating a Culture of Productivity: Creating Real Results
Session 2:  I Feel Safe – How to Create Thriving Cultures

Program Details and Registration

Return to Top

The Importance of Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

Submitted by Amy Roberts, Partner/ Coach Dale Carnegie

Key Insights

  • Emotional Intelligence or Emotional Quotient (EQ) is a social intelligence with which we recognize and process emotions, ultimately allowing us to use emotions intelligently to guide decision making in ourselves and others.
  • In 2020, the World Economic Forum reports that emotional intelligence is one of the top fifteen most critical skills for workers and leaders in today’s world.
  • While emotional intelligence starts with an awareness and regulation of ourselves, the other half of the picture is how we understand and handle emotions in others, which is very important for leaders
When we talk about intelligence, we often think in terms of knowledge, memory, and creativity. After all, our intelligence has been measured over the years in various academic and work settings, all to do with what we remember, what we know, and our ability to express it.

But there’s another aspect of intelligence out there that is equally important—emotional intelligence. And when it comes to emotional intelligence in the workplace, we as leaders would do well to understand this critical aspect of performance.
What Is Emotional Intelligence?
Emotional Intelligence or Emotional Quotient (EQ) is a social intelligence with which we recognize and process emotions, ultimately allowing us to use emotions intelligently to guide decision making in ourselves and others.
Since the 1930s, psychologists and scientists have believed that success takes more than cognitive intelligence. But it wasn’t until an article in Imagination, Cognition, and Personality in 1990 that the term “emotional intelligence” caught on. Researchers Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer published their theories which were later expanded on and popularized by Daniel Goleman in his book Emotional Intelligence: Why it Can Matter More Than IQ.

An emotionally intelligent person exhibits four characteristics:
  • Self-awareness (The ability to recognize our emotions)
  • Self-management (The ability to control our emotions)
  • Social Awareness (The ability to recognize emotion in others)
  • Social Skills (The ability to use others’ emotions to drive behavior)
When we talk about EQ today, we often do so in the context of business and leadership. And for good reason. In 2020, the World Economic Forum reports  that emotional intelligence is one of the top fifteen most critical skills for workers and leaders in today’s world.
Why Is Emotional Intelligence in the workplace Important?
Having a high EQ can lead to success. In fact, there are many benefits of emotional intelligence…
  • Increased Empathy—People who can easily recognize emotions in others will exhibit higher empathy and be able to interact with coworkers better.
  • Reduced Stress—A person with high EQ will better understand how to regulate their own emotions and often remains calm and collected in the face of stressful situations.
  • Reactions to Criticism—When receiving feedback, particularly constructive criticism, workers with high EQ will learn with an open mind and not become defensive and emotional.
  • Enhanced Social Skills—Recognizing emotional cues in others can drive our interactions with them, which in turn allows us to form and strengthen social and work relationships.
  • Better Communication—A person with strong EQ is highly self-aware and this can improve communication as they are able to clearly express their emotions and needs.
Do Leaders Need Emotional Intelligence?
When it comes to emotional intelligence in leadership, having strong EQ is even more important. While emotional intelligence starts with an awareness and regulation of ourselves, the other half of the picture is how we understand and handle emotions in others.
Leaders with high EQ will
  • Exhibit strong empathy in understanding others’ emotions.
  • Listen fully to workers without passing judgment on their feelings.
  • Have a strong commitment to helping others be the best they can be.
  • Understand how to utilize workers’ emotions to drive desired behaviors.

How do we Improve our Emotional Intelligence?
Emotional Intelligence is a skill and, as with any skill, it can be learned and enhanced through training and practice. All it requires is a desire to improve and the intention to apply the learning in the real world.
To start, we must cultivate a strong sense of self-awareness. We must reflect at the end of each day on what emotions we felt (particularly negative emotions) and how they led to each of our actions. Eventually, we can learn to catch hold of emotions as they occur and better choose how to respond, rather than letting emotions control our reaction.
Once we have mastered awareness and regulation of our own emotions, we can turn to recognizing and dealing with the emotions of others. We can practice this empathy by becoming better listeners and taking an active interest in others. By setting a good example with our own EQ and helping others through emotional issues, workers will learn to better manage themselves and communicate with others to increase positive outcomes, confidence and ability to lead others.

Enhancing emotional intelligence can only lead to good outcomes for your team and business. Take a Dale Carnegie Emotional Intelligence Workshop today to build your EQ skills.

Return to Top

Workforce Readiness, Diversity & Inclusion

How ERGs Can Support Women Working in Hybrid Environments

As appeared on, June 28 and written Lisa Kaplowitz and Kyra Leigh Sutton

Women are more likely than men to prefer hybrid or remote work schedules.

Specifically, 1 in 3 women prefer to work fully remotely and 1 in 2 women desire a hybrid schedule, according to a 2021 report by management consulting company Gartner. As a result, women are less likely to be in the office beyond the days they are scheduled to be onsite.

However, women's employee resource groups (ERGs) are uniquely positioned to reveal the barriers that female employees face and to advocate for workplace improvements.

These ERGs champion women's issues, such as the need for flexible work schedules, access to training programs focused on women and leadership, and the ability to foster mentoring relationships.

Click here to visit SHRM and read the full article.

Return to Top


Volunteer Opportunity - Resume Reviews and Interview Preparation


DWD/Job Service is hosting a job fair in Madison on August 24, 2022 from 1pm to 4pm. The job fair will be held at Demetral Park, 506 N 7th Street, Madison. The event will be outdoors, however, we have reserved DWD’s mobile career lab.

There are computers and space inside the mobile lab to work with job seekers. We are looking for volunteers to assist with resume reviews and interview preparation. If you have an hour or so to spare, we would love to have you join us. Please email to sign up or learn more.

Return to Top

Monthly Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development - Helpful Links

Wisconsin Bone Marrow and Organ Donation Leave Act



Return to Top

Diversity Observances in August

Submitted by Mary Vesely, Employee Engagement & Inclusion Manager at Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation and GMA SHRM Director of Diversity

 Let's have fun, celebrate diversity, learn about each other, and use these observances as themes to engage your team!

  • U.S. Coast Guard Birthday:  August 4
  • Women's Equality Day: August 26


Return to Top

DEI Highlights

We’d like to feature member stories to highlight during special observances in upcoming newsletters. If you’d like to share your story on why a diverse observance is important to you, please email Mary Vesely.


Have you visited our DEI Resources Page?  Stay tuned for semi-annual updates on our downloadable document. We welcome any ideas/suggestions.

Interested in joining or sharing suggestions for our committee? Contact Mary Vesely, Director of the Diversity Committee at

Return to Top

GMA SHRM and Member News

Committee Spotlight - Membership Retention and Recruitment!

Submitted by Kyle Von Ruden, Benefits Consultant & Principal, Hausmann Group, Director, Recruitment and Retention

2022 - The year in-person networking returned!!  GMA SHRM has already hosted our Member Networking Event at Vitense Golfland in April, Human Capital Conference in May, Meet-Eat-and-Greet events at Finca Café in June and LJ’s Sports Tavern & Grill in July.  It has been absolutely refreshing and therapeutic to see so many members gather to learn, laugh, re-connect as well as meet new members.  The good news?  There are more in-person events yet to come in 2022!  Other upcoming events include two separate GMA SHRM Professional Development Summits August 16th and September 20th at the Alliant Energy Center and two more networking events TBD in October and December.

Many thanks to our wonderful volunteers of the Membership Committee who have assisted or even coordinated some of these events.  The Membership Committee gathers monthly to focus on recruitment, retention, event volunteer opportunities and member engagement.  It is our goal to continue to enhance our GMA SHRM member experience as well as help increase our already awesome membership.  The Membership Committee is no secret group.  Any member of GMA SHRM interested in joining our fun group is welcomed!  A good way to get a sneak peek at what we’re about is to simply join one of our monthly committee meetings.  No strings attached and the meetings are easy and virtual so you can join from your computer.  For further information, please feel free to reach out to Ashley Kidd or Kyle Von Ruden

Return to Top

Welcome New Members!

GMA SHRM welcomes the following members who joined our chapter in June 2022!
Keri Allard   The QTI Group
Kelli Bialkowski    
Cody Erickson   Cottingham Butler
Lisa Hirchert SPHR, SHRM-SCP MRA - The Management Association
Rachel King   FAC Services
Stephanie Mansfield SHRM-CP, PHR Exact Sciences
Baylie Martin   Springs Window Fashions
Diana Pastrana IICDP Defyne
Symonne Purifoy   Uniroyal Engineered Products
Becky Shearier   ARGENT Companies Inc
Ashley Tabbert   Flow


Member Awards and Recognition

Have you recently earned a professional achievement award? If so, we want to hear about it. 
If so, we want to hear about it. Send us an e-mail, and we’ll publish your good news in the next HR InTouch!  

In Transition

If you are a member who is in between jobs, or who is currently employed but seeking new positions or career paths, write us a brief description of your skill set, areas of expertise, what you’re looking for, etc. Send us an e-mail. We’ll publish your information in the next HR InTouch.


HR InTouch Guidelines

Article Writing:
Do you have an interest in writing for the HR InTouch? We have an interest in learning more about your area of expertise!
Why should you volunteer? Top three reasons: 1) to share your knowledge and experiences to educate others; 2) to become more connected in the HR and Dane County communities; and 3) to contribute towards the advancement of GMA SHRM and the HR profession.
The first step is for you to choose a submission option: you can pre-submit an article to GMA SHRM at any time for us to use in any of the upcoming newsletters, you can sign up to write for a particular month, or we can put you on a list of people to contact in future months whenever we need articles.
Article length:
Because the HR InTouch is now in an online format, the size is flexible. The article should be engaging and hold readers’ attention. Include the core information in your article, and we will advise if it is too lengthy.
GMA SHRM is conscious not to allow solicitation through the articles, in an effort to protect the interests of our partners and members. The nature of the article should be educational (i.e., what are the business advantages of having a product like yours) or informational. Otherwise, if you truly are interested in advertising through the HR InTouch, you can work with our Marketing Committee. As a rule of thumb for article writing, if the submission relates to a for-profit event, or specifically markets your company (vs. your industry), it is an advertisement, and should be purchased. If it is a not-for-profit event that your company is hosting, or an announcement (i.e., a SHRM member recently joined your company), it is an acceptable addition to the HR InTouch content. If you have any questions related to the appropriateness of your submission, please contact us.
If you have questions, or to submit an article, contact GMA SHRM at .
Return to Top