HR InTouch

The Monthly Newsletter of the Greater Madison Area SHRM

In This Edition

President's Message

By Dana Denny

Government Affairs & Legal Updates

Compliance Reminder: Job Applicants with Criminal Records

Professional Development and Events

Recommend a Speaker!
Be a Speaker!

Spotlight:  Programming Committee

Ask Don't Solve

September 15th GMA SHRM Revealed - Member Welcome

September 20th Professional Development Summit - Focus on Culture

Workforce Readiness, Diversity & Inclusion

Diversity Committee Updates: Diversity Observances in September

GMA SHRM and Member News

Welcome New Members!





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!

The advent of September has certain rituals – kiddos yawning and waiting for the bus, watching the swan song of the yellow summer daylilies, sadly acknowledging dusk’s appearance at 7:45 p.m., eagerly anticipating the first professional pre-season football game, and on Labor Day – the last unofficial day of summer - eating BBQ outdoors with all the fixings! Make no mistake, Summer to Fall season is upon us with intent, and GMA SHRM is just as deliberate and on track to deliver what you’ve come to expect: excellence in program delivery, network opportunities, and professional development.

If the August Professional Development Summit was any indication, it looks as though we are off to a fantastic start! We experienced fantastic in-person turnout at last month’s session, including great reviews regarding our presenters. We hope you will join us for our upcoming Professional Development Summit on September 20th from 8:00am-12:15pm. Session 1 is focused on “Creating a Culture of Productivity: Creating Real Results,” presented by Nina Ferraro of Boldly and Co. Session 2 is “I Feel Safe – How to Create Thriving Cultures” presented by Tim Mousseau.
Thinking about joining GMA SHRM and want more information about how to get involved? Join us at Cottingham and Butler on September 15th from 3:00-4:30pm for the “GMA SHRM Revealed” event and learn more about how to connect with the chapter, maximize the programming and networking benefits, and discover volunteering opportunities to help grow your leadership and HR career skills. See our website for registration and more program details.

Speaking of announcements - GMA SHRM's 2023 Call for Presenters is officially open - if you know great speakers (or happen to be one yourself), please complete the CFP survey today to be considered for GMA SHRM speaking opportunities during 2023 and beyond, including the GMA SHRM Professional Development Summits, and our Human Capital Conference (HCC)! Instructions, topics for consideration and submission deadlines can be found on the GMA SHRM Be a Speaker page.

Hey – were any of you aware the WI SHRM State Conference will be offered as a hybrid event this year? I know, I wasn’t sure I read that correctly, either! The State Programming Committee has been diligently developing some excellent programming opportunities, and they have this in-person and hybrid event nailed – it’s one you won’t want to miss! Despite your method of attendance, there will be a variety of sessions to increase your HR knowledge, provide credits toward recertification, and create opportunities for networking with other HR professionals. You may obtain more information regarding the conference program details, speakers, and lodging availability at

As always, I’d like to end my monthly message by expressing my gratitude to our members, guests from across the human resource spectrum, and our many volunteers who make this chapter one I’m so proud to represent each day.

Thanks for your support,

Dana Denny, IPMA-CP
GMA SHRM Chapter President

Click here to view the full GMA SHRM Board of Directors


Government Affairs & Legal Updates

Compliance Reminder: Job Applicants with Criminal Records

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

Generally, employers may not discriminate in the hiring process against job applicants with criminal arrest/conviction records. However, a pending charge or conviction may serve as the basis for lawfully refusing to hire an applicant if the nature of the offense is “substantially related” to the job position’s duties.

This year, in Cree, Inc. v. LIRC, the Wisconsin Supreme Court explained that to determine whether a charge or conviction is “substantially related” to the job’s duties, the employer must assess whether the position would present opportunities for the applicant to reoffend in the workplace. If a substantial relationship exists, then the employer may refuse to hire the applicant. The substantial relationship test needs to be applied based on the facts in each individual crime and based on the specific employment position for which the applicant applied.

It is also important to remember that when conducting a background check, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) has its own set of requirements and generally requires an employer to provide notice and obtain consent before using a third party to run a background check on applicants. However, the FCRA does not apply if an employer does a background check through the state Department of Justice or on its own through the CCAP database.
Background checks remain an important tool for employers to ensure that they are hiring individuals who will not pose a safety risk in the workplace, but they must be done carefully and in accordance with the law, and not based on stereotypes.

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Professional Development and Events

Know a Speaker?
Be a Speaker!

The Greater Madison Area Society for Human Resource Management (GMA SHRM) is in search of speakers to provide two-hour presentations during our 2023 events Professional Development Summits. We are also looking for speakers for our Human Capital Conference on Tuesday, May 16th. These speakers will be asked to provide either a 75-minute breakout session or 60-minute keynote presentation. 

Visit our Be a Speaker page for more information including the online proposal submission link.

Proposals Due September 16, 2022
Proposals can be submitted after the deadline but proposals received by deadline will be the first reviewed by the committee.

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Spotlight:  Programming Committee - The team that plans our education programs wants you!

Submitted from Jessica Zych, Director of Professional Development Summits, and Vice President of Human Resources at TRICOR Insurance

The Professional Development Summits Committee is responsible for providing leading-edge programming to support our members’ life-long learning and SHRM and HRCI recertification. We’ve lined up the dates and proposed topics for the 2023 Professional Development Summits. Now we need great speakers!

If you or someone you know is interested, we encourage you to complete the Call for Proposal at this link. The deadline for submission is September 16th. 

The Committee is also looking for new members. We’re short-handed and could really use your support! If you join now, you can help decide who our 2023 speakers will be! Our meetings are virtual, so it’s easy to attend. It’s also easy to join. Just reach out to Jessica here.

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Ask Don't Solve

Submitted by Diana Pastrana, Founder and Lead Ombuds at Defyne

When someone comes into your office who is experiencing a conflict or issue, it is our instinct to help by solving their problem. It is human nature to want to fix the problem and move to the next. And let’s face it, solving problems can take less time than exploring them. I am here to tell you to resist, even when the traffic lights in your head are flashing and the solution is so obvious it pains your little heart that they don’t see it. Take a moment to notice the impulse to solve and take a deep breath.

It is my belief that all people are resourceful and intelligent enough to solve their own issues. Even if you don’t believe that, acknowledging that someone will always be more convinced the solution is the right one if they come up with it themselves is important to this process. Shifting your mindset to include the person in the hot seat will also relieve some of the pressure on you to have all the answers to all the problems. You just have to have the right questions.

You must think of yourself as comfortable in ambiguity, creative, and curious. The better listener you are, the better the outcome of the visit. Active listening is more than just not talking - it’s observing body language that may contradict the words being said, its leaning forward and engaging the speaker by nodding your head.

Yes/no questions will not get you far. In fact, they will stop the conversation in their tracks. Asking “What” questions will feel less like an interrogation and will give your visitor a chance to explore their feelings and their stance on the topic. Remember to pause and survive the silence after you ask the question. People are not accustomed to being asked deep questions, and they may need to reflect on what it is that you asked!

Final tip, don’t ask leading questions. This is again an instinct built to confirm your preconceived notions about an event. Ask simple open-ended questions, and then confirm your understanding if necessary.  If your questions are more than one to two sentences, you are likely leading your visitor, but don’t worry – practice makes perfect.

Start by asking more information about the conflict or concern the visitor has. Often, the first thing someone brings to your attention is not the largest issue or what is impacting them the most.
  • “Tell me more about that.”
  • “What else happened that is bothering you?”
  • “What else is upsetting you right now?”
  • “What else?”
Once you feel like you have the whole story, you can start diving into what potential outcomes they are hoping to achieve. My two favorite questions are:
  • “What is your goal?”
  • “What is most important to you right now?”
The visitor may surprise you when you learn what outcome they are hoping to achieve. They may just be looking for a place for the concern to be acknowledged, or they may be looking to file a formal complaint and start a paper trail. They may be seeking action from you, but you also want them to choose a better course of action for themselves.
  • “What steps can you take to get closer to your goal?”
  • “What do you want to do next?”
  • “What can I do to assist you in achieving your goal?”
Every situation is different and once you get to this point, you will have all the information to make an informed decision on how to proceed. You may be able to help, you may not, but at a minimum you have a full picture of what you are dealing with from one perspective. Remember, perspective is important. You are only getting one side of the story. 

Dealing with conflict and issues is complex and challenging. Hopefully with good questions, you can improve your practice and better serve your team!

Activity and Training:
If you are interested in practicing or training your HR team or people leaders in this technique, simply write up two scenarios with layered concerns on half sheets of paper. Pair up your team and give each one scenario where one is the “visitor” who reads the half sheet, and one is the “professional” who asks the questions. Have the “professional” attempt to discover all the information in the scenario and then provide feedback from the “visitor” as to how it felt being asked the questions. Switch the roles and do the second scenario. Defyne offers trainings and services around conflict management, please feel free to reach out if I can be of any assistance.


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September 15th GMA SHRM Revealed - Member Welcome and GMA SHRM Jeopardy!

Question:  Attending this will be fun, informative and awesome.

Answer:  What is the September 15th GMA SHRM Revealed?

You’ll have a chance to learn about specific GMA SHRM committees & how your involvement can benefit your career.  Along with that, we’ll be sharing information about how the great programs, networking opportunities and events GMA SHRM offers will support you & your success!


September 15 – 3:00pm - 4:30pm
Cottingham & Butler, 2323 Crossroads Dr #220
Program Details and Registration

September Professional Development Summit - Focus on Culture


  • 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

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Workforce Readiness, Diversity & Inclusion

Diversity Committee Updates

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

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


NAMI Article: Suicide Prevention Awareness Month – Suicidal thoughts, much like mental health conditions, can affect anyone regardless of age, gender or background.

Non-Profit Feature of the Month: The Trevor Project – The Trevor Project provides 24/7 crisis support services to LGBTQ young people. Text, chat, or call anytime to reach a trained counselor.

Learning Opportunity: Looking for ways to grow as an ally or start real conversations about race in your organization and community? Nehemiah's Justified Anger Fall 2022 virtual session (Sept-Nov) Black History for a New Day Course is now open for registration. This local course is highly recommended by GMA SHRM members.

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Diversity Observances in September

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

  • National Suicide Prevention Month ​​​
  • World Suicide Prevention Day: Sept 10
  • Grandparents Day: Sept 11
  • National Hispanic Heritage Month: Sept 15-Oct 15​
  • National Stepfamily Day: Sept 16​​
  • U.S. Air Force Birthday: Sept 18
  • Unmarried and Single Americans Week: Sept 18-24
  • National Daughters Day: Sept 25
  • Rosh Hashanah: Sept 25-27​
  • Ance​stor Appreciation Day: Sept 27
Use these observances for team engagement! Have fun, celebrate diversity, and take this opportunity to share stories and learn more about your teammates.


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GMA SHRM and Member News

Welcome New Members!

GMA SHRM welcomes the following members who joined our chapter in July 2022!
Trish Boelter   OnLume
Theresa Heintz   IncredibleBank
Janel Kalish CFP(R) Third Coast Advisors
Andrea Kersten   Catalent Pharma Solutions
Samantha Pizzino   Springs Window Fashions
Heather Reinke   Body Shop Supply Co., Inc.


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 .
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