HR InTouch

The Monthly Newsletter of the Greater Madison Area SHRM

In This Edition

President's Message

By Dana Denny

Government Affairs & Legal Updates

Legal Update –Fraudulent Use of FMLA by Employees

February 16, 2023 - WI SHRM Workplace Policy Conference
(formerly Day on the Hill)

Professional Development and Events

March 21st Professional Development Summit
Focus on Retention and Compensation

February 15th - Meet, Greet, & Eat

Roundtables Continue on Zoom in 2023!

Keynote Presenters Announced for 2023 Human Capital Conference

Workforce Readiness, Diversity & Inclusion

Spotlight:  Workforce Readiness Committee

GMA SHRM Community Programs and Workforce Development Volunteer Opportunities

Diversity Observances in February and March

GMA SHRM and Member News

Call for College Relations Committee Members!

Help Retiring Workers Navigate Post-Employment Benefits

New Membership Offering - Retiree Membership

Welcome New Members!

Congratulations to our 1, 5, and 10 year anniversary members!





President's Message

2023 Corporate Partners

Platinum Level

Boardman & Clark Law Firm
Hausmann Group
The QTI Group

Gold Level

The Alliance
Delta Dental
Fidelitec, LLC
Summit Credit Union

Silver Level

Cottingham Butler
Edvest - Wisconsin's College
  Investment Plan

Park Capital Management
Succession App, LLC

Bronze Level
Baer Insurance
Carex Consulting
Carlson Dettmann
Group Health Cooperative
M3 Insurance
Restaino & Associates Relocation
Robert Half

Thank you!


Ahoy GMA SHRM Members!

February has always been the time when “winter turns the corner.” This is the point in time when it isn’t so dark at the end of the day, and we’re closer to the first day of Spring. It’s also when we are all inundated with gardening catalogs of all kinds and we can start planning that perennial, annual or vegetable garden – everything is full of possibilities! February’s here, no question, and GMA SHRM is in high gear and reporting for duty!

We have a full roster of events and activities to whet your appetites, including our first Meet, Greet, and Eat Breakfast Networking Event which will be held on February 15th at Panera on Junction Road in Madison. Please join your HR peeps and be ready to get acquainted, share stories, interests and have some laughs over coffee or breakfast!  This will be a fantastic opportunity to connect, gripe and celebrate last year’s “wins, whoops, and wanna-bes.” Registration and more details can be found here.

On February 16th, the WISHRM Workplace Policy Conference will commence with an exciting rebranded offering of our popular “Day on the Hill” event. This year’s conference provides HR professionals an ideal forum to learn, discuss, network and engage with other human resource professionals on several workplace policy issues, including keeping employees and customers safe, popular public policy topics and relevant employment law updates. Registration for this popular conference is available on the WISHRM website; please contact Wanda Manning, Director of Government Affairs, with any questions.

Always popular, our HR Advice Roundtables continue as a viable method to connect with your peers, share “a-ha” moments, and discuss just-in-time and emerging HR challenges in a safe and open format where you are able to share information, seek advice, and explore best practices. Each session is professionally moderated and accommodate human resource practitioners’ busy schedules - we provide 3 sessions per month. Roundtable sessions are scheduled for the first Thursday, second Tuesday, or last Wednesday of each month conveniently located around the city of Madison, and pre-registration is required. See our website for more information.

Just in case you were wondering, the GMA SHRM Programming Committee isn’t resting on the success of their virtual PDS laurels from January! They have a fabulous Professional Development Summit scheduled for March 21st at the Alliant Energy Center.  The overall themes will concentrate on compensation and retention and you can find more information and register on the March PDS page.
Also, if you haven’t done so already, “Save the Date!” for our biggest event of the year, our annual Human Capital Conference on May 16th, 2023, at Alliant Energy Center!  We are excited to announce we have two amazing keynotes for this year's conference.   Justin Jones-Fosu will share his message of empathy, empowerment and engagement with his keynote presentations Lead to a Different Beat and Moving from Head to Heart.   Our second keynote presenter is none other than Mike Aitken, former VP of Government Affairs and current Chief Membership Officer with SHRM!  Mike is a leading authority on the issues important to the HR profession and will share with us the latest SHRM research on Workplace Issues: Now and Looking Ahead.    
Our breakout sessions will feature topics like Mental Health in the Workplace, Compensation and Recruitment, DEI, working with remote workforces and the latest in HR Law. Registration and more information will be released soon so watch your inboxes!

We are also preparing for our upcoming board year beginning in July and are seeking volunteers to serve in a variety of roles to help keep our chapter strong and thriving.  If you have a passion for serving the HR community and a desire to connect with others while having opportunities to build your network and grow professionally, consider getting involved with GMA SHRM as a committee member or board leader!  Check out our “Get Involved” page or feel free to reach out to Laura Bermudo, our President Elect here: GMA SHRM Leadership.  Thank you to all our current board and committee members who demonstrate their commitment to serving each month as we plan events and deliver on our mission of offering Madison area HR professionals high quality professional development and networking opportunities with the goal to educate, share ideas, shape experiences, and build lasting relationships.

As a result of our GMA SHRM Strategic Planning Session that took place in January, we have renewed focus areas for 2023 and beyond. I want to thank our Board of Directors and volunteers that contributed to this discussion and plan for the future!

Lastly, I would like to recognize and thank all of our amazing Corporate Partners in 2023!  We could not provide the valuable and educational programming we do without them and their valuable and sustaining level of support. As you consider vendors for your organization, I encourage you to look to our Corporate Partners first because they value and support our chapter.


Dana Denny, IPMA-CP
GMA SHRM Chapter President


Click here to view the full GMA SHRM Board of Directors


Government Affairs & Legal Updates

Legal Update – Fraudulent Use of FMLA by Employees

Submitted from Mai Chao Chang, Storm Larson & Brian P. Goodman, GMA SHRM Programming Committee Member, and Attorneys at Boardman & Clark LLP, a Platinum Partner

Mai Chao

Storm Larson

Brian P. Goodman

A recent decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (which covers Wisconsin, Indiana, and Illinois) affirmed a trial court ruling that an employer lawfully disciplined a married couple who provided false and misleading information regarding their requests for FMLA leave. The trial court dismissed the couple’s claims for FMLA interference and retaliation, and the Seventh Circuit affirmed.

In Juday v. FCA US LLC, the married couple had each put in requests for leave for qualifying conditions which the employer granted. The employer utilized a third-party administrator to assist with requests for FMLA leave, and the administrator noticed that many of the couple’s requests for days off overlapped. The employer then opened an investigation into why so many days overlapped.

During interviews, the couple could not explain why their requests overlapped. As a result, the employer determined that the couple had provided false and misleading information and suspended the couple for violating the company’s policy requiring that honest information be provided in connection with leave requests. The couple was eventually returned to work.

The couple then sued and alleged that the employer had violated the FMLA by retaliating and interfering with their FMLA rights. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the couple failed to provide sufficient evidence which could prove that their overlapping days were taken for legitimate purposes, and so the employer’s decision to discipline them for violating the company’s honesty policy was lawful.

Although disciplining employees who take FMLA leave generally invites significant legal risk, this decision shows that employers are entitled to discipline employees who violate legitimate company policies against providing false and misleading information to receive FMLA benefits. It is sometimes very challenging to prove that an employee has fraudulently taken leave under the FMLA. Note that even under the relatively strong facts in favor of the employer here, this case went all the way up to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Consultation with legal counsel is highly advisable when considering whether to discipline employees who have taken FMLA leave.


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February 16, 2023 - WI SHRM Workplace Policy Conference
(Formerly Day on the Hill)

The 2023 Wisconsin SHRM Workplace Policy Conference will provide HR professionals with an ideal forum to learn, discuss, network and engage with others on workplace policy matters, keeping employees and customers safe, advocacy topics and the latest employment law updates.

As WI SHRM's Legislative Partner, Bob Gregg with Boardman Clark LLP will be providing the latest legal updates.

Wednesday, February 15, 2023
Networking Reception at the Top of the Park
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Thursday, February 16, 2022
7:00 am - 4:30 pm

More information and registration here!



Professional Development and Events

March 21st Professional Development Summit - Focus on Compensation and Recruiting

In Person Event
Alliant Energy Center

Session 1: The Culture of Kindness – How Kindness Leads to Success In Retention

Session 2: Pay Transparency: What It Is and How To Do It Right

Our first in person Professional Development Summit of 2023!  

Program Details and Registration

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February 15th - Meet, Greet, & Eat!

Wednesday, February 15, 2023
Panera Junction Road

Meet, Greet & Eat with your fellow GMA SHRM Members!  Share stories, interests and have some laughs over coffee!  A great way to connect, gripe and celebrate with your HR peeps that "get it"!

Registration Required

More information and registration.


Roundtables Continue on Zoom in 2023!

Join us for these virtual discussions facilitated by members!

During Roundtables, members discuss their emerging HR challenges and when possible, others offer possible solutions, support, and resources. Come with those questions top of mind for your organization, offer your own experience and best practices, or simply join to network with others by using the registration links below.

Roundtables are designed for human resource professionals who are interested in sharing their ideas and experiences in a confidential environment. It is expected that what members share in these roundtables will stay within the roundtable. We encourage members to exchange contact information and reach out to each other outside of these meetings to expand on the discussions.

Find out more or register for Roundtables!
Membership is required to join Roundtables so if you're not a member, join us or reach out to learn more!


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Keynote Presenters Announced for 2023 Human Capital Conference


Justin Jones-Fosu will share his message of empathy, empowerment and engagement with his keynote presentations Lead to a Different Beat and Moving from Head to Heart.   

Our second keynote presenter is none other than Mike Aitken, former VP of Government Affairs and current Chief Membership Officer with SHRM!  Mike is a leading authority on the issues important to the HR profession and will share with us the latest SHRM research on Workplace Issues: Now and Looking Ahead.    

Our breakout sessions will feature topics like Mental Health in the Workplace, Compensation and Recruitment, DEI, working with remote workforces and the latest in HR Law. Registration and more information will be released soon so watch your inboxes!

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Workforce Readiness, Diversity & Inclusion

Spotlight – Workforce Readiness Committee

Submitted Laura Berkan Mael, Director Recruiting| Pareto's Talent, GMA SHRM Director of Workforce Readiness

Workforce Readiness Committee: our goal is to provide workforce related volunteer opportunities for GMA SHRM members. We are committed to connecting members with organizations that need member expertise and support. We will highlight community opportunities here as well as provide updates on both WI SHRM and SHRM initiatives and programs related to workforce development. If you have any questions about anything listed below or would like to know more about this committee, please contact the current Committee Director: Laura Berkan Mael at laura@paretostalent.com or 608-628-1353.

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GMA SHRM Community Programs and Workforce Development Volunteer Opportunities

Submitted by Lori Sheets, Sr. Talent Acquisition Specialist at Quartz, GMA SHRM Workforce Readiness Committee Member

Libraries Activating Workforce Development Skills (LAWDS) - LAWDS is a collaboration with WISHRM and WI Department of Public Instruction to create a volunteer program to support workforce development supported by the public library system. Check out our article in our January newsletter on how to find more information and get involved.

The Latino Academy of Workforce Development became Wisconsin’s newest Latino-led nonprofit organization in 2022 after first establishing itself in 2011 as a program within Madison’s Vera Court Neighborhood Center. Our mission is to strengthen our diverse communities by providing linguistically and culturally competent adult education programming that advances opportunities to ensure that individuals and families thrive socially, economically, and civically.

Our driving purpose is economic development. We have grown to be a regional leader in supporting underemployed Latinos and other underserved Wisconsinites through the process of career education and training, job placement and job retention. We provide industry-certified credentials in construction, transportation, service, warehousing and logistics, and manufacturing industries and have added IT and career mentoring. We also offer classes in ESL, GED and the region’s only Spanish-GED program. Interest in our programs has grown annually; in 2021, we provided 2,209 community members with instruction and services.

This is where you come in. To be successful in our work, we cultivate ongoing partnerships with the region’s workforce development professionals, businesses, and educational and financial institutions. You can learn more about the work we do in our community by subscribing to our monthly newsletter and following us on social media. We also welcome volunteers to help with conversational practice and employment support. 

Volunteer sign up: https://www.latinoacademywi.org/volunteer
Subscribe to our newsletter: http://eepurl.com/h1di29
Follow us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/latinoacademywi/
Follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AcademiaLatinaWI
Connect with us on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/latinoacademy
Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Latino_Academy

Diversity Observances in February and March

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

21 Black History Month Ideas for Work

  • President's Day: Feb 21
  • Ash Wednesday: Feb 22

Use these observances for team engagement! Have fun, celebrate diversity, and take this opportunity to share stories and learn more about your teammates.

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


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GMA SHRM and Member News

Call for College Relations Committee Members

Submitted by Stacey Skyes, Director of College Relations and Talent Management Program Manager at Labcorp

Interested in getting more involved with GMA SHRM? Consider joining the College Relations Committee! We are looking to add committee members to our small but growing team to help plan student events and oversee the student scholarship process. Contact Stacey Sykes (Director of College Relations) if interested.

Help Retiring Workers Navigate Post-Employment Benefits

Submitted by Jim Neustad

HR staff may not be prepared to help employees navigate through the post-employment benefits maze.

Given that much of the current focus of financial wellness programs is aimed at helping employees fulfill their current and future needs, which includes preparing for a secure retirement, it can be short-sighted not to treat post-employment benefits as the concluding step in an employee's financial wellness journey.

To learn about some things you may not know about retiree benefits and how HR can help, you can read the full SHRM article here: Viewpoint: Help Retiring Workers Navigate Post-Employment Benefits.


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New Membership Offering – Retiree Membership

Have you retired from a career in the HR profession or do you know someone who has?  Want to stay connected to friends and the profession while also giving back?  GMA SHRM now offers a Retiree Membership option.  Dues are discounted to $25 for a 12 month membership for all retired HR professionals. 

To qualify you need to have been employed in Human Resources and no longer represent a company.   We ask Retiree Members get involved and join a committee and/or participate in monthly HR Advice Network group meetings (roundtables). 

For more information, visit our Retiree Membership page.

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Welcome New Members!

GMA SHRM welcomes the following members who joined our chapter in December 2022!
Emaan Abdel-Halim City of Madison
Laura Chapa   Littler
Ashley Everson   Rural Electric Supply Cooperative
Greg Gavran   Strategic Retirement Partners
Brooke Gillitzer   City of Madison
Maria Guzman   Bell Laboratories Inc.
Nancy Kalsow SPHR; SHRM-SP, PCC Kalsow Coaching & Consulting, LLC
Jan Koenig   Summit Credit Union
Debra Martinez SHRM-SCP, SPHR Dean Health Plan/Medica
Mike Roche   The Alliance
Taylor Wallace   Littler
William Wick   City of Madison

Congratulations to our 1, 5 and 10 anniversary members!

10 Year Anniversaries:
Carol Shirk
Stacy Lee
Kris Giuntoli

5 Year Anniversaries:
LeighAnn Adams
Lisa Dykstra
Jill Walder

One Year Anniversaries:
Cassandra Barber
Jen Emmons
Hailey Erdman
Caitlyn Gilbertson
Erica Laughlin
Aisha Liebenow
Becky Ohan
Todd Roller
Catherine Zurbuchen

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 chapteradmin@gmashrm.org .

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