HR InTouch

The Monthly Newsletter of the Greater Madison Area SHRM

In This Edition

President's Message

By Tracy Nelson, SPHR, CPTD

Government Affairs & Legal Updates

Understanding the Limits on Using Arrest Records in Employment Decisions

Professional Development and Events

Our Next Professional Development Summits

The Wheel

Compensation & Benefits

Are You a Comp Enthusiast?

Workforce Readiness, Diversity & Inclusion

Helpful Link from Wisconsin DWD: Wisconsin Fair Employment Law 

Diversity Observances in June

DEI Highlights

DEI Recruitment Guide


GMA SHRM and Member News

Volunteer of the Year Recognized at Human Capital Conference

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!


Greetings, GMA SHRM Members and HR Professionals!

As I reflect on this past year serving as Chapter President, it feels like it flew by.   At the same time, I’m amazed at how much the board and chapter has accomplished during these challenging times!  With June now upon us, we are ending our current board year and starting a new board year July 1!  

I am forever grateful to the dedicated group of volunteer leaders who have served on the board this year, our chapter administration partners Morgan Data Solutions, as well as to all the committee volunteers who gave generously of their time to ensure we could consistently 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.”  Thank you also to our generous corporate partners who make it possible for us to provide a plethora of impressive member benefits for such a value membership rate.

The chapter has prospered, and we also want to thank you, our members and guests, for continuing to engage and find value in our professional development and networking events!  We are ending the year in a strong position, and in fact are excited to have recently received the SHRM 2021 Platinum EXCEL award!   This is the highest award bestowed upon a Chapter by SHRM and it recognizes outstanding achievements in Chapter operations and a commitment to providing meaningful programs and services to members.  We are honored to serve the greater Madison HR community and I know our new board is excited to step in and lead us forward!

We had an EXCEPTIONAL Annual Human Capital Conference at Alliant Energy Center on May 17th with over 200 registrants joining us for our first in person event in years!  The “buzz” was in the room as we all connected with old friends, met new friends, and enjoyed the fabulous keynotes by Joshua Evans and Darcy Luoma, as well as our excellent breakout speakers and panel members.  We can’t wait for next year!  You can check out our other networking and programming events on our 2022 GMA SHRM Programs and Events List

Also, mark your calendars to attend the Wisconsin State SHRM Conference October 12th – 14th at Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells.

Want to get involved more involved in the chapter by volunteering?  Check out our Get Involved page. 

What an honor and privilege it has been to serve this chapter and our HR community.  I pass the torch to two amazing and dedicated chapter leaders, Dana Denny who is stepping into the President’s role on July 1, and to Laura Bermudo who is stepping into the President Elect role.  I also want to thank Brittany Hanson, another outstanding leader who is wrapping up her year serving as Past President but will fortunately still be with us serving as a committee volunteer.  Thank you for a wonderful year and for the opportunity to serve as your Chapter President. Wishing all my HR colleagues and friends happiness and good things in the year ahead!

All the best,

Tracy Nelson, SPHR, CPTD
President-GMA SHRM

Click here to view the full GMA SHRM Board of Directors


Government Affairs & Legal Updates

Understanding the Limits on Using Arrest Records in Employment Decisions

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

The Wisconsin Fair Employment Act (WFEA) generally prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of an individual’s arrest or conviction record, subject to certain exceptions. A recent decision from the Wisconsin Court of Appeals clarifies the distinction between what qualifies as an “arrest” versus a “conviction.” In Vega v. LIRC, the court held that deferred entries of judgment and deferred prosecution agreements constitute part of an employee’s arrest record and do not qualify as conviction records under the WFEA.

This means that employers may avail themselves of the independent investigative procedure applicable to arrest records previously outlined in Onalaska v. LIRC to potentially deny employment to an applicant or terminate an employee. In Vega, the employer interviewed the employee as part of its independent investigation and asked questions about certain deferred entries of judgment but did not ask about guilty pleas the employer learned about. This was likely because the guilty pleas qualified as convictions, which could not be the basis for terminating an employee unless the employer could show the conviction was substantially related to the job in question. During the meeting, the employee admitted that all alleged conduct that formed the basis for the deferred entries of judgment was true. Thereafter, the employer terminated the employee.

According to the court of appeals, the deferred judgments were a part of the employee’s arrest record because there had been no final determination as to guilt. Therefore, it was lawful for the employer to do an independent investigation of these felony charges and to terminate the employee based on the results of that independent investigation, which included key admissions by the employee. The court also held that the employer’s interview with the employee constituted a sufficient independent investigation.

Vega illustrates the complexity and technical difficulty of properly navigating arrest/conviction discrimination situations. Employers should reach out to legal counsel in these situations for assistance in navigating this challenging area of employment law.

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Professional Development and Events

Our Next Professional Development Summits

  • August 16,  2022 - Professional Development Summit

Focus:  Total Rewards/Recruitment
Alliant Energy Center

Program Details Coming Soon

  • September 20,  2022 - Professional Development Summit

Focus:  Retention
Alliant Energy Center

Program Details Coming Soon

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The Wheel

 Brittany Meoska, Certified Professional Coach, MSE, CPCC, PCC. GMA SHRM member brittanymeoskacoachBrittang@gmail.com

Have you ever had several days in a row where you’re just not feeling all that great mentally?
(What a silly question…of course you have - you’re a human!). 

Maybe you notice a tightness in your chest, shoulders, neck. Or maybe you feel all around heavy energy and lots of negative emotions. Perhaps you even notice this thought cross your mind: “My. Life. Sucks.” 

I've noticed that when we don't feel good physically, we have our go-tos - maybe we take some ibuprofen, drink some water, lay down to rest. When we don't feel good mentally, however, what do we tend to do to help ourselves?

One thing I've learned that helps me is to take a moment to reflect on my Wheel of Life. The Wheel is a well-known coaching tool and one that I share with my individual coaching clients and in my presentations on mental health and well-being. 

What The Wheel helps us do is pause for a moment to take a look at all of the different segments that make up the “whole” of our life. (Check out the pic)! For a moment, we get to pull ourselves out of the weeds where we get bogged down with details and we can take a birds eye view to see the bigger picture.

Without overthinking, we rate on a scale of 0 - 10 how satisfied we currently feel in each segment:
0 - NOTHING is salvageable, you would throw it all out and change absolutely everything if you could

5 - Middle of the Road…things are “fine”

10 - PERFECTION…the angels are singing! Colors - brighter! Food - tastier! Wouldn’t. Change. A. Thing.

By taking the moment to reflect, we immediately notice that there are some segments that aren’t the worst (or better yet, maybe they’re even quite good!). This provides a feeling of relief (and maybe even gratitude!) “It’s not my WHOLE life that stinks right now…it’s just these specific areas!” 

The best part? Once we pinpoint which areas we need to flow more energy and time toward, we can create clear action steps, however small they may be, to work toward improving that segment.

This is what I love about The Wheel - it feels empowering! Each time I am reminded that I actually DO have some power to work toward feeling better. It lights a spark, it creates momentum, and little by little we can improve a specific area of our life so that the overall "flow" of our wheel can feel smoother.

Brittany Meoska is the owner of Brittany Meoska Coaching, LLC. She coaches teens and adults on emotional and mental health and well-being, confidence, and mindset, and speaks on the topics of Leading With Empathy, Mental Health & Well Being in the Workplace, Etc. She also addresses physical well-being in her virtual fitness classes. You can contact her at brittany@brittanymeoska.com for more information on her presentations, coaching, and virtual fitness classes.

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Compensation & Benefits

Are You a Comp Enthusiast?

Submitted Raj Ravi - Director of Human Resources,  Hooper Corp

On a biennial basis, our chapter commissions a Madison area Compensation Survey. The Compensation survey committee’s goal with this initiative is to provide HR professionals access to local compensation data, which is generally difficult to find (especially for mid to small size companies). Given the inconsistencies and changes the labor market has witnessed over the past couple years during the pandemic, the local compensation survey data provides much help to HR professionals in making strategic decisions regarding competitive pay practices for their organizations.

For the current survey (released in 2021), GMA SHRM partnered with Gallagher to commission a local area compensation survey. Through social networking, member emails, and phone reach outs, local companies across industries were encouraged to participate. This allowed participation from a cross section of industries and resulted in quality validation of data.

To maximize participant value, a tiered pricing based on organization size is offered.  Additionally, HR professionals will have access to Gallagher's Upper Midwest and National general industry compensation surveys at a nominal additional cost.

The compensation survey is utilized by many HR professionals in the Greater Madison area. This local compensation data is viewed as a highly reliable reference point as HR professionals build competitive compensation strategies for their organizations, while navigating the pandemic.

We are always looking for compensation enthusiasts to join our committee. Please reach out to Raj Ravi if this is an area of interest!


Workforce Readiness, Diversity & Inclusion

Monthly Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development - Helpful Links

Employee Protections Against Use of Honesty Testing Devices




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Diversity Observances in May

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

 Why not have fun, celebrate diversity, learn about each other, and use these observances as themes to engage your team!

  • LGBTQ+ Pr​ide Month​
  • National Caribbean-American Heritage Month​
  • Immigration Heritage Month​​
  • PTSD Awareness Month​​
  • U.S. Army Birthday: ​June 14
  • Juneteenth: June 19​
  • Father's Day: June 19


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.


Recruitment Guide: Identifying & Interrupting Bias in Hiring

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 mary.vesely@fairwaymc.com.

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GMA SHRM and Member News

Volunteer of the Year Recognized at Successful Human Capital Conference

GMA SHRM returned to live in person programming for the first time since March 2020 at our May 17th Human Capital Conference!   More than 200 GMA SHRM members, including members from Chippewa Valley SHRM and Blackhawk SHRM attended the event at Alliant Energy Center featuring 6 breakout presentations and keynote presentations from Joshua Evans and Darcy Luoma.

Conference Director Anita Herrick stated "being our first in person event in over 2 years, we did not know what to expect for a turnout.  Over 200 attendees exceeded our expectations.  The energy in the room was amazing!"

"I think this marks a return to professional development coming back to being a personal and business priority again for many.  While virtual education has its place in the mix of education offerings, a steady diet of virtual education tends to end up on your second or third screen while you multitask" according to GMA SHRM Chapter Administrator from MDS Association Management.

Of the many highlights of the day, we were able to hand out some much deserved recognition to two people that have served our HR community and our chapter.   

Carolyn Kuzuhara was named this year's Volunteer of the Year. 

Board member Sarah Hart presented the award to Carolyn and stated "This year Carolyn has stepped in, led, and wore many hats.  She has helped with social media  posts, acted as editor of our monthly newsletter HRInTouch, planned our spring member welcome event GMA SHRM Revealed, and filled a board role as Volunteer Engagement Director. Carolyn, your volunteer heart and spirit are appreciated by our Board of Directors, our members and everyone here today."

GMA SHRM President Elect Laura Bermudo
gave special recognition to our Immediate Past President Brittany Hanson, MBA, PHR for her years of service to GMA SHRM and its members. "Brittany stepped into the President line as President Elect in 2019-2020,  as President in 2020-2021 and as Immediate Past President in 2021-22.
Probably not the typical years you had envisioned when you agreed to become chapter president.  Brittany, your ability to collaborate and make change was instrumental in our shift to virtual events and guiding the chapter through the pandemic. Brittany, on behalf of our membership, please accept our thanks for your leadership."


Welcome New Members!

GMA SHRM welcomes the following members who joined our chapter in April 2022!
Mandy Ayers SHRM-CP, PHR Capitol Bank
Kaye DeMartino BetterLife
Carrie Falk   THE MARKET
Shannon Halkoski   UW Madison
Martha Johannsen SHRM-SCP Park Bank
Kassandra Kraemer   Dental Health Associates Of Madison
Darcy Kubichka SHRM-CP Metcalfe's Market
Katie Lyons   Catholic Charities
Jason Messer   Aspire Talent Group
Amanda Murray   Atrium
John Obligato   Activision Blizzard King/Raven Software
Charlie Parker   Hausmann Group
Augusto Perez   Exact Sciences
Alejandra Quintana   TRICOR Insurance
Jenny Ryan   NeuGen
Jessica Schroeder Aegis Corporation
Stacy Smulka SHRM-CP  
Joseph Stella SHRM-CP Enerpac Tool Group
Miranda Weber   Madison Gas and Electric
Jess Zimbelman SHRM SCP ERDMAN


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 chapteradmin@gmashrm.org .
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