HR InTouch

The Monthly Newsletter of the Greater Madison Area SHRM

In This Edition

President's Message

By Tracy Nelson, SPHR, CPTD

COVID-19 Resources 

Information for Madison Area HR Professionals

Government Affairs & Legal Updates

Disparate Impact Claims Remain Significant Concern for Employers

Compensation & Benefits

GMA SHRM Compensation Survey is Now Available!

Professional Development

HR Manager Burnout is on the Rise

Grow Personally and Professionally as a Volunteer

March 15, 2022 Professional Development Summit - Virtual
Focus on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

May 17th Human Capital Conference!

Roundtables Return Virtual to Start 2022!


Workforce Readiness, Diversity & Inclusion

Spotlight Workforce Readiness Committee

Diversity Observances in March

Monthly Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development - Helpful Links:  Employee Rights under Wisconsin’s Business Closing/Mass Layoff Notification Law 


GMA SHRM Member News

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

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!

We have exciting news for you! We recently completed a member survey to gauge your interest in returning to in-person programming. Based on results, we are looking forward to having our biggest event of the year, our Annual Human Capital Conference, in person! We are taking extra safety steps as we work with the facility and speakers to plan a highly engaging and valuable day or networking and professional development featuring keynote speakers Joshua Evans and Darcy Luoma. Save the date and join us on May 17th,, 2022 at the Alliant Energy Center. Watch our website at 2022 Events Page for details as we finalize our lineup and session schedule!

Your survey feedback also told us you enjoy the convenience of virtual events, so grab your morning coffee and plan to join us on March 15th for our next virtual Professional Development Summit. Session 1 will be presented by Dr. Robert Lemon who will focus on leading a diverse team more effectively in his session “TEAM - Together Everyone Achieves More,” and in Session 2, Matt Glowacki will be presenting on an important and timely topic, “Mental Health in the Workplace & Introduction of “The Accommodate in Place Initiative.”  You can register here for this upcoming virtual event here!

Don’t forget there are also a myriad of networking opportunities to take advantage of, getting full value from your GMA SHRM membership. Attend our virtual Meet, Greet & Eat events, or our virtual HR Advice Roundtables to connect with your peers, share stories, and discuss emerging HR challenges in an open forum format by sharing information, seeking advice, and exploring best practices.

One of the things I love most about being on the GMA SHRM Board is working with the talented group of people who serve on the Board and plan the valuable events and activities for GMA SHRM members and guests.  I feel enriched by the network and relationships I’ve had the opportunity to build through volunteering and serving on the Board has been such a rewarding experience. I highly encourage you to consider getting involved in your local GMA SHRM chapter. There are many ways to volunteer and connect whether it be serving on a committee or stepping forward to lead in a Board role. Check out our “Get Involved” page or feel free to reach out to Dana Denny, our President Elect, by visiting our GMA SHRM Leadership page.  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.

Lastly, as always, a big thank you to our corporate sponsors whose financial support makes it possible for us to continue to serve the HR community at surprisingly affordable membership rates that include almost all events and member benefits without extra charge. Haven’t joined GMA SHRM quite yet? Watch for our enticing membership promotion coming soon!

All the best,

Tracy Nelson, SPHR, CPTD
President-GMA SHRM

Click here to view the full GMA SHRM Board of Directors


COVID-19 Resources

Information for Madison Area HR Professionals

GMA SHRM HR COVID-19 Resource Page

This page has direct links to:

  • SHRM HR Specific Resources
  • Government Agency Websites
  • Partner Pages with HR specific COVID-19
    resources representing:
    • HR Law
    • Best Practices
    • Managing a suddenly remote workforce
    • Finance
    • More... 


Government Affairs & Legal Updates

Disparate Impact Claims Remain Significant Concern for Employers

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

Title VII forbids intentional discrimination as well as neutral practices or policies which disproportionately harm a protected class of people. This second category of claims are called “disparate impact” claims. Because disparate impact claims involve challenges to company policies, they often involve large numbers of employees. For this reason, such claims may be brought as a “class action.” In a class action, one lead plaintiff represents the interests of other similarly affected plaintiffs who, collectively, constitute the class (among other things).

Recently, in Simpson v. Dart, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals (which covers Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana) held that a district court improperly denied class certification to three subclasses of Black job applicants who were not hired by the Cook County Department of Corrections. Using a disparate impact theory, the applicants alleged they were not hired because the neutral testing procedures disproportionately rejected Black applicants.

On appeal, Mr. Simpson argued that three of the subclasses were similarly affected because they had all been eliminated by the same standard examinations. The Seventh Circuit agreed and explained that the plaintiffs had met their burden because they were all affected by the same allegedly discriminatory practice.

Simpson underscores the need for employers to ensure that their employment practices and procedures—even if facially neutral—are not disproportionately impacting protected classes of people, such as women and communities of color. Because disparate impact claims can be brought as class actions, such claims may expose employers to greater financial exposure and make defending such claims more difficult. Employers should therefore carefully evaluate their policies and practices to ensure they do not expose themselves to risk of a successful disparate impact claim.

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Compensation & Benefits

The New Compensation Survey is Now Available!

Greater Madison Area SHRM and Gallagher Surveys are pleased to present the annual salary survey.   

Local compensation data is hard to find and the GMA SHRM Compensation survey is a great resource!   This year thirty-three organizations participated in the 2021 version of the survey.  

Visit the GMA SHRM Compensation Survey page to view:

  • a list of participating organizations
  • a sample of the survey data
  • purchasing information
New this year is tiered purchase pricing based on size of your organization. 


More Information

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Professional Development

HR Manager Burnout is on the Rise

Submitted by GMA SHRM Member Deborah Laurel, The Peer Learning Institute

U.S. employee engagement has dropped for the first time in a decade. A Gallup survey found that the greatest declines were in clarity of expectations, having the right materials and equipment, and the opportunity for workers to do what they do best.

The Steepest Decline in Engagement
Managers, along with healthcare workers, had the steepest decline in engagement and the greatest increase in burnout. Based on recent conversations, I think there are a lot of HR managers suffering burnout.

This is understandable. HR managers have had to handle concerns about employees’ mental and physical health, compliance with vaccine mandates, ongoing changes to where employees work and increased quit rates. All of these concerns have added considerably to HR managers’ workloads.  Unclear and confusing messages from top management regarding organizational priorities have added more stress.

Lack of Clear Expectations
If HR managers are burned out and disengaged, it’s almost impossible for them to engage their teams and get their own work done.

There is a clear correlation between engagement and retention. Gallup found that employees and managers who were struggling or suffering in March of 2021 were almost twice as likely as those who were thriving to change jobs later in the year. There has been a huge turnover in HR managers.

Managers Should Not Need to Struggle
So, what does this mean for your organization? The constant pandemic disruptions and uncertainties have created a need for HR managers to develop new management skills as well as personal coping methods. Some managers are struggling, while some are more resilient than others. However, all of your HR managers need support and encouragement.

Senior Management Responsibility
Senior management needs to accept responsibility for communicating clearly and often about organizational policies and directions, which may continually shift depending upon the circumstances. This way, their HR managers will have clarity about their priorities and can pass that information down to their teams in a timely fashion.

There has to be recognition that the HR workload has dramatically increased and made more difficult given employees’ new perspective on work/life balance and development opportunities.

This needs to be accompanied by attention to the five elements of wellbeing (career, social, financial, physical, and community) in order to reduce the odds of burnout, stress, worry, anxiety, and depression.

Make sure your HR managers have the coaching support to build necessary management skills, the resources to do their jobs, and the encouragement to seek assistance if their wellbeing is compromised. You don’t want to lose your HR managers to burnout or attrition.

Deborah Spring Laurel is the President of Laurel and Associates, Ltd., a certified woman-owned international workplace learning and performance consulting firm that builds and strengthens managerial, employee and trainer skills through the design and delivery of participatory virtual and classroom training. She can be reached at or 608-219-3594.

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Grow Personally and Professionally as a Volunteer

 Submitted by Arlette Kambwa-Gitau, GMA SHRM Director for College Relations


Arlette Kambwa-Gitau

What do you enjoy most about volunteering at GMA SHRM?

GMA SHRM has allowed me to share a profession I love with future HR leaders. 

The College Relations team connects with students, who attend Wisconsin colleges and universities in the Dane County area, who are exploring a career in Human Resources.  The College Relations team leverages various programs such as Mentoring Program, Fireside Chat and Student Night Out to connect students with seasoned HR Professionals. 

These connection points have created an opportunity for students to confirm HR is their career of choice and enable life-long networking relationships. 

Networking.  Paying it forward.  Future HR Leaders. 

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March 15, 2022 Professional Development Summit
A Virtual Event

Focus on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Session 1:  
TEAM - Together Everyone Achieves More

Dr. Robert Lemon

Session 2:
Mental Health in the Workplace & Introduction of “The Accommodate in Place Initiative”

Matt Glowacki

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May 17th Human Capital Conference Early Registration Now Open!


GMA SHRM is excited to announce its 17th Annual Human Capital Conference will return in person on Tuesday, May 17, 2022 at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, WI!   

Today’s world and workplace are changing in ways we could never imagine. This disruption is taking a major toll in productivity and engagement regardless of role or industry. Many leaders are struggling to realign and maintain enthusiasm within their organization.

The 2022 Human Capital Conference will help you find solutions to today's HR issues and to celebrate our first live program in over 2 years we are featuring 2 amazing keynote presenters! 

Featured Keynote Presenters:

Joshua Evans

#1 best selling author in Leadership and Management Training, TEDx Programmer, and
leading expert on company culture and organizational engagement.

Darcy Luoma

Creator of Thoughtfully Fit®, Master Certified Coach, dynamic facilitator, and
inspiring motivational speaker.

Outstanding Breakout Sessions:

Finding Talent: 3 Key Factors to Building Your Reputation as an Employer of Choice – Justin Vajko
Mastering the Art of Delegation: Effectively Leveraging the Talents of Your Team - Jeffrey Russell
Compensation in a Post Pandemic World - Rena Somersan
DEI: Challenges and Success Stories From the Field - Local HR Experts
Annual HR Legal Update - Jennifer Mirus and Brian Goodman

Roundtables Return Virtual for 2022!

HR Advice Network Roundtables are informal, peer-led discussions facilitated under the auspices of the GMA SHRM Programming Committee. The focus of the roundtables are to support GMA SHRM members who are either HR professionals or individuals who may have HR responsibilities within their organizations.  Members come together to address and discuss their emerging HR challenges, in an open forum format, by sharing information, seeking advice, providing support and tangible resources to one another by exploring best practices.
These Roundtables are designed for those professionals who are interested in sharing their ideas and experiences in a confidential environment. It is expected what members share in these roundtables will stay within the roundtable. We encourage members to exchange business cards and reach out to each other outside of these meetings to expand on the discussions.

A special thank you to our Rountable facilitators Dawn Koopman, Tracy Niesen Breunig, and Melissa Chadwick!  

More information.


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Workforce Readiness, Diversity & Inclusion

Spotlight Workforce Readiness Committee

The mission of the Workforce Readiness committee is to develop and maintain relationships with our greater community so that we can assist the workforce with becoming more employable. The work our committee is tasked with is to build relationships with organizations in the community and identifying volunteer opportunities that we can then share with all GMA SHRM members. We will share these volunteer opportunities through the newsletter or other social media.  We will ask our members to participate by volunteering their time and talent in service to our community.

2022 is starting to see more opportunities for members to volunteer, so stay tuned and please share your talent with the job seekers in our community

The following are our committee members that I thank for being a part of this committee:   Kari Knox, Trish Kienitz, Natalie Busse, Lori Sheets, Laura Mael, Kristina Friedrich and Stacey Sykes.

Here our 2 of our members:

Trish Kienitz:  Most of my career has been in human resources, with the majority of it spent in health care. Most recently, in order to work closer to where I live, I joined Bank of Sun Prairie to build a solid HR function for a growing community bank as VP Human Resources. Shortly after starting to work in Dane County again, I joined GMA SHRM and volunteer my time on two committees. The first is the Workforce Development Committee because I thoroughly enjoy interacting and helping job applicants with resumes, interview questions and “elevator” speeches before going to meet with employers at job fairs. I am also a part of the compensation committee and have participated in preparing the SHRM Compensation Survey. I enjoy ongoing development and learning as an HR generalist, and GMA SHRM has some of the best development opportunities around!  It’s always great to expand my knowledge and continue to meet new people from various industries. When not at work, I spend time with family, scrapbooking and reading.  

Lori Sheets:  Senior Talent Acquisition Specialist with Quartz Health Solutions. I have been a member of GMA SHRM for 16 years and part of the Workforce Readiness committee for the past 14 years. I joined this committee to give back to the community and provide opportunities for others to gain knowledge to re-enter the workforce or improve upon their career path. When not working or volunteering, I am watching my son at his sporting events, reading books, running outside (when it’s warm out!), enjoying time with friends and family, and traveling (hopefully again in the near future).

If you are interested in learning more about us or joining our great group, please send me an email!

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Diversity Observances in March

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!

  • Women's History Month​
  • Irish-American Heritage Mont​​​h​
  • National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month​
  • Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday): March 1​
  • International Women's Day: March 8
  • Purim: March 16-17​​​
  • St. Patrick's Day: March 17​
  • National Single Parent Day: March 20​​
  • Holi: March 18
  • International Transgender Day of Visibility: March 31

Check out our DEI Resources Page for helpful resources!  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

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Monthly Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development - Helpful Links


GMA SHRM Member News

Welcome New Members!
GMA SHRM welcomes the following members who joined our chapter in January 2022!
Lisa Barry SHRM-SCP Peoplelink Group
Brittany Bohling   The New Glarus Home
Stephanie Breunig   Fine Point Consulting, LLC
Nancy Carozza   Skyline Services Inc
Denise Gerdes   Littler Mendelson
Molly Hanson   Vitense Golfland
Patti Jackson   Taconic Biosciences
Sara Jacobson   The Registry, Inc.
Belle Karls aPHR Employee Benefits Corporation
Traci Mandell   M3 Insurance
Amy Parkhurst   BouMatic
Richard Verstegen   Boardman & Clark LLP
Veronica Vilchez   Skyline Services, Inc.
Landon Vinger   M3 Insurance

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 .
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