February 2024


HR InTouch

The Monthly Newsletter of the Greater Madison Area SHRM

In This Edition

President's Message

By Laura Bermudo

Government Affairs & Legal Updates

When An Accommodation Request Is Not An Accommodation Request

2024 WISHRM Workplace Policy Conference - February 29

Addressing your Office Lactation Space - PUMP Act

Compensation and Benefits

The 2023 Greater Madison Area SHRM Compensation Survey is now available for purchase!

Professional Development and Events

February 20, 2024
Meet, Greet, & Eat

March 19, 2024
Alliant Energy Center
Session 1:  Creating a Culture of Hustle Without Burnout
Session 2:  From Being Inclusive to Practicing Inclusiont

2024 Virtual Roundtables -
New Time Added!


Workforce Readiness, College Relations, Diversity & Inclusion

Committee Spotlight – Building a Stronger Tomorrow with the GMA SHRM Workforce Readiness Committee!

Diversity Observances in February and March

Article of the Month:  Make a Meaningful Moment: 15 Ways to Celebrate Black History Month at Work

College Relations Committee Member Spotlight


GMA SHRM and Member News

GMA SHRM Retiree Membership

Welcome New Members!

Congratulations to our 1, 5, 10, 15 and 20 year anniversary members!





President's Message

2024 Corporate Partners

Platinum Level
Boardman & Clark Law Firm
B2E Solutions
Hausmann Group
MH Imaging
The QTI Group

Gold Level

Delta Dental
Fidelitec, LLC
Summit Credit Union
University of Wisconsin School
   of Business - Strategic Human
   Resource Management Center

Silver Level
The Alliance
Cottingham Butler
Edvest - Wisconsin's College
  Investment Plan

Fire Light Group
Group Health Cooperative
   South Central Wisconsin


Bronze Level
Carex Consulting
Carlson Dettmann
LIFT Consulting
M3 Insurance

Restaino & Associates Relocation
Robert Half
UW Small Business
Development Center

Thank you!


Dear GMA SHRM Members,

I hope the new year is off to a strong start for each of you! February, often associated with Valentine's Day, is a time for celebrating love and appreciation. I want to express my deep appreciation for SHRM and the privilege of serving our outstanding HR leaders and GMA SHRM members. Your dedication and contributions to your organizations, employees, and the community continually inspire me.

Our Board of Directors has shown remarkable adaptability, successfully pivoting for our recent Strategic Planning Retreat on January 12th. The event unfolded in two parts, with the first half on the 12th via Zoom and the second half scheduled for an in-person meeting on February 2nd due to the severe winter weather we had. These adjustments ensure our chapter remains robust, and our planning for the year ahead stays on course.

If you are interested in joining a committee or the board, we welcome your involvement. Reach out to Ashley Kowalchuk or myself anytime to explore these opportunities.

Exciting plans are in the works for GMA SHRM education and connection opportunities, thanks to our hardworking programming and membership committees. Be sure to keep checking our events page for all the details regarding upcoming events that we believe you will love.

One such event to check out and register for is our next Meet, Greet & Eat event at Me & Julio on February 20th, from noon-1pm. This casual and interactive gathering promises Tex-Mex delights and powerful connections. Register today on GMA SHRM's events page to secure your spot.

We're also proud to be a sponsor for the WI SHRM’s annual Workplace Policy Conference on February 29th at the Park Hotel here in Madison. This all-day event will provide valuable insights on legal, compliance, and industry-critical topics to empower you for the year ahead. There are nearly 100 people registered already – be sure to join us and see what all the excitement is about!

For those not yet part of our monthly GMA SHRM HR Advice & Networking Roundtables, I highly encourage you to explore these accessible virtual events. Find a session that suits your schedule on our website.

Looking ahead to warmer days, mark your calendar for our Professional Development Summit on March 19th. The topics covered in March will be "Creating a Culture of Hustle Without Burnout" and going “From Being Inclusive to Practicing Inclusion." Reserve your seat by registering at the March PDS Information page.

Lastly, anticipate a vibrant and spectacular spring event on May 21st as we host our highly sought-after annual Human Capital Conference, made possible by our Corporate Partners, MDS, and HCC Committee. This full-day conference offers the chance to hear phenomenal presenters, gain invaluable insights, and connect with a few hundred of your closest HR friends – who doesn’t love the sound of that?

Hope to see you soon!

Laura Bermudo, President
Greater Madison Area SHRM Chapter
lbermudo@myhaus.com / 608.383.4568

Click here to view the full GMA SHRM Board of Directors


Government Affairs & Legal Updates

Legal Update – When An Accommodation Request Is Not An Accommodation Request

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

Employees are not required to use “magic words” to request a reasonable accommodation under the ADA and state law. However, such requests must generally contain enough information to put their employer on notice of the need to explore potential options. A recent appellate decision provided a rare example of an insufficient accommodation request. 

The court held that an employee did not request an accommodation even though he submitted a note to his employer entitled “Accommodations Requests” which specifically referenced the ADA in its opening message. The actual substance of the note, however, made clear that it was related to generalized workplace complaints and did not make clear that any workplace changes were medically necessary. In fact, the letter never mentioned medical issues. Instead, the letter stated that its purpose was to “foster a well-running office, based on the principles of mutual respect, clear communication, and . . . well-defined roles.”

On appeal, the court ruled that the employee’s letter was not a request for a reasonable accommodation because it did not identify any medical issue or how the proposals were related to a qualifying disability. Therefore, although the burden of requesting an accommodation is light, the employee failed to meet it in this circumstance. The fact that the letter was entitled “Accommodations Request” and referenced the ADA did not outweigh the substance of the letter, which made no mention of any medical condition and concerned general workplace issues.

While this case is not a binding precedent for Wisconsin employers and doesn’t address state law, it illustrates a good point for all employers. The general rule remains true that employees need not use magic words to request accommodations.  However, in rare situations, an employee’s request for accommodation might not actually give rise to a legal obligation to start the interactive process for considering an accommodation.  Nevertheless, it is important to recognize how extreme the facts might need to be to avoid the interactive process, which they were in this case. Employers should work closely with legal counsel for assistance if they receive a request for accommodations that appears potentially insufficient.


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2024 WISHRM Workplace Policy Conference

February 29, 2024
Premier Park Hotel
Madison, WI

Workplace policies are so much more than a document. They’re a powerful statement of what an employer does and does not stand for, and (when implemented well) can play a big part in building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace. Join us at the Premier Park Hotel in Madison on February 28, 2024 for a networking reception and/or February 29, 2024 for our 2024 Workplace Policy Conference.

Visit the WISHRM Workplace Policy Conference webpage for more details and registration.

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Addressing your Office Lactation Space - PUMP Act

Submitted by Jackie Cook, Popins CEO

Lactation support is no longer just an opportunity for retention; with the PUMP Act in effect for the last year, it’s also a legal requirement. Most businesses have some work to do in this area; Medela & Mamava share that 1 in 3 working mothers lack reliable access to a workplace lactation space.

If getting your office lactation space set up has been on your list, but you’re unsure how to manage the logistics of getting appropriate space set up to support your nursing parents, read on.

Know the Basic Requirements
A quick overview of the PUMP Act Basics. Employers must provide employees space that is:
  • Private (shielded from view, free from intrusion)
  • Not a Bathroom (think of this as food prep)
  • Functional for Pumping milk (has a chair, power supply, table for pump)
  • Available as needed (Providing Time is the other key component of the PUMP Act)

Ideally, you are providing a clean, lockable space with a sign. If not in the room, a sink and fridge should be close by to wash pumping supplies and store milk.

This photo is real and from a Madison office. It’s not my post-it, but took me back to when I worked for a small, early stage company in an open concept office off the square. A coat closet also served as the VP’s office, conference call room to avoid disturbing others, and my pumping space. There was a door, but no lock. I usually remembered to put up my post-it note, but sometimes it fell off or wasn’t seen and an awkward “sorry I was just grabbing my coat to go to lunch” moment would occur.


Know Who and How?
Consider who may need to use the space in your office. Just employees? Or do you also have visitors - clients, people coming in for interviewers, etc - who may also be a new parent?

And how will the people who need to use your lactation lounge know how to find and access it? For employees, you may keep information on your internal website or parent page. For visitors, consider if an office manager, front desk worker, or other team members should be aware of where your space is.
From working with new parents (and my own experience), I know that asking about a pumping space is uncomfortable enough. It’s more awkward (for everyone) when the response is confusion.

Consider multi-use opportunities
For smaller businesses or those tight on space, your lactation lounge does not need to be dedicated for the purpose of pumping only.

Some companies are branding their space as Wellness Rooms, Quiet Spaces, or other titles that help make use of the space more inclusive and practical. If you don’t have a dedicated room, consider options like:

  • Space for pipe and drape or a Mamava pod
  • Collaborate with other businesses in your building to share a space
  • Adding a curtain to hide supplies or make a glass wall space more private

When a company I worked with was moving into a new space, I got to weigh in on the “Mothers Room.” The final space fit in seamlessly with other conference room spaces in the office, with a few tweaks - frosted glass, a lock on the inside of the door, a bigger/comfortable chair. It was also multi-use (which made sense and would still be compliant under the PUMP Act). What had been the beer fridge became the milk fridge. It housed the foosball table, along with a phone and a small table. So when not being used for lactation, others could pop in for a quick game, a huddle, or take a call.

Make it yours, make it nice, share it out
Like most business activities, putting some love into your office lactation space is an opportunity to show your stakeholders (employees, clients, community) that you care - and in this case, that you support working parents.

It’s also a chance to have a space that reflects or reinforces your company culture - whether by including the foosball table, adding a plant or some small decorations, or giving space for reading materials, supportive notes, or baby pictures.

Once your space is ready, make sure your team knows about it! Make an announcement, update your internal documentation, put the sign up.

Jackie Cook is the CEO of Popins, an organization that helps busy professionals and their employers save time and  stress less on the journey into parenthood. For more information or specific questions, you can reach Jackie at Jackie@Popinsfam.com.

Thank you Jackie for submitting an article for the GMA SHRM newsletter! If you are interested in sharing your expertise in an HR-related topic, we would love to hear from you. For more information, please contact GMA SHRM at chapteradmin@gmashrm.com.

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Compensation and Benefits

The 2023 Greater Madison Area SHRM Compensation Survey is now available for purchase!

The results of the 2023 GMA SHRM Compensation Survey are now available.    The survey provides base salary, bonus, total cash, salary ranges and HR policy data for over 150 general positions. That makes the 2023 survey one of the most relevant and reliable sources of general industry compensation data available for the state of Wisconsin. 

For more information, pricing, and purchasing, visit the GMA SHRM Compensation Survey page. 

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Professional Development and Events

Meet, Greet, & Eat!

Meet, Greet & Eat with your fellow GMA SHRM Members!

Share stories, interests and have some laughs over coffee or lunch!  A great way to connect, gripe and celebrate with your HR peeps that "get it"!

Tuesday, February 20th – Noon - 1:00pm 
Me & Julio
2784 S Fish Hatchery Road,
Fitchburg, WI

Space is limited!  Sign up today!
Registration Open


March PDS 

March 19, 2024
Alliant Energy Center

Session 1:  Creating a Culture of Hustle Without Burnout

Session 2:  From Being Inclusive to Practicing Inclusion

In session one, Dustin McClone will explore a framework designed to help ensure that the right priorities are clear to all and that each team member’s contributions are optimized to achieve personal and professional goals.  

In session two, Bhakti Karkare will provide HR professionals with  practical facilitation tools and principles they can apply in these crucial dialogues to build inclusive, safe spaces. 

Program Information and Registration


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2024 Virtual Roundtables Open for Registration!


Join us for these virtual discussions facilitated by members!

New in 2024 - a lunch time Roundtable!

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.

More Information and Registration


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Workforce Readiness, College Relations, Diversity & Inclusion

Committee Spotlight – Building a Stronger Tomorrow with the GMA SHRM Workforce Readiness Committee!

Submitted by Kyle Borgardt, Sr. HCM Account Executive, Paylocity, GMA SHRM DIrector of Workforce Readiness

 Greetings GMA SHRM Members!

Are you ready to dive into the world of workforce readiness and make a positive impact on shaping the future of our workforce? Look no further – our Workforce Readiness Committee is here to guide you on this exciting journey!

At the heart of our mission is the commitment to providing our fellow Madisonians with the guidance and support they need as they look to enter or re-enter the workforce. We strive to provide valuable insights, resources, and opportunities for professional development by sharing the vast knowledge of our GMA SHRM members.

If you're passionate about workforce readiness and eager to contribute to our initiatives, consider joining our committee as a volunteer. Your expertise and enthusiasm will play a vital role in making a positive difference in our community. If you’re simply looking to join events to help with mock interviews, resume reviews, and more, please feel free to complete the survey linked below and we will be sure to keep you in the loop on any future opportunities.

For those interested or looking to learn more about the GMA SHRM Workforce Readiness Committee, please feel free to reach out to Kyle Borgardt, Director of Workforce Readiness, at kborgardt@paylocity.com or complete the survey linked below. We are more than happy to answer any questions you may have and discuss how you can become an integral part of our committee.  Volunteer Survey

Let's work together to build a more prepared and resilient workforce for the future!


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Diversity Observances in February and March

Submitted by Mary Vesely, GMA SHRM Director of Diversity 

Attn GMA SHRM Members: Would you like to be our member feature for a specific observance this year? We are looking for members to add a unique touch by sharing why a specific observance is important to them via video or text for a social media or newsletter post. Don’t be shy, we will work with you on how you’d like to share! See here for sample video from Ambar Sanchez.

Article of the Month:  Make a Meaningful Moment: 15 Ways to Celebrate Black History Month at Work


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

**NEW – Check out our 2024 Diversity Calendar on our DEI Resources page.

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College Relations Committee Member Spotlight

Submitted by Stacey Sykes, Talent Management Program Manager, Labcorp, GMA SHRM DIrector of College Relations

Name: Olivia Stoffels
Job Title: Talent Acquisition Specialist
Current Employer: Quartz
How long have you been a member of GMA SHRM? Since July 2019!
How long have you been a volunteer with GMA SHRM? Since June 2023.
What committee(s) have you volunteered with? The College Relations Committee.
What’s been your role with the committee? I am a member.
Why did you choose that committee? I am passionate about working with Human Resource students and young talent. This volunteer position aligns with my work as well, as I lead our internship program at Quartz. I also have experience leading internship programs at CUNA Mutual Group (TruStage) and WPS.
Why do you volunteer with GMA SHRM? I have loved my experience with GMA SHRM so far, and was looking for a way to get more involved.
What would you say to others who are unsure about volunteering with GMA SHRM? I would recommend that everyone tries joining a volunteer committee. It is a great way to build a better connection with other HR professionals, to give back, and to apply your learned experience into the work you will be doing on the committee!

What’s been the biggest “surprise” to you since being a member of or volunteer with GMA SHRM? (Something you didn’t know about the chapter before, or something you think others may not know, or a fun-fact about GMA SHRM leadership, etc.) Any amount of time you are willing to volunteer is helpful to the chapter, whether it is a few hours a year, or more frequently. We all have experiences and skills that can help build the chapter.

What’s been the biggest “reward” for you since volunteering with GMA SHRM? Getting to build a more personal connection with the other committee members.


GMA SHRM and Member News

GMA SHRM – 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 2023!
Renee Binder SHRM-CP Exact Sciences
Barbara Buffington SHRM-SCP Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District
Sandi Daniel   Fire Light Group
Andrew Martirosyan   The Elite Group
Renee Meyer SHRM-CP Compeer Financial
Abbey Priebe SHRM-CP Zander Solutions
Aaron Richardson   The Alliance
Craig Sauer   The Alliance
Anjee Sorge   Fire Light Group
Jennifer Staebell   Community Living Connections
Mindy Statz   Cyclomedia Technology
Adam Stefanik   MSA Professional Services
Jeffrey Wachter   Exact Sciences
Heather Wantoch   Budget Blinds
Jessica Yager   Oakbrook Corporation

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Congratulations to our 1, 5 and 10 anniversary members!

February Anniversaries

20 Year Anniversary
Jennifer LaBerge
Kimberly Ubersox

15 Year Anniversary:
Ben Huber

10 Year Anniversary
Jayne Miller

5 Year Anniversary
Susan Humbach
Amber Newkirk
Stephanie Winans
Sheridy Zimmerman

1 Year Anniversary
Cara Bechen
Annie Bweick
Shaun Dow
Michelle Elkins
Stephanie Fredirick
Chris Hansen
Jane Kimani
Gina Kratcha
Stacey Lane
Lauren Levey
Jason Loewi
Kerri Molenda
Brittany Nyenhuis
Sehade Sejdini
Jessica Sitton
Rachel Sulik
Nancy Thao
Jennifer Voegeli
Leah Zine

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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 .

Don’t forget to add us on Social Media to see updates, events, general HR knowledge, and more!
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GMASHRM
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/gma-shrm

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