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    Welcome to the last Eblast Newsletter of 2015! What an incredible year it has been! The Heart of Illinois

    Human Resource Council #326 is pleased to announce that on November 19, 2015 at a Volunteer Leader

    Summit in Washington, D.C., our chapter won another Pinnacle Award!

    This is an incredible honor for our chapter and the second one we have received in the past four years!

    This award was for the work we have done with the Salvation Army, Partners for Good and the Veteran’s

    Event we held in May.

    The winning chapters were presented with a trophy and a $1,000 check for our chapter! Here is an

    excerpt from the Pinnacle Award Program: ‘The Heart of Illinois HR Council was honored to collaborate

    with the Heartland Division Salvation Army Veterans Outreach Center to host a special event aimed at

    arming business leaders and HR professionals with a strategy to create, implement and access a veteran

    hiring program and raise awareness of the growing trend in veteran homelessness.

    Background: Strategic Veterans Hiring Program: With more than one million military personnel expected

    to transition to civilian life in the next few years, the job market will be flooded with candidates whose

    experience is heavily military based. Unfortunately, veteran candidates are among some of the most

    overlooked and misunderstood. They face many stigmas associated with military life. In addition, HR

    professionals struggle to translate military experience into qualifications they need to fill open roles in

    their organizations. Further, veteran candidates struggle to explain how what they experienced in the

    military will help them do the job at hand.

    The end result is frustrated companies that want to extend their hiring to veteran candidates but cannot

    seem to find what they need for the business and frustrated veteran candidates who know they have the

    qualifications but cannot seem to get their point across.

    Veteran Homelessness: Each year, thousands of Americans transition from active duty military service to

    veteran status. Though the reasons for this are varied, many veterans struggle to return to civilian life,

    placing them at increased risk of experiencing homelessness. On any given night, nearly 50,000 veterans

    are homeless. In 2009, our federal government acknowledged the growing problem of veteran

    homelessness and proposed a solution. Then Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) Secretary Eric

    Shinseki, in conjunction with President Barack Obama, established the goal of ending veteran

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    homelessness by the end of 2015. The end of the year is almost over, so how are we doing? Since 2009,

    nationwide veteran homelessness has decreased by 33%.

    Largely responsible for this reduction is the surge of funding, programs and resources available to assist

    veterans experiencing homelessness.

    Our Results: Sabrina Baker, PHR, SHRM-CP, HR Consultant and Social Recruiter at Acacia HR Solutions

    presented “From Service Member to Supervisor,” which outlined the tools to create and implement a

    veterans hiring strategy. Next, we learned through a panel discussion of programs aimed at combatting

    veteran homelessness offered by the Salvation Army Outreach Center, Veterans Administration, Goodwill

    and ESGR.’

    So, what’s next? First a big thank you to Cathy Plouzek, SPHR, SHRM-SCP for putting this meeting

    together. We will continue to focus on veterans hiring and expand on this event next November!

    Congratulations to our 2016 Board of Directors!

    Cheryl Bane, MH Equipment – Membership Secretary (on through 2017)

    Alycia Hightower, CEFCU – Membership (on through 2016)

    Chris Johnson, Goodwill - Workforce Readiness/ELITE (on through 2017)

    Janice Hall, CEFCU – Program Chair (on through 2017)

    Rob Burn, AAIM-EA – Transitioning from Certifications to Treasurer (on through 2017)

    Sandra Donelson , Robert Cottingham - Secretary and Past President (on through 2016)

    Erik Christian, HR Fit – Legislative and Sponsorships (on through 2016)

    Ericka Carbis, MH Equipment – Certifications (on through 2017)

    Veronica Poehlman, Peoria Convention & Visitors Bureau – College Relations, SHRM Foundation,

    Scholarships (on through 2016)

    Cathy Plouzek, Alliance Benefit Group – Treasurer (transitioning to Rob Burn), Social Media, SHRM-

    CP and SHRM-SCP Class Trainer, President-Presumptive (on through 2019)

    Timekia Faulkner, Illinois Cancer Care – Website (on through 2016)

    Sharon Bond, OSF IPMR – President-Elect, Workforce Readiness/ELITE (on through 2018)

    Nancy Wraight, Avanti’s Ristorantes – President, Communications (on through 2017)

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    A big thank you to all of those leaving the board of directors this year for their

    service to the HIHRC!

    Laurie Trompeter - Past President Dawn Edwards - Treasurer

    Missy Sallee – Program Chair Wendy Bass – Membership Secretary

    Melishea Williams – Communications – moved out of state


    Have you completed the pathway for your SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP yet? There is not much time

    left to do this at NO CHARGE TO YOU….then you have time to decide which certification you

    will keep going forward. It takes less than an hour and did we mention it is FREE?

    You don’t have to take the exam again by doing this pathway! For more information contact Rob

    Burn, SHRM-SCP, SPHR at or visit and search for

    ‘Certification Pathway’

    Don’t miss your chance! Get your certification today!

    The HIHRC is also pleased to announce that our chapter won the Small Chapter Award at the

    SHRM November Leadership Conference for our contributions to the new SHRM Learning

    System with our classes taught by Cathy Plouzek! We had the most of any small chapter at


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    Our annual Share the Spirit luncheon is scheduled at Alexander Street Steakhouse on Wednesday,

    December 9 from 11:30 to 1:30. This meeting is a great time to get away from the office for a little bit

    and network and have fun with other HR professionals!

    We will be holding a silent auction to benefit the SHRM Foundation, having an UGLY and MOST

    ORIGINAL Holiday Sweater contest and just having fun! Prizes will be awarded in both sweater


    Don’t forget to sign up! Feel free to bring an auction item for the silent auction or your checkbook!

    We hope to see you there!

    Please feel free to donate an item, tickets or a basket of items to the silent auction! The more the



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    Our 2016 Meeting Topics are as Follows*:

    January Wellness at Work

    February Social Media at Work – How to Utilize Twitter, Instagram, Linked In, etc. to Your

    Company’s Advantage

    March Unemployment and How to Document to Win

    April Managing Millennials to Older Workers

    May Legal Issue of some sort – (waiting on laws to reflect what the actual topic will be)

    June Employee Recognition, Retention (and taxes!)

    Also don’t forget National SHRM Conference in Washington D.C.

    July Business Ethics and Strategy

    August How to Measure and Understand Your Company Culture to Change Your Results

    September Something new for our chapter – we are planning on multiple volunteer activities for

    this month – such as a United Way Day or Caring, Salvation Army, Serving meals at a

    homeless shelter – and any other suggestions our members may have

    This is also IL STATE SHRM month

    October Labor Law Update

    November Veteran’s Event

    December Scrambled, Changed and Pampered Share the Spirit

    Thank you for completing the survey sent out to our chapter members. We compiled this meeting

    list based off of the recommendations of our members.

    *Meeting list subject to change due to speaker issues, regulatory changes, etc.

    Our meetings are held the 2nd Wednesday of every month. Currently they are all scheduled as

    lunch meetings based on the feedback we received.

    We are working on an RFP to hold all meetings at one place in 2016. We will be announcing it soon!


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    Do you have ideas for an extracurricular event in 2016? Would you be interested in

    a networking fun event such as…

    Spirit of Peoria cruise Bowling Night Attending Peoria Chamber Events Chiefs Game

    Painting/Wine Drinking Winery Event Movie Night Rivermen Game Museum

    You name it????

    Please email if you would be interested in attending an event for fun

    during 2016!

    It’s time to have some fun!