2019 Pinnacle Award Winners Announced

By SHRM Online staff November 15, 2019
2019 Pinnacle Award Winners Announced
Winners of the 2019 Pinnacle Award winners were honored at a reception at the Volunteer Leaders' Business Meeting in Washington, D.C. Pictured from far left to right are Ian Wiggins, SHRM-SCP, Lower Columbia Human Resource Management Association SHRM chapter, Oregon; Ed Carpenter, SHRM-SCP, Southern Indiana SHRM chapter; Thad Inge, Paychex, Washington, D.C., Pinnacle Awards sponsor; Margaret Lynch, SHRM-CP, SHRM New Mexico State Council; Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP, SHRM president and chief executive officer; Kimberley Gordon, SHRM-SCP, Western Arkansas Human Resource Association SHRM chapter; Brenda Reedy, SHRM-SCP, Wyoming State Council; Amanda Ericson, SHRM-SCP, Colorado SHRM State Council; Tamara Hagerty, SHRM-CP, Cleveland SHRM chapter; Lisa Cooper, SHRM-SCP, Association for Human Resource Management SHRM chapter, Michigan; Stephanie Conn, SHRM-SCP, Bay County SHRM chapter, Florida; Cassie Kohn, SHRM-CP, South Central Minnesota SHRM chapter; Carrie Svendsen, SHRM-CP, Human Resource Association of the Midlands SHRM chapter, Nebraska and John Ruyter, SHRM-SCP, Chesapeake Human Resources Association SHRM chapter, Maryland.

Photo by Chris Williams, Zoeica Images

​Creating a Native American chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), livestreaming chapter meetings to members in rural areas and hosting a webinar series on diversity issues were among the innovative programs singled out for the 2019 Pinnacle Award.

On Nov. 14 at the SHRM Volunteer Leaders Business Meeting, nine chapters and three state councils were given the highest honor that bestows on its affiliates.

Winners were selected from 75 applications and evaluated by internal and external judges on whether they served the HR professional, enhanced the SHRM community or advanced the HR profession.

The award was created in 1991. This year, recipients were from Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Oregon, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio and Wyoming. Chapters and councils received a $1,000 prize and a crystal plaque. Paychex Inc. sponsored the awards.

Winning programs also were showcased at the volunteer leader gathering in a video montage of projects these chapters and state councils undertook.

[SHRM members-only chapter and council support: SHRM's Volunteer Leader Resource Center]

Serving the HR Professional

The winners are:

Small Chapter (10-100 members)—Lower Columbia Human Resource Management Association (Oregon)
"A 'Crucial' Training Series." The 40-member chapter found ways to offer affordable training to its mostly rural community. It did this by asking a certified speaker to provide his services pro-bono, exchanging HR services for complementary use of the training site, and by negotiating with local businesses for hotel rooms and catering. The chapter reinvested its profits by increasing its scholarship offerings, expanding the chapter's services to reach a rural region 60 miles away, improving member networking opportunities and better assisting members in reaching SHRM certification goals.

Medium/Large Chapter (101-500 members)—Association for Human Resource Management (Michigan)
"HR for Small Business & Non-Profits." The chapter initiated a program to serve small business owners who may not think of themselves as HR professionals, but who have an impact on the HR profession. The aim was for the chapter to be the HR resource for all small business owners and nonprofit leaders, and to be the HR experts for the West Michigan business community and media. 

Mega/Super Mega Chapter (501-1,000 members)—Chesapeake Human Resources Association (Maryland)
"A More Focused Approach … with Round Tables." As the largest SHRM chapter in Maryland with more than 1,100 members, chapter leaders felt they were offering programs that were too generalized for its members. Members wanted more focused content, so the HR Executive Roundtable was created and launched in 2016 to bring C-suite HR professionals together for thought leadership dialogue, knowledge sharing and networking. The program has been so successful that the association recently launched its HR Department of One Roundtable.

State Council—Colorado SHRM
"Diversity & Workforce Webinar Series." The council has offered quarterly webinars on topics of interest to HR professionals for two years to encourage monetary support of the SHRM Foundation. The council raised more than $1,700 to date. Donors may participate in a bonus webinar that offers guidance on applying for SHRM Foundation scholarships. Webinar topics have included the transgender experience; unconscious bias; the aging workforce; hiring, onboarding and retaining veterans; building gender-smart teams; and global HR strategies for a culturally diverse workforce. This year the series featured a webinar on the SHRM Foundation's veterans certificate program and initiative.  

Enhancing the SHRM Community 

The winners are:
Small Chapter—Bay County SHRM (Florida)
"Hurricane Michael Outreach and Recovery Efforts." The hurricane destroyed many homes and businesses in October 2018, and residents were forced to relocate for housing and employment. The chapter instituted a response plan that included distributing hurricane supplies, organizing a recovery meeting to share community information and hosting a Mental Health First Aid certification course. 

Medium/Large Chapter—Southern Indiana SHRM
"SISHRM Remote Access." In southeast Indiana, there is only one SHRM affiliate chapter serving a 19-county region. In 2018, the chapter decided to adopt a new electronic form of delivering monthly chapter meeting content, and giving HR professionals in the 19 surrounding counties access to earning recertification credits and the ability to be part of a chapter remotely. The technology platform used is similar to Skype and remotely livestreams monthly meetings. The chapter formed small-group HR meetings in towns and cities within its area to livestream the chapter meeting and still have networking benefits for participants. The chapter is now using the technology for SHRM certification study-group classes and as a tool to grow membership.  

Mega/Super Mega Chapter—Cleveland SHRM (Ohio)
"Women's Leadership Conference of Northeast Ohio." This event connected the Northeast Ohio HR and business communities by creating a space where women learned about negotiations, mentors and sponsors, finances, branding, self-care, leadership tools, and how to build a board of directors.  

State Council—SHRM New Mexico State Council
"SHRM New Mexico and Indian Country: Kindred HR Spirits." There are Native American tribes located in New Mexico—19 Pueblos, three Apache tribes and the Navajo Nation. The latter is the largest Native American tribe in North America.
The state council encouraged and endorsed the creation of the new SHRM Native American Chapter. The chapter focuses on creating and building bridges among other states' Native American communities to benefit tribal HR professionals and those who work with the 573 federally recognized tribal nations.  

Advancing the HR Profession 

The winners are:
Small Chapter—South Central Minnesota SHRM
"Operation Employment: Building A Community One Hero at a Time." This project developed after attending the 2017 Volunteer Leaders' Summit and learning about the SHRM Foundation's military initiative. The chapter's board tapped into the expertise of a member who was a National Guard spouse to educate HR and business leaders about an untapped labor market. The chapter's two-year project helped shine a light on essential leadership soft skills that are extremely valuable in our tight labor market and educate employers on changes in the National Guard and Reserve since Sept. 11, 2001.  

Medium/Large Chapters—Western Arkansas Human Resource Association
"Restore Hope: 100 Families." The population of western Arkansas includes some of the highest broken-family rates in the nation. The cycle often continues with adults returning to institutions, prolonging their absence from their children. Working with a coalition of numerous courts, the chapter and social services providers, economic development teams, educators, and employers worked to provide services including housing, transportation, job training and life-skills training. Since its official launch Feb. 25, 2019, the program has helped 74 families in the program.

Mega/Super Mega Chapter—The Human Resource Association of the Midlands (Nebraska)
"Addressing Domestic/Sexual Violence in the Heartland." Creating Domestic/Sexual Violence and the Workplace Toolkits was a collaboration of the chapter and the Women's Fund of Omaha.
The chapter said one of its goals is to provide education to help create diverse and safe work environments for all employees. These toolkits provide employees across the Omaha metro area with resources on what domestic and sexual violence looks like.  

State Council—Wyoming State Council
"WDOC ReEntry Partnership." In Wyoming, 95 percent of inmates are released back to into society. The state council partnered with the Wyoming Department of Corrections' (WDOC) ReEntry Program to assist inmates in developing the necessary skills to find employment once they are released. The council became involved with the resource fair for inmates that the WDOC holds every 18 months at each prison across the state. The event is similar to a job fair and includes community providers and other organizations that can provide assistance to formerly incarcerated individuals. During the last 12 months, the council attended fairs at four prisons and talked to more than 300 inmates who are within one year of release. It also prepared information on job seeking, such as interviewing tips, resumes and how to talk to employers about criminal convictions. 




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