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Janet Parker, SPHR, executive vice president for human resources at Regions Financial Corp. and former chair of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Board, will become chief global membership officer for SHRM, effective mid-July 2010. In this role she will oversee all strategic outreach and liaison activities with SHRM’s 250,000 members in the United States and more than 140 countries.
A SHRM member for more than 20 years, Parker has held a variety of volunteer leadership positions, including SHRM Board chair from 2007-2008, chapter president for the Birmingham Society for Human Resource Management, state council director for Alabama, and SHRM Foundation Campaign chair.
“With a distinguished career in human resources and with SHRM, Janet brings a wealth of knowledge and personal experience to the chief global membership position,” said SHRM President and CEO Laurence G. O’Neil. “She knows our members and their issues, she’s a proven and dedicated leader, and SHRM is lucky to have her fulfill such a critically important role.”
Parker said the roles of Board chair and chair of SHRM’s Strategy Committee have given her the business insight that will be invaluable in her new position.
Yet of all the things she is looking forward to in her new role, Parker said she is most excited about the opportunity for interaction with SHRM members worldwide. As she understands members’ challenges better, she can assist the SHRM team with ensuring that SHRM’s resources continue to be timely and relevant so that members can anticipate and address changes that impact their work environment.
In her role at Regions, one of the nation’s largest full-service consumer and commercial banks, Parker was responsible for providing strategic HR direction to the consumer services, business services and trust divisions. Prior to joining Regions, she held several senior HR positions in small and medium-sized nonprofit, insurance and manufacturing companies.
Parker says her early roles in HR will help her relate to those who are new to the profession or have been charged with building an HR organization from scratch. “I’ve never forgotten what it feels like to walk into an organization and start with nothing,” she said. Yet she said her work at Regions gives her insights into the needs of those with specialized responsibilities at large organizations as well.
“Janet’s experience in numerous SHRM volunteer leadership roles gives her the unique ability to understand and engage HR professionals at every level,” O’Neil added.
The Member Experience
As a SHRM volunteer leader, Parker said, she had the opportunity to do things that she otherwise would not have experienced in her HR role, such as calling on congressional leaders during the SHRM Employment Law and Legislative Conference, conducting strategic planning sessions and participating in international events.
She noted that the consensus building and negotiation skills she developed as a volunteer leader were particularly useful when she has led cross-functional teams in her professional roles.
Parker has testified before congressional committees and was the 1997 recipient of the SHRM Capital Award that recognized outstanding contributions to SHRM's government relations initiatives.
In January 2008, she was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve on the President's Advisory Council on Financial Literacy, and she has championed the importance of financial literacy for many years.
“Janet has the perfect background for her new role at SHRM. She has a passion for the profession and all it can be,” said Susan R. Meisinger, SPHR, J.D., former president and CEO of SHRM. “She has volunteered for many years with SHRM, and has experience at the chapter, state, and national levels, so she can fully appreciate the contributions made every day by SHRM’s remarkable volunteers.”
During the 2008 SHRM Leadership Conference, Parker wrapped up her two-year term as Board chair by giving the nearly 1,000 SHRM chapter and state council leaders present a message that is as relevant today as it was then: “We have to focus on the heart of HR: helping organizations sustain success and helping people to attain their dreams. You are the leaders who will write the future of your organizations. ... I know the next phase of our journey couldn’t be in better hands.”
Rebecca R. Hastings, SPHR, is an online editor/manager for SHRM.
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