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Like many people, Colleen Parker Denston was terrified the first time she spoke in front of a large audience.
But with support from fellow members of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), she overcame her fears.
Over the past six years, Denston has become a public voice for the HR profession. She testified before a U.S. House subcommittee to oppose proposed legislation that would make it harder for HR to use credit checks when making hiring decisions. She also spoke before Maryland House and Senate committees.
“SHRM opened so many doors for me,” she says, noting that her public speaking skills helped her land her current “dream” job.
Denston is director of SHRM’s Maryland State Council and a member of its conference committee. She is also a national SHRM Advocacy Team (A-Team) captain who helps ensure that HR’s perspective is captured on legislation related to the workplace and has held leadership roles with the Eastern Shore SHRM chapter.
What is your greatest accomplishment to date?
I worked with many Maryland SHRM members to ensure that the Maryland Job Applicant Fairness Act was less burdensome on employers that had valid reasons for requesting credit information. Seeing the results of our actions unfold in passed legislation is what I deem a great accomplishment.
What’s your work philosophy?
It is a basic approach, but one that has served me well in work and life. I strive to give 100 percent of myself to any job or task and, by doing so, to lead by example. I hope this will in turn motivate others to do the same.
What do you do in your spare time?
For nine years, I have volunteered for a local charity, the Sammy Wilkinson Memorial Foundation, which raises funds to provide sports equipment to children in need around the world. I am also an avid runner.
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