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NEW ORLEANS—SHRM member Kristy L. Brockman, PHR, shown right, is the first recipient of the Susan R. Meisinger Fellowship for graduate study. The former Green Bay, Wis., chapter member was recognized during the June 30, 2009 general session of the SHRM Annual Conference held here.
Brockman will receive $10,000 toward her schooling at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she is studying for her master’s degree in HR and Labor Relations. Her goal is to become an employee relations/labor relations advocate. She works full time as HR manager/safety manager for KI, a nonunion international furniture manufacturer in Wisconsin that has more than $550 million in sales.
Brockman represents the future of the HR profession, said Robb E. Van Cleave, SPHR, IPMA-CP, SHRM’s Board Chair.
“You’re a shining example of the best in our profession,” he told Brockman, who stood and waved to the crowd.
The fellowship honors Meisinger, who retired in 2008 after six years as SHRM’s president and CEO. During her 21-year tenure at SHRM, Meisinger served as vice president and senior vice president of the Society’s government and public affairs department, and as the nonprofit association’s executive vice president and chief operating officer.
The award represents Meisinger’s “unrestrained passion for continuous improvement in our profession,” Van Cleave said.
The aim is to further the educational credentials of HR professionals; the award is meant to cover the costs of tuition, fees and books and, if applicable, room and board.
Brockman anticipates the degree will afford her “the expertise to influence future policies made by our state and/or national leaders in labor relations and/or employee relations,” she wrote in her letter of application.
“As the laws change, we must have the business acumen and the legal understanding of how to navigate to best support our customers,” she wrote. “The business background is critical to helping us talk intelligently about making decisions that will impact our organizations for years to come.”
Brockman has worked in HR for 11 years. During that time her labor relations experience has included working with six unions, administering 10 contracts, and organizing the recall and integration of 123 workers. She has held the roles of chief spokesperson and bargaining team member during negotiations and has experience with grievance management, investigations and arbitrations.
Her interest in becoming a government-level employee relations/labor relations advocate has prompted her involvement as a Trustee of the Village of Bonduel, Wis. She has been a member of the planning commission, an administrative committee chair and the ad hoc labor negotiations chair. She volunteers with her local Chamber of Commerce and is a mentor.
Teaching HR practice and theory at the college level—especially as it relates to understanding the impact of laws on employment—and working as a consultant in the employee/labor relations field are among Brockman’s goals.
“I hope to leave a legacy of best practices, integrity and the dedication to doing what is right,” she wrote in her application letter.
Brockman will be eligible to renew fellowship funding for a second year, provided she maintains a minimum 3.5 grade point average and meets various SHRM membership and certification criteria.
Application materials for the 2010 fellowship award will be made available in January, with applications due April 1, 2010. SHRM’s Membership Advisory Council representatives screen applicants; a selection committee of SHRM staff evaluates and names a winner from the recommended candidates.
More information on the fellowship can be found at www.shrm.org/meisinger.
Kathy Gurchiek is associate editor for HR News.
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