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Alexandra Cafferty Joins EPAC

A group of people sitting around a wooden table.

​Alexandra Cafferty, SHRM-CP, HR specialist at Alliant Cooperative Data Solutions, is among the five new members of the Emerging Professionals Advisory Council (EPAC) for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). 

Cafferty and the other four individuals join a 10-member council that represents SHRM's five regions—North Central, Northeast, Southeast, Southwest and Pacific West. Council involvement offers leadership, speaking and travel opportunities, including attendance at the SHRM Annual Conference & Expo 2022.

EPAC members are SHRM members, have held an HR or related position for three to five years, and preferably have experience as a SHRM student chapter leader. They have, at minimum, a bachelor's degree related to HR.

SHRM Online spoke with Cafferty about her HR journey.

Her HR role: Cafferty started her full-time HR role at Brewster, N.Y.-based Alliant in March 2019. Her duties include facilitating diversity and inclusion initiatives, attending on-campus and virtual college recruiting events, managing the full cycle of recruitment, working with HR vendors, and assisting with payroll and benefits administration. Prior to Alliant, she worked as office coordinator at TMC, where her duties included conducting employee orientation and onboarding, participating in the interview and hiring process, and working on charity fundraisers.

Her schooling: Cafferty graduated in 2015 with a bachelor's degree in psychology from Eastern Connecticut State University. In 2021 she received a master's degree in strategic HR management from Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn.

She has a certificate in employee relations and investigations from Cornell University; LinkedIn certifications in conflict resolution and diversity, inclusion and belonging; and an HR professional certificate from Central Connecticut State University.

She interned for three months at Naugatuck Youth Services, where she managed mock interviews with local high school students and assisted with resume, interview and employment skill-building workshops for teens.

SHRM involvement: Cafferty served as vice president and president of the SHRM student Chapter at Sacred Heart University and currently is the social media director for SHRM's Southern Connecticut Chapter.

Why HR? "During a train ride to New York City, I happened to run into a family friend who worked in HR," Cafferty said. "I was interested in pursuing a career in HR, but I didn't know where to start. She told me about the benefits of a SHRM membership and how an internship and HR certifications could help me as an emerging professional.

"As fate would decide, I saw a poster on that same train ride advertising Sacred Heart University's Strategic HR Management master's degree program. Little did I know at that time that I would be graduating from that same program just a few years later."

After her internship and earning the HR professional certificate from Central Connecticut State, she said, "I knew I wanted to work in HR for the rest of my life."

Is there an HR area you want to specialize in? "I really enjoy wearing many different hats," Cafferty noted. "There's not one particular area I would want to [specialize] in. I enjoy recruitment, benefits and diversity and inclusion." In the spring of 2021, she partnered with a student to create a mentoring program at Sacred Heart University that pairs undergraduate and graduate students studying HR.

Role of EPAC Members

Committee members meet virtually on a monthly basis to:

  • Provide feedback or suggestions to SHRM on potential and existing services and experiences for the betterment of emerging professional (EP) members within the SHRM community.
  • Assist SHRM with identifying strategies for gaining and retaining EP members.
  • Encourage recognition of EP programs that chapter and state council affiliates lead.
  • Connect with other EP members using social media and various local events and activities.
  • Promote and coordinate the establishment and support of activities at the local level, and strategies that help SHRM student members transition from school into the workforce as emerging professionals.