William W. Spencer III, SHRM-CP, is among the five new members of the Emerging Professionals Advisory Council (EPAC) for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).
Spencer and the other four individuals make up 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 Spencer about his HR journey.
His HR experience: Spencer is one of nine HR employees at Innovative Defense Technologies in Arlington, Va., where he is an HR business partner. He moved into that role after serving as an HR generalist II there.
He also previously had an HR internship at his current company as well as in the Knox County, Tenn., sheriff's office, and he completed a technical talent acquisition internship at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tenn.
His schooling: Spencer graduated from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville (UTK) with a bachelor's degree in business administration in 2018. He received a master's degree in management and HR from the same school in 2019.
The Tennessee Valley Human Resource Association (TVHRA), a professional chapter affiliated with SHRM, recognized Spencer in 2017 with the Student of the Year Award. A year later, he was honored with the Bank of America Student Leadership Award, which was accompanied by a scholarship he used for graduate school.
SHRM involvement: Spencer served as president of UTK SHRM, the student chapter of SHRM at the University of Tennessee. In 2021, he was recognized as a SHRM Emerging Professional Champion.
Why HR? Spencer has family members in HR or HR-related positions, but "[that] was not the key driver" for his interest in HR, he said. He wanted to make a difference and saw HR as the place where he could have the biggest impact on people every day.
"HR are the culture curators," he said. "To make the biggest impact on the largest amount of people is to go into HR and develop a policy and culture that is welcoming."
Is there an HR area you would like to specialize in? Not yet, although talent development is an area that interests him.
Role of EPAC Members
EPAC members meet virtually each month to:
Provide feedback or suggestions to SHRM on potential and existing services and experiences for the betterment of emerging professionals (EPs) 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.