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It's An Honor To Serve

    Guest Blogger: Tim Kelly ( @zero98HR )

    It’s an honor to serve!

    As we hit the midpoint of 2016.  The NOLA SHRM board has started looking at succession planning.  Who’s coming back?  Who’s ready to go?  Where are we going to find the next group of successful, eager board and committee members?  What’s the right amount of churn or turnover for the board?

    These questions are not new.  They get asked every year by every NOLA SHRM board, and they are worth asking and having serious discussion over.  Being on the NOLA SHRM board is more than just carrying a title (hopefully a prestigious title!).  The individuals on the board are charged with keeping our organization going in the right direction and ensuring the needs of members are met.

    Volunteering can mean long hours and hard work.  Frequently the hours are in excess of the hours you put in at your full-time day job.  So why do it?  Why should any HR professional want to volunteer on their chapter’s board or be a committee member?  When the chapter asks for new board members and volunteer leaders, why should you raise your hand?

    Here’s why:

    • Networking – Being on a board or committee helps you to get connected and grow your network.  I can recall being a new member of NOLA SHRM (HRMA New Orleans back then) when a then board member, Danielle Lombard-Sims, pulled me off the wall (literally) and forced me to meet people, including other board members.  A year later, I was volunteering on the Diversity committee, and a couple years leader I was elected to the board. 
    • Gain New Experience – Depending on where you are at in your career, you may not have had the opportunity to lead a project or work with a budget.  The very first project I worked on for NOLA SHRM was doing an HR audit of a small business through the Idea Village.  At the time, I was relatively new to HR, and I was an HR department of one.  As a team member on that audit, I learned how to properly audit and improve my own organization.
    • Raise Your Profile – NOLA SHRM has over 400 members, and volunteering in the organization gives you a prominent place to be seen.  Over the years, I have seen several board members be sought out for open HR positions because people in the HR and business community were aware of them from their Board or Committee activities, so step out and be noticed!

    • Give Back – This one is what I enjoy the most, especially now that I am well settled into my career.  I think we can all remember how we felt when we first got into HR.  It can be daunting.  Being a board or committee member puts you in a great position to mentor and mold the next generation of HR.   

    Tulane SHRM Chartering

    Volunteering with the Young Leadership Council

    • Have a Voice – As a volunteer leader, I have had numerous opportunities to meet with our state’s congressional representatives and to talk them about HR and Workplace issues.  Over the years, I have met Sen. Vitter, Sen. Cassidy and Rep. Richmond.  While I never met Sen. Landrieu, we did meet with her staffers several times.  Without SHRM, I would not have had this great opportunity to tell them our stories and how their legislation impacts our businesses and employees.

    Capitol Hill Visit - SHRM A-Team - HR Advocacy

    • Shape the Chapter – Hopefully everyone loves the direction the chapter is headed.  But, I am sure we have members who have ideas on ways the chapter can improve.  While the board always welcomes feedback from the chapter’s members, serving on the board is an excellent way to have a louder voice and help guide the chapter.
    • Go Places! -  Of course, not every volunteer role will travel, but as a result of volunteering, I've gotten to go to SHRM events in other cities and states.

    • Have Fun! -  This is NOLA and like everything else New Orleans, our board is like a big family! I have truly enjoyed the functions, the friendships and the fun times my service to the chapter has afforded me.

    These are just a few of the reasons why I think an HR professional should want to volunteer.  They are certainly the reasons that I started and continue to volunteer.  If none of the reasons above are compelling to you, I challenge you to seek out and talk to any of our board members about the reasons they serve.  If you aren’t sure who the board members are, click here for a list.

    Whether you are new to the profession or an established vet, whether you have a lot of time to give or little, your chapter has a place for you.  So, when the call for board and committee members goes out later this year, think of what serving can do for you and what you can do for your profession.

    If a Board or Committee position is too much committment, New Orleans is the host city for SHRM's 2017 Annual Conference & Exposition! If you are interested in volunteering at the conference, click here to get on our list. For more information on volunteering, click here.