Back in late August I wrote a post talking about how I’ve never been involved in my local SHRM chapter. I didn’t see what the benefits were in relation to the perceived amount of work I would have to do. During my time in Florida Bryan Wempen (of DrivethruHR fame) took my lack of commitment as a challenge. He was kind enough to arrange a virtual introduction with Jennifer Loftus, the current president of HR/NY, which is the largest chapter in New York State and the 6th largest in the country.
Jennifer and I quickly arranged a meeting over coffee. We spoke about a lot of things-our professional histories, why we became HR pros, and what the profession could be better at. During our conversation she made a strong case for why participation in HR/NY would benefit me. Some of the things she talked about were:
- Networking. Aside from being a large chapter, it’s also a diverse one, with members occupying all organizational levels. And Jennifer clarified that its members are local, which makes the networking possibilities easier for me.
- Community Involvement. HR/NY understands that its members have been affected by the economy. They’ve recently launched a new group on LinkedIn, entitled HR/NY Networking Leads Group, specifically for job seekers. Since LinkedIn is the social network of choice for professionals, it makes perfect sense to set this up there.
- Social Media. This is where my ears perked up. The chapter has an in-house social media/PR committee of one-Janet Hoffmann. Having one person handle this responsibility seems daunting but Janet appears to be holding her own. Jennifer hinted that they could use another committee member and would I like to meet her? She quickly arranged an introduction between Janet and I. We met for coffee about a week later. I enjoyed learning more about her, her business, and what she got out of HR/NY. We also brainstormed some ideas on using social media for the chapter.
While discussing the benefits and features Jennifer was upfront about the challenges that the chapter faces. The main ones were:
- Doing more with less. As a volunteer organization HR/NY faces the same financial pressures as other organizations.
- Growing membership. Similar to my situation, other practitioners are asking the question, “What’s in it for me?” Answering this will be critical for the chapter if it’s to remain a vital and vibrant service.
So I’m still intrigued by the possibility of joining. Jennifer and Janet made compelling cases. Thank you both for the time, insight, and coffee! And thank you Bryan! This is a great example of why connections matter. Without him I wouldn’t have had this chance to meet 2 great HR professionals in person.
So what’s stopping me? Right now it’s being unemployed. I have to make securing meaningful work my #1 priority. I will say this-once that’s done I will become a member of HR/NY. I see a lot of value in what they do and what I could offer as a member. So get ready to see me develop in a new direction and work to highlight what’s going on in the New York City Human Resources community.