Below you will find updates regarding awards, offerings, news, and more. We encourage you to visit this page frequently for recent announcements, current initiatives, and the most up to date information regarding SESHRM.

50/50 Raffle - SHRM Foundation By Sarah Hanson

The SHRM Foundation is the philanthropic arm of SHRM. The SHRM Foundation mobilizes the power of HR for positive social change in the workplace. The SHRM Foundation focuses on several initiatives such as: Veterans at Work, Getting Talent Back to Work, Employing Abilities at Work, and Workplace Mental Health & Wellness. They also provide multiple scholarship opportunities for National SHRM Members towards certification, undergraduate/post graduate work, and conferences!

At our October chapter meeting, we will be doing a 50/50 Raffle to raise funds for the SHRM Foundation. Be sure to bring cash! If you won’t be able to attend, but want to learn more and donate directly to the SHRM Foundation visit:

Several Opportunities to Join the SESHRM Board  By Julia Disburg

We have several opportunities for you to join the SESHRM Board this upcoming year! Positions that will be opening up include:

  • President Elect
  • Programs Co-Director
  • Legislative Director
  • Student Chapter Director
  • Workforce Readiness & Diversity Director

If interested in learning more, please contact President-elect, Julia Disburg, at 

Look forward to hearing from you!

SESHRM Scholarship Recipients By Krysta Widman 

SESHRM is delighted to award two deserving members with Scholarships to become Certified-Professionals!  Our winners are Amy Woolston, Valiant Living, Inc. and Cassondra Breuer, Olson Oil Co.!  Both members receive a scholarship worth $1,500 to attend USF’s Certification Prep Course and to cover the cost of the exam. Congratulations to you both and good luck to you as you continue to expand your HR expertise.

If you are interested in learning more about USF’s Prep Course, contact Krysta Widman, Certification Director at or click here to register by 9/1:

SHRM National Conference Summary By Krysta Widman

As a winner of SESHRM’s National Conference Scholarship, THANK YOU for the opportunity to visit New Orleans, connect with HR professionals from around the country, continue my education, and make meaningful connections with great people from our own chapter! I am Krysta Widman, Certification Director for SESHRM and HR Manager at Gage Brothers Concrete Products. I was honored to attend National SHRM for the first time and have a few Take-Aways from the event.

First of all, I would like to explain that this was my FIRST TIME TRAVELING BY PLANE and I was lucky to have my SESHRM gals with me to help me through it! The trip was 5 days completely PACKED with learning, exploring, eating, and connecting.

The conference’s theme: “Causing The Effect” means to be proactive rather than reactive, to be a positive influence in the lives of those around us.

Johnny C. Taylor Jr., SHRM President explained Cause the Effect as the difference between a thermometer and a thermostat. The data keeping and reporting duties of HR professionals are like a thermometer. It tells us information and helps us to make sense of information. In contrast, a thermostat changes the temperature and creates a different environment. He advised HR professionals that in order to be successful, we need to be the thermostat that influences the hearts and minds of our companies and sets the course for the way the world does business. He urged us to make the world work for everyone instead of merely keeping our companies out of the courtroom. He acknowledged that our profession has a unique ability to create change and impact lives by giving one opportunity that can allow someone to unlock their true potential. We not only have the power to impact people’s lives, but we are obligated to do so.

Here are two areas that we can focus on to act as a thermostat in our lives:

1. Mental Health: Remove the stigma from receiving help. Listen with our ears AND our eyes to determine what someone is saying and NOT saying. Make mental health a workplace priority. Lean into empathy, afterall, we are in the HUMAN resources business, not the machine resources business. Match a person’s load to carry with their current capacity.

2. Organizational Culture: People don’t like change, so when they leave a job that means that the known was less satisfying than the unknown. Demand inclusivity and agility in your organization and lead by that example.

A few takeaways from a few of the speakers:

o There is more trouble in inaction rather than action. Always do something, do not get “stuck” trying to find the perfect solution and end up doing nothing.

o Discuss vs. Defend: Get rid of defending an idea or decision. Instead, DISCUSS. Discuss the business, discuss the challenges, discuss solutions.

o Run towards confrontation and get it done with rather than prolong it. Look up and charge into the situation and then WORK THROUGH IT.

o Be positive, smile at people and say hello especially when you don’t know them because it is a good day for a good day!

  • Detecting Deceptions:

o This was a really interesting session that taught the audience that we really aren’t that good at detecting lies. We learned four things to look for when assessing credibility in a story:

 The length of time speaking: someone who is lying will speak for a short time giving as few details as possible. This can be assessed by asking, “Tell me everything that happened during this time…”

 Liars will use passive voice, example: “As you know, photos can be distorted…” This allows them to make truthful statements that may or may not be directly related to the issue at hand.

 Someone who is lying may not use pronouns.

 Someone who is lying may use Qualifiers to deflect from truly answering the question: not really, kinda.

o A few ways you can figure out who is telling the truth between different stories is by asking them to draw what happened and asking them to elaborate or clarify as they draw. People are typically very spatially aware. You may not remember what you had for dinner at the last restaurant you went to, but you probably remember where you sat in relation to the rest of the people who were there.

o The reverse order technique prompts someone to tell the story from the end through to the beginning. This strategy is meant to throw off a scripted story and provide a contrast to the true story that can more easily be recalled in reverse order.

o Things to think about: does anyone have a motive to lie and what is that motive? Who has this person told this story to?

o Confront the person with discrepancies and give them an opportunity to speak to them.

  • Arianna Huffington

o Arianna challenged us to ask our teams what is important to each of them outside of work and how we can support them in that. She said that to encourage people to bring their whole selves to work, we can model this by telling others what we personally are struggling with. This gives people permission to know that we are also people, we care, and that it is ok to be direct about our struggles. She says that this is not about being nice, it is a business strategy. If we don’t get the employee engagement part right, we can’t get anything right. She acknowledged that this is true for us as HR professionals as well. We help others with their struggles all the time, but what time are we taking for ourselves? We need a moment to reset and recharge as well. One of her tips was to fill your space with photos of things in your life that motivate you and bring you joy so that in the challenging times, you can be reminded of things you love about your life.

  • Anton Gunn presented Radical Recovery for leaders.

o Here are his 5 keys for leaders:

 Stay Informed: Get real time information by setting Google Alerts for news stories containing “Employee Engagement”, “Retention”, and “Toxic Culture” to maintain situational awareness. Always stay learning and asking questions and seek to truly understand. This will allow you to respond to tough times rather than react.

 Talk With Transparency: Minimize the fear of the unknown, help people understand that change is good, cultivate future thinkers all by turning naysayers into believers by showing them the benefits.

 Elevate Your Effort To Make Things Better: Strengthen your skillset and mindset by finding new ways to solve old problems. Always SERVE people first, LEAD them second.

 Empower Those Around You: Engage and elevate other leaders by embracing Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion initiatives. Teach what you know so others can grow-remember that success without a successor is a failure.

 Lean In & Lean Through The Crisis: Acknowledge the reality, practice self care, and inspire the people around you. Find a way to be the brightest light in the room.

Overall, the trip was a great experience both personally and professionally as I had the opportunity to both learn and grow my relationships with the people I work with in our local chapter. I am grateful to SESHRM for offering this scholarship and for choosing me to attend! If I have any advice for anyone reading this, it is: Apply for the scholarship—this one or any that is offered to help you grow in your skills and connections AND, if you ever have the chance to go to National—Take it! The quality of speakers and diversity of sessions offered is impressive to say the least!!!

Congratulations to Jami Scoggins for earning her SHRM-CP!

Jami attended USF’s prep course to prepare for the test.  She recommends the class, “Trudy Billion is a wonderful instructor.  I appreciated her insight and examples for the SHRM exam.  Also, I like how she made the class each week interesting, for example:  Jeopardy, Student teaching the class, and creating posters.”  Jami advises anyone thinking of taking the exam to either take USF’s class or purchase the SHRM Learning Center as the pre-test, post-test, and practice exams and quizzes were very helpful. 

Congratulations again, Jami!  You earned it!

Congratulations to Kaitlyn Vortherms for earning her SHRM-CP!

Kaitlyn took the USF prep class along with the SHRM learning site to prepare herself for the exam.  She found the USF class to be very helpful.  It was beneficial for her to hear how other HR professionals relate to topics and bring them into their work daily and how she can incorporate the topics into her daily work.  She enjoyed the additional HR knowledge the instructor, Trudy Billion, shared throughout the class.   What advice does Kaitlyn have for anyone who is thinking of sitting for their SHRM-CP exam?  Do not feel like you have to have years and years of experience to sit for this test.  I went in with 2 years of HR experience and learned so much through the program.

Way to go, Kaitlyn!!

HR Professionals of the Year

SESHRM recognizes local HR professionals annually who have made significant contributions to the field of Human Resource Management and represent "the best" in the Human Resources profession. They are strategic business partners, individuals, businesses or organizations who serve as role models for the profession, who are leaders rather than followers, who set standards for others and the profession, and who apply their professional expertise outside of their organizations. Congratulations to our most recent recipients below!

Distinguished HR Professional of the Year
J.R. Rowenhorst, Sammons Financial Group Companies

Emerging HR Professional of the Year
Maggi Graves Lundgren, Heritage Bank NA

Previous Distinguished Recipients:

Previous Emerging Recipients:

    Workplace Excellence Awards

    The prestigious SESHRM Workplace Excellence Award is to acknowledge those companies that have made significant strides in employee practices to establish a highly desirable work environment and to recognize them for their leadership, culture and best practices. These companies are family-friendly with a dedicated workforce consistently portraying a strong culture of empowerment and growth. The award is presented every year at the SD Safety and Health Conference in October to selected employers displaying the following qualities:

    • Friendly culture
    • Great work/life balance
    • Innovative communication techniques
    • Consistently recognizes those who go “above and beyond”
    • Empowers team members with personal and professional development skills

    If you have any questions please contact our Awards & Recognition Director on our Board Members page. Congratulations to our most recent recipients below!

    Small Company ( < 100 employees)
    Expansion Capital Group

    Medium Company (101-500 employees)
    Grand Falls Casino & Golf Resort

    Large Company ( > 500 employees)
    First PREMIER Bank / PREMIER Bankcard

    Previous Recipients (Small Company):

    Previous Recipients (Medium Company):

    Previous Recipients (Large Company):

    COVID-19 Information for Businesses

    The Department of Health is reaching out to get information to businesses to assist with mitigation strategies to stop the spread of COVID-19. The information includes:

    1. Updated guidance from CDC and OSHA about safe practices
    2. Employee screening tools – if businesses have not already implemented an employee screening process, it is highly recommended they do so. Employees who fail the screening process, should be sent home and follow the steps on the document “Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 if you are sick”; and
    3. General information/signage for businesses.

    As always, there is a host of information available on the website as well as the CDC website, including materials in other languages. If businesses have not already done so, the DOH would also encourage them to reach out to any national associations that might have information specific to their industry.




    SESHRM Salary Survey

    If you would like to purchase a copy of our most recent survey results please click HERE. Thank you to all of our sponsors for making this survey possible!

    Students, Serve as Student President or Vice President

    Sioux Empire SHRM is accepting nominations for the following two board positions. Interested individuals may contact our Student Chapter Director on the Board Members page.

    President (est. 4 hrs/month)

    • Update annual objectives of the student chapter.
    • Recruit new members during annual membership drive.
    • Approve use of chapter funds.
    • Announce via email monthly events to members and local campuses.
    • Collaborate with Chapter Liaison to plan events and submit Merit Award Application during Spring 2020

    Vice President (est. 2 hrs/month)

    • Collaborate with Chapter Liaison to plan events and submit Merit Award Application during Spring 2020.
    • Manage chapter funds and share financial reports.
    • Update the annual goals and objectives of the student chapter.
    • Recruit new members during annual membership drive.

    SESHRM Scholarship Program

    In recognition of the need for skilled Human Resources professionals to support the workforce within the region of Sioux Falls, the Sioux Empire Society for Human Resource Management (SESHRM) will award one (1) $1,000 scholarship per academic year to an eligible undergraduate student recipient meeting the following eligibility requirements. Should no eligible applicants apply in a year, the award will not be given.


    • Current SHRM national student member (which includes membership to student SESHRM #5496) or have submitted application at the time of this scholarship application with proof of membership prior to awarding of scholarship
    • Enrolled in an accredited degree-seeking undergraduate program
    • Degree program is HR-related (i.e., Business, Psychology, Human Resources, Industrial/Organizational Psychology, Organizational Development, etc.)
    • Cumulative GPA is 3.0 or above
    • Applicant may only be awarded the scholarship once per lifetime


    Submit a written application to the current SESHRM Student Chapter Board Liaison at Application format should be a Word document or PDF. Please email application materials addressed to the Student Chapter Board Liaison, who will confirm receipt of your application.

    Application should include the following:

    • Your contact information (full name, address, email)
    • 500-word personal essay articulating your interest in HR, financial need, and career goals
    • Current Resume
    • One professional letter of reference addressed to ‘SESHRM Scholarship Review Committee’ containing information about applicant’s character, ethics, values and experiences. Letter may not come from a family member of applicant and should state context of relationship to applicant (supervisor, professor, mentor, coach, etc.).
    • Copy or screen shot of current academic transcript that will show applicant’s name, the name of the institution of higher learning, courses you’ve taken, and grades for each.

    Submit application materials by March 1 for the following academic year, defined as August through July. Scholarship recipient will be notified of award status by May. Checks will be sent to the student’s account at their academic institution of higher learning and made payable to that institution on behalf of the student.


    All application materials, including your letter(s) of recommendation and personal essay will be reviewed, to assess the following points:

    • 30% Commitment to/passion for HR profession
    • 25% Career goals and commitment to the state of South Dakota, including applicant’s local chapter
    • 25% Academic Achievement
    • 20% Financial Need

    Sioux Empire SHRM is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization. | PO Box 1302 | Sioux Falls, SD 57101 | Chapter #217

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