President's Blog

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  • 11/10/2021 1:48 PM | Anna Mitchell (Administrator)

    Each year the SESHRM Board reviews the potential venue options for our monthly meetings.  After careful consideration, we have made the decision to make a move in 2022.  We will be moving to the Hilton Garden Inn at 5300 S. Grand Circle. In addition, we have also made the decision to invest in some technology equipment to ensure we can continue with our in-person and virtual meeting options. See more information on the link in the newsletter!

    Our November meeting will be one that you won’t want to miss! Steve Schad, President of Optima Advisory, LLC will be presenting on the New Approach to the Labor Shortage. Businesses are confronting unprecedented labor shortages that only dramatic shifts in either demographic trends or immigration policies will change. Be prepared to learn some different approaches to the labor shortage.

    Bring your CASH for the November meeting as we will be holding our annual SHRM Foundation 50/50 Raffle. The SHRM Foundation's mission is to mobilize the power of HR and activate the generosity of donors to lead positive social change impacting all things work.  By doing this raffle, SESHRM can help with their mission.

    Have a nice November and Thanksgiving!

    Mary Jo Vance, SHRM-SCP

  • 10/15/2021 12:11 PM | Anna Mitchell (Administrator)

    How in the world is it the last quarter of 2021?? I am thankful for these nice fall days and hope they will continue.

    I do have some sad news to share….Millisa “Missy” Anderson passed away on Thursday, September 23rd.  Missy had been a fellow SESHRM member since 2014. She was the Employee Experience Manager at First National Bank in Sioux Falls. She leaves behind her husband, John and two children, Jackson and Chloe. Please keep them and her co-workers at First National Bank in your thoughts and prayers.

    Our annual SESHRM membership will start at the beginning of November so be watching your e-mails. We continue to strategize on how we can work on our Mission:

                  Advance the Human Resources profession, empower our members, and serve the community.

    And 2022 will be no different with relevant monthly meetings to include a ½ day session in January, a Spring Conference and much more. In addition, we will continue with our Member Resource Groups which give our members additional networking opportunities. 

    In addition, we will be holding our annual Board Elections in November as well. There are 8 open Board Positions for 2022….so if you have an interest please let Sarah Hanson know ASAP! 
    Her e-mail is:

    You won’t want to miss our October Meeting when Attorney’s Jean Bender and Reece Almont with Davenport, Evans, Hurwitz & Smith LLP speak about the intricacies of Workplace Investigations. This will be great information.   And remember we are offering the meeting in-person at Ramada and also virtually for those that aren’t able to attend.

    Mary Jo Vance, SHRM-SCP

  • 09/20/2021 4:22 PM | Anna Mitchell (Administrator)

    The State SHRM Conference was held September 15th to 17th in Sioux Falls, I hope you were able to attend. Planning for this conference has been in the works since February 2020.  A huge shout out to Jen Adix and Lisa Schenk for being co-chairs for this event and to ALL the volunteers that step up to make this a successful conference.  A lot of time and energy goes into planning the State Conference which was multiplied by planning during COVID.    

    Salary Survey:

    On a bi-annual basis SESHRM partners with Gallagher to complete a local salary survey. That data is collected and compiled by Gallagher and then shared with the participants at no cost.  The SESRHM Salary Survey has been sent to all SESHRM members that participated in the survey.   If you didn’t participate but would like to purchase a survey the cost is $300 for SESHRM members and $400 non-SESHRM members.     

    Here’s the link to purchase the survey:

    Workforce Excellence Awards:

    Do you work for an employer that has made significant strides in employee practices to establish a highly desirable work environment and to recognize them for the leadership, culture, and best practices?   NOW is the time for you to receive the credit for your company’s hard work by nominating your company for our annual award.  

    Here’s the link to nominate your company:

    Professional of the Year Awards:

    Do you know someone that has made significant contributions to the Human Resource Management and represents “the best” in the Human Resource profession?  They are strategic business partners - individuals 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.    You can self-nominate or nominate one of your peers!   Go to under the News tab. 

    Have a great September!

    Mary Jo Vance, SHRM-SCP

  • 08/12/2021 8:50 PM | Anna Mitchell (Administrator)

    The last time SESHRM members met in person for a monthly meeting was February 2020.   It’s crazy to think of the impacts COVID has had on our personal and work lives.  The SESHRM Board has made the decision it’s time to come back and enjoy the networking that really only happens in person.  As I mentioned last month, you are able to attend virtually if attending in person doesn’t work.    It will be our first real test drive so please be patient with us. 

    Our August meeting will be presented by Rachel Gackle, Employee Benefits Consultant with Marsh & McLennan Agency.   She will discuss the importance of effectively managing out benefit packages.  And to do so we need to keep a pulse on current business trends and advancements in the health care delivery system, and how this impacts our employers. As health plan costs continue to outpace inflation, strategies shift toward cost containment: Uncertainty appears to be at an all-time high—about the ACA, about COVID and vaccinations, about access to health care and affordability. What are some smart ways for employers to contain health care costs? How can technology and digital health be used to improve access and drive down costs? 

    Keep in mind….there will be no monthly meeting in September because of the State Conference being held in Sioux Falls on September 15th – 17th.  I am super excited for all of the keynote and breakout sessions!   Get registered today!

    I hope everyone is having a nice summer and have had a chance to take time with your family. 

    Mary Jo Vance, SHRM-SCP

    SESHRM President

  • 07/11/2021 9:21 AM | Anna Mitchell (Administrator)

    The decision has been made…..we will do our first ever in-person/zoom meeting for our monthly meeting in August. Our monthly meeting attendance during the last year of being virtual has been strong so our thought is that members like the flexibility of attending from their home/office. However, we also believe there are members that want to attend in-person. The one ask the SESHRM Board has is to be patient with us! During our first month we may experience some bumps but we won’t know if it works unless we try it! Watch for more details in the next few weeks!

    The State Conference is being held in Sioux Falls on September 15th – 17th. The registration link is on our home page. Be sure to get registered because we have a great variety of speakers, vendors and a chance to network with HR professionals from all over the state!

    And even though this year State Conference hasn’t even been held yet, the Watertown Chapter has started planning for the 2022 State Conference. They are in the process of forming subcommittees, and need representatives from each chapter to sit on the speaker and vendor committees. If you are interested in being a part of this, email me at  

    The July Monthly Meeting will be packed with great information on “Reinforcing the Basics of Compensation”. The meeting will be facilitated by Alternative HRD, LLC Consultants Karen DeLange, Julie Nelson, Kayla Johnson and Sarah Meusburger where they will outline:  Compensation Philosophy, Job Classification, Wage Analysis and Compensation Systems.

  • 06/14/2021 8:49 AM | Anna Mitchell (Administrator)

    June is here but it feels more like a Hot July! As I mentioned last month, SESHRM has a lot going on behind the scenes. This month we were able to host a New Member Orientation. This is a great way for our members to hear more about SESHRM and “meet” other new members. Especially since they have not had the opportunity to meet any of us in person. I don’t know about you, but I am ready for that.  And that’s one of the items we have been working on. Currently trying to work through the technology issues of having a Zoom call and in person event at the same time for our monthly meetings. I should have a solid update for you next month. Thanks to J.R. Rowenhorst and the rest of the Technology Sub-committee for moving this forward.

    Thanks to everyone that expressed an interest in the SESHRM Board Positions. I am excited to announce that we have filled both positions.

    Christina Cota has accepted the Co-Programs Director position. Christina has worked in Human Resources for over 20 years. I have had the pleasure of being on a few Spring Conference Committees with her and know she will bring great ideas to the group! I want to take this time to thank Kayla Johnson from Alternative HRD who has been in this position since the beginning of the year. She quickly jumped into things and has brought some great energy.

    Ashley Donley has accepted our newly created Communications Director position! Ashley has been working in Human Resources the last several years and is currently the HR Director at South Dakota Innovation Partners, LLC. She is already thinking about new and creative ways to communicate to our members and I know will make a great addition to our SESHRM Board. Please help me welcoming both of these ladies!

    The State Conference will be here before we know it…. September 15th to 17th. I am on the speaker committee and we have a great line up for everyone! Be watching for registration information soon.

    Our June meeting is an Employment Update with Nicole J. Mohning, Partner with Cutler Law Firm, LLP in Sioux Falls presenting. She will be providing some important legal updates which is always helpful for our members. Have a great month!

    Mary Jo Vance, SHRM-CP

    SESRHM President

  • 05/17/2021 11:34 AM | Anna Mitchell (Administrator)

    This year is not slowing down for the SESHRM Board. I continue to be amazed by all of our Board Members with their attitudes of “Getting Things Done!” I like one of Steve Jobs quotes, “Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a TEAM of people.” We have a great team of people that are passionate about the success of SESHRM. So…. who would like to join in our success!?   We currently have two Boards positions available. The first one is a Programs Co-Director and the second one is a newly created Communications Director. Look on the front page of our website for more details and send me an e-mail at if you are interested!

    Let’s also talk about the other things we are getting done:

    • Our 7 Member Resource Groups have had their initial meetings in April. I was able to attend one of the Senior Leadership group and am excited to network with other HR professionals in a more intimate environment that will allow for more collaboration.
    • Let’s talk Technology:
      • I informed members that we will be introducing texting. Please go in and update your profile to include your cell phone numbers. Our plan is to text twice per month and members can opt out at any time.
      • Our plan is to continue to utilize Zoom for our monthly meetings for the time being.  We are researching if zoom and in-person can be offered simultaneously. Our monthly attendance continues to be strong while offering zoom; however, we believe there are members that would like an in-person option. The SESHRM Board will be conducting a test run and iron out any bugs prior to offering it at a monthly meeting.
    • Sarah Hanson, President Elect, is working with the Salary Survey committee to ensure we are offering some valuable salary information in a continued tight labor market.
    • Krysta Widman, Certification Director, met with the current SESHRM members that are participating in the Certification Preparation Course. Be watching for new Certified Members soon.  Good luck to all!
    • Alex Clark, Legislative Directive, attended the SHRM Legislative Conference virtually. He also was chosen to be the member daily host on one of the days. Thanks for your work on this Alex!

    Our May monthly meeting will be one you won’t want to miss!! Elisa Garn is a VP of Thought Leadership & Brand Marketing – GBS Benefits and Utah SHRM Executive Director. Elisa will be discussing How HR can transition from a tactical operator to a strategic partner.

    Hope everyone has a great May!  

    Mary Jo Vance, SHRM-SCP
    SESHRM Chapter President

  • 05/17/2021 11:21 AM | Anna Mitchell (Administrator)

    We have a great opportunity to join our SESHRM Board.  The SESHRM Board has made the decision to add an additional Board Position…. a Communications Director Position.  This position will be responsible for evaluating communications channels that SESHRM should utilize.     They will also be responsible for posting all social media posts and updating the SESHRM website.  

    In addition, we have an opening for a Co-Programs Director Position.  This position facilitates the program committee and hold primary responsibility for administering all programming activities for the monthly meetings.

    Please reach out to Mary Jo Vance, SESHRM President, at if you are interested and for a copy of the either job description!

  • 04/09/2021 9:28 AM | Anna Mitchell (Administrator)

    Wow first quarter 2021 is complete…. we continue to make great strides at SESHRM, and we are excited for what is yet to come! 

    Did you register for one (or more) of our Member Resource Groups? If so, watch for more information soon about our first meetings. THANK you to all of the volunteers who signed up to be facilitators. Keep in mind, our intention is not for these groups to be separate from SESHRM, but more of an extension for deeper learning and more networking!

    Do you recall me mentioning in January that SESHRM was getting creative on how we communicate to our members? Next up…. texting to our members!  We will utilize this to inform members of events, surveys, or when we are looking for nominations for Professional of the Year, Employer of the Year Award, etc. or when we are seeking volunteers for Board Positions! See link on the Board Positions that will be available in 2022…. never too early to start thinking about it. Look for more information on this in the newsletter.

    The South Dakota SHRM State Conference is being held in Sioux Falls on September 15– 17, 2021. The committees are busy planning for this event. If you haven’t attended a state conference it is an awesome time to network, gain new insights and rejuvenate. We have some amazing speakers on deck to help do just that!   Speaking of State Conference…. who would like to win a State Conference registration??!! I will be announcing the names of two members at the April meeting that will be randomly drawn from our membership.

    Our April meeting is indeed on 4/20 and we will be discussing marijuana, CBD Oil & Opioids:  Employer Rights and Responsibilities. The 4/20 was not intentional but seems fitting.  J  Employment law attorneys, Jeff Shultz and Seth Lopour, from the Woods Fuller law firm will help clarify how employers can handle the complicated and controversial issues that arise in the workplace with employee use and misuse of legal/illegal substances. They will give us the latest updates on marijuana legislation in South Dakota.

    Mary Jo Vance, SRHM-SCP
    SESHRM Chapter President

  • 03/03/2021 6:14 PM | Anna Mitchell (Administrator)

    I am so thankful that we made it to March, and I am positive spring is coming!  Plus, I am super excited for the launch of our new Newsletter template! Thanks to all the SESHRM Board members that have worked on this!

    As I write the March newsletter, I think back to what our world looked like a YEAR ago. When all this craziness started, I never thought this is where we would be today, and we have definitely had to adapt. As HR Professionals, we need to be leaders in the transformation of what our workplace will look like in the future. Our March session will be on the 5 principles that employers can use for caring for employees during COVID: Gratitude, Generosity, Patience, Communication and Restraint (or Pace). These principles can be used by HR to facilitate conversations with leaders and managers in their own organizations. Tim Heerts, EAP Clinical Specialist at Avera EAP will be presenting this informational session. Come prepared to not only gain understanding of these principles, but to also share and exchange best ideas with attendees.

    And speaking of sharing best practices…. we have had a great response to our Resource Groups. If you have signed up, be watching for more information coming soon. And if you didn’t get a chance to sign up and are still interested, please reach out to Kerry Bamsey at

    SESHRM will be hosting the State Conference in September 2021 which is a huge undertaking and planning. If you are interested in helping, please contact Jen Adix at

    Hope to “see” everyone during our March Meeting.

    Mary Jo Vance, SHRM-SCP

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

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