Meet the 2011 WI SHRM State Conference Committee – Activities

Jennifer Held

Merry Lee Lison

The 2011 WI SHRM State Conference will take place October 12-14 at the Monona Terrace in Madison, WI. State Conferences do not happen in a vaccum. They require a lot of commitment and hard work to put on the “big show.” This is one of an ongoing series highlighting the people behind the scenes as well as the positions they hold.

A marching band or Chinese dragon to celebrate the opening of the exhibit hall. A SHRM Gemutlichkeit. A Mardi Gras Carnivale. A party at the Lambeau Field Atrium. The Bodeans. These are just a few examples of the many exciting events the Activities Committee has put on over the years for the WI SHRM State Conference. This year, Merry Lee Lison, SPHR , GPHR, Director of HR AT TRC Global Solutions, inc., and superhero “Defender of Fun, and Jennifer Held, HR Specialist at the Chippewa Valley Technical College in Eau Claire, have been working in tandem to bring about some special activities for the 25th anniversary….

What is your committee doing to make the 2011 WI SHRM State Conference special?
Merry Lee: “We’re creating lots of opportunities to celebrate our 25th year of the conference! There will be trivia, memorabilia plus several photo ops for creating new memories. One of the photo ops will include a giant cake. How fun is that? I mean it’s not every day that you can have your picture taken with a huge cake with a “25” on top, right? On Thursday night, entertainment will be the Deuces Wild Dueling Pianos, which is always a blast.”
Jennifer: This year at the conference the activities committee is tying in the 25th Anniversary theme to “25 years of trivia.” Because silver is the 25th year symbol, we will be playing “Silver Mania” as the Thursday activity. There will be cake and photos during the event to make 25 years more memorable to you.

Why did you want to become involved with the conference?
Merry Lee: “Because there are other awesome people on the committee who believe in putting together a great event that advances the HR profession in Wisconsin and I wanted to be a part of that. Plus, I hear the conference committee shirts would be purple this year and that’s a good color for me.”
Jennifer: “I wanted to become part of the State Conference Planning Committee immediately after attending my first conference. I was absolutely amazed at the complexity and success of the planning that goes into the conference.”

What has been the biggest challenge(s) in your role?
Merry Lee: “We are gathering memorabilia from conferences and other state council events in the past and we could use everyone’s help! If you’ve got anything from the past – conference programs, pictures, bags, whatever, we’d love to borrow them to add to our 25 year display.”
Jennifer: “My biggest challenge is geographic. I live several hours away from Madison, so it makes it hard to attend the monthly planning meetings.”

What are you most excited about for the conference?

Merry Lee: “The programming for the educational sessions; some of the keynote speakers look especially great! Oh, I am also excited about the conference committee shirts.”
Jennifer: “Being part of a motivated and dedicated committee makes this role extremely exciting and a very valuable experience for me.”

Any final thoughts?
Merry Lee: “I encourage all fellow HR colleagues to join us at the conference! There are going to be so many great opportunities to network with fellow attendees and pick up new ideas in the learning sessions. We’ll have a huge variety of companies in the exhibit hall and all of this will be wrapped around with fun activities. This will be the best conference in 25 years!
Jennifer: “I am looking forward to see you all in October!”

You can contact Merry Lee at or Jennifer at about memorabilia from conferences of yore.

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