Meet the 2011 WI SHRM State Conference Committee – Communications/Website

Jim Lambert


Matthew Stollak

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.

I know what you’re thinking…another e-mail or postcard about the conference. Well, you have the two individuals profiled here to thank for that effort. The Communications/Website Committee is responsible for, but not limited to, 1) all media press releases and e-mail, 2) managing the conference webpages on the WI SHRM website, 3) developing, managing, and maintaining conference social media sites, and 4) signage and powerpoints at the conference. So, let’s meet the people behind the madness.

1. Who are you?
Jim L – My name is Jim Lambert and I am proud to associated with the 2011 WI SHRM State Conference Committee. I’m employed by the Ho-Chunk Nation government offices located in Black River Falls, WI. I am currently a member of one of Wisconsin’s newest local affiliated SHRM chapters – West Central Wisconsin SHRM. It has been exciting to be part of the birth of this chapter and I’m looking forward to seeing its growth.

Matt S – My name is Matthew Stollak and I am an Associate Professor of Business Administration at St. Norbert College. I also serve as the Social Media Director for the WI SHRM State Council and Student Chapter Advisor for the St. Norbert College student chapter. In addition, I blog at True Faith HR and you can follow me on Twitter at akaBruno. This will be my fifth year on the conference having served on Programming, Exhibits, as well as the Co-Chair of the 2009 WI SHRM State Conference.

2. Why did you want to become involved with the conference?
Jim L – Being a member of SHRM, attending both national and Wisconsin State conferences, and tasting the great resources/benefits that SHRM has to offer to HR professionals, I knew that I wanted to serve in whatever capacity I could handle to give back to such a great organization. Having only dreamed of helping with a conference, I decided to apply for a position on the Wisconsin State Conference Committee back in 2007 when it was held in the hometown of my then chapter – La Crosse Area SHRM. I was grateful for the opportunity that WI SHRM provided me by allowing me to serve on the conference committee. I have since served on the conference committee each year in various capacities. This has all been possible by having a supportive employer (Ho-Chunk Nation), my dear wife (Anna), and three lovely children (Joshua, Justin, and Amber) to whom I am genuinely appreciative. Although a lot of time, effort, and work is required, the desire to continue serving on the conference committee is very contagious. Not only do you have a lot of fun during the planning stages and see efforts come to fruition at the conference, but you develop great friendships with those who share your interest in the HR profession.

Matt S – Besides the free registration and hotel for two nights, serving on the committee provides an opportunity to help influence the direction of the conference, as well as give back to the HR community.

3. What is your committee doing to make the 2011 WI SHRM State Conference special?
Jim L – In 2011 I was selected to serve in the capacity, for the second consecutive year, of Communications and Website Co-Chair. This year my co-chair is Matt Stollak, who brings several years of WI SHRM State Conference expertise to the table. My main responsibilities in 2011 have been to build and keep the WI SHRM conference website up-to-date. I’m also given the responsibility of preparing the slide shows that occur prior to the general sessions and meals each day. And, be sure to watch out … you may just see me out and about snapping photos of you while at the conference. If you do, there is a slight chance you’ll see yourself on the big screen!

Matt S – The greater emphasis on social media will make the conference a little more interactive and participatory. Be sure to follow the hashtag #wishrm11 on Twitter for lots of good conversation on the various sessions and the conference overall. Similarly, look for more detailed coverage on the WI SHRM State Council Blog, Forward HR. Finally, we are glad to be hosting the Drive Thru HR crew of Bryan Wempen and William Tincup, who will be providing additional media coverage of the conference.

4. What has been the biggest challenge(s) in your role?
Jim L – Although serving on the conference committee is very rewarding, each sub-committee has its challenges. One of the biggest challenges with Communications/Website as I’m sure is the case with most sub-committees is to keep communication open between the entire committee. So much of the work is closely associated and one thing can affect several other sub-committees. So when corresponding, you need to think about everyone who may be affected by a change. Forgetting to include just one individual on an e-mail, may result in an oversight or different and inaccurate information being communicated by different people. While this does occasionally occur, the committee is made up of great individuals who are very conscientious so these are kept to a minimum.

Matt S – Trying to find that happy medium between too little information being provided, and information overload. It would be disappointing if a person interested in the conference was unaware of what was occurring. Similar, we do not want to deter people through continuous information bombardment. It is also challenging that more people aren’t on Twitter who might be able to share their perspectives and insight on the conference.

5. Any final thoughts?
Jim L – In conclusion, I would like to say that the 2011 WI SHRM State Conference will be one that you will not want to miss. The conference committee is very excited for October to arrive so we can celebrate its 25th anniversary. I would also like to encourage each one of you to consider serving on future conference committees. It’s willing volunteers like you who make these conference dreams come true! I hope to see each one of you at the 25th Annual & 2011 WI SHRM State Conference on October 12–14, 2011.

Matt S – Um….ditto.

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