March 2017 Newsletter Print

President's Report

Kimberly N. Prescott, SHRM-SCP, SPHR

President, Howard County Human Resources Society

Although it's not quite spring, it feels like it!  The cherry blossoms are blooming and the weather is nice.  I look at the season as another opportunity for us to start fresh and re-motivate to accomplish more goals and wrap up some projects that were started at the New Year. A lot of us think about lighter clothes, a lighter attitude and possibly a lighter workload. To me, spring is a reminder that I need balance in my life, and focus on the things that I treasure. Like a leisurely evening dinner with my friends at an outside cafe, walking around Wilde Lake and the start of baseball season (Let's go Nats!).

Most of us enjoy all of these things and also have careers and so many other things that compete for our time and attention. Because of all the distractions, it is increasingly more important to be mindful and focused while working or enjoying family and friends to get the most out of our time.

It seems the topic of mindfulness is becoming mainstream in the business world. I have seen articles in Forbes, Harvard Business Review, and the Wall Street Journal exploring mindfulness.I find that taking a few minutes to an hour for restorative yoga (not the practice with difficult poses!) or guided meditation, helps me to get my mind more focused and relaxed.  Over time I have learned the benefits of adopting this practice are numerous—stress reduction, increased productivity, elevated mood, and better sleep. I encourage you to look further into the subject if you are curious.

I mention mindfulness this month because I think spring is a great time to do something new, to find ways to clear the clutter on our desks and in our minds, and to enjoy our work and time spent at play. Some say that living a balanced life with the way we, as a culture, work today is challenging. I say we can find ways to remain focused and aware of those around us in a positive and productive way so that we can lighten our workload and stress levels.

I hope you have a light, enjoyable – and mindful — spring!


Back to top

Calendar of Events

Fiduciary: Who? Me? - Understanding the New Fiduciary Rule

March 16, 2017
8:00 AM - 10:30 AM
 Add to Calendar

Ecker Business Training Center
6751 Columbia Gateway Drive
Columbia, MD 21045

Since 1974, when Congress enacted the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), the Department of Labor (DOL or Department) has worked to protect America's tax-preferred retirement savings. In the ensuing decades, there has been a dramatic shift in the retirement savings marketplace from employer-sponsored defined benefit plans to participant-directed 401(k) plans, coupled with the widespread growth in assets in Individual Retirement Accounts and Annuities (IRAs). When the basic rules governing retirement investment advice were created in 1975, 401(k) plans did not exist and IRAs had just been authorized. These rules have not been meaningfully changed since 1975.

These changes in the retirement landscape over the last 40 years have increased the importance of sound investment advice for workers, their families and plan fiduciaries. While many advisers do act in their customers' best interest, not everyone is legally obligated to do so and some do not. Many investment professionals, consultants, brokers, insurance agents and other advisers operate within compensation structures that are misaligned with their customers' interests and often create strong incentives to steer customers into particular investment products. These conflicts of interest do not always have to be disclosed and advisers have limited liability under federal pension law for any harms resulting from the advice they provide to plan sponsors and retirement investors. These harms include the loss of billions of dollars a year for retirement investors in the form of eroded plan and IRA investment results, often after rollovers out of ERISA-protected plans and into IRAs.

The Department's conflict of interest final rule and related exemptions will protect investors by requiring all who provide retirement investment advice to plans, plan fiduciaries and IRAs to abide by a "fiduciary" standard—putting their clients' best interest before their own profits. This final rulemaking fulfills the Department's mission to protect, educate, and empower retirement investors as they face important choices in saving for retirement in their IRAs and employee benefit plans.

About Russell M. LaGreca:

Mr. LaGreca works at Morgan Stanley in institutional consulting, high net worth family and corporate client divisions drawing on years of non-profit, estate, financial and executive benefit planning experience.  In addition to his work with individuals, institutions and retirement plans, he also supports many of our non-profit staff members in developing planned giving campaigns. 

 Mr. LaGreca earned the Certified Financial Planner™ certification in May of 2004 and the Chartered Retirement Plans SpecialistSM professional designation in November of 2007.  Prior to joining Morgan Stanley in 2006, he spent over 11 years at Legg Mason. Mr. LaGreca focuses on investment consulting for institutions, consultation on 401(k) plan design, employee education & implementation and providing sophisticated planning solutions for high-net-worth clients.

 Mr. LaGreca received his Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Loyola College in Baltimore, MD.  He is an active member of The Greater Baltimore Committee and The Chesapeake Planned Giving Council and serves on the Catholic Community Foundation Investment Committee and St. Margaret Finance Committee.

Thank you to John Hancock for sponsoring our March meeting!

We make plans work and we are easy to do business with.

This program is valid for 1.0 PDCs for the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP. For more information about certification or recertification, please Howard County Human Resources Society (HoCoHRS) is recognized by SHRM to offer professional development credits (PDCs) for SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP. 
This meeting has been approved by HRCI for 1.5 general credits.  The use of this seal is not an endorsement by the HR Certification Institute of the quality of the program. It means that this program has met the HR Certification Institute's criteria to be pre-approved for recertification credit.

Back to top

SHRM Foundation Update

In 2017, the SHRM Foundation will award almost $500,000 in support to students seeking undergraduate, graduate, certification and professional development opportunities. SHRM is encouraging all eligible SHRM members, student members, Chapters and State Councils and organizations to apply for one or more of the scholarships and awards, click here for more information.

Back to top

Volunteer Opportunities

There is still time to volunteer for the Passport to the Future Event.

HoCo HRS has a partnership with the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS). For the last several years, we have participated in the Passport to the Future event.

Passport to the Future is a Howard County Public Schools workforce preparation program for students who are enrolled in Career Research and Development. Currently, approximately 150 students participate each year in the program.

On March 17th, more than 150 local high school students will need your help. On that day, students will be participating in practice job interviews. In addition to the Chamber volunteers, the HCPSS seeks local professionals to interview Passport students.

Date: Friday, March 17, 2017, 8:00am – 12:00pm
LocationHoward Community College, Rouse Foundation Building, #400, 10901 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia, MD 21044
Register online

Chapter Volunteer Opportunities

We are looking for a few good men and women for volunteer opportunities within HoCo HRS and in the community.

Board positions available:  

  • Communications Chair
  • Diversity Chair
  • Sponsorship Chair


Don't have time to commit to a board position?  We understand, but there are still ways you can get involved with the chapter. You can be on a committee.  Committee members work with the Board Chairs on smaller projects that don't require as much time commitment.  Interested in learning more, contact our Volunteer Coordinator at

Back to top

Updated Member Resources and Social Media

Member Resources

Please visit our new Member Resources page on the HoCo HRS website.  It contains information about job fairs, webinars and conferences, opportunities to obtain recertification credits and more. Please visit this page regularly and take advantage of this valuable resource.

Social Media

Announcing our debut on Facebook! Like our Howard County Human Resources Society-HocoHRS Facebook page!  We will be using this Facebook page as a way to interact with other HoCoHRS members, learn about our upcoming events, partnership activities, networking opportunities and more. We invite and encourage you to post to the page your pictures/videos from our events. Like our page here:

Don’t forget to connect with us on our other Social Media Platforms! There will be more information posted and ways to connect with us soon!

Back to top

Maryland SHRM State Conference


Navigating The Sea of HR Change: Surviving the Storm

October 15th-17th, 2017 
Clarion Resort Fontainebleau Hotel in Ocean City, Maryland

More details to come, visit for updates.

Back to top

News from Maryland State Council

Are You Hiring?  Use MD SHRM’s job posting board to reach qualified candidates in and around Maryland!  Click here for more information and competitive rates.

Earn, Learn and Save! The Maryland State Council, Inc. continues to partner with SHRM‘s e-Learning program. In fact, we are the test case for this project. While earning recertification credits, obtaining at least 1 recertification hour for each course successfully completed, members enhance their skills through these expertly designed programs. ALL 60 recertification credits can be earned through this program. The courses are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week so it is very convenient for even the busiest person. Members are encouraged to register with code SHRMMDSC to take advantage of the SHRM e-Learning program. Fliers for this program are being distributed to the local chapter CLAs for their upcoming programs. 

Back to top