February 2021 Newsletter Print

A Message from Our President

2021 is here!

Let’s start 2021 with some humor (Lord knows we earned it); COVID 2020 is now 21 and can drink.

And so begins my tenure as President of the Howard County Human Resource Society. With the help of our outstanding board of directors and committees, we will achieve big things and celebrate our 20th anniversary this year. I want to thank our Past President Elicia Wood, our President-Elect Katherine Mooney, and Cindi Mitchell for helping establish this year’s most excellent board of directors and committee members. With their help, we will continue to provide member resources and community outreach programs to help navigate this world health crisis.

There will be no shortage of relevant topics shaping the roles and responsibilities of the HR professional this year. Last year was reactive and adaptive, and this year will be about preparing for a post-pandemic workplace.

Ten Trends That Will Shape HR in 2021:

1. Shift from managing the employee experience to managing the life experience of your employees.
2. More companies will adopt stances on the societal and political debates of the day. 
3. The gender-wage gap will increase in 2021 as employees return to work at the workplace.
4. The significant increase in employee-monitoring technology will be met with new regulations limiting what employers can track about their employees.
5. Flexibility moves from location to time.  
6. As the labor market improves and recruiting ramps back up, the two-class system within companies, between knowledge workers and everyone else, will only intensify.
7. Leading companies will make bulk purchases of the COVID vaccine to distribute to their employees.
8. Employers will be challenged legally over COVID vaccine requirements.
9. Mental health support becomes the norm.
10. The buy-versus-build talent calculus will shift to more buy and rent and less build.

This chapter is run for the members and by the members, so we are constantly looking for that next excellent volunteer to raise their hand and contribute their energy and experience to make this chapter even stronger. Please reach out to any board member and we will be glad to find you a committee home.
While I believe we are closer to getting back to some semblance of normalcy, we need to stay vigilant and continue to conduct all meetings virtually.  At some point we will begin to consider a hybrid model (in-person and virtual), but that will be a board decision with chapter members weighing in with their thoughts.

Until then, stay warm, stay safe and we will “see” you on our next virtual chapter meeting to be held this Thursday, February 18th.

Kind Regards,
Lee Eybel
President, HoCo HRS

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Upcoming Events

Digital “Lipstick” Vs. Digital HR Transformation: The Real Face Of HR Technology Transformations

Join us this Thursday, February 18th from 8:15-10:30am. This webinar will be hosted by our very own, Jay Polaki, Founder & CEO of HR Geckos 
Registration closes at 5pm on Wednesday.


About Our Program:

Technology transformation is the future of HR. Participation in this session will help you decide if you are poised to make this transition and if going digital is right for your company. Data is now in every employees’ hands, and how we implement its tremendous potential should be at the top of every organization’s agenda.

We hope you will walk away from this webinar have learned about:

  • Key Elements of an HR Systems Strategy
  • Resourcing for the Future - better managed workflows, workforce planning, candidate screening, onboarding, as well as the use of virtual assistants or bots to respond to frequently asked questions.
  • Managing Security and Privacy
  • Firsthand experiences around making HR technology work in your organization and success stories are welcome!


About Our Speaker:

Jay Polaki is the Founder and CEO of HR Geckos, an HR Technology and Management company. Jay has spent the last two decades in several leadership positions across industries; as a business partner, executive human resources consultant, and human resources director. Throughout her career, Jay has impacted how some of the most important HR functions are defined and executed. At HR Geckos, Jay continues to create, fuel and encourage next-gen ideas, practices, and tools in Human Resources Technology, Leadership Development, Talent, and Compensation Strategies.

Jay holds the Senior Human Resources Professional (SPHR) and SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) certifications. She attended Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUe), graduating with a Master’s in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. Jay is an official contributing member of the Forbes Human Resources Council. While Jay handles clients internationally across all HR Geckos’ markets, she lives, writes, grows tomatoes, solves crosswords, and integrates work into life in the DC metro area.

Thank You To Comar Cyber For Sponsoring This Month's Webinar!

Comar Associates, Inc. (Comar), is an established Woman Owned Small Business (WOSB), safety/ environmental health and cyber services and training consulting firm with offices in Silver Spring, MD and Washington, DC. Since 1986, the company has been offering IT, technical support, training, program development, management consultant services, and equipment procurement and delivery. 

this webinar has been approved for recertification credits

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Chapter Happenings

We are excited to share that HoCoHRS has been awarded the 2020 SHRM Learning System Champion Status, and we received recognition at the virtual Volunteer Leaders’ Business Meeting that took place before Thanksgiving.

We are recognized as a strategic partner to SHRM, providing outreach and HR Education to our chapter members.

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Diversity and Inclusion

February is Black History Month

“Those who have no record of what their forebears have accomplished lose the inspiration which comes from the teaching of biography and history.”  
~ Carter G. Woodson

Black History Month was born out of education. While the history of black people in America traces back hundreds of years, the origin of Black History Month as we know it today is said to have begun with Carter G. Woodson, the second African American to be educated at Harvard and earn a PhD in History. In 1915, it became patently clear to Woodson that black people were all but absent in the education of America’s history. Woodson created the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History in an effort educate and raise awareness about the history and accomplishments of black people in America. In 1926, during the second week of February, Woodson established Negro History Week. The second week of February was chosen because of the occurrences of both Frederick Douglass’ and Abraham Lincoln’s birthdays. During the civil rights movement, the desire for more diverse educational opportunities increased and students began demanding America’s education system begin offering of black history classes and educational materials.
In 1976, President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Week and emphasized the need for more awareness and education.

“With the growth of the civil rights movement has come a healthy awareness on the part of all of us of achievements that have too long been obscured and unsung. Emphasis on these achievements in our schools and colleges and in daily community life places in timely perspective the benefits of working together as brothers and sisters regardless of race, religion or national origin for the general well-being of all our society.”

In 1986, Congress passed a law designating February 1986 as National Black History Month.  The subsequent Presidents have issued similar proclamations designating the month of February as Black History Month and each President, in his own message, has urged the public to educate themselves and celebrate the contributions made to America by its black citizens.

Woodward’s Association for the Study of Negro Life and History is now known as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). Each year, the ASALH designates a specific theme to learn about during Black History Month.  The 2021 Black History Month theme is “The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity.”

When considering the education of Black History Month today, there are educators who feel that the programs are stagnant. Students in grades K-12 are being taught about the same few historical figures every year.  While these figures, such as Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., are absolutely essential to America’s history and should be included in the curriculum, history continues to be created, perhaps now more than ever. The significance and importance of today’s current events cannot be ignored when it comes to shaping our educational curriculum going forward.  

Nelson Mandela is quoted to have said, “education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world.”   This month, take the time to educate yourself and learn more about the history, challenges, struggles, triumphs, accomplishments and contributions of black people to America’s history.  

A list of events you can attend to further educate yourself can be found here: https://www.eventbrite.com/c/black-history-month-virtual-events-cwyhygw/

Click here to learn more about being an ally in your workplace

SHRM, and its members, have an opportunity and an obligation to use our unique professional expertises in solving a significant equity crisis in America.
Learn more about Together Forward @ Work and read the full report at https://shrm.co/tfaw.

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Professional Development

looking to get sHRM certified this year?

HoCo HRS will be doing a study group again this year for the SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP exams. Stay tuned for more information!

Hacking HR's 2021 virtual conference

Register today for Hacking HR’s 2021 Global Online Conference “HR Innovation and Future of Work”. This conference is completely FREE!

The main theme of their 2021 conference is:


Hacking HR will share with you insights, data, stories, experiences, ideas, knowledge and information. They will provide you with opportunities to learn from the most important global thought leaders. They will build enough bridges for you to collaborate with people from all over the world.

All to help you UNLOCK YOUR POTENTIAL. This is THE MOST important and impactful HR event in the world! Don't miss out on this free event!

SHRM People Manager Qualification (PMQ)

60% of workers leave their jobs because of their managers. Improve your workplace culture and reduce employee turnover by providing your people managers with the training they need. Build their management skills with the SHRM People Manager Qualification.

Take the first step today


Interested in a virtual speaking opportunity?

Share your knowledge & expertise with students at the University of Maryland.

The Management and Organization Society (MOS) seeks to build better leaders by bringing together business owners, industry leaders, faculty, and students. By connecting students to these resources, MOS aims to encourage the development of University of Maryland students into well-respected leaders in their respective careers.  Take a look at their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/MOSAtSmith

The group meets VIRTUALLY every Monday from 6-7 pm.  There are multiple open slots for the Spring semester.

Suggested presentation topics:
Interviewing and networking during the pandemic
Challenges and opportunities of leading people during a pandemic
Lasting effects of COVID on the economy and the workplace
Personal branding and self-promotion
Effective time management strategies

Other topics related to entrepreneurship, leadership, organizational behavior, and technology are encouraged.

Would you or someone in your network would like to share knowledge & expertise with the students of MOS?


If interested, contact our College Relations Committee for more details by emailing [email protected]

Did you know the SHRM Foundation offers a FREE certificate program on hiring veterans?  

Learn more about the Veterans at Work Certificate here: https://www.shrm.org/foundation/about/pages/veterans-at-work-certificate-program.aspx

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The Baltimore Hunger Project: HoCo HRS’ Non-Profit of the Quarter

We are so thankful for the work that The Baltimore Hunger Project has been doing for children in Baltimore area schools since 2014.

With the current pandemic ongoing, The Baltimore Hunger Project has increased distribution to include drive-up access at Baltimore County School locations.

Just a few dollars donated feeds one child over a weekend. For your $25 donation, you create food security for one child for a month. With a $100 donation, you can sponsor a student for a full semester’s worth of weekend food. Just $250 sponsors a student for the whole school year! Additional opportunities include:

  • CLICK HERE for volunteer opportunities
  • DIRECT DONATION - MONETARY:The Baltimore Hunger Project is a 501(c) nonprofit organization and relies on donations. Their Federal Tax ID# is 47-2281875. Click to donate, or mail your tax-deductible donation to Baltimore Hunger Project c/o Lynne B Kahn, 117 Old Padonia Road, Suite E, Cockeysville, MD 21030. 
  • AMAZON WISHLIST: Click to view a list of food items, updated regularly, which will be shipped directly to our warehouse.
    AMAZON SMILE: Click to support BHP when you shop on Amazon. A portion of your purchase is donated to Baltimore Hunger Project.

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Member Spotlight!


We are pleased to announce that our HoCo HRS 2020 SHRM Study Group participants, Lori Hinton and Maddie Bohrer, have recently passed their SHRM certification exams. They both will also receive reimbursement through our Education Reimbursement Program.  

Well done ladies.  We are so excited about this achivement.  You worked hard and got it done!!!

Welcome to our new and returning members!

Marshall Ott

Linda Sfakianoudis

Aaron Silver

Syreeta Swann

Heather Holbrook

Deidre Sykes

Alana Miller

Patricia Pence

Nikki McGuire

Nakia Carter

Sherman Stepney, Jr. 

Catisha Norville

Jennifer Tilles

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Get Involved with HoCo HRS

Why Volunteer?

Gain New Experiences and Insights
Give Back and Help Others
Create Connections with People
An Overall Sense of Accomplishment


Our chapter is a great place to get more involved with the HR community in Howard County. We have several committees, listed below, who are seeking volunteers to assist with our various initiatives. Complete our Volunteer Application today or you can reach out to us via email - [email protected]

College Relations

Communications and Social Media  

Diversity and Inclusion  

Legislative Affairs  


Professional Development  


Workforce Readiness

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Stay Connected With Us!

Since we can't connect in person...let's connect online!


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