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A hum of networking conversation filled the air in Temple University’s Student Activities Center’s second floor banquet hall as students, faculty and outside business leaders mingled during the opening hour of the Fox School of Business’ Society for Human Research Management (SHRM) Annual Spring Banquet.
Students belonging to SHRM gathered on April 21, 2009, to interact with potential employers, hear from an acknowledged speaker, recognize the society’s leaders and celebrate the end of a successful semester.
“The banquet is really the showcase for SHRM, and it is a tremendous vehicle to allow the students to network with companies and faculty, and the companies to network with each other,” said Kate Nelson, co-faculty advisor for SHRM.
But the banquet was not just about making connections. After the conclusion of the first hour, SHRM’s guest speaker, Charisse Lillie, vice president of Community Investment and executive vice president of the Comcast Foundation, took the podium and informed students and local employers about HR management, stressing the importance of diversity in the workplace.
“This is the ultimate goal of integrating diversity strategies: creating a vibrant workplace that reflects the diversity of the community which the company serves,” said Lillie in her address to the banquet attendees. Lillie accumulated a great deal of experience in HR throughout her career, previously serving as vice president of human resources for Comcast Corporation, and senior vice president of human resources for Comcast Cable Communications.
“Frankly, we couldn’t have anybody better than Charisse Lillie. She is so impressive,” added Kate Nelson.
“You have to recognize the need for change in talent management,” explained Lillie when discussing the changing business environment. “In addition to the impending retirement of the baby boomers, we live in an age that is and continues to be transformed by technology.” Lillie’s strong argument and informative message left SHRM members with a dense lesson in HR management.
“I thought it was very informative and inspiring for newly graduating HR students on what to say to their future employers and how to incorporate diversity programs and all aspects of diversity into the workforce,” said Christine Galloway, senior Fox marketing major.
After Lillie’s address, SHRM president Kristina Wright presented awards to active members of the society, including Officer of the Year, Alyssa Andes and Member of the Year, Deven Snyder.
“It’s a way to recognize the leadership of the officers and the members,” said Dr. Karen Cherwony, co-faculty advisor for SHRM and associate vice president of Temple HR.
Other than serving as a means of networking, a setting for an informative lecture and a chance to acknowledge leadership within the society, the annual SHRM banquet is a celebratory event for the closing of yet another successful academic year for SHRM.
“As a chapter we’ve been very busy,” exclaimed Wright as she addressed the group. “But we got through it and now we can celebrate at this wonderful banquet today.”
Members of SHRM socialized with fellow classmates as they dined on catered food and reflected on the accomplishments of the society in the past year. Overall, the SHRM Annual Spring Banquet proved to be a success for both attendees and contributing leaders.
“It’s great to see when you have members come out to the events and actually show their participation,” said Suresh Rabess, student banquet director. “You step outside of our normal meetings to an event like this where you can meet alumni and meet professionals in the industry.”
HR faculty from the Fox School attended the banquet and acknowledged with pride the accomplishments of the SHRM students in leading other student HR majors. “What I enjoyed most is seeing our students working together as a team, pulling it off and continuing to value each other,” said Dr. Cherwony. SHRM students working together to host a successful event like the annual banquet is quite a testament to the accomplishments and success of the society as a whole.