Monday, March 30, 2015


The theme of the 2015 ILSHRM Conference is Level Up Your HR Game. Our intention is to meet practitioners where they are while encouraging them to "level up".  We want to stretch the imagination, encourage courage and help you be better where you are while strategically planting seeds for the future.

We believe that one of the ways HR practitioners can Level Up Their HR Game is by learning from business leaders outside of the HR space.  Sure, we will have tons of HR and recruiting pros sharing their knowledge in amazing concurrent and mega sessions, but on the big stage, we wanted business leaders outside of HR to help give us new perspective.

To that end, I am very excited to announce that the ILSHRM15 crowd will be hearing from Chicago native, Bill Rancic.  Bill Rancic burst onto the national scene when he was hired by Donald Trump as the winner of the first season of NBC’s breakthrough program “The Apprentice”.

Currently, Bill is speaking to businesses and organizations around the world on motivational and business topics, developing real estate in Chicago, and producing and appearing in several television programs.

A published author of a New York Times best-selling book, Bill wrote You're Hired: How To Succeed In Business And Life. This book chronicles Bill's successful life, experience and proven advice. He continued to make a name for himself as an author by writing Beyond the Lemonade Stand to help educate and motivate young people worldwide about the value of money and how to leverage skills, talents and abilities at an early age.  All proceeds from the sale of this book have gone to charity. Bill has also co-authored I Do…Now What with his wife Giuliana Rancic where they share secrets to everlasting love.

Bill's keynote session will consist of 45 minutes of speaking followed by 15 minutes of Q&A.  Bill's books will be available in the bookstore and he will be doing a book signing at the end of his session.

We are very excited to hear and learn from Bill and his experience.  If you'd like to read more about Bill you can read his full bio on our website.

We have much more to share and will be revealing our second keynote, concurrent sessions and pre-conference workshops in the next few weeks. Stay tuned to the blog, website and mailing list for more.

To register for the conference, visit

Hope to see you in September,

Sabrina Baker & Julie Rischmiller

ILSHRM Conference Co-Chair

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Call for Speakers Who Can Help Us Level Up Our Game at ILSHRM15

 We have played around with themes for the last several years at ILSHRM, but we have not really gotten serious with them. In September, Julie and I had the pleasure of attending OHSHRM and man were we impressed with how they incorporated their theme into every aspect of the event. We loved it and wanted to get serious about using and asking our speakers/exhibitors to use our theme as much as possible.

So with a hat tip to our SHRM Director, Martha Ramirez, Julie came up with Level Up Your HR Game. I don't know what comes to your mind when you hear that, but in my mind I see Mario on my Nintendo jumping up and hitting the mushroom, beating the level and it saying Level Up!

At the 2015 conference we want to help practitioners level up their game. Regardless of whether they are playing Chutes and Ladders at the kitchen table, Mario Bros on the Wii or Candy Crush on their iPhone 6+, we want to help you be better. We want to help you think about where you are now and how you are going to get to the next level – even if that next level means staying put for a while. We want to challenge you will meeting your experience level.

We have so much stuff cooked up I want to spill the beans right now, but can't. What I can tell you is that much of this starts with amazing content. We need speakers who can help us help practitioners in the state of IL Level Up their game.

To that end, the 2015 Call for Speakers is up. There are two different calls, keynote and concurrent. While you don't have to follow our theme, submissions that align with it will be highly considered. Also, to be considered for a keynote position, you need to have keynoted a conference of this size in the past. Please indicate that on your submission.

To submit a keynote session, click here:
To submit a concurrent session, click here:

 Registration will open soon! Hope to see you all in September.

Sabrina Baker

Friday, December 12, 2014

Work is Working in Illinois


Mike Spinale, Diversity Director

Today, during the Illinois New Laws Forum, 12 worksites from across the state were honored for their approach to creating flexible and effective work environments.  The When Work Works Awards, a collaboration of the Families and Work Institute and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), is an annual initiative recognizing organizations and businesses nationwide who are leading the way in building workplace cultures that promote employee wellness, work/life balance, and development.  The Illinois State Council of SHRM is the official community partner of the When Work Works Awards and hosted the awards luncheon in Lisle. This year’s winners are:

 BDO USA, LLP – Chicago (2 worksites)
 CohnReznick, LLP – Chicago
 Frost, Ruttenberg, & Rothblatt, PC – Deerfield
 KPMG, LLP – Chicago
 Laughlin Constable – Chicago
 Naval Station Great Lakes – Great Lakes
 NCH Marketing Services, a Valassis Company – Deerfield
 RSG – Chicago
 Ryan, LLC – Chicago (2 worksites) & Downer’s Grove

Nominees for the When Work Works Awards are evaluated on six research-based ingredients of an effective workplace: opportunities for learning; a culture of trust; work-life fit; supervisor support for work success; autonomy; and satisfaction with earnings, benefits and opportunities for advancement — all factors associated with employee health, well-being, and engagement.

When work works, companies and organizations recognize that employees have needs and demands that go beyond the office.  BDO USA, LLP is a national accounting and consulting firm with two worksites in Chicago.  BDO provides employees with emergency backup dependent care that can be used with advanced notice or at the last minute.  In some cases, employees are allowed to bring their children on company required trips and are provided with nanny care.  Ryan, LLC, with three Illinois worksites earning a When Work Works Award, empowers employees to work together to figure out problems and challenges; their receptionist teams recently worked out, without any management intervention, a scheduling issue resulting in each of them having a half day off per week and the desk being fully covered.   Common among all of this year’s winners were cultures where employees are judged on the quality of their work and ability to get the job done, not from where and for how long they work.  Telecommuting, flex schedules, compressed workweeks, summer hours, time off for school events, etc.  These companies get that their employees have lives outside of work and they don’t want them to miss out on it.

But it’s not just about being flexible with family demands; it’s also about investing in employees - in their careers and development.  CohnReznick LLP, a finance and accounting consultancy, allows employees to make requests for particular assignments that are based on their professional or travel interests.  Frost, Ruttenberg & Rothblatt, a Deerfield-based CPA firm, assigns each professional staffer a mentor and also offers coaching services for their professional growth and development.  Laughlin Constable, a Chicago-based advertising agency, cross trains employees to broaden their insights and technical skills.

This year’s When Work Works Award winners get it.  When you create a work environment and corporate culture that respects people’s lives outside of work, you get employees who are more engaged and committed to the organization.  When you invest in your staff’s professional development, you show your commitment to their growth and you build a talent pool prepared for bigger challenges as your own organization grows.  These organizations get it.  This is how work works.

What are you doing in your organization to make work work?