February 2016 



Realtors may tout the importance of "Location, Location, Location," but seasoned HR professionals know better. It's all about "Relationships, Relationships, Relationships." And here at the Center for Human Resources and Labor Studies, there's no shortage of those!



From the initial relationship formed when a prospective student first contacts the MA-HRIR program to find out more, to the friendships that begin during New Student Orientation, from the far-reaching networks of alumni that develop after graduation, to the formation of life partnerships, we are proud of the many ways the CHRLS contributes to these connections. 

During this month of February, we thought it would be fitting to explore how the MA-HRIR program has been influential in building important and lasting relationships among our students and alumni.

In our story titled "Partners in Class, Partners in Life," we'll hear from four alumni couples who met while enrolled in our program. You might be surprised to learn that there are many more couples like them - if our records are correct, at least 30 of them! Then, taking the relationship theme a little further, we'll learn about 15 alumnae who've formed a Book Club as a way to keep in touch.

We've also included information on three additional ways alumni can engage with the program and continue building these important relationships: a Virtual Mentoring Event this Thursday, February 4; the First Tuesday Luncheon on Tuesday, March 1; and of course, our premiere professional development program, HR Tomorrow, on Friday, April 22.  Read on for more details on all of these great opportunities. 

There is compelling evidence that strong relationships contribute to a long, healthy, and happy life. Research shows that healthy relationships can help you live longer, deal with stress, be healthier, and feel richer. We think we've make a great contribution to that right here in the CHRLS. Happy February!

Alumni Events

Calling All Alumni Mentors! February 4 Virtual Mentoring Event
Please join us for a one hour Virtual Mentoring Event on Thursday, February 4th at 4:30 pm CST. This online event will allow alumni to meet current MA-HRIR students virtually using an innovative networking tool called Brazen; you'll join a variety of chat rooms based on your HR interest areas, to ask questions, share your HR expertise, and get to know students. During this one-time commitment you will be paired with students for several rounds of 9-minute text-based chats. This will be a fast-paced opportunity to share professional advice and connect with these future HR professionals. Register for this free event by noon on Thursday here

Be Our Guest: First Tuesday Luncheon on March 1
The CHRLS is hosting a table at the First Tuesday Luncheon on March 1, featuring Phil Soran, Founder and Executive Chairman of Vidku. In the spirit of continuing to build important relationships, we are offering five complimentary seats at the luncheon to interested HRIR alumni on a first-come, first-served basis. Our table will be a mix of alumni and current MA-HRIR students. The Luncheon will be held on Tuesday, March 1 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the McNamara Alumni Center on the University of Minnesota's East Bank.

Registration Now Open for HR Tomorrow Conference - April 22 

HR Tomorrow Conference

Alumni of the MA-IR/MA-HRIR program are eligible for a $55 discount on the registration fee to attend the 2016 HR Tomorrow Conference, "Rethinking the Role of HR," on Friday, April 22 at the Carlson School of Management. More details on the conference are available here, and registration is available here. Hope to see you there!


Alumni News

Partners in Class, Partners in Life
While earning an MA-HRIR degree certainly provides many professional benefits, one of the additional advantages is the possibility of meeting your lifelong partner while in the program! With plenty of time spent in class together, working on group projects, and studying (and socializing) outside of class, students might just make lasting friendships...or meet their future partners. Some alumni certainly did; click here to read more. 


Building Relationships is an Open Book for These Alumnae


HRIR Alumnae

Exchanging textbooks for best sellers, a group of HRIR alumnae began a Book Club more than five years ago as a way to keep in touch after graduation. 


The group, which has close to 15 members, first met while enrolled in the Part-Time MA-HRIR program and finished their degrees between 2009 and 2011. What began simply as a way to stay connected after graduation has grown into a longstanding and enjoyable get-together. "We've been meeting since September 2010," says Michelle Hemming, "and I hosted the first time." Two of the original members have moved away from the Twin Cities, but join the gatherings when they find themselves back in town.

The group meets roughly every six weeks to socialize, network, and discuss the most recent book selection. The host for each gathering suggests several book options and the group discusses and votes on the next reading assignment, which has included a mix of fiction and nonfiction selections. "We've read a lot of great books," says Heidi Meyer, "and ended up not liking quite a few, too. But that's OK."

They've built genuine friendships among their fellow HR practitioners. In between discussing the current book, they talk about family and friends, share photos of recent vacations, and bounce work-related ideas and questions off each other. "I'll often ask the group if anyone has run into a particular HR issue," says Tara Miller-Hochhalter, "and find it's just become a great network for all of us, both personally and professionally."  They're also never too far from their HR roots: while reviewing the most recent book, members discussed the lack of strong leadership one of the main characters displayed and the negative consequences the rest of his team experienced because of it. 

Their paths first crossed as graduate students in the MA-HRIR program and their shared experiences keep them in touch today. But the program is never far from their hearts: even while focused on their current lives and careers, they still talk about "school stuff," and reminisce about their days in the program.

Pictured above in front row: Christine (Wagenknecht) Gast, Sara Cheever, and Tara Miller-Hochhalter; in back row: Kara Zetzman, Debra Holzgraefe, Heidi Meyer and Michelle Hemming.  


Did You Know? Career Center Offers Services to Alumni, Too
While the Carlson School Graduate Business Career Center (GBCC) offers career services primarily for graduate students, a growing menu of offerings are being developed for alumni who graduated from the various graduate programs to further their careers. These services include helping alumni with interview preparation, reviewing resumes, and guiding further career exploration. (more)

Faculty in the News

Professor Connie Wanberg was quoted in a New York Times article titled, “Over 50, Female and Jobless Even as Others Return to Work;”

Class Notes
  • Basant Ahluwalia, '02, joined Unimin Corporation as a human resources business partner
  • Michelle Anderson, '09, joined Comcast as manager of employee relations and engagement
  • Aparna Amitkumar, '11, joined Knowles Corporation as senior HR business partner
  • Heidi Capozzi,  '98, was recently named a corporate senior vice president for human resources at Boeing
  • Kelsy Gaida, '14, joined Renewal by Andersen as a staffing specialist
  • Manjit Gill, '02, joined Anadarko Petroleum Corp as director of global compensation
  • Dennis Long, '87, recently published a book titled, "Managing Genius: Master the Art of Managing People"
  • Kathy Megarry, '92, is director of labor relations for Hennepin County
  • Gunjan Sharma, '14, joined Datalink as a compensation analyst
  • Alex (Crump) Smith, '05, joined eSecuritel as HR director