Trading in their textbooks for the latest best-selling novels, a group of MA-HRIR alumni 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. After graduating between 2009 and 2011, these former classmates now bond over books as part of this longstanding and enjoyable get-together. 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 and ended up not liking quite a few, too. But that’s OK," says Heidi Meyer.
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. I find it’s just become a great network for all of us, both personally and professionally," says Tara Miller-Hochhalter.
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: Christine (Wagenknecht) Gast, Sarah Cheever, Tara Miller-Hochhalter, Kara Zetzman, Debbie Holzgraefe, Heidi Meyer, and Michelle (Willey) Hemming