January 2018


As we welcome 2018, I wanted to pause and take a moment to enjoy our incredible chapters’ success. While I am always proud of HR Tampa, I am especially mindful of how grateful I am to our members for their continued support, and our Board for their dedication and passion. We have an incredible chapter of committed people – true leaders who deliver extraordinary results and move mountains!

As a key SHRM chapter, HR Tampa has a great deal to be proud of in 2017

  • Our membership grew to 679.
  • In addition to our monthly meetings, we also offered three networking events and the fabulous Holiday Party.
  • We had record breaking attendance at our monthly chapter meetings, with an average of 177 attendees per meeting.
  • The annual HR Tampa Conference broke attendance records, with 716 at the event; we received great feedback from attendees, speakers and sponsors. 
  • We raised over $1,700 for Prayers from Maria, to help research childhood cancer.
  • HR Tampa received the Platinum Excel Award from SHRM.
  • We were recognized by SHRM as one of the top 25 Giving Chapters nationwide.
  • Our chapter was a finalist for the SHRM Pinnacle Award for our Workforce Committee accomplishments.
  • Three of our Board members were invited to present at the HR Florida Leadership Conference.

During our recent 2018 strategy planning meeting, the Board set priorities and laid out expectations.  We will work with integrity, be accountable and live up to your expectations.  Together we will leverage our strengths to focus our energies on:

  • Investing in our membership
  • Enhancing our members’ engagement
  • Implementing strategic updates

We remain focused on executing key strategies to help deliver on our Mission to:

“Create opportunity for the exchange of ideas on issues challenging human resources professionals in our communities; encourage participation in group discussion leading to better methods, better relationships, improved human resources leadership; and to advance the profession and the personal develop of those responsibility for, or who assist in human resources.”

This is a very exciting time to be part of HR Tampa. We have accomplished a great deal to get us to this point, and we are excited for what 2018 brings!

HR Tampa Certification/Education:  Enhancing YOUR Professional Brand
Patricia A. Sullivan, PhD, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

2018 SHRM Recertification

If you are one of the many professionals who took advantage of the SHRM-SCP/CP certification survey – which gave you these credits based on your SPHR/PHR certification status, this is the year to recertify.  The month to certify is the month of your birthday. 

To continue your SHRM certification, please log into your SHRM account soon and begin the process of posting credit hours, and learning about the process.


There is an increasing number of audits taking place with the HR professional certifications.  PLEASE remember to store your verification credits in a safe place.  Keep them for a year after the recertification process (e.g. if you recertify May 2018, keep your records until May 2019 or later).


HR Tampa offers lots of ways to earn credits.  One way is to Train Others: Design and Deliver HR Courses. Be Active, Be Engaged, Share the Knowledge.  If you are interested in teaching in the HR Tampa PHR/SPHR certification courses (fall) or the HR Essentials course (May), or the SHRM-SCP/CP course (February), please contact Patti Sullivan at certification@hrtampa.org.  If instructional design is new to you, we will provide a mini training session to help you design an interactive/engaging topic – you will develop a skill AND will be of service to our HR Tampa members!!!!

2018 Certification/Roundtable Programs:

SHRM-SCP/CP Prep Course (Winter, February start) – Using the SHRM Learning System, this 10-week certification prep course will be offered in the evenings as well, with one Saturday Crash Course.  This program is perfect for the experienced HR professional who wants to apply HR competency concepts to business planning.  It is also appropriate for those seeking the SCP or CP certification from SHRM.

SHRM-SCP, February 20 to April 24, Tue nights – 6pm to 9:30pm; CRASH COURSE Saturday, Apr 28, 8am to 1:30pm
South University, 4401 N. Himes Avenue, Tampa FL 33614

$599/members; $799/non-members (SHRM Learning System Included)

REGISTER NOW:  www.hrtampa.org

HR Strategy Roundtable – Meeting each quarter, roundtable participants will share and learn best practices through peer discussions, while being introduced to research relating to exceptional HR practices, competencies, and strategies.  Limited seats available; meeting one evening/quarter.   This program is recommended for experienced practitioners who strive to enhance business acumen with organizational development, human behavior, and culture design strategies. 

Round Table, 6pm to 9pm on Tuesdays - February 13, May 15; August 14; November 13
South University, 4401 N. Himes Avenue, Tampa FL 33614; Room 2124

$300/year; dinner served (currently seeking SHRM and HRCI pre-approved credits)

REGISTER NOW:  www.hrtampa.org

SHRM Essentials (Spring, May start) – For the newer HR professional, for college students seeking an understanding of HR principles, and for all supervisors and managers who could benefit from understanding and applying HR practices (hiring, interviewing, training and development, employment law, and more).  Offer this program to leaders who are expected to engage, inspire and motivate, and who understand the importance of their role in these outcomes. This five-week program will meet one evening a week (2.5 hrs/night).  Attendees who successfully complete this program will receive a SHRM HR Essentials certification.

HR Essentials, May 1 to May 26, Tuesdays 6pm to 9pm
South University, 4401 N. Himes Avenue, Tampa FL 33614

Mark your calendars now; look for more information over the next month.

HR Coaching for Excellence (Summer/Fall; May start) – This six-month program brings coaching skills to supervisors and HR professionals.  Meeting one Saturday morning every month, participants will learn coaching skills and will then apply these talents over the month with the goal of enhancing employee relations, productivity, self-awareness, and business results while building trust through relationship development.  This program is designed for any professional who is seeking to understand human motivation and enhance interpersonal, intrapersonal, team and organizational relationships.

HR Coaching, 8:30am to 12:30pm on May 26; June 23; July 28; August 18, September 22, October 27
South University, 4401 N. Himes Avenue, Tampa FL 33614

Mark your calendars now; look for more information over the next month.

PHR/SPHR Prep Course (Fall; September start) - Using the All in One PHR/SPHR HR Certification Exam Guide, this 10-week certification prep course will be offered in the evenings as well, with one Saturday Crash Course offered at the end to recap the materials.  This program is perfect for the experienced HR professional who wants to earn PHR/SPHR certification, and for those seeking a deeper understand of the knowledge needed to excel in HR roles.

SPHR/PHR Prep Course, September 25 to November 27 – 6pm to 9:30pm; Crash Course Saturday, December 1, 8am to 1:30pm
South University, 4401 N. Himes Avenue, Tampa FL 33614

More information to follow.


A New Years’ Resolution for Your Handbooks: Keep Your Arbitration Agreements Out

William Grob, Ogletree Deakins, HR Tampa Legislative Director

As the new year begins, it is a good time to review your company’s handbook and policies. One important issue to look for is whether your arbitration agreement is part of the handbook.

A recent case out of El Paso serves as good reminder that arbitration agreements contained in handbooks can be problematic if a company tries to compel arbitration. At the beginning of most handbooks, there is usually some variation of the statement that the policies contained in the handbook do not constitute a contract and are subject to unilateral revision by the company at any time. For the most part, this disclaimer serves as a reminder to employees that their employment is at will. If, however, the arbitration agreement is part of the handbook, then the “not a contract” language could be interpreted to apply to the arbitration agreement as well.

This is the issue that arose in Whataburger Restaurants LLC v. Cardwell.  Yvonne Cardwell, a Whataburger employee, sued her employer due to injuries she incurred while at work. Whataburger moved to compel arbitration. In support of its motion to compel, Whataburger introduced evidence that it had an arbitration agreement in its handbook, and that Cardwell signed an acknowledgement of receipt of the handbook. The acknowledgment sheet also included “a specific place where Cardwell acknowledged the binding nature of the arbitration policy.” Whataburger also showed that Cardwell’s regular paychecks “contained an almost identically worded statement acknowledging the arbitration policy.”

Nevertheless, “Cardwell opposed arbitration on a number of grounds including claims that the [arbitration] agreement was unconscionable and illusory.”  Cardwell argued that the arbitration agreement was contained in the handbook, which stated that Whataburger could change the handbook at any time—unilaterally— effectively nullifying the arbitration agreement due to lack of consideration.

Key Takeaways

An arbitration agreement can be a very helpful tool for an employer. Arbitration can often lead to quicker resolution of cases, and, as a tactful advantage, employers can compel a case to arbitration out of a plaintiff-friendly venue. However, an arbitration agreement is only useful if it is enforceable when it comes times to compel arbitration. Arbitration agreements contained in handbooks may not be enforceable due to lack of consideration. As a result, employers may want to implement arbitration agreements as separate, stand-alone documents that are not subject to unilateral revisions.  

While the Whataburger case was sent back to the trial court to explore whether the arbitration agreement is enforceable, the lesson all employers can take away from this case is that a stand-alone arbitration agreement may be easier to enforce to compel arbitration. So, review those handbooks, and, if necessary, start planning on rolling out new, stand-alone arbitration agreements as part of the company’s “2018 New Year” policy updates.


Do you have a desire to get involved with HR Tampa? HR Tampa's membership has grown so much that we are finding we need additional help on some of our committees in order to meet our goals this year. If you are interested in participating on a committee with HR Tampa, then we want you.  We have great opportunities to participate in Social Media, the Expo, and Membership just to name a few. 
Get Involved......you will not regret it!! If interested please send an email with your name and contact information to presidentelect@hrtampa.org.


“Have you or another HR Tampa member done something bragworthy within the Diversity & Inclusion space? If so, let us know!

As a Chapter, we are asking our members to share successful programs, initiatives and general best practices related to D&I to our members. We also want to deservingly highlight the professionals who are moving this much needed focus forward in our community.

Together, we can work together to share our successes (and failures) to assist other professionals in Tampa elevate and understand that every bit of effort in this area counts. Please share this information with us at Diversity@HRTampa.org and include your name, company, and a description of the program, initiative or best practice.”


The Tampa Bay area’s premier SHRM chapter, HR Tampa, provides opportunities to be involved and take advantage of many services/programs including:    Regular monthly breakfast and dinner meetings featuring expert speakers on current pertinent human resource topics (most meetings qualify for HRCI credits).

  • Keep current with HR developments, trends, position website. 
  • Networking with over 600 local HR Tampa members – Excellent platform for members in transition!!!
  • Monthly electronic newsletter featuring legislative updates, local HR news and events.
  • Association with professional HR industry focused vendors.
  • Assistance in HR internship programs and finding candidates.
  • Professional mentor programs for college students.
  • Advertising opportunities - advertise open HR positions on our Job Board for FREE or at a discounted rate (Please see web page for non-members cost).
  • Volunteer opportunities in the community in your profession.
  • Special Events, Conferences, and Expos to earn continuing education credits.



We are excited about our 2018 event calendar and we have sponsorship opportunities available. If you know of anyone who might be interested in sponsoring a monthly meeting, networking event, participating in our Conference & Expo or advertising on our website or in this newsletter, please contact our Sponsorship Chair, Debby Erdahl, SHRM-CP, PHR at sponsors@hrtampa.org.



HR Tampa is dedicated to help members get the most out of their membership. Here are some ways to jump start your next opportunity:

  • Check out our job boards for the latest HR jobs available in this market
  • Bring your resume and personal business cards to the monthly chapter meetings and NETWORK
  • LinkedIn with other HR Tampa members

If you are in transition and haven’t renewed your membership with HR Tampa due to financial restrictions, HR Tampa provides prior-year active members who are unemployed at the time of the membership renewal, a one-time opportunity to rejoin as a Basic member for up to one year!

For complete details, click HERE


Local Opportunities
Check out the job board and find your new career!

Visit our Career Center apply!

Like Us, Join Us, Follow Us!

This email may contain advertisements.

HR TAMPA is the premier professional association for human resource professionals in Tampa Bay and one of Florida's largest and most active chapters. We are a vibrant group of over 600 HR professionals who are seeking to promote greater understanding of the human resource function through group interaction and the presentation of various related topics at our monthly meetings, network happy hours, new member orientations, and educational expos. Visit HR TAMPA Online at www.hrtampa.org.

This communication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information with regard to the subject matter covered; and it is sent with the understanding that the sender is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought.

HR TAMPA | P.O. Box 26554, Tampa, Florida 33623-6554 USA

©2015 HR TAMPA. All rights reserved.