Leader Conference

August 3 & 4, 2023
Hotel Retlaw
Fond du Lac, WI

Our Sponsors                          



Conference Description

SHRM Volunteer Leaders are among the most dedicated, passionate, and hard-working SHRM members. Whether you are a volunteer leader for your local chapter, student chapter, or the Wisconsin State Council; the 2023 WI SHRM Volunteer Leader Conference will be a fantastic opportunity to: 


  • Update you with the latest strategic initiatives from SHRM 

  • Equip you with the knowledge and resources to help you become a more effective volunteer leader 

  • Connect you with your fellow volunteer leaders from across Wisconsin 

  • Energize you with innovative ideas to bring back to your chapters 

This year’s WI SHRM Volunteer Leader Conference will be held on August 3rd and 4th at the Hotel Retlaw in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. Event registration is now open. All SHRM volunteer leaders are encouraged to attend this conference to network, connect, and engage with your Wisconsin SHRM colleagues at this enriching and entertaining event. Whether you are an emerging or aspiring leader or someone that has been involved with volunteer leadership for years, you are sure to learn something new and make meaningful connections with other dedicated human resource professionals that will last long after the conference is over. 

The WI SHRM Volunteer Leader Conference Committee and our chapter host, Fond du Lac SHRM, are enthusiastically planning great programming, engaging events, and valuable activities for you! You will leave this conference knowing more about the vision and mission of SHRM and Wisconsin State Council SHRM, gain in depth knowledge of our SHRM Core Leadership Areas, and learn how best to develop and maintain strong relationships and partnerships between SHRM, WI SHRM, our chapters, and our members. 

WI SHRM Chapter Award Nominations

The WI SHRM Leadership Conference is just around the corner and the conference committee is pleased to share with you the opportunity to be spotlight an outstanding volunteer or chapter initiative.  Wisconsin chapters are doing some fantastic and innovate work and we can't wait to recognize these achievements.

 WI SHRM would like to hear from you, our chapter leaders, and give you the opportunity to spotlight significant achievements, programs, and people that contribute to the advancement of HR.   An overview of this year's award categories for outstanding leadership and achievement can be found

We ask Wisconsin chapter and council leaders to read through the awards criteria and complete a short nomination by clinking on the link below to nominate a deserving chapter or individual.  You may make multiple submissions.  Each submission must be submitted separately.  The due date for submission is July 14, 2023.


Conference Registration Fees

HR Professional Rate:  $130
Student Rate:  $65

Registration is now closed - Please contact WI SHRM Administration
for space availability at 608-207-9827 or email:

Student Rate is only for FULL-TIME students, not working professionals. Working professionals who are also working towards their bachelor's degree should register under the professional registration type, not as a student.


Recertification Information

SHRM Recertification Credit: 
Submitted for credit.
Code will be provided at the
conclusion of the conference.


Location / Hotel Accommodations

Hotel Retlaw
One North Main Street
Fond du Lac, WI 54935
Standard King/City View Rate:  $109 per night + tax
Standard 2 Queen/Riverveiw Rate:  $119 per night  + tax

Run of Hourse Rate:  $99 per night + tax (13.5%)
Check-in time:  3:00 PM
Check-out time:  11:00 AM
Early Check-in /late check-out based upon availability.
Parking is complimentary in the attached, covered city parking ramp.

Reservation Phone: (920) 204-0400
Block is under WI Society Human
Resources Management Council-SHRM

Hotel Block closes July 3, 2023
Click here for online booking link!



Conference at a Glance 

*Times and content subject to change without notice.
Thursday, August 3, 2023
11:30 am - 1:00 pm Opening Welcome and Introductions and 
Networking Lunch | Meet YOUR State Council

Connie Bitter, SHRM-SCP, PHR
State Director
Jen Zahari, CSP
Leadership Director
Sherri Yates, SHRM-SCP, PHR
Foundation Director
1:00 pm - 1:10 pm
Kortney Jenks,
Volunteer Overview:  Annual State Conference | Kortney Jenks, WI SHRM Secretary and  State Conference Volunteer Committee Member

What does it take to be a volunteer at an 1,500 person conference?!  Let's find out!

Kortney Jenks will give brief in's and out's about volunteering at State Conference and the benefits that come back to you in return for your service at the largest annual conference Wisconsin SHRM puts on!
1:10 pm - 1:30 pm
Chapter Awards

This year's award winners will be announced and celebrated!

Presented by WI SHRM District Directors
  • Dani Stuhr, Northwest District
  • Pam Berkovitz, Northeast District
  • Katelyn Spanbauer, Northcentral District
  • Jeff Palkowski, Southeast District
  • Mary Vogl-Rauscher, Southwest District

1:30 pm - 2:25 pm

Jenny Locanthi,

Jen Jirsa,
Everything Membership (Dual Membership, Member Recruitment and Engagement) | Jenny Locanthi, SHRM-SCP, WI Field Services Director and 
Jen Jirsa, SHRM-SCP, PHR, WI SHRM Membership Director


SHRM is now taking steps to ensure that joining/renewing both a SHRM national membership and a SHRM affiliated local chapter membership together is effortless.  

Dual membership will provide SHRM members and existing dual members the ability to obtain and renew both memberships in the same transaction. One transaction, one profile.  The combination of both memberships will help us come together to build tighter partnerships in order to combat HR challenges and help achieve overall success.

Jenny and Jen will present all the options and answer your questions!

2:25 pm - 2:33 pm Water Break
2:33 pm - 3:30 pm

Jenny Locanthi,

Dani Stuhr,


Elaine Ruh,

Breakout:  Volunteer Leader Onboarding, Offboarding and Succession Planning | Jenny Locanthi, SHRM-SCP

Effective volunteer management is a critical component of board operations and engaged volunteer leaders are the magic that creates positive impact in our HR communities. In this session, we will learn about various stages of the volunteer leader lifecycle, discuss best practices and identify strategies for taking your team’s volunteer recruitment and engagement efforts to the next level!

Breakout:  Chapter Programming | Dani Stuhr, WI SHRM NW District Director and Panelists

Chapter Programming is an important offering for our chapter members. With ever-changing topics as well as delivery methods (in-person, virtual, hybrid), our State Council Programming Director, along with several chapter programming leaders, will facilitate a discussion of programming ideas, best practices, sourcing of speakers, and other aspects to help chapter with their programming challenges.

Breakout:  Social Media and Chapter Promotion | Elaine Ruh, WI SHRM Communications/Social Media Director and Chapter Panelists

What is your chapter doing to promote your chapter on Social Media? During this interactive session, you will hear from chapter social media volunteers who will share what they are doing to get the word out to current and prospective members about: events and programming, current HR news, and other topics to generate interest and enthusiasm for their chapters over various social media platforms.
3:30 pm - 3:45 pm Break
3:45 pm - 5:00 pm

Rob Lawless
Keynote | The Untapped Value of Human Connection 
Rob Lawless, Robs10kFriends LLC

Human connection can help you feel like you belong, it can increase your sense of perspective and it can open the doors to opportunities you never would have imagined!

In this session, you'll learn from Rob Lawless, a man on a mission to spend 1 hour, 1:1, with 10,000 different people. You'll hear how he's run into his new friends in places far away from where he's met them, what he's learned from meeting the victim of a mass shooting and how he ended up flying in a plane that the pilot had built himself.

Furthermore, you'll learn how to use the FORD framework (family, occupation, recreation, dreams) to build connections with anyone! You'll understand the importance of goal setting in intentional connection, and afterwards will feel confident in unlocking the true potential of conversation!

Rob's Bio:  On a mission to spend 1 hour, 1:1, with 10,000 different people, Rob Lawless sees the world from an incredibly unique perspective. Over the last 7.5 years, he’s met over 5,700 people across 90+ countries, sharing their stories on his Instagram, @robs10kfriends. He’ll inspire you to be more intentional about connection and to treat it as an experience rather than a transaction.

Rob’s experience includes speaking with everyone from CEOs to celebrities to students to everyday people who’ve overcome extreme circumstances. He has been featured by press sources like the Kelly Clarkson Show and the TODAY Show, and regularly shares his insights through podcasts and speaking gigs. Rob believes that every human interaction holds the potential to change your life; potential you can start capturing today!

5:00 pm - 5:15 pm Closing Comments / Committee Recognition
Intro to the Evening / What's Coming for Tomorrow
5:30 pm - 8:30 pm Murder Mystery Dinner*
*Includes Happy Hour and Music
8:30 pm - 11:00 pm Fond du Lac Downtown

Not ready to call it a night yet?  Head out and explore Fondy's downtown!  Plenty to see and below to download all the suggestions!
  *Times and content subject to change without notice.


Friday, August 4, 2023
7:45 am - 8:45 am Breakfast | Networking
8:45 am - 9:30 am

Jenny Locanthi,
SHRM Overview | Jenny Locanthi, SHRM-SCP, SHRM Field Services Director

Welcome back to our SHRM Field Services Director!

Jenny LocanthiSHRM-SCP, is a Field Services Director for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and supports Wisconsin SHRM, our affiliated chapters and volunteer leaders across the state. Prior to joining SHRM, Jenny worked in HR supporting a wide variety of HR functions including compensation, talent acquisition, benefits, compliance, payroll, training and performance management. Jenny is a long-time SHRM volunteer leader, serving in various roles for both her local chapter at the state level in Kansas. She loves supporting our HR community in Wisconsin and is excited to share the latest information from SHRM!

9:45 am - 10:45 am

  • Small Chapters (94 members or less)
  • Medium Chapters (95 - 200 members)
  • Large Chapters (201 or more members)
One of the best parts of being a SHRM Volunteer is that you are not alone! Join us for an engaging conversation in which we will discuss best practices and challenges that you are encountering from the previous day’s sessions of Membership; Volunteer Leader Onboarding, Offboarding and Succession Planning; Chapter Programming; and Social Media and Chapter Promotion.

Presented by WI SHRM District Directors
  • Dani Stuhr, Northwest District
  • Pam Berkovitz, Northeast District
  • Katelyn Spanbauer, Northcentral District
  • Jeff Palkowski, Southeast District
  • Mary Vogl-Rauscher, Southwest District
10:45 am - 11:00 am Break
11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Anna Nielsen

Keynote | Conflict Capable Leadership
Anna Nielsen, Conflict Capable Solutions

We’ve had it all wrong! Conflict isn’t just a scary monster we have to hide from. 

It’s a tool for innovation, collaboration, and growth and requires strategies, goals, and skills to navigate confidently. 

This talk is not about your average “I statement” or relying on sharing your feelings. It's about developing your plan.

You’ll be introduced to the Conflict Capable Framework that gives you new words, phrases, and skills you can use to elevate your leadership. By being prepared for challenging conversations, you’ll be able to overcome your fear of the unknown to unlock unlimited potential in yourself and everyone you lead.

Anna's Bio:  Anna’s unique approach helps people thrive during conflict.

For many years Anna served as executive leader for mission-driven organizations that were stifled by conflict. She’s on a mission to help people level up from conflict management to conflict capabilities with her experience and expertise in civil mediation, civil mediation training, conflict resolution consulting, and facilitated dialogues.

Anna is an award-winning speaker with an innovative approach and contagious energy.

She works alongside individual leaders, teams, and organizations to help them make a plan to help people confidently approach conflict. With her guidance, they shift their mindset about conflict and learn shared words, phrases, and skills that unlock their unlimited potential.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in Diversity Studies and Communication and a master’s degree in Advocacy and Political leadership.

She’s based in Minneapolis where she lives with her husband Gabe and Morris, the bouncy Golden Retriever.
12:00 pm - 12:15 pm 

Closing | Prizes | Silent Auction Winners | Sponsor Drawings

Jen Zahari, CSP, Leadership Director
  Feel free to stay in downtown Fond du Lac for lunch at one of the great restaurants near by and continue networking after the conferece!
  *Times and content subject to change without notice.

Foundation Fundraising Events

Cork Pull 
Back by popular demand, we are bringing back the cork pull.  Buy a cork for $15.00 and win your bottle of wine!  

“Time To Get The Dough” - Donut/Bagel Board – Gift Card Game - New SHRM Foundation Fundraiser!
What is the “Time to get the Dough” event, you ask? Picture a delicious assortment of mouthwatering donuts and bagels with your chance to not only pick a tasty treat, but to also win some cash while supporting a great cause - The SHRM Foundation! Participants will purchase a donut or a bagel of their choice and receive a corresponding numbered envelope.  Select envelopes will have a gift card prize inside!   Join in the fun of this delicious fundraising extravaganza as well help to support the HR profession! 

Silent Auction
We invite you to also participate in the Silent Auction.  Bidding will start Thursday, August 3rd and wrap up at 12 Noon on Friday, August 4th.  Winners of the silent auction bids will be announced during the closing of the conference on August 4th.


Networking, Happy Hour, Murder Mystery Dinner

There's been a murder! You're invited to Laughable Production's Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre! Guests will be tasked with helping our detectives interpret clues, interrogate suspects, and gather evidence all while enjoying a delicious dinner. Allow yourself to be transported into the middle of a mystery that will keep you laughing and questioning until the very end. Put on your detective hat and channel your inner Sherlock Holmes to help our detectives solve this heinous crime. But beware, all participants are suspects of the crime! 

Attendee Cancellation:

A $35 administrative fee will be charged for conference cancellations received before July 15, 2023.  Requests for refunds after July 15th will be denied unless there are extenuating circumstances which prevent an attendee from finding another person to attend the conference in their place.  (An extenuating circumstance may include an unexpected death in the family or medical emergency).  Proof of the hardship will be required.  Changing work loads and/or staffing levels at your organization are not considered an extenuating circumstance for cancelling after the cut-off date.  These requests will be reviewed by members of the WI SHRM Executive Council, Leadership Director and the Conference Liaison Director on a case-by-case basis.

Thank you to our Sponsors!


Cottingham & Butler
800 Main Street
Dubuque, IA 52001

Contact:  Joey Backus

Phone:  (262) 674-4171
Cottingham & Butler has a long, rich history, starting as a local insurance agency on the upper banks of the Mississippi River in Dubuque, IA and growing into one of the largest insurance brokers in the U.S. Celebrating over 125 years of insight, Cottingham & Butler is a leader in offering innovative property & casualty and employee benefit insurance solutions. Our services include:
  • Property & Casualty Insurance
  • Safety and Loss Control Services
  • Employee Benefits Consulting
  • Benefit Claims Administration
  • Casualty Claims Administration
  • Captives & Programs
  • Compliance & HR Consulting Services
  • Wellness & Medical Management Services
Gallagher Insurance
245 Executive Drive, Suite 200
Brookfield, WI 53005

Contact: Josh Bergman

Phone: (262) 312-3086

We are Gallagher, a global leader in insurance, risk management and consulting services. Much more than simply an insurance broker, we are an international group of partners that provide cost-effective, client-centric, and expertise-driven risk management solutions. Our leadership team fosters a dynamic, entrepreneurial culture that has made us an innovator in creating new products and services for our clients.


M3 Insurance
828 John Nolen Drive
Madison, WI 53713

Contact: Traci Licari

Phone: (414) 978-1439

M3 is a top 50 insurance broker and risk management firm in America. We’re leaders in the products we represent and the industries we serve. M3’s people are an extension of your team, providing world-class resources to help you manage risk, purchase insurance, and provide employee benefits. And our focus on community builds better places to live and work. For more information on M3, visit

Seek Careers
1160 Opportunity Drive
Grafton, WI 53024

Contact: Debbie Fedel, 

Phone: (262) 377-8888


SEEK Careers/Staffing, Inc. is a principle-based staffing resource dedicated to Servicing Your Success by exceeding your expectations.

SEEK’s Core Values – Integrity, Passion and Extraordinary Customer Service - are demonstrated by its teams as they provide assignment employees, vendor-on-premises consultants and direct-hire candidates.

We specialize in employment placedment for direct-hire, temporary-to-hire and contract opportunities in manufacturing, light industrial, skilled trades, administrative and a host of other positions as well.

Francis LLC
19435 W Capitol Drive
Brookfield, WI 53045

Contact: Joseph Topp

Phone: (262) 781-8950


Better Family Finance Managers, Better Employees

MoneyAdvice@Work -   Financially healthy employees make your business run!  Implementation of a cohesive and customized workplace financial wellness program costs less than the annual per employee cost for the life insurance benefit you provide. MoneyAdvice@Work is a sales free personalized coaching program that will build community and show your employees your genuine interest in their wellbeing. Contact Joseph Topp at Francis to discuss the difference their conflict-free Money Advisors can make in the lives of your valued employees.

525 Junction Road, Suite 6500
Madison, WI 53715

Contact: Kevin Pytleski

Phone: (608) 234-6317

Edvest, Wisconsin's official 529 savings plan, is now available as a employee benefit.  Parents appreciate anything that can make saving for their child's future simple and affordable.  You can help employees save and enhance your talent retention and acquisition efforts.  You can add Edvest to your company's financial wellness line up, at no cost to your company and with no reporting required.  Learn more, and access free resources for Wisconsin employers at or call 888.338.3789.




Contact Information

Rachael Brady

Jen Zahari, SCP
Leadership Director

Ph: 920.858.6653

Term Start:  1/1/2022


Jennifer “Jen” Zahari is the founder of Strong Foundations Coaching & Consulting, LLC.  Jen works with individuals and businesses to encourage, empower, and engage through effective internal and external communication strategies.  These include identifying gaps, creating goals and action plans, team workshops, and more.  She has brought a unique life coaching model to workplaces, helping reduce the “life outside of work” impact on performance, productivity, and people.

Jen brings over twenty-seven years in leadership, communication, training, coaching, mentoring and a lifetime of personal experiences to the work she does.  She spent over fifteen years in the Staffing Industry, which brought an even deeper understanding of how people work, think, and why they do the things they do.  This also gave her a great understanding of where people, leaders, and companies often collide in their communication and why gaps happen.   

Jen believes the conversations that happen around “toxic bosses or bad employees” often come down to poor communication and a lack of shared understanding about how others communicate.  As we work to better understand each other’s communication styles, we can potentially reduce the frequency at which we have disagreements or disgruntled employees.

She is passionate about people, and it comes through in her work as a fiction author as well.  Jen is a published fiction author who is working to bring a wider personal understanding of mental health topics to her readers through this creative writing outlet. 

On the side, Jen loves spending time in her gym, spending time outdoors, finding adventures in nature, photography and being with her family and friends.

Jen currently serves as the Leadership Director for SHRM State Council.  She has served multiple positions both on the Council and State Conference Committee.  She has an Associate’s Degree in Marketing and 8 Certifications in varying Coaching modalities.


Additional Information