HR News December 2021 Featured Article: 2021 President Pam Dollard Reflects on an Eventful Year

It has been an honor to serve IPMA-HR as its president throughout 2021. I continue to be inspired by you and the success stories, challenges, words of wisdom and reflections you share on social media, during events and directly with me. Seeing all the ways we lift each other up has been the best part of this year.


As I reflect on the past year, I am appreciative of your nimbleness in ever-changing environments and your eagerness to dive headfirst into resolving each workplace and workforce challenge as it arises. This is why, in a time of continuing disruption, IPMA-HR has continued to be dedicated to providing public sector HR education, resources and professional development.

We’ve seen an increase in discussions on our Engage forum, more visits to our website, greater participation in our webinars and higher engagement with our social media posts. Many of the most-timely webinars and panel discussions were led by IPMA-HR members. Other highlights from this year include

  • Making all IPMA-HR courses available online;
  • Launching the new assessment for entry-level police officers;
  • Convening the Chapter and Region Leadership Conference, a virtual event during which participants were introduced to our updated and online Chapter Handbook and other leadership resources such as up-to-date data on chapter and region membership and activities; and
  • Conducting the Public Sector HR Needs Assessment, surveying thousands of current and potential IPMA-HR members to learn how to best develop and deliver the programs, products and services human resources professionals require.

I thank you for your thoughtful participation in the needs assessment, and I look forward to helping the Association act on the results to help us move forward in providing you the benefits you really want. Next steps include conducting an assessment of IPMA-HR’s brand and commissioning an external review of our communications strategy and products such as HR News and the weekly e-newsletter.

Focus groups will be included in those reviews to ensure all we do contributes to remaining relevant and vibrant. Energy for such efforts was apparent during the Chapter and Region Leadership Conference, where leaders connected and learned from each other while also becoming inspired as they discussed member engagement and value propositions, as well as additional opportunities to connect with and learn from each other.

The full details of this year’s activities will be included in our 2021 Annual Report, which will be posted to the website later this month.

Helping Now and in the Future

This month’s HR News theme is “HR Lessons Learned During the Pandemic.” As people are leaving their jobs at head-spinning rates, and while attracting and retaining talent continue to prove difficult, we understand that people want more from their work—more flexibility and support, safer environments, fair compensation, more communication and more opportunities to contribute. They want to be recognized, heard and trusted.

Recognizing this has taught HR that focusing on transactional responsibilities will no longer best serve employees or employers. HR faces a critical need to transform, and the pressure to do so will only increase. The recently updated HR20/20 Report provides practical strategies, tools and resources for influencing your organizations by offering immediate solutions and setting strategies to confront future challenges. I hope you find the report valuable as just one of the many benefits of being an IPMA-HR member.

Seizing Leadership Opportunities

I am grateful to have had the opportunity to serve in several leadership roles with IPMA-HR over my career. The friendships that have flourished and the personal and professional growth I’ve experienced are invaluable. I encourage each of you to seek out volunteer and leadership roles within your own chapter or at the national level. Your experience, expertise and talent are welcome.

I also want to wish Jennifer Fairweather, M.A., SHRM-SCP, IPMA-SCP, PHR, the best of success as IPMA-HR president in 2022. Jennifer’s experience and enthusiasm will serve us all well as we continue to build our future.

My sincere thanks go to Cheryl Cepelak, IPMA-SCP, for her continued leadership and consultation as past-president this year, as well as for her longstanding commitment to IPMA-HR. And congratulations to Cheryl Lewis-Smith, M.A., PHR, IPMA-SCP, as she assumes her role as president-elect for 2022. Cheryl’s passion for her work and enthusiasm for IPMA-HR are clear, and I look forward to working with her.

Members of the Executive Council also deserve thanks for their dedication to the success of IPMA-HR, as does our Executive Director Cara Woodson Welch for her unwavering leadership. Last, of course, I thank all of you for everything you do each and every day. Your organizations are in good HR hands.

Wishing you all good things in 2022,
Pam Dollard, IPMA-SCP

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