RU SHRM Hosts Its 9th Annual Human Resources Conference

Read this story below or as it was featured on

The Rutgers University award-winning graduate chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management (RU SHRM) welcomed more than 270 distinguished guests at its 9th annual conference,The Business of HR, on March 26, 2013.

Above: RU SHRM members at the 9th Annual RU SHRM Conference, The Business of HR.

The daylong conference brought together SMLR's HRM students and expert HR faculty and staff along with leading HR executives to discuss ways of strengthening HR’s strategic position within business.

This year, RU SHRM invited seven senior executives from leading companies to give insight into the inner workings of their HR practices. Distinguished speakers included Lisa Calicchio, vice president of Global Recruiting for Covance; Michael Ehret, vice president of Leadership Development and Learning for Johnson & Johnson; Tara Favor, executive director of Morgan Stanley; Stephen Gillooly, director of HR Transformation for Pricewaterhouse  Coopers and a Rutgers alumnus; and Meredith Lubitz, vice president of Talent Development for Dow Jones & Company.

Tara Favor believes that business’ priority should be to build trust among its employees and have a talent strategy, in order to strengthen HR practices.

“Ultimately, our role is to be a strategic advisor, with business making the final decision,” said Favor. “It’s important that HR executives know the priorities of the business and the CEO. Always know the business, and it will help you drive your career."

Stephen Gillooly discussed the importance of measuring workers’ productivity. 

Above: Professor David Ferio, director of the Master of Human Resource Management Program and RU SHRM’s advisor, welcomes conference attendees.

He said, “It’s important that you have a good team and measure performance. A company must manage its existing workforce in order to attain efficiency.

Following the talk, a panel discussion was formed and led by HR executives from Bank of America. Panel members included George Rinehart, human resources executive; Lisa Benaroch, senior vice president of Human Resources; Kevin Cashin, staffing manager; Diana Hastings, human resource manager; and Randi Ingber, human resource executive.

“We invited a list of big companies from different domains, to discuss their particular business models and how they aligned their HR systems,” said Kelly Zhou, the project manager of marketing and communication for RU SHRM.“One of the major roles HR plays is as a strategic business partner. The conference re-established that business, from the HR perspective, is a very hot issue.”

Above: Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations' Dean Susan J. Schurman addresses conference attendees

RU SHRM's goal is to provide an open platform for local professionals to share and communicate human resource knowledge and information with local HR professionals and students. Jen Chiu, president of RU SHRM, believes that “The Business of HR” as a topic is the essence of Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations (SMLR)’s master of human resources management (MHRM) program.

 “As students, we are learning how to become strategic partners in HR. This topic allows HR professionals to showcase to students how leaders are redefining HR in their organizations,”Chiu said. “I believe the largest takeaway guests received from attending this year’s conference is that HR has the opportunity to take a strategic role in a company by supporting its goals.”

Above: Lisa Calicchio, vice president of Global Recruiting for Covance, advises attendees on how to strengthen HR practices

Professor David Ferio, director of the Master of Human Resource Management Program and RU SHRM’s advisor, was also pleased with this year’s conference.

He said, “All executive speakers provided different and powerful insights as to how HR is the business driving organizational success. This was one of the best conferences centering on the timely topic of HR creating sustained value for business.”