Monday, April 29, 2002

Black HR professionals forge connection

New organization chapter offers networking, information

By John Eckberg,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Sharing information and networking with other human resources professionals are two of the goals of a newly formed chapter of the National Association of African Americans in Human Resources.

The next meeting of the new local chapter of the National Association of African Americans in Human Resources will be May 6. The location will be announced later. For more information about the group, call 937-439-5501.
        The chapter was formed last month to bring together African Americans who are on a human resources career path and work for companies in the region.

        The new group is headed by interim president Brian W. Kidd, an executive recruiter for Dayton-based Spherion Workforce Architects.

        TheGreater Dayton and Greater Cincinnati chapter will meet monthly and be affiliated with the National Association of African Americans in Human Resources.

        “I contacted the national association earlier this year and they said it would be great to have a chapter here,” Mr. Kidd said.

        “We have plenty of major employers — big name players — and people don't understand that there are plenty of African-Americans in these positions.”

        Monthly meetings will usually feature a guest speaker and explore topics like training and career development, he said.

        About 18 people attended the first meeting in April.

        A conference call during the last week of April connected 20 professionals. Mr. Kidd estimated that 100 to 150 professionals will become members.

        “It is growing fast, considering we've only been at this for about three-and-a-half weeks,” he said. said.

        Henry Larkins, the regional human resources manager for Leap Wireless, said the chapter will be welcomed by companies and professionals alike.

        Leap Wireless is a telecommunications firm that has headquarters in San Diego and local offices in Springdale and Miamisburg near Dayton.

        “If you look around, there are really no organizations that cater to minority human resources professionals,” Mr. Larkins said.

        “This is something that probably should have been done a long time ago.

        “We have a lot of human resource professionals at medium-sized companies and major companies and this will be an opportunity for us to get to know each other.”

        Sharing approaches to common human resources problems will probably occur as a result, said Mr. Larkins.

        Monthly meetings of the chapter will also enable people who are considering a career in the field to interact with other professionals in human resources.

        “Mentoring may be a key aspect to help promote the human resource professions to African-Americans,” Mr. Kidd said, “whether it's going to college campuses or people go to careers fairs.”


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