Tag Archives: professional development

Rendering of the amphitheater at the Great Park at Eastmark.

Eastmark Grand Opening Set For June 1 With Full Day of Activities

 

The first new large-scale integrated community to launch in Metro Phoenix in 10 years will hold a grand opening from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on June 1 to showcase its first phase of residential homes and the first phase of the Eastmark Great Park.

Eastmark, located in the heart of the East Valley, is a new community focused on creating a connected life for its residents, employers and visitors.

To debut Eastmark to the public, DMB is planning a day of festivities that will include music throughout the parks system, family games and entertainment and activities for all ages to encourage the community to discover the lifestyle at Eastmark.

Tours of 14 new home models from seven homebuilders will be available to guests. Every home design in Eastmark features a new floorplan designed for this community.

Eastmark’s phase one builders are:

>> Maracay Homes

>> Mattamy Homes

>> Taylor Morrison

>> Woodside Homes

>> Ryland Homes

>> Standard Pacific Homes

>> Meritage Homes Corporation

At the grand opening, visitors will be able to explore The ‘Mark, Eastmark’s Visitors and Community Center; enjoy the first 10 acres of the Eastmark Great Park; 11 neighborhood parks, piazzas and plazas; and landscaped, tree-lined streets and parkways.

Trollies and pedicabs will take guests around the community to enjoy outdoor concerts, kite flying and other demonstrations, food trucks and refreshments throughout the day.

“Eastmark is one of the most thoughtfully designed communities in the country. In our planning, we’ve artfully blended residential areas, employment cores, recreation and commerce to complement each other,” said Dea McDonald, DMB’s Senior Vice President and Eastmark’s General Manager.

“Eastmark’s grand opening will give guests an opportunity to engage in ‘Life in Motion’ and enjoy fun, family-friendly activities and exciting looks at this community which is unlike anything else in Arizona.”

If you go 

WHAT: Eastmark’s Grand Opening – Life in Motion

WHEN: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 1, 2013

WHERE: Ray and Ellsworth Roads in Mesa

COST: Admission is Free

 

leadership workshops

W. P. Carey School Offers Leadership Workshops

Want to learn key business skills without going back to school for a full degree? The W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University is unveiling brand new half-day leadership development workshops designed for exactly this purpose. The workshops — focused on concepts that immediately strengthen leadership capabilities — will make lessons taught at the highly ranked W. P. Carey School even more accessible to businesspeople and companies.

“As the economy recovers, we’re hearing from more companies that want to send managers, team and project leaders, those being promoted into management, and those without a lot of formal management education to get a crash course in certain areas,” says W. P. Carey School of Business Dean Robert Mittelstaedt. “They want to beef up leadership skills and effectiveness in a short time frame, and this is a great solution. They also want to reward crucial employees who helped get them through the recession, to help advance their careers.”

The new workshops will be run by some of the top faculty members who also teach in the school’s full-time and evening MBA programs, both ranked Top 30 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. The four-hour workshops will be personal, limited to 50 or fewer students. They will also be very interactive, often including simulations, case studies and other strong student involvement, not just lectures.

“For example, participants in the class on effective negotiations will go through an actual role-playing process,” says Dawn Feldman, executive director of the Center for Executive and Professional Development at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “All of the classes are designed so students can immediately use their new skills on the job. They’re also aimed at helping to create a more effective and motivated group back in the workplace.”

The first five workshops will be held at ASU Research Park in south Tempe. They will each run on a Friday morning between July and November. Subjects include:

  • Driving employee engagement – July 13
  • Effective negotiations – Aug. 17
  • Inspiration and motivation as leadership tools – Sept. 7
  • Harvesting knowledge from frontline employees – Oct. 26
  • Leading effective team processes – Nov. 9

Each workshop is $550 per person. However, discounts are available for groups, ASU alums and members of the Economic Club of Phoenix.

For more information on leadership development workshops, call (480) 965-7579 or go towww.wpcarey.asu.edu/ldw.

hr_director_sm_biz

2009 Small Business HR Director Of The Year Finalists


Jerrie MartinezName: Jerrie Martinez-Palombo, M. Ed., SPHR
Title: Human Resource Manager
Company: Jaburg & Wilk P.C.

Years with company: 2
Years in current position: 2
Company established: 1984
Employees in AZ: 70
Employees in HR department: 2
www.jaburgwilk.com

Jaburg & Wilk P.C., has a significant investment in its employees. That’s why the law firm places a strong emphasis on mentoring and other techniques to help employees integrate into the company and remain on the job.

Human Resource Manager Jerrie Martinez is involved in the firm’s mentoring and law clerk programs, which are designed to help attorneys develop specific skills and enhance their work experience. Each new attorney hired at Jaburg & Wilk is placed in mentoring. Each mentoring pair works toward at least three goals, one of which is a balance between work and personal life. Mentors also help younger attorneys attain partnerships.

For support staff, Martinez established what the firm calls a “guide team” that was patterned after the formal attorney mentoring program. The team helps integrate new staff into the organization, provides a variety of resources and offers informal mentoring. In addition, Martinez was instrumental in establishing a customized, on-demand training program to help support staff with their professional development.

Jaburg & Wilk also believes in offering unusual activities so employees can have fun. Martinez spearheads Speed Chatting, which is much like speed dating. Employees spend five minutes getting to know each other before they move on to the next person. Last January, employees rode the light rail system to Downtown Tempe, where they participated in a scavenger hunt. Employees also pay $5 for the privilege of wearing jeans to work, and the employee of the month selects his or her favorite charity to receive the money. The firm matches the contribution.



Hopi SlaughterName: Hopi Slaughter
Title: Human Resources and Legal Assistant
Company: Rose Law Group pc

Years with company: 3
Years in current position: 3
Company established: 2005
Employees in AZ: 25
Employees in HR department: 1
www.roselawgroup.com

As Rose Law Group pc goes about its business of providing legal services, there is a concerted effort unfolding behind the scenes to make the Scottsdale firm a great place to work.

The company focuses on identifying internal problems before they mushroom into issues that might prompt employees to seek jobs elsewhere. Hopi Slaughter, human resources and legal assistant, is charged with making that happen. She is known for her open-door policy; any employee can talk to her about any topic. Also, partners who notice employee conflicts alert Slaughter and she intervenes.

Rose Law Group is committed to being a true family and Slaughter helps with numerous efforts that are undertaken to make that a reality. Celebrations out of the office are common when an attorney wins a large case or someone fulfills a major company goal. Awards are given for hours billed and bonuses are handed out for positive reviews.

Weekly newsletters and updates recognize employee accomplishments and hard work. Those successes also are discussed at weekly team meetings. Monthly get-togethers are held for team-building exercises and simply to have some down time. At monthly brown-bag lunches, an employee gives a presentation on a topic so that, over time, employees have a better understanding of what the law firm does as a business and the areas in which it specializes.

Employees also receive tuition reimbursement for approved classes, along with a flexible work schedule so they can attend the classes. They are encouraged to attend lectures and seminars on any topic, as well.

hr_director_med_biz

2009 Medium Business HR Director Of The Year Honoree

Bruce GardnerName: Bruce Gardner
Title: Human Resources Director
Company: Town of Queen Creek

Years with city: 2.5
Years in current position: 2.5
Year incorporated: 1989
Employees in AZ: 230
Employees in HR department: 5
www.queencreek.org

Explosive growth was the norm not so long ago in Arizona, but there probably weren’t many people wondering about its impact on human resources departments at city halls around the state. Even after the recession took hold, cities and towns had to continue serving new residents and businesses, and they had to have staff to do that.

In 2008, the Town of Queen Creek created and absorbed two new departments for utilities and fire protection. Suddenly, Human Resources Director Bruce Gardner had to contend with more than 60 new employees, including 14 supervisors and managers. Gardner knew it was important to indoctrinate the new supervisory staff in the town’s leadership culture. To accomplish that goal, his department crafted in-house leadership training for those employees and 11 other prospective supervisors.

Topics covered in the supervisor training were comprehensive — communication, motivation and delegation, team building, equal employment opportunity, valuing and managing diversity, interviewing new hires, coaching and performance management, discipline and corrective actions, and leadership. In addition, several of the town’s department heads participate in Arizona State University’s certified public manager program.

Human resources also has created a progressive policy under which town employees take ownership of their training and professional development. Annually, each employee is responsible for writing a training-and-development outline. The town offers several options for accomplishing goals, including classes, seminars, conferences and town-sponsored training. All employees may take advantage of a customer-service initiative recently developed by Gardner that focuses on internal and external communication and teamwork.

In 2008, Gardner leveraged the power of technology to automate the town’s entire hiring and employment process. This has freed up his staff to devote more time to activities related to employee retention.

To improve the town’s competitiveness in the job market, Gardner recently implemented a middle-ground salary structure that allows the town to attract and retain exceptional talent without busting the budget.

Looking for a way to better balance the needs of its employees and its constituents, the town implemented a four-day work week. Extended hours Monday through Thursday offer more flexibility to those who need to conduct business with the town. Fridays off give employees extra hours to take care of personal business and have more family time.

With the health of the town’s employees in mind, Gardner is launching free wellness and fitness programs that offer biometric testing, health-related seminars and “lunch-and-learn” sessions with various agencies. When a new, full-service fitness center opened, an agreement was negotiated to offer reduced rates to the town’s employees and their families. The town also hosts a large-scale wellness fair that features health care providers, onsite medical testing and health-and-wellness vendors and speakers. Also, mobile onsite mammography services come to town hall annually.

With the four-day work week and a variety of wellness opportunities available to employees, the Town of Queen Creek has improved productivity, reduced absenteeism and increased utilization of preventive-health services.

hr_director_mega_biz

2009 Mega Business HR Director Of The Year Finalists

Brian BoylanName: Brian Boylan
Title: Senior Vice President of Human Resources
Company: JDA Software

Years with company: 4
Years in current position: 2.5
Company established: 1985
No. of employees in AZ: 360
No. of employees in HR department: 12
www.jda.com

Someone must be doing the right thing when a company’s own employees are its most effective tool for recruiting new talent. At JDA Software, that someone is Brian Boylan, senior vice president of human resources.

Boylan is praised for helping establish a culture at the Scottsdale-based technology company that allows employees to succeed professionally and earn recognition for their accomplishments through extensive award programs. Although JDA uses recruitment and assessment tools, ultimately job candidates who interview are impressed by JDA’s culture and the collaboration among its staff members. Employees feed the candidate pipeline by offering referrals for openings.
JDA’s culture is in part created by a performance-management program strongly supported by Boylan. The program emphasizes continuous learning plans, 20 hours of professional development annually and 360-degree reviews centered on leadership skills. Boylan also developed an emerging-leaders program that brings potential company leaders together for development and pairs them with senior-executive mentors.

Boylan and his staff understand that well-rounded employees need balance in their lives. Employees may work from home to take care of personal matters. The human resources department also offers FranklinCovey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People seminar to give employees the tools they need to find a balance between work and home. Onsite, JDA provides a wellness program, yoga and a Nintendo Wii game room.

Diversity is another hallmark of JDA’s culture. As a global company, JDA has a presence in many countries with varied cultures, all of which are reflected in the company’s workplace.


Tina HuffName: Tina Huff
Title: Executive Director of Human Resources and Organizational Development
Company: Pro’s Ranch Markets

Years with company: 3
Years in current position: 3
Company established: 1992
No. of employees in AZ: 1,945
No. of employees in HR department: 24
www.prosranch.com

As a growing upscale Hispanic grocery-store chain, Pro’s Ranch Markets takes extra steps to create diversity within its employee ranks and Tina Huff is deeply involved.

As executive director of human resources and organizational development for the Ontario, Calif.-based company, Huff works out of the regional office in Phoenix. Her department coordinates with several nonprofit agencies to provide work opportunities for refugees the organizations resettle in the United States. Huff’s department also offers jobs to Central and South American college students who work summers in the U.S. on visas. Onsite English-as-a-second-language classes are offered through Scottsdale Community College.

With more than 20 years of human resources management experience in several industries, Huff has a variety of responsibilities with Pro’s Ranch. This year, she directed development of the Ranchie Steps Program, which provides job-training modules and establishes compensation structures for each department companywide. This program shows how employees can grow professionally within Pro’s Ranch. In Arizona this year, Huff rolled out a retail management certificate program, tuition assistance, an apprenticeship training program for bakers and the ESL classes.

Pro’s Markets has been growing the past few years, opening two new stores in Arizona and expanding into Texas and New Mexico. Huff worked with the company’s operations and advertising departments to craft a plan for bringing in new staff. An internal talent assessment offers new employment opportunities for existing employees. Job candidates are recruited from local nonprofit and employment associations and through job fairs that attract as many as 5,000 people.

executive education

During Hard Economic Times, Executive Education Helps Workers Keep Marketable Edge

It may be hard to believe, but in tumultuous economic times, executive education is somewhat recession proof — at least as far as employees are concerned. People who have lost their jobs have more time to go back to school, while those who are still employed may feel the need to enhance their skills.

University administrators and instructors see no less interest in educational opportunities as the economy spins downward. Even businesses that have downsized continue to pay a portion of tuition costs for those employees who remain. But at companies where training and development programs are among the first to be eliminated, experts suggest such moves are shortsighted.

Andy Atzert, assistant dean of the Arizona State University W. P. Carey School of Business and director of the school’s Business Center for Executive and Professional Development, does see a diminished demand from companies for customized executive education programs.

“The reason is that they are very visible expenses, a big line item that a company can slash when desperate,” Atzert says. “They’re shifting back to open enrollment. They’re not necessarily cutting back on education funding for individuals. The money is distributed through departments and it’s a less visible expenditure.”

Employers benefit from executive education programs in today’s economy because the skills of employees who remain expand. For example, an engineer who is promoted to fill a vacancy might need to acquire knowledge about marketing.

Strange as it may seem after layoffs, another benefit is employee retention.

“When a company lays off people, it worries about the effect on people who remain,” Atzert says.“You’ve pared down, and you don’t want to lose more employees. That’s one of the reasons for not cutting the education budget.”

Atzert describes education, and that includes executive education programs, as being “a counter-cyclical business.”

“What commonly happens in an economic downturn is that when there is not full employment and not a lot of jobs out there, people seek opportunities to retrain,” he says. “People who are employed polish up their resume a bit, just in case. Insecurity causes a person to make oneself more competitive.”

Mike Seiden, outgoing president of Western International University, agrees that historically, education is recession proof.

“We don’t see any abatement coming to us for degree programs,” Seiden says. “When people are losing their jobs, they recognize that a degree is important, and when times are good, companies support their employees by providing educational opportunities. I don’t see any change in that, but I say that with a little bit of caution. This economic climate is a lot different from anything we have experienced in the last 40 to 60 years.”

While Arizona’s three state universities are facing budget cuts, and some smaller niche colleges are encountering economy-related problems, Western International, a forprofi t private institution that is part of the Apollo Group Inc., is not feeling a negative impact, Seiden says. Employer subsidies seem to be holding steady.

“But if unemployment increases substantially,” Seiden says, “and companies become more hard-pressed, who knows what will happen?”

Both ASU and Western International University have executive education partnerships with the Salt River Project. At ASU, the Small Business Leadership Academy provides CEOs of small and diverse businesses with a 10-week program designed to help take their businesses to the next level.

The first class, which consisted of 11 SRP suppliers and five SRP business customers, completed the program last November. A second group will start taking classes next August. Offered one evening a week at the ASU School of Business Tempe campus, the classes focused on such topics as business strategy, negotiations regarding terms of contracts, employee retention and corporate procurement.

“They learn what we look for as a procurement organization, so when they get my requests for proposals they know what to be prepared for,” says Art Oros, SRP manager of procurement services. “They have already shown tangible savings. The improvements helped them to maintain the edge they need in these times.”

The companies that participated are small businesses, many of which are minority owned.

“We had good diversity — all ethnicities and cultures,” Oros says.

At Western International, SRP helps to subsidize its own employees’ education as they pursue degrees.

“A company’s ability to help provide an education for its employees is paramount in today’s world,” Seiden says. “It not only helps ensure that the company will retain its employees, but it will improve productivity.”

Paul Palley, who teaches economics and statistics at the University of Phoenix, says his classes naturally turn to discussions of current events.

“The subject of bailouts is something that is brought up a lot,” says Palley, a city of Phoenix economist. “Students don’t really understand what’s going on. Bailout is not the best word. In many cases, it represents an investment — government purchasing equity. Sometimes students feel not enough is being done, and sometimes they feel too much is being done. It changes from student to student and from day to day.”

Kevin Gazzara, who recently retired from Intel, where he was program manager of management and leadership, is senior partner of Magna Leadership Solutions and University Research Chair for Organizational Behavior at the University of Phoenix. He has developed a statistical tool that enables employers to link training and development programs with business results.

“One of the first things to go in difficult economic times is training and development,” Gazzara says. “From our perspective, it should be one of the last things to go. Many organizations utilize training, but don’t know if they are getting a return on their investment. In tough economic times, I tell organizations to restrain from the urge to cut training to save some relatively small dollars.

“As managers are being asked to do more with fewer resources,” Gazzara adds, “raising their levels of skills so organizations can compete becomes essential, and the only way to do that is having the right training.”