Developing Leaders in the Community

Excerpt from Continuance Magazine


Go with us behind the scenes as we talk to Courtney about her experience as a volunteer supporting our community’s business and workforce.


Tell us about your experience as a business and workforce volunteer.


Developing leaders. Learning. Paying it forward. That is what I am truly passionate about. Education and mentors have been critical elements in my personal career, so I seek out volunteer opportunities where I can provide that for others. I have volunteered with both Chicago SHRM and Chicago Scholars for over seven years, so when I saw the opportunity to bring these two, amazing organizations together, I jumped at the chance.


Chicago Scholars supports ambitious students from under-resourced communities to help them achieve college and career success, and Chicago SHRM helps human resource professionals develop in their careers, build a stronger workforce, and fuel better businesses. Both organizations want to develop leaders and pay it forward, and a partnership was a natural fit.


HR professionals in Chicago SHRM are looking to recruit and engage bright employees in the city, and Chicago Scholars offers an impressive pool of diverse talent. Members of Chicago SHRM are eager to volunteer their skills and expertise, so we set up career coaching sessions where HR professionals advised Chicago Scholars on career planning, resume writing, interviewing, and job searching. The students soaked up the advice and wrote next actions to put these new insights into practice right away. Chicago SHRM volunteers appreciated the opportunity to contribute and share their expertise with the next generation of workers.


This was a perfect example of two successful organizations pooling their resources and efforts to meet the common goal of building a better and brighter workforce in Chicago.


What are specific ways you have supported the Chicago workforce in your volunteer efforts?


Through Chicago Scholars, I volunteered on the First Look Career Conference Committee to help plan the first career fair for their students. It was a power-packed day that connected some of the best organizations in Chicago with some of the best young talent in the city. Students learned new skills through workshops, but they also had the opportunity to apply for internships or interview with potential employers. There was so much energy in the room from these high-achieving, diverse students who wanted to make a difference at companies in Chicago.


Through Chicago SHRM, I lead the Education Committee that plans over 35 events a year. We are developing HR professionals so they can continue to foster strong cultures of engagement and growth to create a vibrant business environment. We deliver education around recruiting, talent development, engagement, performance management, and leadership – all contributing to a stronger workforce.


Developing leaders is also my personal mission as President of JB Training Solutions, so I love when all of these personal, professional, and extracurricular purposes and values align.


What is one experience that stands out to you from volunteering?


I was working one-on-one career coaching an all-star Chicago Scholar, and I helped her think through her decision to transfer colleges and attend George Washington University. It was a huge decision for her, but she decided to go for it. She e-mails me to share her successes, and she is an awe-inspiring mover and shaker on campus. She has started a new student club from scratch, she’s met the President and key politicians, and she’s interning and gaining valuable work experience at reputable organizations. Chicago Scholars supported her at the start, and now, it’s exciting to see her soar. This is an individual who will make our community and world a better place.


The millennial generation often gets a bad reputation, but through my work with Chicago Scholar students and the Emerging HR Leaders of Chicago SHRM, I am inspired and energized by the next generation of workers. They are eager to make a big impact, and it’s through creative partnerships like this that we can continue to support each other in developing leaders, learning, and paying it forward.

In the News
August 27, 2015