May 06

Take Your Seat at The Table

Take Your Seat at The Table

As Human Resources (HR) professionals, we’ve all heard the phrase ‘seat at the table’; this notion that we must manage our careers in such a way to be included in senior-level business decisions in order to be considered successful. Many of us are over it.

Amy Lein, who is the Director of Human Resources at Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, and currently serving a two-year term as President of the Greater Orlando Society for Human Resource Management (GOSHRM), is taking a much more meaningful approach to the phrase.

Encouraged by her faith, and her collaborative effort through The Gotham Fellowship, an intensive training program offered by The Collaborative Orlando, Lein is working to blend her personal beliefs with her professional life. “Using the parable of people being invited to a banquet table – a lesson about choosing where to sit, serves as a great analogy for HR’s desire to gain a seat at the table in the business world,” said Lein.

Lein is creating an environment to encourage HR professionals to pursue excellence, power and influence so that others might flourish. Do everything we can to get that seat at the table, not for our own benefit, but for the benefit of others. Practically speaking, this might include introducing policies and practices that improve the workplace for all, or promoting a company culture so desirable so that employees don’t want to leave.

“We must care so much about our employees that we not rest until we’ve done everything we could to help both the employees and the business succeed,” said Lein. “Imagine the ripple effect on the communities in which we live.”

Lein said she can relate to the over-pursuit of being recognized for her contributions, but admits that isn’t the problem. It’s when that desire dominates your work and your motives, that you run the risk of losing the very thing you desire.

“My vision is to invite young, aspiring HR professionals to examine their work, their goals, and their opportunities as they progress in a career path,” said Lein. “In a variety of learning environments, we will dive into questions about the professional’s inspiration to pursue HR and how they might approach a leadership role with the passion of a servant’s heart.”

Lastly, Lein added that this approach isn’t just for HR pros, but admits the first audience is up-and-coming HR pros, especially members of GOSHRM where she continues to hear of the desire for a mentorship program to help navigate their careers.

“This is a perfect opportunity to offer a deeper examination of one’s motives and desires in this profession. As we refine the project, it will translate well to other professions,” said Lein.

To learn more, please contact Amy Lein at or

Nate Shannon is Founder/Sr. Human Resource Consultant at On The VERG, and can be reached at (407) 754-5108 or


Apr 06

Leadership & Mental Toughness


Leadership & Mental Toughness

By Doug Van Dyke, Leadership Simplified,

During my recent Bikram Yoga class, the yogi stated that stress doesn’t really exist. He said that the sensation of stress is something we allow to happen when we are not controlling our thoughts. Further, the disciplined mind controls what we think. The disciplined mind also controls how we act and what behaviors we exhibit. In sum, we are in control…..always. If we feel stress, it is because we choose to let outside influences dictate our thoughts, reactions, and eventual behaviors.

Leaders sometimes lose sight of just how much control they have over situations. Every situation. Likewise, it is all too common for team members to take on a victim mentality and believe they have no control. This is a great opportunity for leaders to inspire their people and help them understand how to own their performance. Effective leaders create a culture in which team members are empowered to make decisions, make mistakes, elevate performance, and think.

Leaders, seek to embrace the following four areas regarding increasing your mental toughness, and helping your people to take positive control of their work world.

1. Focus on the Right Priorities. Leaders today must possess the ability to cut through the noise associated with an increasingly fast-paced world that is connected 24/7, 365. Streamline the priorities of your organization to better mesh with the pragmatic bandwidth of your team. Sure, it’s easy to make a list of a thousand things that will elevate the performance of your team and organization. However, skillful leaders understand that success is about results, not the scope of the undertaking! If you and/or your team have more than six major priorities right now, the odds are good that people are overwhelmed and unsatisfactory results are being delivered. Look in the mirror. Be realistic about your team’s bandwidth and the timeframes with which you are dealing. Pare down your priorities to six and help your team focus. Also, help people craft meaningful action plans to achieve those priorities.

2. The Rigid Three. Having a rigid schedule for certain activities can build mental toughness. A commitment to specific activities causes us to fight through hurdles, head trash and procrastination that might otherwise undermine a positive experience. The first of the three areas in which I challenge you to be rigid is your personal exercise regime. Do you know a Marine? Pretty fit bunch. Rigid fitness schedule. Mentally tough as nails. They tend to accomplish a lot. Just saying. The second area is a personal aspect of your life. It may be family time, volunteer time, church or a spiritual commitment. You choose, but make certain it is part of your regular schedule. The third area is one element of work. It may be planning your day in a certain way. It may be scheduled time for MBWA (managing by wandering around). I know several leaders who take a nap every day from 1pm-2pm. They are highly effective and refreshed leaders. Whatever work item you choose, concentrate, schedule, and stick to your guns. By creating and adhering to The Rigid Three you will elevate your mental toughness and increase the respect you receive from your team.

3. Be Mindful of Decision Fatigue. All leaders experience decision fatigue to a greater or lesser extent. In sum, as the day goes on our ability to make crisp decisions diminishes. Leaders can better handle decision fatigue by arranging their day strategically, eating healthy, hydrating and getting enough sleep. The positive results of crushing decision fatigue include, but are not limited to making better and more timely decisions, creating additional time so that you can coach others, increasing team productivity, improving sales results, and positioning yourself as a decisive leader who can help others make sound decisions.

4. Think Positive, Praise Positive. Henry Ford famously said: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.” As his quote implies, we are what we think. And you know what? You are awesome! Think of yourself as awesome today, and every day. Put your head in the right place, and everything else will follow suit. Let’s face it, we live on a rock that is blasting through space – we are all miracles. Oh, and help your people know that they are awesome too. They may or may not choose to believe you, or to believe in themselves. That is their deal. Control what you can control, leaders. In the process, catch people doing something right and praise the heck out of it.

Bottom Line: The best leaders and top-performing team members understand that they are in control of their performance. They understand that the kind of thoughts they put in their heads will drive their behavior. For more on mental toughness and the head games that athletes (and leaders) play, check out the new book by Alex Hutchinson, Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance. And call Doug Van Dyke who will assist you and your team in achieving previously unimagined results. Be awesome today everyone. You have the power to make it so.

Until next time, be well.

Doug Van Dyke is a Certified Speaking Professional, Executive Coach, Leadership Development Expert, CEO of Leadership Simplified. He takes yoga classes on occasion and really connects with his inner Qi. Connect with Doug at or visit

© Copyright 2018. Leadership Simplified. All rights reserved.


1310 3rd Avenue West * Bradenton, Florida 34205 * (941) 776-1121


Mar 21

Compliance: Certain Federal Contractors and Subcontractors Must Enroll in and Use E-Verify

Federal contractors and subcontractors with contracts containing the E-Verify Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) clause must enroll in and use E-Verify. New federal contractors and subcontractors with the E-Verify FAR requirement must provide their Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number during the E-Verify enrollment process. Existing E-Verify employers designated as federal contractors with the E-Verify FAR requirement will be prompted to enter their DUNS number into E-Verify when they update their company profile. For more information about verifying new and current employees, timelines, and other guidance, read the latest Supplemental Guide for Federal Contractors at

E-Verify offers many free resources to help you stay compliant and keep you up-to-date on the latest employment eligibility verification news:



Article provided by:

Dave Basham

Form I-9 and E-Verify Speaker
Outreach Branch, Verification Division
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Department of Homeland Security



Feb 27

Student Games 2018

A National SHRM survey and review found that college students wanted more job placement resources and networking events, and help connecting with local professional SHRM chapters. Traditionally, a National Student Competition event was held, but after discovering future HR professionals had a desire for a more local focus, State Councils were encouraged to offer statewide competitions.

The HR Florida State Council has embraced the need fully and paired the Student Games Case Competition with its Leadership Conference. The council’s  goal is to help students develop meaningful networking relationships and elevate the importance of their contribution to the future of the HR profession. The Leadership Conference is attended by more than 300 HR career leaders and trend setters who make up the leadership of the 28 local SHRM chapters in the state of Florida.

This year, the HR Florida Student Games attracted seven teams from Florida State University, University of Texas, University of Central Florida, Florida Institute of Technology (2 teams) and the University of South Florida/St. Pete College. All the students who participated are passionate about HR and, more notably, are the future of the profession.

Each team was challenged to respond with a solution to a case study regarding generational differences called “Generational Turbulence at Pioneer Airlines.” Teams were provided background information, research resources, guidance and coaching on how to put their HR learning into action, and how to perform a proper investigation and strategize plan needs. Upon completion, they present their plans to the judges.

This year’s judges included Eric Scott Bowers, VP of human resources/consultant at LassiterWare Inc. & Great Advice, Inc.; Wesley Paul,  assistant hospital administrator of LifeStream Behavioral Center; Lynda L. Rodriguez, east regional human resources manager for L&R Group of Companies; Heide Bostelmann, HR Consultant; Teresa Beckta, area human resource manager for the Lane Construction Corporation; and Jeffery E. Bryson, software and systems engineer for Northrup Grumman Corporation.

Tasked with reviewing the work of seven teams in only one day, the judges came early and stayed late during the first day of the leadership conference to ensure each team received full consideration. It was difficult to decide, but the panel of judges selected the top two teams – Florida International University and Florida State University.

Here is what the students had to say about the competition:

Florida International University

“It was amazing and we learned so much about HR during the process.  The judges were great and the questions were great.  Thank you so much for this opportunity.”






Florida State University

“It was really cool to have the opportunity to be around HR professionals, to have the opportunity to work on problems and to take our knowledge from the classroom and apply it into the role. People always say that you know you won’t survive in the boardroom without the experience you need to use theory, and practicing your knowledge to be successful; so this truly was an amazing opportunity. The case competition pushed us to use our skills, and talents. We had the opportunity to solve real-world problems and provide feedback. It has been awesome – thank you.”

Florida State University won the opportunity to present their solution during lunch on Saturday to the HR Leadership conference attendees. This honor placed these future HR pros directly in front of potential employers, and they were ready to impress as they presented their solution with ease and professionalism.


This year, the HR Florida State Council will make the call for participation in November for the 2019 games. The council strongly encourages student HR chapters sign up a team and be a part of the games. For more information, please visit

“Thank you to the judges and all other council members who helped make this competition possible – it is your support, guidance and knowledge that helps fuel the young minds of those who are already making a positive impact in the HR profession,” said Marty Bryson, secretary of the HR Florida State Council. “Additionally, I wanted to thank the students that participated in the competition. You inspire everyone you touch with your energy and bright ideas – I know you all are destined for greatness.”

Pictured above: the 2018 student games participants and Marty Bryson, HR Florida State Council secretary.


Feb 06

Going Beyond Global: The Journey to Mars and the Ultimate Expatriate Experience

Our world faces many tremendous challenges that will only be solved through international collaboration. The stemming of geopolitical conflict, global climate change, and world-wide health crises all will require the pooling of intellect and resources across national borders. However, perhaps no challenge is greater than extending the reach of humanity beyond the planet Earth through the colonization of Mars.

Traveling to Mars, our nearest neighbor, is no drive around the block. A one way trip to Mars will cover at least 33 million miles and the effects of micro-gravity and radiation will take a tremendous toll on the physical health of the astronauts (Reschke et al., 1998). In addition, close proximity to others, stress and boredom, and the journey into the unknown will test the limits of the most resilient individuals (Kanas et al., 2009).

But like the explorers and expatriates on Earth, the trip to Mars will be just the beginning.  The minimum time for a round trip to the Red planet will be 1000 days. Plans from space legend Buzz Aldrin and billionaire Elon Musk call for the permanent colonization of Mars, where some astronauts never come home. When arriving on Mars the first challenges will be disorientation and lack of sleep due to the lingering effects of microgravity. The astronauts will then be overwhelmed by a demanding workload to establish safe and habitable conditions, and finally, encounter the stress that arises from being isolated from family and friends and a restricted social contacts due to a small crew.

The symptoms experienced by Mars astronauts will look very familiar to those who have lived and worked abroad. The expatriate experience is often categorized by disorientation, sleep irregularities, home sickness, and lack of social stimulation (Ernst, 2016; Xu & Jordan, 2016). In many ways travel to Mars is no more than an extreme case of expatriation. Earthly expatriates and Mars astronauts will also share one of the greatest challenges of leaving home; understanding, predicting, and interacting with others from a different cultural background. The Mars mission will undoubtedly be an international endeavor that will utilize the talents of a culturally diverse support team which will need to innovate and problem solve in real time to support the crews traveling to an inhabit their new home. The crew members themselves will be culturally diverse, likely comprised of astronauts from Russia, China, Japan, the U.S., and other partner nations.

While the public messaging has suggested that overt conflict has not occurred on the international space station, stories from training suggest international conflict is a valid concern. Judith Lapierre served as a health sciences specialist on Sphinx-99, an International Space Station simulation. She reported that cultural differences in interpersonal interactions between the sexes caused great tension and ultimately led to a fist fight that bloodied the kitchen area of the capsule (Lapierre, 2009). In my work with the Mars mission through the Institute for Cross Cultural Management and the Buzz Aldrin Space Institute, I have heard many stories of strong disagreements over cultural norms of food, smells, hygiene, and communication. These cultural stressors will be the new normal for the expatriate crew to Mars.

In March of 2018, we will be joined by cultural experts such as Fons Trompenaars, Vas Taras, Michele Gelfand at the 2018 Cross Cultural Management Summit. In addition, participants at the Summit will take what they have learned and work together to solve case studies provided by the Buzz Aldrin Space Institute (BASI). These solutions will help inform the research agenda of BASI, and perhaps one day make the ultimate expatriate experience on Mars seem a little bit more like home.

HR Florida is proud to partner with the Florida Institute of Technology’s Cross Culture Management Summit.  We believe in continuing to provide professional development in global and cross cultural expertise.   As part of our partnership we have received deep discounted pricing for our HR Florida professionals and recertification credits.

Join us at the 2018 Cross Cultural Management Summit – March 22-24, 2018 – Caribe Royale Resort – Orlando Florida.





Dr. Griffith is the Executive Director of The Institute for Cross Cultural Management at the Florida Institute of Technology. Dr. Griffith provides coaching in global leadership and executive presentations, specializing in presentations conducted abroad. He is the co-editor of “Leading Global Teams”, “Critical Issues in Cross Cultural Management” and “Internationalizing the Organizational Psychology Curriculum”. He is the author of over 100 publications, presentations, and book chapters and has conducted funded research for the Department of Defense examining the assessment and development of cross-cultural competence. His work has been featured in Time magazine and The Wall Street Journal.




Ernst, W. (2016). On Being Insane in Alien Places: Case Histories from British India, c. 1800–1930. In Migration and Mental Health (pp. 61-84). Palgrave Macmillan UK.

Kanas, N., Sandal, G., Boyd, J. E., Gushin, V. I., Manzey, D., North R, Leon GR, Suedfeld P, Bishop S, Fiedler ER, Inoue N (2009). Psychology and culture during long-duration space missions. Acta Astronautica, 64(7), 659-677.

Lapierre, J., Bouchard, S., Martin, T., & Perreault, M. (2009). Transcultural group performance in extreme environment: Issues, concepts and emerging theory. Acta Astronautica, 64(11), 1304-1313.

Reschke, M.F., Bloomberg, J.J., Harm, D.L., Paloski, W.H., Layne, C., & McDonald, V. (1998) Posture, locomotion, spatial orientation, and motion sickness as a function of space flight. Brain Research Reviews 28  102–117.

Xu, Q., & Jordan, L. (2016). Migration, labor market and wellbeing: Theories, policies and practice. MIGRANT WORKERS, 2.


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