Brad Shanklin, executive director, Dallas HR Management Association, answers questions from DallasHR member Dustin A. Paschal.
Paschal: You've implemented several changes. Which do you believe will have the most lasting success?
Shanklin: Historically, DallasHR has focused on the Dallas region. And while we have had members beyond Dallas, we have not always been successful in reaching them. I worked with several stakeholders in Collin County and created Collin CountyHR, a member service area of DallasHR. With this expansion, members who live and work in Collin County will have easier access to educational and networking events in their backyard. I am also researching ways to give current DallasHR members easier access to these opportunities.
I initially focused on future growth of the association and less use of the word "change."—Brad Shanklin, DallasHR
What was the biggest challenge facing you in assuming leadership of DallasHR?
Being the new face of DallasHR is a challenge. Over 14 years, my predecessor shaped DallasHR into a fine-oiled machine, and I am sure there were more concerns about me from volunteers and leaders than my concerns about them. I initially focused on future growth of the association and less use of the word “change.” Using the word “growth” seemed to resonate with folks early on and didn't create the nervousness that comes from change.
How do you handle volunteers' varying personalities while maintaining your overall vision for the organization?
Keeping volunteers in the loop regarding goals and objectives is key. When they are informed, they are more likely to have ownership and buy-in to the plan and less likely to let their personal ideas drive the process. I also prefer to include volunteers in the process of developing goals and objectives. While I welcome various experiences and styles of volunteers, the critical success factor is to move the entire organization in the same direction, together.