Chapter President Profile:
Rhonda Miller, CPP

Throughout the years, Rhonda Miller, CPP, has been active with the Heart of Oregon Chapter, serving as Chapter Public Information Officer, Secretary, and Vice President. Now as a newly elected Chapter President, she is excited for what she can accomplish in her new role.

"I know the rewards of serving will continue," Rhonda says. "In my position as Payroll Supervisor for the City of Salem, I am the leader of three employees. This position as Chapter President is being the leader of over 100 active members. I am excited for this leadership position and being responsible for the promotion of our chapter."

In her role as Chapter President, Rhonda plans to be a leader in promoting the Heart of Oregon Chapter. She plans to personally invite new Certified Payroll Professionals, as well as new attendees to the Statewide Conference, to attend the Chapter's monthly meetings, and to let them know the benefits of their free chapter trainings. Rhonda also promotes the chapter's monthly meetings through their various social media accounts.

"We promote our monthly meetings and our statewide conference on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn as well as using our chapter website to send notifications of upcoming events," Rhonda explains.

The Heart of Oregon Chapter is active in giving back to their local community. On a bimonthly basis, the chapter holds a "Donate & Dine" promotion. Chapter members donate blood at the local Red Cross and then have dinner together afterward. Annually, the chapter promotes a local charity at its Statewide Conference, selling raffle tickets for the centerpieces from the conference tables.

As President, Rhonda enjoys working with the Chapter Board to promote the chapter as well as to plan its annual Statewide Conference, an event Rhonda is very proud of. Her goal is to encourage other Oregon APA chapters to get involved in the conference in the future.

In addition to Rhonda's work with the Heart of Oregon Chapter, she also volunteers regularly at her local food bank. She is a recent graduate of the City of Salem's Executive Training Program. Rhonda says her CPP designation and her involvement in the Chapter add to her credibility as a payroll supervisor at a public municipality and within the leadership of her organization.

Rhonda enjoys walking for exercise and spending time with her three children and three grandchildren. "They live out of state," Rhonda explains, "so traveling to visit them on a regular basis is a major highlight in my life."

2017 Chapter Contests

During the Chapter Exchange Reception at the 35th Annual Congress in Orlando, Florida, many chapters came out on top in one of the four Chapter Contests. The room was filled with excitement as chapters received their coveted awards. See the winners list below, along with some insightful quotes from our first-place winners to encourage you to enter the 2018 Chapter Contests.

Chapter of the Year

"It definitely brought tears to my eyes to be leading such an awesome group of payroll professionals for the second year," said Ansleigh Smith, CPP, Assistant VP/Payroll for Primerica and Chapter President of the Atlanta Chapter. "I was very excited as we were named second place in 2016 and we were hoping our momentum from last year was enough to be named COTY for 2017. I was proud to know that the APA recognized the dedication of our members and all of their hard work. It was amazing to see and hear the excitement of our members as we were announced as COTY."

2nd Place: Chicago Chapter

3rd Place: Greater Milwaukee Chapter

Honorable Mention: Denver Chapter Payroll Association

Honorable Mention: Greater Nashville Chapter

Honorable Mention: San Francisco Bay Area Chapter

2017 Chapters' Choice Winner

Winner: Atlanta Chapter

"We worked hard promoting social media in all of our meetings and events," said Priti Rughami, CPP, Payroll Manager America for Travelport and Hospitality Co-Chair for the Atlanta Chapter.

Smith said the chapter's work paid off.

"Our motivation will be to see if we can enlist our members and the contacts in their networks to win back-to-back next year," she said.

2017 Best Chapter Website Contest Winners

The Western Pennsylvania Chapter took home first place in this category. Its website expresses the personality of the chapter located in Pittsburgh and describes how hardworking this chapter's members are. "I think keeping our website current and up-to-date is very important," said Fred Weissert, CPP, Payroll Manager at Liberty Tire Recycling and President of the Western Pennsylvania Chapter. "Our website is vital to our organization. We treat our website with the same importance as one of our board members, a board member that is constantly working for our chapter, 24/7."

2nd Place: Silicon Valley Chapter

3rd Place: Richmond Chapter

Honorable Mention: Greater Milwaukee Chapter

2017 Best Statewide or Regional Meeting Contest Winners

The Texas Payroll Conference took home first place in this contest.

"Take a Bite Out of Payroll" proved to be a blast, and it showed.

"When your conference efforts focus on what is most beneficial for the attendees in terms of their education and networking opportunities, only the best results will follow," said Barbara Biri, CPP, Payroll Director at USAA and Treasurer for The Alamo Chapter of the APA.

Participating chapters were The Alamo Chapter of the APA, CenTex Chapter, Dallas Chapter, Fort Worth Chapter, Houston Chapter, The Woodlands Chapter of the APA, and the Texas Bluebonnet Chapter of the APA.

2nd Place: Charles Town West Virginia Chapter, Colonial Capital Chapter of the APA, Hampton Roads Chapter, Richmond Chapter, Shenandoah Valley Chapter of the APA, Southwest Virginia Chapter of the APA, and the Washington Metropolitan Area Chapter

3rd Place: Chattanooga Chapter, Greater Nashville Chapter, Memphis Chapter, and the East Tennessee Payroll Association

Honorable Mention: Northeast Wisconsin Chapter

"su:" target="_blank">2017 Chapter Pictorial Contest Winner

Houston Chapter won first place for showing off its chapter's journey. The theme of the pictorial was spot on with the Congress theme. Here is some advice the Houston Chapter offers for other chapters wanting to submit an entry in the future.

"Tell your story," said Martha Heysquierdo, CPP, PHR, SHRM-CP, Payroll Manager at the Brock Group and Study Group Coordinator for the Houston Chapter. "Let your chapter shine!"

2nd Place: Washington Metropolitan Area Chapter

3rd Place: Sacramento Valley Chapter

Honorable Mention: Greater Nashville Chapter

Sue Baptista Conducts Power Hour Workshop

Susan Baptista, CPP, VP, Director of Payroll, and HRIS for Havas Worldwide and a former Region 7 Advisor, shared helpful tips with chapter officers and members on the topics of promoting chapter meetings and events during this year's Annual Congress Power Hour.

"I shared tips such as reaching out to their local Chambers of Commerce and utilizing the services offered by the Chapter Relations Department of the APA," Baptista said.

Her Power Hour workshop session was called, "Helpful Tips to Promote Chapter Meetings and Events."

"It was evident that many chapters face the same issues, such as whether to have a luncheon or dinner meeting, how to request speakers, and how to increase both participation at the meetings and their membership base," Baptista said.

Topics included ways to promote payroll education, the roles of chapter officers and members, and how to promote meetings.

During the Power Hour, attendees learned helpful hints and critical steps to consider when networking within the payroll profession.

"I was thrilled with the sharing of ideas by all of the attendees," Baptista said. "It was a great Power Hour session!"

Costume Contest Winners Rocked at Congress

This year's costume contest was inspired by the flashy outfits of dozens of iconic rock stars and pop idols. Attendees participated by flaunting their show-stopping attire to depict their perception of rock concert apparel.

"This year's costume theme was the best so far," said Scott Timberman, CPP, Director of Payroll Services at Service Corporation International, and first-place winner of the Rockstar Legend contest. "I dressed as my all-time favorite rock idol and got to wear fake tattoos all day. I would love to see the participation increase because it is so much fun to dress up and compare costumes."

For the 35th Annual Congress, individuals and groups had the opportunity to participate in the following costume categories:

  • Rockstar Legend
  • Pop Superstar
  • Grungiest Grunge Attire
  • Most Chill Hip Hop Artist
  • Best Rock Group
  • Vendor-only Best Rock Group
This year marked the first year of the vendor-only section in the costume contest. Sparks flew as vendors Comdata and Greenshades Software competed against each other, with Comdata's band KISS emerging as the winner!

Carlana Livingstone, CPP, Payroll Manager at Auto Warehousing Company and first-place winner in the Best Rock Group with Jem and the Holograms, said, "I thought this year's costumes were great. I loved the 'Payroll Rocks the World' theme."

Livingstone suggests that others should consider dressing up for next year's costume contest as it gets people out of their comfort zones and into the mode of having a great time.

"I absolutely would suggest others dress up for next year's Costume Contest," said Abbey Moran, CPP, Treasury and HR Senior Manager for Nextlink Wireless, and third-place winner in the "Rockstar Legend" category. "The costume contest is always so friendly and intimate; you can really connect with others and have fun dressing up."

APA's Board of Advisors had a blast judging the costumes and deciding which participants ultimately rocked it out the most!

Tips, Tricks, for National Payroll Week Contest Entries

To help out with the National Payroll Week® contest entries, the Chapter Relations Department offers some helpful tips on how to answer the questions, how to prepare the contest entry, and what the judges are looking for to better your chances at winning.

First, answer all the questions on the NPW contest flier. The judges are looking for numbers, goals, and explanations of the events with details, photos, and captions. If you keep those main points in mind when creating your contest entry, you will have a better chance at becoming an NPW Contest winner.

Second, photos are the judge's best friend when reviewing your entries. The photos help put the judges at your event. Photos speak for themselves, so the more you include the better. Also, the Chapter Relations Department may use your photos for future NPW features in PAYTECH, PAYTECHonline, social media, contest fliers, or email broadcasts.

One way you can ensure you have photos of every event is to delegate someone to be the photographer for the event.

Next, in the new age of social media, it is extremely beneficial to use Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Social media is a critical resource to use when trying to promote your events. Newspapers, radio stations, television stations, and emails will help you reach different audiences. The judges want to see you adopt social media in your everyday lives to promote your events.

An easy way to do that is create an event on Facebook and invite your chapter members, their friends, and your colleagues. The judges want to see evidence of using social media through screenshots of your posts and events or a link to your social media page.

Last, have fun and be creative when planning NPW celebrations. Not only will this be a wonderful opportunity to promote your chapter, but it is also a great way to increase your chapter's exposure online and to gain new members! The judges love seeing new and different ideas when planning these big events. If you have come up with a fresh NPW plan, go ahead and implement it because you never know how much fun something is until you give it a shot.

The Chapter Relations Department hopes these tips are helpful for you when preparing for National Payroll Week and the NPW contests. For more helpful tips please visit our Chapter Leaders Blog for '5 Ways Your Chapter Can Get Involved With NPW 2017'. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Chapter Relations Department at (210) 226-4600.


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