33rd Annual Congress
Chapter Highlights

Look for the monitors throughout the convention center during the week of Congress, May 5-9 in Las Vegas, because they will showcase all of the creative and colorful local chapter pictorial presentations entered in the 2015 Chapter Pictorial Contest. Each unique photo slideshow reflects the activities and events APA's individual chapters participated in throughout 2014.

Be sure to stop by and visit with chapter members from the Southern Nevada Chapter as they host a Chapter Hospitality Booth. There they will share all the fun and exciting options Las Vegas has to offer for restaurants, shopping, and must-see local attractions. Plus, this host chapter will have some tasty treats, awesome souvenirs, and prize drawings throughout the week. Drawings for prizes will be announced on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 5-6, during Congress. Stop by to receive a warm welcome and possibly plan your next big adventure.

As new leaders are elected or appointed for chapters, it is important to have a smooth transition for the benefit of the chapter. Join Chapter Relations Manager Elizabeth Herrera on Tuesday, May 5, from 1-2 p.m. as she leads the panel discussion, "Knowledge Transfer for New Chapter Officers." Attendees will learn ways of making the officer transition a breeze and how you can implement procedures for future officers to use. This session is for chapter officers, chapter board members, and those interested in becoming a chapter leader.

The highly-favored Chapter Exchange and Reception, held this year on Wednesday, May 6, from 6:30 p.m. - 8 p.m., is a grand opportunity to see what local chapter unity is all about. Dedicated payroll professionals from nearly 165 APA local chapters join together to recognize and learn from one another in this unique, interactive session. Also at this anticipated event, the Chapter Contest Awards will be announced and everyone will find out who won the coveted Chapter of the Year Award. All attendees are encouraged to show their chapter spirit. Plus, meet APA's nine Regional Board of Advisors' members as they facilitate chapter-related discussions.

Show off your gorgeous gown or wear glittery accessories to compete in the Costume Contest. Dress as your favorite character from The Hunger Games trilogy, the inspiration for The Payroll Games, represent your region, or partner with a guy or gal on fire. Have fun and start designing your costume for one of the following categories:

  • Most Outrageous Hairdo or Beard
    Women and men of the Capitol always have unique ways to style their hair and beards. The most creative and intricate design will be crowned the winner.
  • Best Colorful Capitol Face
    Be the envy of all by showing your dramatic, glamorous, colorful make-up skills to the Capitol. The person with the best colorful face will be announced the winner.
  • Most Spirited Region
    Get a group together and represent your region's tributes with a creative costume. Be sure to learn all about your region's tribute to use his or her tool or weapon of choice.
  • Creatively Clever Cosplay
    Dress as one of your favorite characters from The Hunger Games trilogy. The contestant who dresses the closest to the character or a Peacekeeper will win.
  • Best Excessively Accessorized
    Pull out your necklaces, ties, hairpins, hats, and more to cover yourself with accessories. The winner will be the person who uses excessive, creative, and colorful accessories the best.
  • Capitol's Most Glamorous
    Show the designer in you by putting together the most glamorous outfit ever seen in the Capitol. The most dazzling head-to-toe ensemble will be crowned.
  • Best Blazing Duo
    Be the guy and gal on fire, star-crossed lovers, Peacekeepers or coaches for this partner contest. The best duo will be announced the winner.
  • Capitol Fashion Failure
    Think of the biggest fashion faux pas you have ever seen and run with it. To win this contest you need to look like a complete disaster.
Choose from the costume categories above and join us on stage during the Cocktail Reception and Dinner in the Expo on Thursday, May 7, beginning at 6:30 p.m. to enter. The Costume Contest begins at 7 p.m. sharp. Everyone is welcome to wear their costumes all day Thursday.

Do you want to pay it forward to your payroll peers? Join Cynthia Cichosz, CPP, and Terry Meggitt, CPP, Friday, May 8, from 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. for "Train the Trainer for CPP/FPC Study Groups." During this workshop, attendees will learn the tricks and hints to run successful certification study groups or improve your success. Even if you are studying alone, you can learn to optimize your studying and pay it forward to others. You'll receive worksheets and learn how to set up a study group and teach candidates to use their newly gained knowledge to pass the exam.

Chapter President Profile
Michelle DellaCroce
Northern Lights Chapter

By Caren Bennett

For Michelle DellaCroce, the Northern Lights Chapter of the APA is more than just a professional organization, it's a family.

"I don't remember exactly when it happened, but at some point I realized this crazy group of payroll pros has always been there for me and I could count on them no matter what. We are a close-knit chapter, and there is true love and friendship within our ranks," she explains.

When DellaCroce was unexpectedly nominated for the position of Chapter President, she realized it would be an excellent opportunity to give back to her chapter.

"The Northern Lights Chapter has been there to support me through thick and thin over the last decade, and it just felt like it was time for me to return the favor," she says.

Having only recently taken over as Chapter President, DellaCroce has looked to the 2014 Chapter President Alma Robinson for guidance.

"Alma was a rock star!" DellaCroce says. "She taught all 15 sessions of our CPP and FPC study groups and has led almost all of our chapter meetings for the last 4 years. In addition, she has dedicated many hours to organize our annual statewide conference. She has dedicated many volunteer hours to organizing a chapter presence and volunteering at Bean's Cafe, a local organization that provides meals, day shelter and support services in Anchorage, Alaska. It looks like I have some pretty big shoes to fill."

DellaCroce looks forward to making her own mark in the coming year. Her primary focus is to help the chapter continue to grow and to thrive. This ensures payroll professionals, both current and future, have opportunities for education and training.

"Because of the disproportionately high travel costs we face as Alaskans, we have a significant lack of opportunity for in-person training," she says. "By ensuring the chapter's continuing existence, we can provide training opportunities for Alaskan payroll professionals that would otherwise not exist."

DellaCroce uses her role as payroll manager to spread the word about the benefits of chapter membership to her staff and to senior management.

"In my current role, I have been fortunate enough to also be allocated a budget for training and the support of our CFO to allow my entire staff to participate in local chapter events," she says.

She is also working to find ways to encourage more members to volunteer for chapter events and leadership roles.

DellaCroce has been certified in payroll since 2007 and received her CPA license in 2014. Like many payroll professionals, she was pulled into the field by accident while working as an accountant.

"Somehow I ended up being really good at payroll reconciliations and union reporting. The next thing I know, I was just sucked right into the payroll world!" she explains. "Now I can't seem to walk away; payroll has become my life. It supported my daughter when I was a single parent, and it is a good career path."

This year, DellaCroce's current employer, NANA Management Services, is sending her to the 33rd Annual Congress.

"I'm so excited I could bust, and May just can't get here soon enough!" she says.

DellaCroce's hobbies include camping, riding 4-wheelers, and gold mining. She has lived in Alaska since 1998.

"I've found Alaska to be one of the most amazing states for getting out there and trying something new," she says.

For DellaCroce, one of the most interesting points about processing payroll in Alaska is talking with vendors and service providers.

"Almost all conversations start with a discussion about Alaska," she says. "Most of our providers are in the 'lower 48' (as we Alaskans so fondly refer to the continental U.S.), and most have never been here. They always have questions about our weather, the seasons, and the length of daylight and darkness we experience. It's always fun to spend a few moments chatting and demystifying the Alaskan experience to these curious folks."

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