In 1998, twelve African American HR Professionals from twelve different cities met in Orlando, Florida with a mission. This group decided to form a national organization to help African Americans in Human Resources with challenges they faced in advancing their careers, becoming aware of pitfalls that inhibit career advancement and finding support groups to provide tips to resolve those issues or allow individuals to vent about their challenges.
This newly formed organization, The National Association of African Americans in Human Resources (NAAAHR) addressed issues faced by African Americans in Human Resources on a senior, mid and entry level. This organization provided solutions to possibly help African Americans answer their concerns and further their careers. Today, NAAAHR has chapters throughout the world, to also include the South Carolina Low Country.
Margie Gamble, the President of the local chapter of NAAHR, was instrumental in bringing NAAAHR to the Charleston area. “As an HR Professional, I felt that I was lacking resources that would assist me in navigating my career,” stated Ms. Gamble. “I faced many challenges and my only support came from colleagues in similar positions. I knew that there had to be an organization that would serve my needs. After conducting a thorough search, I found NAAAHR. This discovery was a life-changing event for me. Finally, an HR organization that addressed the needs of the individual. After contacting William Rolack, President and CEO of the National Chapter of NAAAHR, and learning about the organization, I knew I had to start a much needed chapter in our area.”
On May 17, 2017, The NAAAHR South Carolina Low Country Chapter was launched in Charleston, SC. It was the first chapter in the history of NAAAHR to come aboard with a full Board of Directors and attain gold status within the National Organization. Ms. Gamble also expresses what she believes are the greatest benefits of the organization: “What I love about NAAAHR is the fact that it is not only for African Americans and those in the Human Resources field. NAAAHR is for everyone. We are all inclusive and NAAAHR offers several benefits. As a member, I can attest to the fact that assistance is just an email or phone call away. Whenever I need advice or just need someone to listen, I can call on members of the national board or any chapter and they are there for me.”
NAAAHR provides numerous opportunities and support for Human Resources and Non-Human Resources Professionals in the community. It provides access, connections and resources to address challenging topics in the workplace. NAAAHR also offers educational seminars, conferences, workshops, speaking engagements, webinars and social networking events to its members. These events are designed to empower, engage and offer professional development to the NAAAHR membership. The SC Low Country Chapter’s Board of Directors provides a holistic approach to being receptive to new ideas, making their presence known and partnering with other professionals in the Low Country to advance their agenda.
The NAAAHR South Carolina Low Country chapter is also dedicated to addressing important concerns in the workplace. The ultimate mission of the local chapter is to explore the disparities in advancement and compensation for African-American professionals in HR within the State. This exploration is necessary to open the door to diversity in companies and government entities. The SC Low Country Chapter will host its first conference entitled, ‘The Talk: The GPS for the Pathways of Advancement within Organizations’ on Thursday, May 23, 2018 at the College of Charleston North Campus (3800 Paramount Drive North Charleston, SC 29405) from 9:00am to 4:30pm. The Talk conference is based on the controversial, two-minute short film (commercial) released by Proctor & Gamble’s My Black is Beautiful brand in July 2017. The commercials depict varying conversations that African-American parents have with their children to prepare them for the racial bias that they may face in the world. NAAAHR SC Low County Chapter is taking “The Talk” to new levels with its conference.
The conference will highlight the conversations that adults received from their parents in the past regarding bias; the current conversations parents have with their children now; the conversations that students in higher education receive and the conversations given to colleagues and mentees in the work environment. “The Talk” is a one-day conference consisting of interactive panel discussions about the history, purpose and the approach of “The Talk” in society and the work environment. The conference is designed to focus on the various processes of recruitment, compensation, training and promotions for professionals. It is also designed to start a dialogue and diminish the need for “The Talk”. This conference will help all classes of employees and all levels of management to navigate the work environment and provide support within an organization to foster growth and diversity. This event is open to everyone.
The cost of the conference is $60 for members/non-members and $35 for undergraduate students. The Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI) has also approved five recertification hours for this event. “I am very excited about this event,” stated Margie Gamble. “This is an opportunity for the SC Low Country Chapter to spark conversations and explore how people from different backgrounds use listening and dialogue to form a common ground of understanding. Everyone should attend.” To register for “The Talk” conference, please visit the http://www.naaahr.org/mpage/SCLOWCountryEvents. To gain additional information about NAAAHR, visit http://www.naaahr.org/.