Professional development key strategy for new president
New Cayman Islands Society of Human Resources Professional President Ahisha Bodden has some lofty goals in making the 12-year-old society and its members more relevant in Cayman’s business world.
In her first address as president to members at the society’s annual general meeting on Thursday, 27 September, Ms Bodden said she had two strategic goals for her two-year term: provide more options for professional development to elevate members’ professional expertise by building their human resources competencies; and to build credibility for the human resources profession in the Cayman Islands by increasing public awareness.
“When evaluating the current role of HR professionals in the Cayman Islands and researching what organisations are doing worldwide to better equip HR professionals, I decided that we needed to really get focused,” she said. “If we are going to move forward and establish ourselves as professionals in the Cayman Islands and get those seats at the [management] table, we have to start building our core competencies.”
To address those core competencies, Ms Bodden said her plan was to create a professional development programme that was different from what the society had offered previously.
“In prior years, courses were delivered in a very theory-based manner,” she said. “Members attended a one-day session that focused on learning and the fundamentals of human resources management. Over the next two years, we will not only be offering our members one-day theory courses, but also followed by workshops with trained professionals to assist you with putting the theory into practice. This way you will be able to immediately apply your knowledge base.”
Ms Bodden also wants to raise the publics awareness of the society and its members by creating what she called an “HR Spotlight”.
One of Ms Bodden’s other goals during her term as president is to extend the society’s annual conference from a one-day to a two-day event.
“It’s important for people to know what you do and how you add value to your organisations,” she said.
Outgoing president Samantha Nehra said she was proud to have served as the society’s sixth president.
“I’ve served on the board for eight years and will serve another two years as immediate past president,” she said, adding that it will be 10 years total when she finally comes off the board. “I haven’t had a job for 10 years before, but that’s how passionate I am about HR.”
Ms Nehra said the previous boards and presidents had laid a solid foundation for the society since it was formed in 2000 and she thought the best was yet to come.
“I don’t think there has ever been a more exciting time to be a member of this society,” she said.
During her tenure as president, the society’s membership grew from 160 members to 199, with four membership applications pending the next board meeting.
In going over the accounts for the last year, Ms Nehra said the society had made a profit of $9,594, thanks largely to a record $12,000 profit on the annual conference.
Although the society’s Top Employer Award initiative lost $6,000, Ms. Nehra said the loss was expected and was planned for as part of a strategic decision of the board. She said the Top Employer Award was a world class programme that was still in its infancy.
“It needs to grow and needs to become THE event we are connected to,” she said.
Ms Nehra presented two retiring board members – former director Cindy Downing and past president Phil Jackson – with plaques for their service and she said she was particularly thankful for Mr. Jackson’s assistance and influence on her decision to stand for election on the board.
The society had three vacancies on its nine-member board, and two people stood for election for each of those positions. The members then elected Jackie Myles of PricewaterhouseCooper as its new vice president; Keyreaye Bodden of Walkers as its new secretary; and Christopher Bailey of CML as director. The new members join Ms Bodden and Ms Nehra, along with Treasurer Elizabeth DePledge and directors Milly Serpell, Joanna Virtue-Markman and Dawn McLean-Sawney, as the new board of directors.