The Greater Merrimack Valley Human Resource Association

An affiliate of the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) serving and advancing the HR profession through educational programs, legislative updates, and networking.


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Upcoming events

    • 06 May 2021
    • 8:15 AM - 10:30 AM (EDT)
    • Webinar

    Thursday, May 6, 2021

    Remote Meeting

          8:15 AM - 8:20 AM Welcome from Amy Sabato
                8:20 AM - 8:45 Legal Update and Q&A with Deb Najjar
    8:45 - 8:55 - Sponsor
    9:00 - 10:30 Program

          Approved for 1.50 SHRM PDC's and HRCI credits.

    Topic: 2021 Employee Handbook Revisions: Are You Up to Date?

    From the new Massachusetts Paid Family Medical Leave law to the COVID-19 pandemic, laws and regulations surrounding the workplace are constantly changing. Are you confident that your company's handbook aligns with the latest best practices?  An up-to-date employee handbook is a critical tool to help mitigate risk to your business.  Join us for a lively discussion of best practices and recommended 2021 updates to your handbook.  Topics will include:


    Leave policies;

    Work-from-home/remote work policies;

    Discrimination, harassment, and anti-retaliation policies;

    Development of policies that balance flexibility with clear guidance;

    Miscellaneous handbook policies that may require review and revision; and

    Best practices on maintaining a handbook and updating employees.


    Our Speakers:  Kathleen O'Toole and Catherine DiVita from Conn Kavanaugh Rosenthal Peisch & Ford, LLP - Boston, MA

    Kathleen R. O’Toole

    Kate primarily focuses her practice on employment matters, as both a litigator and a trusted advisor. On the litigation side, Kate represents employers facing various employment lawsuits, such as discrimination, sexual harassment, and wage and hour claims. She regularly works with employers in a counseling capacity, as well, helping them to resolve challenging workplace issues and collaborating with them on practices, policies, and problem-solving strategies that help to prevent litigation.  She also represents clients (both individuals and employers) in the negotiation of severance agreements and employment contracts.  In addition to her employment law practice, Kate also defends professional liability claims and advises clients on insurance coverage matters.  

    Catherine M. DiVita

    Catherine maintains a broad civil litigation practice, with a focus on employment law, insurance disputes, and professional liability. She represents employers in defensive litigation, working to reach a favorable settlement or win the case via dispositive motions or a verdict, if necessary. She also counsels employers on their internal policies and procedures to help their businesses run smoothly and hopefully avoid litigation. Prior to joining Conn Kavanaugh, Catherine clerked for Chief Justice Richard A. Robinson on the Connecticut Supreme Court and for former Chief Justice Scott L. Kafker on the Massachusetts Appeals Court, who is now on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

    Our Sponsor: 

    We are a full service insurance brokerage specializing in employee benefits and life insurance products.  We do MRIs and CAT scans of life and health insurance policies.  We show people what they don't know that they don't know.  We are licensed in 31 states and work with businesses on education , saving money and servicing their accounts.  Typically our clients are small businesses of between 2 and 100 employees, although we are able to do larger firms as well.



    For more information:

    Contact: Lisa Lemieux, PHR, SHRM-CP

    Phone: 978-204-3207

    • 03 Jun 2021
    • 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM (EDT)
    • Webinar
    Thursday, June 3, 2021 

    Remote Meeting

    Topic:  Legal Update

    (Half day program 8AM - 12:30 PM - Fee applies) 

    Presented by attorneys from Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP  NH update presented by Debra Najjar, NELGPC

    This 4-hour program will cover legal, regulatory and legislative updates as well as developments from the state and federal courts over the past year.  Topics include the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical and Leave law, the EEOC’s updated religious accommodation guidelines, and NLRB changes, in light of the change in administration.  Covid updates will be addressed in depth with the latest guidance from governmental entities, as will insight into the changed workplace going forward.  Discipline and termination issues will also be covered.


    Introduction & Welcoming Remarks (10 Minutes)            

    Lessons from the Year’s Top Cases &                                           Kier Wachterhauser

    Regulatory and Statutory Update (90 minutes)                                  Sarah Spatafore 
    Debra Najjar, NELGPC

    A comprehensive overview of major legislative, regulatory and case law developments during the past year, including developments at Massachusetts, New Hampshire and federal agencies, and significant court decisions under federal and state law. The program will include a Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical and Leave law update and a discussion of the EEOC’s recent issuance of updated religious accommodation guidelines. 

    Break (5 minutes)

    The NLRA, the NLRB, and What Every Employer Needs to Know about the Myriad of Changes Already Made and What to Expect Moving Forward (30 minutes)                                                            Michael Maccaro

    The leadership of the NLRB under the new presidential administration has already been very active in reversing employer-friendly General Counsel memos and has stated a clear goal to encourage and facilitate union organizing.  This presentation will focus on the recent and dramatic changes at the Board, what to expect moving forward, and how all employers – whether organized or not – need to prepare. 

    COVID Now & Later – Navigating the COVID-Related Issues Today and Preparing for the Changed Workplace of Tomorrow                 (65 minutes)

     Nan O’Neill                                                                                                   Kathryn Murphy                                                                                                         Kier Wachterhauser                                                                                                 Sarah Spatafore

    This presentation will discuss the latest COVID-19 developments  affecting employers, including any changes and updates in federal and state COVID-related regulations, vaccination issues, work-place accommodation issues, and potential liability issues.  In addition, this presentation will explore the changing workplace and what employers should consider today to be ready for tomorrow.  This part of the presentation will cover topics, such as likely wage and hour issues arising out of work-from-home and hybrid environments, best practices on work-from-home policies, workers’ compensation issues, workplace safety concerns, ongoing ADA accommodation issues, addressing employee reluctance to return to work, and how to handle resistance to COVID or other health-related safety policies.              

    Break (5 minutes)    

    Discipline and Discharge in the Workplace (35 minutes) thWorkplace (35minutes)    

    Nan O’Neill                                                                                                                  Paul King

    This presentation will be primer for discipline and discharge in the workplace, and provide practical advice and best practices for both the seasoned HR practitioner and those new to the field.  The presentation will focus on processes for both union and non-union workplaces, and provide advice on how to minimize the risks for liability and costs through well-developed training and policies.  

    Speaker Bios:

    Attorney Bios for 2021_1251464_1.DOCX

    Debra Najjar.docx

    Cost of this event is:  

    GMVHRA Member $50.00

    Non-Member $75.00

    Our Sponsor:

    For more than forty years, Agility Orthopedics has been a leading provider of innovative orthopedic care, from complex orthopedic surgery to caring and effective rehabilitation. Our world-class physicians and comprehensive team of providers specialize in foot and ankle surgery, sports medicine, hand and elbow surgery, shoulder surgery, spine surgery, joint replacement, pain management, physical therapy, occupational therapy and regenerative medicine. We offer urgent same-day appointments and specialize in workers’ compensation injuries and have locations in Stoneham and Malden, MA.

    Agility Orthopedics
    Keeping You Moving
    Phone: 781.279.7040
    Stoneham: 92 Montvale Ave., Suite 1400
    Malden: 405 Pearl Street

    LOCATION:  WebEx Meeting

    *Join GMVRA’s LinkedIn group to share knowledge with your HR colleagues*

    For more information:


    • 02 Sep 2021
    • 8:15 AM - 10:30 AM (EDT)
    • Webinar

    Thursday, September 2, 2021

    Remote Meeting

          8:15 AM - 8:30 AM Welcome from Amy Sabato
                 8:30 AM - 8:55 Legal Update and Q&A with Deb Najjar

                 9:00 - 10:30 Program

          Approved for 1.50 SHRM credits, HRCI credits pending


    Why your DEI initiative is in danger of failing – and what to do about it.


    The worst feeling for any leader who cares about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is putting in the work to create a genuinely impactful and well-resourced initiative or strategy that goes unutilized or ignored because employees have lost psychological safety, morale, and trust in leadership. The cost is extremely high. Turnover, lost productivity, lawsuits, complaints, and lack of innovation will drain your assets, from monetary to human capital. In the meantime, according to BCG, companies with more diverse teams report 45% higher innovation revenue – that's your competition.

    Beyond your DE&I problem is a broken culture. DE&I in these organizations, no matter how well-executed, doesn't work. Invest in building--and repairing--this foundation first.

    What's the first step? To understand that DEI weaves people together and Inclusive Leadership is the thread. Together, in this session, we will walk through the science connecting DE&I and Inclusive Leadership and the methods you can use to integrate the two, so your DE&I efforts will progress, and you will see a greater return on your investment.


    ·       Understand how to use Inclusive Leadership to fix a lack of DE&I a        adoption
    ·       Be able to identify the exact problems that are stalling your DE&I          strategies
    ·       Deploy 3 methods to get forward momentum on your DEI initiative

    Our Speaker: Leili McKinley

    Founder and CEO of The Identitype Group, LLC

    SME in DEI, Inclusive Leadership, and Brand Advocacy. Develops DEI Strategy and planning. Facilitates training in DEI and Inclusive Leadership.

    Leili McKinley is on a mission to educate leaders about the intersection of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Inclusive Leadership, and Brand Advocacy. They come together in the company's culture and is the foundational fabric of the IP called Relational Capital.

    She is a Member of The National Diversity Council.

    She is a recipient of the Stanford University Certification in Leveraging Diversity and Inclusion for Organizational Excellence.

    She is a serial entrepreneur honored by the SBA and an award-winning designer. Leili McKinley is a 3x Founder with a successful track record of building, growing, and selling brands. She attributes her success to creating cultures embedded with substantial relational capital. Her combined companies have given her over 30 years of leadership experience.

    As the architect of several DEI Strategies, she has helped over 2000 people become advocates and participants in the foundational change in their organizations, fostering plans that implemented new processes and structures top to bottom.

    As a Trainer, she has worked with Boards, Executives, and Managers creating engaging content that has won her repeat clients. She has trained organizations from 30 members up to 7500 members. Cisco, ICF Next, Weston & Sampson and the Professional Business Women of California (PBWC) are of few of her notable clients.

    Our Sponsor: Interesting in Sponsoring? Contact Julie Moore at 



    For more information:

    Contact: Lisa Lemieux, PHR, SHRM-CP

    Phone: 978-204-3207

    • 14 Sep 2021
    • 8:00 AM (EDT)
    • 17 Sep 2021
    • 12:00 PM (EDT)
    • Virtual Meeting

Past events

01 Apr 2021 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion - Part 1 of 2
23 Mar 2021 TPSU Half-3 Hour Virtual Fiduciary Training Program
04 Mar 2021 Conscious Conversations in the Workplace
04 Feb 2021 The Ongoing Impact of COVID-19: an Evolution from Temporary Fix to New Normal
07 Jan 2021 Succession Planning Blown Up
03 Dec 2020 Legal Update
05 Nov 2020 MA Paid Family & Medical Leave (PFMLL)
01 Oct 2020 Unconscious Bias in the Workplace
15 Sep 2020 SAVE THE DATE - Twin State Virtual HR Summit
03 Sep 2020 Investigations Primer in a Remote Workplace
04 Jun 2020 Behavioral and Mental Issues: How to Make It OKAY to Ask for Help
07 May 2020 Thriving in an HR Department of One....or More
28 Apr 2020 POSTPONED 2020 Granite State HR Conference
02 Apr 2020 Annual Legal Update
05 Mar 2020 Leadership Sustainability – How to Build Resilience and Prevent Burnout in a 24/7 World
06 Feb 2020 Building HR Analytical Capabilities
09 Jan 2020 Massachusetts Health for SMALL Business - BONUS PROGRAM
09 Jan 2020 The Top 10 List. What HR Professionals Need to Know About Social Security, Medicare, and the Aging Workforce
12 Dec 2019 Narcissism in the Workplace
07 Nov 2019 Surviving the Life or Death Gap – (Blue-U Defense Presentation)
03 Oct 2019 The Performance Review Journey
18 Sep 2019 GMVHRA Evening of Networking
05 Sep 2019 Criminal Records and Second Chances: Hiring Employees in 2019
06 Jun 2019 Positive ROI: Effective Mentor Program Design for Workforce Development
02 May 2019 Lessons from the Trenches: Tips and Strategies to Avoid Employee Lawsuits
30 Apr 2019 Granite State HR Conference
04 Apr 2019 Annual Legal Update
07 Mar 2019 The Key to Productivity-Why Happiness Matters at Work
07 Feb 2019 Holding Employees to Accountability in the Workplace and Ensuring Commitments of Engagement!
03 Jan 2019 Leading Strategic Change Management Through Employee Engagement
13 Dec 2018 Effectively Navigating the Conflict Spectrum
13 Nov 2018 TPSU Half-Day Fiduciary Training Program
01 Nov 2018 It's Not the Money: The Reasons Employees Quit
04 Oct 2018 Do these Wage and Hour laws still make Cents to You?
13 Sep 2018 GMVHRA Evening of Networking
06 Sep 2018 Medical Marijuana
18 Jul 2018 TPSU Half-Day Fiduciary Training Program
07 Jun 2018 Five Habits of Destructive HR Leaders (Workshop)
03 May 2018 Why We Argue and How We Reconcile
05 Apr 2018 Working to 65 and Beyond… Understanding Medicare, and its Impact on Group Health Coverage
26 Mar 2018 "2018 Granite State HR Conference"
01 Mar 2018 Annual Legal Update
01 Feb 2018 “Responding to Sexual Harassment Complaints in the Post-Harvey Weinstein World”
11 Jan 2018 Energize Passion and Performance
07 Dec 2017 Subject - The Massachusetts Act to Establish Pay Equity: Six Months Out. Are you ready?
02 Nov 2017 Navigating Employee Leave: How to Comply with the Law and Keep Your Business Afloat
05 Oct 2017 “Leadership in Safety: The Alpha and Omega of a Successful Company”
04 Oct 2017 2017 “Women in Technology - Lift & Climb” Event
03 Oct 2017 GMVHRA Evening of Networking
28 Sep 2017 2017 NH Statewide Leadership Conference
07 Sep 2017 Leading with Emotional Agility for HR Leaders
01 Jun 2017 How to Handle Difficult Conversations
04 May 2017 Motivating & Engaging Employees with Non-Monetary Rewards
06 Apr 2017 Annual Legal Update
02 Mar 2017 Wellness Event
02 Feb 2017 ERISA Update: Enforcement Initiatives, Common Mistakes Discovered on Audit, Correction Programs, Plan Sponsor’s Fiduciary Obligations, and the New Fiduciary Rule.
05 Jan 2017 Active Shooter: "Surviving an Incident of Violence"
01 Dec 2016 Lean HR: It’s for ALL HR Professionals!
03 Nov 2016 "The Future of HR: Promoting Business Success in a Changing Global Workplace"
06 Oct 2016 Medical Marijuana in the Workplace: Navigating Potential Potholes
01 Sep 2016 “The Fair Labor Standards Act: Preparing for Implementation of the New White Collar Overtime Exemption Rule”
08 Jun 2016 GMVHRA - 2016-06-08 - “Top Ten Issues When Drafting and Negotiating Separation and Severance Agreements”
11 May 2016 GMVHRA - 2016-05-11 - "The Secret Behind the Curtain of the Wizard of Oz: Building Your Skills to Be an Awesome Coach"
13 Apr 2016 GMVHRA - 2016-04-13 - "2016 Legal Update"
09 Mar 2016 GMVHRA - 2016-03-09 - "2016 Wellness Event- What’s your Wellness Strategy?"
10 Feb 2016 GMVHRA - 2016-02-10 - "Human Connection: A Lost Art in a Noisy World"
13 Jan 2016 GMVHRA - 2016-01-13 - "Employee Handbooks: Legal Compliance and Best Practices"
09 Dec 2015 GMVHRA - 2015-12-09 - "Understanding Workplace Violence"
04 Nov 2015 GMVHRA - 2015-11-04 - "HR And The Aging Workforce: Strategies and Best Practices"
14 Oct 2015 GMVHRA - 2015-10-14 - "Workplace Investigations: 10 Common Mistakes"
10 Sep 2015 GMVHRA - 2015-09-10 - "Developments in the Law of Noncompetes and Other Post-Employment Restrictions"
10 Jun 2015 GMVHRA - 2015-06-10 "Managing Employee Leaves of Absence: Navigating New Laws and Old Challenges"
13 May 2015 GMVHRA - 2015-05-13 "EEO And AAP - How Does It Impact Me And My Company?"
08 Apr 2015 GMVHRA - 2015-04-08 "Wellness Event- Real Ideas for your Organization"
11 Feb 2015 GMVHRA - 2015-02-11 "The New Ambush Election Rules by the NLRB: What Employers Need to Know about Union Organizing Drives"
14 Jan 2015 GMVHRA - 2015-01-14 "Workforce Analytics: Create a Game-Changing Performance Culture"
01 Jun 1990 1990 Annual Meeting


183 Rockingham Rd., Ste 2 East

c/o Landmark Benefits

Windham, NH 03087


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