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  • Writer's picturePaul LaLonde

HR Philosopher – Street Level Influencer: Dan Huber

Dan Huber, Co-Founder of the HR Hot Seat, Milwaukee Chapter.

Many of us have people in our lives, who, when introducing us to their network, we proclaim “Any friend of _____ is a friend of mine!” For me, that person is Erich Kurschat. He seems to attract such a diverse set of individuals to his networking circle.

Recently, I got text from Erich asking if he could introduce me to Dan Huber. He said Dan was looking to expand his horizons, so I told Erich – “Any friend of Erich is a friend of mine” and said please make the introduction!

So, Dan and I hopped on a Zoom call and got to talking! I was instantly drawn to Dan’s warm personality. We discussed growing up in the Chicagoland area, and his job at Breakthru Beverage Group, which distributes liquor and beer in the region. We discussed Binny’s Beverage Depot, which is a Chicagoland staple for craft beer lovers!

What really drew me to Dan, however, was his passion for the Human Resources profession despite never having been in HR! He told me that prior to relocating, he became active in Erich’s endeavor the HR Hot Seat.

The HR Hot Seat was designed “to move the human resources discipline forward” through a network of active and diverse HR professionals as a safe space to gather and discuss issues in a “collaborative environment of trust, support, honesty, integrity, and respect.”

The HR Host Seat has grown over the last several years from a small Chicago based group to include over ten chapters in five states.

This is where Dan comes in. He started the newest HR Hot Seat Chapter in Milwaukee, WI earlier this month!

Actually, it’s pronounced “mill-e-wah-que” which is Algonquin for “the good land.”

But… I digress…

As Dan and I discussed his venture, I was impressed by his zeal for promoting the HR profession and building a support system for those struggling in transition. I was especially wide-eyed when he said they plan on setting up a special fund to allow HR professionals in transition to apply for funding to take certification or education courses to brush up on their skills.

This is truly a selfless effort, and it’s one I wanted to share with my own network. SO, without further ado, let me introduce you to Dan Huber!

So, Dan, please tell me about the organization you currently work at and what your role is.

I work for zizzl-Benefits consulting and payroll firm in Milwaukee. I am a Sales Executive with the company. It’s a family business and our mission is to help companies manage their healthcare and/or payroll costs. My uncle tapped me for this role. I feel very strongly in what the company stands for and how we can help our clients better provide for their employees.

Tell me why you wanted to start an HR Hot Seat chapter in the Milwaukee Area.

I felt that the pandemic made it nearly impossible for HR Pro’s to network. There is such a void currently in the area, and I talked to many who were looking for a networking group that offered more. So, I felt a mastermind group where we could have tangible conversations with tangible tactical advice was necessary. I just wanted to help support HR professionals with the resources they need and connect those looking for jobs with the right opportunities.

As a non-HR professional, why do you feel it’s so important to support HR pros? What draws you to doing what you do to encourage the profession?

In my profession I work with HR professionals every day. I have found so many professionals struggling during the pandemic that I finally had enough and wanted to create a resource where they can get real tactical advice.

As a son who grew up with a single parent (mother) who supported 2 sons and put them through college as a Kindergarten teacher, I can’t help but feel the same about some HR professionals, who have a lack of resources. I am drawn to help them and create this group so I can give back and leave things better than I found it for others.

HR is a challenging profession, in that, we likely get too much blame and not enough credit when things go wrong or well, respectively. Have you had a particular experience with HR that had you become a supporter of the profession?

I have always been a supporter for HR professionals but feel that today’s environment has really accelerated my support with the challenges it has provided many of your and our peers. What really made me turn to action was when I spoke with an HR professional in the beginning of the pandemic. I asked her how she was doing personally and how I could help. She replied “If I were a drinker, I would be at the end of a bottle right now.” That response was telling, so it gave me more urgency to make the HR Hot Seat happen.

Please elaborate on your vision for the HR Hot Seat. I am especially impressed by your idea to create a “grant program” for HR pros in transition, so they can obtain certification or other continuing educational opportunities.

Really, I am looking to build off the success of the Chicago chapter I knew more intimately. The goal of the HR Hot Seat is to “establish a community of HR pros who are committed to helping one another grow, build, innovate, achieve, and serve.” I saw firsthand the benefits of this promise, so felt it was time to move on it. As far as the grant program, we’re proud of this imitative. We will be looking to raise money for a scholarship funds for those who do not have the means to obtain important HR certifications for career growth. Members will also have access to a wide network of HR pros to ask for advice and for future career opportunities in our community.

Who’s one person in your network that readers should know about?

Folks need to connect with Dan Freschi, who is co-founder of our Milwaukee HR Hot Seat chapter. He’s an awesome dude with tons of HR knowledge and experience.

Who is one person — historic, famous, or personal — who inspires you to be better? Why and how?

Tim Ferris. His podcast allows me the opportunity to learn from those who have made a positive impact in their industry and community. I am a BIG fan and never miss an episode.

What do you feel is HR’s biggest challenge going to be over the next six months?

I’m see two distinct yet interconnected things, and neither should be a surprise to any seasoned HR professional. It’s the rising cost of healthcare and other benefits and trying to retain your best talent. I think the pandemic has exasperated some of the underlaying problems, but my clients keep voicing the challenge trying to offering quality health insurance and creating attractive benefit packages for obtaining and retaining talent. I have some ideas on how to fix it, but that’s for another interview.

How can people connect with you?

The best ways to get ahold of me are through my email at any my personal LinkedIn account.

What’s one thing you think the world should know about you – personal or professional? Have fun with this one!

That I am a husband to my beautiful wife Jackie and father to 2-year-old son Sammy. Oh, and we’re expecting baby number two soon! Hope she doesn’t mind this article being our reveal! Our family and friends already know, but we were going to make a general announcement soon anyway! 😊

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