Peer-to-Peer Sharing and Perspectives from 2016 Social Media Boot Camp for Hawaii’s Employers

6th_annual_Social_Media_Boot_Camp_workshop_Hawaii_HR_1The 6th annual Social Media Boot Camp workshop for Hawaii’s recruiting, staffing and human resources set another milestone with an information-packed, interactive program that looked at the “who, what, where, why and how” an evolving social media landscape impacts the workplace, job market, and employment policy.

This year’s workshop featured peer-to-peer sharing of innovative ways social platforms are used by local businesses to engage with employees, job seekers, hiring managers, and the community. The 2016 event, co-sponsored by Social Media Club Hawaii (SMCHI) and the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) Hawaii Chapter, was held at Dave & Busters on Tuesday, March 15, and attended by a cross-section of the islands’ employers, staffing agencies, digital marketers, and social media practitioners.

6th annual Social Media Boot Camp workshop_HR_2Would you “Friend” your boss on Facebook? The workshop opened with a look at New Rules in a Digital Age presented by SMCHI 2016 events chair, Erica Wallace of Robert Half Finance & Accounting.  She posed interesting questions about email and social media etiquette and discussed how digital platforms have changed the way we communicate – and blurred the lines between our public and private lives.

On the ground perspectives: Verna Wong of Hawaiian Host moderated a panel discussion on how social media impacts the way employers attract and recruit top talent. SMCHI past president, Gwen Woltz, Wahine Media, presented a wealth of information on the social generation. Warren Kwan, Enterprise Holdings, took us to school on SnapChat as a recruitment platform and how #DamnDaniel went viral. Heather Patterson, Transform Consulting shared insights on leadership and management.

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6th annual Social Media Boot Camp workshop_HR_3Throughout the workshop, questions and answers were fielded from the MeetingSift platform by program co-chair Mary Despe, MK Despe Consulting.
Twitter feed questions & comments were monitored by SMCHI communications team member Lara Holt of Wahine Media for those following the #SMCHI hashtag. Check out Lara’s the Storify summary for highlights of the day’s tweets.


6th annual Social Media Boot Camp workshop_HR_5The Power of Story Telling was demonstrated by Sunshine Topping of Hawaiian Telcom, who also shared a personal story about her own career move to Hawaii’s oldest telecommunications company. She discussed the importance of having, knowing, and effectively communicating your organization’s story to build an employment brand, and how this is a valuable strategy for both recruitment and talent retention.

6th annual Social Media Boot Camp workshop_HR_6User Generated Content (USG) was covered by Beth Busch of Success Advertising Hawaii in another panel discussion. She showed how USG is not something to be feared, and how to respond if your organization gets a bad review on Yelp, negative Facebook comments or tweets. The panel also included a presentation by Lisa Truong Kracher and Keri Sakai from Staffing Solutions of Hawaii who shared the recipe for their social media salad, and “secret sauce” of metrics for tracking and analysis.

6th annual Social Media Boot Camp workshop_HR_7Assessing risks that social media poses to employers, and how to avoid exposure to employment-related lawsuits, was addressed by local employment attorney, Sarah O. Wang, Marr Jones & Wang LLLP.

6th annual Social Media Boot Camp workshop_HR_8Roundtable discussion groups provided a number of other “speed learning” conversations including additional social media policy insights from attorney Ryan K. Hew. SMCHI 2016 board member, Branson Murphey of Success Hawaii Advertising led a roundtable on how local employers are using social media. Debi Merwick of Bishop & Co. discussed the pros and cons of hiring an internal social media specialist versus outsourcing the job. Derek Kanehira of Hawaii National Bank showed how the Bank uses the Brighter App to support employee engagement on everything from open enrollment to candidate referrals.  Several of the workshop speakers and panelists also led roundtable discussions on the interactive workshop’s hottest topics.

6th annual Social Media Boot Camp workshop_HR_9If you get it, share it shook up this year’s Boot Camp with an invitation to the audience to tell their own social media strategy for a chance to win a team-building event at Room with a Clue. SMCHI president Amanda Tompkins presented the grand prize to Tupu Savaiigaea of Easter Seals Hawaii, who shared a touching story about how the non-profit overcame several challenges to create its success using social channels for recruitment.

6th annual Social Media Boot Camp workshop_HR_10Thank you!  The Boot Camp workshop is made possible with the support of our sponsors: Bishop & Co. Hawaii, a locally-owned staffing firm serving Hawaii residents and businesses since 1986; Success Advertising Hawaii, producers of Job Quest and WorkForce, Hawaii’s largest and most popular job fairs; Taming Tech For Good, a digital marketing company that helps non-profits, community-minded businesses, solopreneurs, and government agencies amplify social media impact; and SmartSearch applicant tracking software, an early adopter of social media for recruiting that helps corporate employers and staffing firms stay ahead of the curve in the ever-changing recruitment landscape.

6th annual Social Media Boot Camp workshop_HR_11We also wish to thank MeetingSift, Room With A Clue, Dave & Buster’s, Hawaiian Host, Adecco, Staffing Solutions of Hawaii, and Makai Search.

Special thanks to SMCHI leaders Shelley Simpson, Grant Shindo, Hillary Agra, Meaghan Blackburn, Christine Gomez, Makamae Kahawai, Mae (Russell) Nishimura, Shiloh Swanson, Lottie Tagupa, Wilbur Wong, and Kevin Zuber; every year the Boot Camp success is the result of countless volunteer hours invested by members like you.

Mahalo plenty to everyone who attended and helped make the 2016 Boot Camp a success!






Sylvia Dahlby is a sales consultant at SmartSearch applicant tracking system and an early adopter of internet technology. She has worked in the recruitment advertising & technology industry since 1978 and has tele-worked from home since 1990. Her resume includes work with leading recruitment advertising/marketing agencies such as Bernard Hodes Group, TMP Worldwide, and the visionary Computer Listings of Employment Opportunities, the very first job board launched in 1984, and Westech Career Expo in the Silicon Valley with its original Virtual Job Fair. She is a professional member of Social Media Club-Hawaii Chapter and served on the 2014 and 2015 Board of Directors as Sponsorship Chair. She has led the development and production of the Social Media Boot Camp workshop for the last six years and is also an active member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Hawaii Chapter.


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Mary K. Despe, MBA – principal, MK Despe Consulting    Mary Despe is a Talent Purveyor and Founder of MK Despe Consulting, a thoughtful and collaborative provider of HR/Recruitment solutions in Technical, Healthcare IT and Professional Services industries, based in Kaneohe. She brings several years of human resources experience, with the last eight years focused on recruitment as a direct representative of companies and as a third-party entity.   Her expertise has led to successful searches in a variety of Health Systems, Sales, and Technology/Software Development roles for many companies, including start-ups in the SF Bay Area and Fortune 100 companies. She also writes career-related content as the Honolulu Careers Examiner for


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Erica Wallace, MHRM, Recruitment Manager, Robert Half Finance & Accounting   Erica Wallace recently earned her Master’s in Human Resource Management through the University of Hawaii. Erica works as Recruitment Manager with Robert Half Finance & Accounting, working in direct hires with experienced professionals—so talk to her if you have any candidate referrals! Erica has a passion for social media, especially as a recruitment and branding tool, and can be found on Twitter @EricaWallaceHR and serving on the Board for the Social Media Club Hawaii. 6th annual Social Media Boot Camp workshop_HR_Erica_Wallace


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