Celebrate 60-Chicago SHRM Retrospective: The 1970s

In celebration of Chicago SHRM turning 60, each month we will highlight a different decade of HR to discuss the impact on HR practice today (and over the years) and future.  This month we are proud to look back to the 1970’s through the eyes of past president, Leo Latz.

Can you share some reminiscences that provide a glimpse into what the organization was like when you were president?

Upon joining the group in 1963 our membership was in the 30-40 range.  As a member coming from a bank, I was immediately solicited to become Treasurer. From this position, I got to know the other officers and worked my way through the various positions, eventually becoming President in 1971/1972.  For a number of years we had our meetings at the Svithoid Club in Chicago and then moved to the Chicago Bar Association Office.  Additionally, our group had an annual dinner meeting that was held at the River Forest Country Club during my tenure.

Can you share an anecdote to provide a snapshot of the times — styles, trends, how the members interacted, any significant achievements or unique events? 

During this period senior managers were beginning to recognize the importance of the Personnel/Industrial Relations function and began promoting Personnel Executives to senior level positions.  Therefore, the HR workshops were becoming more popular and also necessary.  Due to these workshops, our members were either being promoted to senior Personnel positions or taking a larger role/responsibility at another company.

Additionally, ASPA (American Society of Personnel Administrators) workshops were very helpful to my professional growth,  but the interaction and exchange of ideas on  a personal level were invaluable.  Due to such, I was able to achieve a Senior Vice President position at the bank.  Furthermore, the importance and growth of Data Processing and the new EEOC rules and regulations were requiring ASPA to take a leadership role in preparing and informing our members.  When serving as a Personnel professional, I never dreamed I would see the day my son, Michael Latz, would become Chairman of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, a role he still holds today.


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