ERC Real-Time Member Polls: Tell Us What Data You Need


In these challenging times, it's never been more important to share ideas and learn from each other. In March of 2020, ERC launched a new line of research focused on the most pressing issues that we hear about from our members.

These Member Polls are short and open for one day. Upon submitting responses, members see the real-time results instantly. The following business day, ERC posts the final results from all participants in ERC's connectwERC online forum for members.

Here are five of 18 polls that we've conducted and published since March:

We plan to conduct the following polls in the upcoming weeks:

  • Talent Acquisition Challenges During COVID-19
  • Long-Term Remote Work Options
  • Future Hiring Plans

How can we continue to serve you through this research series?

What are some additional poll topics that you would like to see covered? Please complete a brief survey (1-2 minutes) to share your thoughts and help us plan future polls. 

Take Survey




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Senior VP Carrie Morse Named to Board of Dress for Success Cleveland

carrie-morseHighland Heights, OHERC Senior Vice President Carrie Morse has been named to the Board of Directors of Dress for Success Cleveland, a nonprofit that helps women break the cycle of poverty by supporting them in the working world.

Carrie has attended Dress for Success events over the years and was attracted to the mission of the organization. “It’s about much more than the suit. Dress for Success teaches women workplace skills, including resume writing, interviewing skills, and professionalism,” said Carrie. “Economic independence is key to a healthy life for self and family. This program helps lift women out of impoverished circumstances and gives them confidence.”

Dress for Success is part of a global movement for change, empowering woman to obtain safer and better futures. They have been in the Cleveland area for 20 years. The organization provides each client with professional attire to secure employment and furnishes her with a confidence she carries forever.

Donations are accepted in the form of gently used professional attire and monetary gifts. Dress for Success is also always looking for mentors and volunteers.

“My participation on the Dress for Success working board dovetails nicely with the mission of ERC,” said Carrie. The ERC mission is simply to make workplaces great. “We need great people in business everywhere, and this program helps women to achieve success as a contributor in the workplace.”

Kelly Keefe is President of ERC and encourages employee involvement in the community. “I am proud that Carrie has joined the Dress for Success Cleveland Board. At ERC, we have a long-standing commitment to giving back and serving in our community," said Kelly. "Volunteerism is a huge part of heart-centered leadership – exactly Carrie’s style – and just one reason she has been so successful in her roles here at ERC.”

Carrie oversees ERC’s Membership, Coaching, Training, and Consulting practices, and serves on both the leadership and management teams. She has been with ERC since 2002 in a variety of roles, including Vice President, Member Services & Partnerships; Director, Partnerships; and Director, Training & Events.

For 17 years, Carrie was chiefly responsible for the planning and execution of ERC’s NorthCoast 99, an annual recognition program and event that honors 99 great Northeast Ohio workplaces for top talent.

About ERC

Founded in 1920, ERC makes workplaces great by providing training, HR consulting and support, coaching and assessments, and research services. We’re the creators and producers of NorthCoast 99, an annual awards program in its 22nd year that honors exceptional Northeast Ohio employers for top talent. ERC also sponsors the ERChealth insurance program in Ohio.

Guidance for Leaders, Teams, and Peer Groups During Crisis & Beyond


From virtual, one-on-one meetings to small group sessions, coaching produces positive change that develops top performers and drives organizational success – even during times of crisis.

In crisis situations, executives and their teams are challenged to make decisions and take actions that determine their organization's future. Successfully leading during unprecedented times will help sustain companies and their employees. Coaching is a partnership that provides a safe environment for open, honest questions, and discussion. Whether formal or informal, virtual or in person, ERC offers coaching services to leaders, teams, and peer groups.

Our certified and trained coaches are results-focused and bring the responsibility for sustainable change to an individual level – whether the objectives are qualitative, quantitative or both. We partner with a wide range of local, national, and global coaches, allowing us to match the right coach with every client.

Virtual Coaching for Leaders

In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, leaders are facing new challenges and leading their people in an entirely new way. The pressure to make the right decisions is greater than ever. And even though they might not have all the answers, the best leaders know that there are outside resources to help them succeed. 

A professional coach is an excellent guide for leaders in times of crisis. A coach helps executives work through their priorities, using insights and reflections. A coach also serves as an outside voice to help leaders think through their actions and decisions. Rather than trying to work out issues alone, working alongside a coach can provide alternative perspectives. 

Coaching differs from mentoring, consulting, and counseling in that the coach is not an expert in a particular field, but in “holding up the mirror” of self-reflection and awareness. The result is positive individual change through introspection, goal-setting, and personal action. 

Virtual Coaching for Teams

In addition to leaders, coaches can greatly impact intact, internal teams. Coaching provides structure, support, and empowerment that allows teams to become more aware and adapt and integrate new behaviors. Such new behaviors create sustainable change. Coaches can discuss the best ways to work together in strenuous situations, and they can help review team actions and plans. While results are important, coaches primarily focus on helping teams successfully handle a broad range of challenges.

Virtual Coaching for Peer Groups

Different than team coaching, which provides support to intact, internal teams, group coaching is an external resource for a small group of peers who need guidance during periods of uncertainty and in everyday work life at their respective organizations. Coaching for peers offers an outside reference group and a professional coach who collectively focus on growth, learn best practices, and achieve positive results.

Group coaching is an affordable resource for leaders at all levels. During group coaching sessions, leaders discuss and work through current issues that they are facing in their work environments. Especially during times of change and crisis, group coaching provides much-needed solutions, support, and resources.  

Meet Alison Brunsdon

Director, Coaching & Assessment Services at ERC

AlisonAlison Brunsdon is a strategic, global talent leader with over 30 years of experience across a variety of industries and HR disciplines. She is an accomplished coach to leaders, teams, and individuals who has the vision and proven ability to drive transformative organizational change.

At ERC, Alison leads a robust coaching and assessments practice that is rooted in current methodologies and concrete research. She develops client relationships and oversees our executive coaching business, as well as our team of trained and certified coaches.

Alison also manages ERC’s full suite of selection and team-building assessments, using these ability and personality measures to complement our coaching solutions. 

Contact Alison for More Information


Laurie White Joins ERC as Instructional Designer, E-Learning Developer

LaurieHighland Heights, Ohio – ERC, the human resource organization that provides training, HR consulting and support, coaching and assessments, and research services locally and nationally, is pleased to announce that Laurie White has joined the company as Instructional Designer, E-Learning Developer.

Laurie has extensive experience creating e-learning modules for a variety of industries, including engineering, manufacturing, education, and biomedical research. She is skilled at crafting memorable e-learning experiences from challenging and highly technical subject matter.

In her role, Laurie is responsible for the development and implementation of ERC’s e-learning library and Learning Management System (LMS). She provides technical expertise for our training practice by designing and developing high-quality, interactive, and engaging online learning content.

By partnering with subject matter experts, trainers, and leaders, Laurie identifies learning needs and produces appropriate scripts and storyboards. She then brings to life dynamic, instructional learning interactions, simulations, online courses, microlearning objects, videos, games, and reinforcement activities. To measure learning outcomes, Laurie creates and implements assessments and evaluations. She also maintains an ongoing evaluation plan for the course methodology.

“We’re thrilled to have Laurie join ERC and lead our e-learning practice," said Senior Vice President Carrie Morse. "E-learning platforms offer many benefits for employers, including consistency in the delivery of the material, more flexibility with on-demand accessibility, and better results. As employers seek more virtual learning and development options, ERC is poised to provide our members and clients with quality, blended learning solutions."

Prior to ERC, Laurie worked at THORS eLearning Solutions, an organization that creates visually engaging online courses for the manufacturing industry. At THORS, she produced custom learning modules on proprietary topics and core engineering subjects to manufacturing clients and THORS e-learning subscribers.

“Given her outstanding instructional design experience, it’s an honor that Laurie has chosen to call ERC home,” said Sam Marx, Director, Client Service. “I’m confident Laurie will make valuable contributions to ERC’s training practice with her track record for delivering top-notch e-learning modules and exercises.”      

“I am thrilled to join ERC at such a pivotal moment in the company’s 100-year history. With the adoption of new technologies to enhance in-person training events and expand its virtual training reach, ERC recognizes the role e-learning is playing in making workplaces great," said Laurie. "I feel honored to contribute to ERC’s portfolio of training services.”

Laurie received her master's degree in creative writing from the University of Montana, and she earned her bachelor’s in English literature from Elmira College.  

About ERC
Founded in 1920, ERC makes workplaces great by providing training, HR consulting and support, coaching and assessments, and research services. We’re the creators and producers of NorthCoast 99, an annual awards program in its 22nd year that honors exceptional Northeast Ohio employers for top talent. ERC also sponsors the ERChealth insurance program in Ohio.

5 Popular ERC Webinars for Learning & Development


In addition to traditional training delivery methods, companies are seeking virtual alternatives for staff development and coaching. 

ERC, a human resource organization that provides training, HR consulting and support, coaching and assessments, and research services, offers a variety of custom training programs and courses. We can deliver training to your employees and business in several ways, including at our Training Center, at your location or virtually.

With state-of-the-art technology, ERC is fully equipped to provide learning and development in webinar format to local, national, and global organizations. Our training programs are facilitated by a team of more than 40 accomplished subject matter experts who bring real-world, practical experience to engaging, interactive sessions on over 100 topics.

Here are our five most popular courses, all of which can be delivered virtually:

1. Harassment Prevention

In the era of #MeToo, business leaders are charged to cultivate and sustain a workplace where all workers feel respected. This program provides guidelines on how to develop, manage, and maintain professionalism in the workplace. It covers the basics of what harassment is (and is not), and how it relates to race, sex, religion, age, and gender. Participants will understand the importance of creating an appropriate work environment, and they'll learn how to handle a complaint and conduct an investigation. Learn more.

2. Time & Priority Management 

Where does our time go? Time and priority management skills can boost the productivity and efficiency of your team. The purpose of this training is to help employees with busy schedules and performance requirements learn how to balance their time. It is ideal for individuals who manage their time and work, as well as the work of others. Participants will identify what issues are most central in their work life and learn how to set priorities. Learn more.

3. Supervisory Development

Managers often struggle with employee turnover and performance. In our supervisory series, attendees will gain fresh insights into their role, whether they've been newly promoted, never had formal training or want to develop better management skills and be more effective in their role. As a leading provider of supervisor training, ERC works with organizations to create a customized training solution. Learn more.

4. Communication Skills 

It's not always what you say. It's how you say it. Our communication skills workshops concentrate on how to improve interactions with others, become a better communicator, and manage information among peers. Participants will develop and enhance their skills using active listening techniques, conversations, and nonverbal strategies. Our Communication Skills training is often paired with our DiSC® Personality Assessment and Training for teams and individuals. Learn more.

5. Stress Management 

Balancing work, family, and life commitments may weigh on your staff. Our training provides stress management tips and techniques that will help your employees better cope and respond to stressful situations. Attendees will learn self-care strategies, and they'll be able to identify individual triggers that often influence their negative reactions. This class will help participants realize what stress is, understand the importance of mindfulness, and discover solutions to manage their stress. Learn more.

ERC can bring these virtual learning workshops and many others to your employees and business.

For more information, contact Chris Kutsko, Vice President, Learning & Development at or 440-947-1286.

ERC Promotes Tara Motheral, Susan Chermonte, & Allison Kenney

Highland Heights, Ohio – ERC, the human resource organization that provides training, HR consulting and support, coaching and assessments, and research services, is pleased to announce the promotions of Susan Chermonte to Manager, Membership & HR Consultant, and Tara Motheral and Allison Kenney to HR Consultant. Their roles have expanded to include the delivery of HR consulting projects to ERC members and clients.

HR Consultants850-1

In her role as Manager, Membership, Susan continues to serve as the field liaison for all ERC members. She meets with prospective, new, and existing members to discuss the value proposition of ERC membership and other ERC offerings. Understanding our members’ and clients’ needs, Susan also recommends holistic solutions to help them achieve their HR goals. Such solutions may include enhancements or updates to their total rewards program, employee handbook or HR policies. In her role as HR Consultant, Susan is also able to deliver on these services.

In their expanded roles as HR Consultant, Tara and Allison dedicate more time to delivering customized HR solutions to ERC members and clients, while still co-managing our HR Help Desk. They provide ERC members with timely and accurate advice, research, and resources across all areas of HR, including compliance, employee relations, talent management, and more. Tara and Allison will also meet with ERC members to discuss our services. They deliver consultation on HR projects to members and clients as well.

“We’re so excited for Susan, Tara, and Allison. Their extensive knowledge and expertise provide a tremendous advantage to members and clients looking to make their workplaces great,” said Susan Pyles, ERC Director, Consulting & Member Services. “This opportunity is so timely as ERC strives to be a central source and leading provider of comprehensive HR solutions.”

Upon joining ERC in 2005, Susan Chermonte served as an HR Advisor. In her 15-year tenure with the company, she has championed the HR Help Desk and has strategically attracted, acquired, engaged, and retained ERC members. Prior to ERC, Susan held various HR management roles at local technology, manufacturing, and professional services firms. She is a Senior Certified Professional by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM-SCP). Susan is also a member of the national chapter of SHRM, Lake/Geauga Area Chapter of SHRM, and Cleveland Chapter of SHRM.

In 2016, Tara joined ERC as an HR Advisor. An attorney by trade, Tara specializes in federal and state employment laws, including FMLA, FLSA, ADA, and WARN. She provides our members and clients with guidance on managing general employment matters. Before joining ERC, Tara served the Office of the Ohio Attorney General and worked at a regional litigation firm as an associate attorney. She is a Certified Professional by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM-CP).

Allison joined ERC in 2017 as an HR Advisor. With over 17 years of comprehensive HR experience, Allison gives our members and clients professional guidance on a variety of HR and general business-related topics. Prior to ERC, Allison served in various HR leadership roles in the health care industry. She is a certified Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and a Certified Professional by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM-CP).

Learn more about the benefits of ERC membership and how we can help your organization with HR consulting.

ERC Welcomes Two New Board Members

We're excited to announce the appointment of John Gadd and Raj Aggarwal as new ERC Board Members. ERC's Board advises our management team on the company's overall operations, including finance, compliance, business strategies, and HR practices. They share their expertise and guidance with our President Kelly Keefe, Senior Vice President Carrie Morse, Controller Sandy Sharrone, and Director, Marketing, Nicki Artese, in quarterly meetings.

New Board850x445-1ERC also thanks our outgoing Board Members for their service to our 100-year-old organization: Stamy Paul, Vice President of Human Resources at Airgas, North Division; Tony Brown, Chief Talent Officer at Fisher Phillips; and Doug Cantlay, Talent Advisor at the Cuyahoga County Department of Development.

"We're thrilled to welcome John and Raj to our Board. They bring tremendous experience, intelligence, and commitment, and they'll help us continue to grow our organization," said ERC President Kelly Keefe. "We're also grateful for the time, talent, and knowledge that Stamy, Tony, and Doug contributed to our strategic direction."

John and Raj join our current Board Members: Chairperson Stephen Stanisa, retired Principal at HW&Co; Kirk Zehnder, CEO at Earnest; John Dearborn, Principal at Advise and Connect, LLC, and Nicole Crews, Global Talent Manager at Swagelok.

About Our New Board Members

John Gadd, Chairman, Become Known; President & CEO, Hotcards
An entrepreneur since his first neighborhood landscaping company at 10 years old, John has founded and co-founded multiple companies in the software, marketing, and advertising industries. Currently, he is the Chairman of Become Known, a group of marketing and media companies, which includes sister companies, Hotcards (where he also serves as CEO), Red Space, and Sanford Social. 

Raj Aggarwal, Ph.D., CFA, Board Member, Executive, Teacher, & Scholar
Dr. Aggarwal is an experienced academic, executive, and Board Member. He serves or has served on various business and nonprofit boards, including the Flood Company, Manco/Henkel DIY Inc., Kent State University Foundation, and Goodwill Industries. He has been a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland and has been a consultant to the U.N., World Bank, U.S. SEC, U.S. Comptroller of the Currency, Federal Reserve Bank, and to Fortune 100 companies. Raj is also a graduate of Leadership Cleveland's class of 2004.

ERC Celebrates 100 Years of Making Workplaces Great

Highland Heights, Ohio – ERC, the human resource organization that provides training, consulting, coaching, assessments, and research services, is excited to announce that we're celebrating our 100th anniversary this year!

We're commemorating our rich history throughout the year by hosting events, participating in 100 hours of community service, and sharing stories about the people and organizations that have contributed to our success.

Founded in 1920 as the American Plan Association of Cleveland, ERC was formed in response to the labor movement by 15 members of the Union Club of Cleveland.

Together, this group of CEOs united to create better workplace practices for both employers and employees. One hundred years and several name changes later, ERC has maintained its founding purpose and has grown into a leading human resource organization that has served thousands of members and clients across the region, nation, and globe.

ERC's longest-tenured employees (L to R): VP, Learning & Development, Chris Kutsko (15 years), President Kelly Keefe (16 years), and SVP Carrie Morse (18 years).

"We're so grateful for our past and present members, clients, and partners who've worked with us over the years. This exciting milestone is possible thanks to them, and our talented staff and Board," said ERC President Kelly Keefe. "We're continuing to evolve our own business so we can help other organizations attract, develop, and retain the best talent."

While 75% of businesses fail within 10 years, we've withstood the test of time by being nimble and diversifying our portfolio of offerings. 

"We've adapted to the market by continuously tailoring our products and services in response to the current issues employers face, and by delivering custom, flexible solutions to client challenges and opportunities," said ERC Senior Vice President Carrie Morse.

By consistently providing value and focusing on service, we've maintained long-standing relationships with our members. Twenty-five organizations have been ERC members for more than 50 years, and six have been members for more than 75 years.

As a heart-centered company, it's important for us to be a good corporate citizen. We contribute to our community by volunteering for nonprofit organizations and supporting local schools, businesses, civic groups, and associations. 

We're especially committed to our region's economic vitality and to making our community a long-term destination of choice for companies and top-performing individuals. In 1999, we established NorthCoast 99, an annual recognition program and event that honors 99 great Northeast Ohio workplace for top talent. The purpose of this program is to help employers make a difference in the lives of the people working and living in our region.

We started ERChealth over 20 years ago to help Ohio employers significantly reduce their health insurance costs. ERChealth is an affordable, quality health insurance program that delivers uncommonly low rates, and coverage and plan options unmatched by any health insurance program in the state.

We care a lot about our employees and strive to lead by example when it comes to making workplaces great. We created and cultivate an "F" workplace culture, which means we're Family-First, Fun, Flexible, Fitness-Minded, Footprint-Light, and Financially Supportive to our staff. 

Proud of our legacy and rooted in our mission, we're dedicated to serving the needs of our members, clients, and community for decades to come. Learn more about ERC and the people who shape our organization.

Alison Brunsdon Joins ERC as Director, Coaching & Assessment Services

Alison-1Highland Heights, OhioERC, the human resource organization that provides training, coaching, consulting, research, and HR support services locally and nationally, is pleased to announce that Alison Brunsdon has joined the company as Director, Coaching & Assessment Services.

Alison brings over 30 years of experience across major sectors and disciplines of HR. She is an experienced coach to leaders, teams, and individuals, who has the vision and proven ability to drive transformative organizational change.

In her role, Alison leads a robust coaching and assessment practice that is founded on current trends and concrete research. She oversees executive coaching, business development activities, and a team of professional coaches dedicated to meeting the needs of our clients. Alison also manages ERC’s assessments suite, ensuring the offerings meet market demands. 

“We’re thrilled to have Alison join ERC. There are countless benefits to organizations that look to develop their people through coaching and assessments, and I am delighted to have such an accomplished leader in this space. As we continue to focus on ways to make workplaces great, developing people is at the core,” said ERC President Kelly Keefe.

Previously, Alison served as the Global Director of Talent Management and Chief Talent Officer for The Lubrizol Corporation, a specialty chemical company with 9,000 employees in 27 countries. She transformed disparate training departments into international functions with world-class leadership development programs and strategic talent programs and processes. Before joining Lubrizol in 2002, Alison worked in senior HR leadership roles in the public sector and in a variety of industries, including health care, retail, pharmaceutical, and manufacturing. 

“Given her outstanding coaching experience and her broad experience as a global talent leader, it’s an honor that Alison has chosen to call ERC home,” said ERC Senior Vice President Carrie Morse, who oversees all practice areas of the organization. “I’m confident Alison will make valuable contributions to ERC’s clients as she has a unique perspective and a track record for building strong teams.”

“I’m so excited to join ERC and for the opportunity to focus on my passion of coaching,” said Alison. “Coaching is such a critical element to organizational success. I look forward to working with our clients, discovering their strengths, and identifying opportunities for growth.”

Alison received her Bachelor of Arts Honors degree in industrial relations and law from the University of Kent in Canterbury, U.K. and her Master of Laws (LLM) degree from the University of Leicester, U.K. She holds an Advanced Certificate in Coaching and Mentoring from Oxford Brookes University, U.K., and she is an accredited adjunct coach with the Center for Creative Leadership. Alison is also certified on several psychometric assessments, questionnaires, and assessment use and design.

About ERC
Founded in 1920, ERC helps organizations make their workplaces great by providing expert people solutions that include training, coaching, consulting, research, and HR support services. We’re the creators and producers of NorthCoast 99, an annual awards program in its 21st year that honors exceptional Northeast Ohio employers for top talent. ERC also sponsors the ERChealth insurance program in Ohio.

NEO Employer Best Practices Report: Diversity & Inclusion


Research has shown that diverse and inclusive workplaces have a competitive edge. But how can your Northeast Ohio organization create a culture that supports varied thoughts and recruit a well-rounded workforce that drives innovation?  

Join ERC, the creator and producer of NorthCoast 99, on November 19 from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at Oswald Conference Centre for our featured research event – NEO Employer Best Practices Report: Diversity & Inclusion. We'll share creative strategies that award-winning, NEO workplaces are using to attract and retain diverse talent, while achieving corporate and financial performance goals.

The program will begin with an overview of diversity in the population and in corporate leadership of the 22 counties that make up NEO. We’ll then explore the data presented in the report, which will be distributed electronically to attendees prior to the event.

Specifically, we’ll examine:

  • How does leadership across NEO compare with the demographics of the people who live in the region?
  • How do the perceptions between over- and under-represented groups (gender and/or race) vary?
  • What can NEO workplaces do to promote cultures where everyone is included, valued, and appreciated, no matter race or gender?

The event will conclude with a panel discussion of senior leaders from several 2019 NorthCoast 99 winners who are successfully creating organizations where their workforce and leadership are representative of the demographics of NEO, and who are achieving corporate and financial performance goals.

Introducing Our Guest Panelists

NEO Speakers horizotal850

We're excited to announce our lineup of distinguished professionals who will participate in the panel discussion and share their organization's unique diversity and inclusion practices!

Stamy Paul Vice President Human Resources, North Division, Airgas USA, 2-Time NorthCoast 99 Winner

Latasha Spencer Director Talent Acquisition, Avery Dennison, 19-Time NorthCoast 99 Winner, 2019 Award of Excellence Winner for the Manufacturing Industry 

Robert SullivanChief Administrative Officer, Flexjet, 16-Time NorthCoast 99 Winner, 2019 Special Category Award Winner for Diversity and Inclusion

If you're an ERC Member or 2019 NorthCoast 99 applicant, we're offering a discounted rate of $249 for the Event and Report. All Non-ERC Members and Non-NorthCoast 99 applicants are extended a rate of $349 for the Event and Report. Additional guest tickets may be purchased for $49 each.

Doors will open at 8:30 a.m. for a light breakfast and networking. Preregistration is required. 

Details & Registration

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