#SHRM13 – One Heck of a Conference


Attendees at the SHRM13 conference in Chicago.
Attendees at the SHRM13 conference in Chicago.

I have just returned from spending most of the week in Chicago attending the 65th annual conference for the Society for Human Resources Management. It was one heck of a conference.
Technology problems
I had hoped to have several blog posts per day. Unfortunately I had a glitch in getting to my blog site. So I tweeted like crazy and posted those to Twitter, Linked In, and Facebook. There was so much tweeting going on that #SHRM13 trended worldwide and was in the top ten hashtags worldwide for two days. Pretty impressive! If you go to Twitter and search on #SHRM13 you will be able to see everything that was said about the conference.
Keynote speakers
The lineup of keynote presenters was excellent. Here is a breakdown:
Fareed Zakaria– He writes and edits for Time, but he is an excellent speaker as well. He talked about changes in the world he has seen since he was born in India. He was optimistic about what the world holds.
Hillary Rodham Clinton- The former Secretary of State was well received. Unfortunately I cannot tell you about what she said since as an official blogger I was “press” and all the press was banned from her speech. You will have to get information on her from the Twitter feed.
Blake Mycoskie- He is the founder of the very popular TOMS Shoes. He talked about his journey from being a software entrepreneur to being an extraordinary retailer. His message was that charity not only feels good but it is very good for business. It was an inspiring message. More about him later.
Dan Pink- Most everyone knows about Dan Pink, especially if you read my blog. I have written about him many times. He has written about motivation and ROWE. This time he was talking about selling. His new book is To Sell Is Human. His talk emphasized how much human professionals “sell” in their jobs and why it is important to understand the principles.
Mark Kelly and Gabby Giffords- This combo of the astronaut and the former U.S. Congresswoman, wounded in service to her country, was the feel good, make many cry story of the conference. Kelly, on his own, has a compelling story. Team that with the story of his wife’s survival and recovery and you have one heck of a presentation. There message was one of bravery and the human spirit.
Concurrent sessions
There was over 200 sessions covering all aspects of HR. I will be giving you reports on the topics that I covered.
Good conversations and some fun
Sitting around the blogger lounge, waiting for a session to start, riding on the bus I had opportunities to talk to people from all over the country. It was interesting to hear what people liked and what they thought. There were ample opportunities to have fun. Many companies hosted parties. I attended one hosted by the Glassdoor folks at the House of Blues and it was a very fun evening. My thought was that if our employees could  see that HR knows how to have fun then our reputation might improve.
A few Thank-You’ s
The staff of SHRM and the group of volunteers they enlisted did a fantastic job. For me in particular the work of Curtis Midkiff, Director of Social Engagement at Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and his crew. One heck of a job wrangling that group of pretty independently minded people.
A huge THANK YOU goes to Dice and Terry Greenberg Starr for hosting the bloggers. Having that support and having a place to work makes being a blogger in that setting so much easier.
For those of you unable to attend you need to put next year’s conference in your budget and on your calendar. It will be in Orlando!

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