Sitting in an airport terminal gives you a chance to jot down your thoughts if you build in a bit of time. I’m trying to contain my excitement as I get ready to board my flight to SHRM14in Orlando !! The actual conference doesn’t kick-off until Sunday, but I’m fortunate to head down early as a SHRM volunteer and member of the Membership Advisory Council (MAC).
The MAC is made up of five volunteer leaders who work with five regions of ten states each throughout the US. I am the 2014 Rep for the North Central Region which is basically the upper midwest section of the country. The MAC meets with SHRM State Directors and volunteers throughout the country and listens to their feedback, concerns and suggestions. We get to take their great input directly to the SHRM Board of Directors as well as other SHRM staff. It’s an incredible opportunity that had a very intentional beginning . . .
You see, I have been a SHRM member for many years now. However, when I began getting involved as a volunteer I was someone who commented on the sidelines about all the things that were “wrong” with the association and my local chapter. I was facilitating a monthly HR Roundtable in the late 90′s and was being more and more vocal about my disdain. Now, you have to know, that I had yet to go to a chapter meeting or SHRM event in person. It was just easier to join the negative throng because people seem to get jazzed about it.
One month after a Roundtable, a very engaged member of the Greater Cincinnati HR Association (GCHRA) confronted me. In fact, she pinned me against the wall !! Now, I’m a fairly tall person and this person was not. It didn’t deter her in the least. She said, “Hey Steve, I’m tired of you taking shots at what we do. You aren’t even involved yourself. In my opinion, you need to either get involved or shut up !!”
I was flabbergasted. This is not stereotypical behavior for an HR person. I admired her fervor though and took her up on her challenge. I decided to run for Vice-President of the chapter even though I’d never been to a meeting. I won. From that time I’ve been fortunate to be the Chapter President, State Conference Director for Ohio and State Council Director. I also still run the HR Roundtable each month and am entering my 15th year of being the facilitator.
I wanted to share this because I keep seeing other HR pros who sit on the sidelines and aren’t connected in their field. You may pay your membership dues, but that only gives you access to a website and a myriad of white papers. The National Conference is now upon us and you have a chance to act. So, consider this me pinning you to the wall.
When you go to SHRM14 – get fully immersed in everything that the conference has to offer. Be intentional in choosing your sessions and get great information that will help you be better in your role within your organization. Go into it seeking the nugget that will transform your approach to HR. Don’t just attend. Be active !!
Hit the Exhibit Hall, the SHRM Bookstore, the various events happening every night and take in all that you can !! Most importantly connected with the other HR pros who will be at the event. You can develop meaningful, professional relationships that could last your entire career. You will be surrounded by people. Be different and engage others instead of rushing from one event to the next.
When that volunteer pinned me to the wall years ago, she lit a fire in me that only continues to grow !! I know that SHRM has its faults and can do things better, just as most organizations do. However, I can only make a difference by being involved. I hope this gives you the spark you need to get involved in HR where you are !! If you get connected to other folks, join a chapter, start an HR blog, etc. you’re taking that next step.
I honestly can’t wait to see each and every person who is going to SHRM14 !! I’ll be the one on fire who will be geeked to meet you !! See you there !!
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