To give you a peek behind the scenes, I've conducted some interviews with SHRM colleagues who work so diligently to create an amazing conference experience.
I am excited to shine a spotlight on Vanessa Hill from the SHRM Media Affairs team.
Vanessa Hill with Jack Hanna and crew at the 2015 Annual Conference & Exposition in Las Vegas.
Vanessa, tell us more about you, and what you do for SHRM.
I’m a senior media affairs specialist for SHRM. In a nutshell, my job is to help protect and promote the SHRM brand.
The media affairs team at SHRM is a very busy media shop. We handle over 800 media requests per year, which does not include proactive media pitching that we do on our own. We write press releases, handle media calls, do social media, work to get reporters to our major conferences, and assist all departments at SHRM with their various media relations needs.
What do you love most about your job?
I like the variety of the work I do and interacting with SHRM members. As most members know, SHRM is so much more than just a professional organization. It works on initiatives that are meaningful and impact employees daily lives—and work is a big part of everyone’s daily life!
What’s a fun fact about you that’s not on your resume?
I love traveling. I have gone to 12 countries and there’s no end in sight for me. I have the travel bug, big time, and try to go to a new country every year or two. I’m hoping to go to Machu Picchu in Peru, next!
Tell us more about the Press room at SHRM18.
This year, we’ll be hosting nearly 50 reporters in the Annual Conference press room, which includes almost all HR trade publications and top-tier media such as the Chicago Tribune, Quartz and Reuters. The press room is a workspace for reporters to write their stories and the location for two press briefings and a media lunch, which is designed to help reporters networking with SHRM staff and other expert sources.
On site at Annual Conference, we help capture key conference news through photography, social media, and video, which is then shared as resources for attending reporters. We also help organize interviews between reporters and either speakers and/or staff and monitor media coverage of the conference.
What advice can you share with first time attendees?
Come prepared. SHRM Annual Conference is the size of a small city and there’s too much going on to try to figure everything out once you’re on-site. Decide what your priorities are while you’re there (i.e., networking, concurrent sessions, etc.). Doing your homework ahead of time will help you make the most of your time at the conference.
What are your favorite things to do while visiting Chicago?
Chicago is well known as a foodie town, so I always find that trying new restaurants is fun. I’m usually in charge of figuring out our team’s staff dinners because I love researching the best places to go. Besides for food though, one of my favorite things was the Chicago Architectural Boat Tour on the river. It’s really interesting and a great way to see the city while not getting stuck in traffic.
You can follow Vanessa and the SHRM Media Affairs team at @SHRMPress.