#SHRM16 is just around the corner, and I cannot describe how excited I am to reconnect with the best HR pros from across the country in D.C. this summer. As I study the schedule of speakers and topics this year, I can’t help but revisit the theme of the conference: Breakthrough Moments. I think the theme is appropriate, and it has me thinking back on some of the breakthrough moments I’ve already had in my career.
To prepare for the annual conference this year, I thought I’d recap my top three breakthrough moments from previous annual conferences I’ve attended. I’m just a small town girl, working in HR in little ole Alabama, and I really do believe that getting out of the state and to SHRM annual conference has helped me break barriers and create shining moments in my own HR career. Without further ado, here they are:
3.) Maybe this one belongs higher on the list, but it’s definitely in the top 3. This one happened in Orlando at #SHRM14. We were hot in the midst of some drama about certifications, and I put out a blog post defending my current certification that made me feel vulnerable. It was a two-part post, but part one shared my secret; so, of course, it received a little more attention. I was sitting in the bloggers lounge when my pal Ben mentioned the post, and we just happened to be sitting across from Gerry Crispin who decided to go read the post. I don’t know Gerry well, but I know he knows recruiting well. And I was just completely caught off guard that he would stop what he was doing, read my blog post, and tell me what he thought. It was encouraging. Then I started meeting people all over the conference who shared their stories with me on how they ended up in HR, and if they did or did not have a degree or some other “basic qualification” that says we can or cannot do our jobs. It was a breakthrough moment for me because I needed to focus on the skills I had and what made me good at my job, and stop letting an unchecked box hold me back.
2.) This one happened when I attended a global level HR session with Joan Ginsberg and Heather Kinzie in Chicago at #SHRM13. I have nowhere near the experience and knowledge Joan and Heather have, but I adore them. It was the last day of the conference and, honestly, I had not picked my sessions for that day; so I tagged along with them. They were so kind to not be bothered by my following. As I sat in this session, I couldn’t believe all of the things that an HR professional had to consider when their organization chose to go global. At my level I had not been exposed to global HR at all, so this was like drinking from a fire hose for me. I was most intrigued with how the three of us that went into the session together all had completely different takeaways. I listened as Heather and Joan debated points that far exceeded my HR knowledge, and I knew then that I had to dig in and learn some global HR. This was a breakthrough moment for me because it made me realize I didn’t know as much as I thought I did.
1.) This breakthrough moment is from Vegas, from the speaker I was least expecting it from: Mika Brzezinski. Don’t roll your eyes, but this is about salary. Hearing Mika say she found out that her male counterpart made 17 times the amount she did almost killed me. (I’m pretty sure that’s what almost induced a heart attack, but maybe it was the bacon). I’ve heard women comment on the glass ceiling and how women aren’t always treated the same as men, but basically wrote it off because I assumed those women were being sensitive to specific situations. My bad. Her story made me dig in and pay attention to what is really happening in the workforce when it comes to male vs. female pay. He made seventeen times more than her!!!! Mercy…
As I continue to attend SHRM conferences in the future, I’m sure this top three list will change; but as of today these are my top 3 breakthrough moments courtesy of previous annual SHRM conferences!
I’m looking forward to more breakthrough moments this year. Not just mine, but yours, too! I can’t wait to see you all in D.C.!
For more information and to attend SHRM 2016 Annual Conference & Exposition, visit www.annual.shrm.org.