Cleveland, our City of Today and Tomorrow…

SHRM was the voice of HR during both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions and was joined by hundreds of our members in each city. Each day this week, a SHRM member will tell their story about attending the political conventions! 

Cleveland, our city of today and tomorrow…

Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time. – Sir Winston Churchill, 1947.

Guess what?  There is an election underway to select the next President of the United States!  It may appear muddied by Twitter or sound bites or political pundits providing 24/7 reflection, but make no mistake – the election is in there…somewhere!  And maybe, no election in modern history is more important.

It is within this backdrop that this Cleveland-kid and political junkie won the SuperBowl and got to go to Disney World!  No not literally, but figuratively.

Cleveland, our city of today and tomorrow, became the focus of the world for one week this summer.  (Ok maybe two.  Thanks Cavs!)  No one knew what to expect in such a heated election cycle, but I am proud to say Cleveland Rocked during the Republican National Convention!

And I was lucky enough to sit center stage along with the SHRM Convention delegation led by CEO Hank Jackson and Mike Aitken, Director of Government Affairs.

When Cleveland SHRM was asked to help SHRM plan for the RNC events I knew it might be interesting.  The reality was awe-inspiring!

The week kicked off with an incredible SHRM-hosted policy discussion and reception featuring Jackson, Aitken and SHRM Board Member (and Ohio’s own) Steve Brown.  Mr. Jackson provided the foundation of why SHRM has made the major commitment to media and to being in Cleveland during this election cycle: The Three Principles and Policies for the 21st Century Workplace: Innovative, Fair and Competitive.  Not a bad idea for politics in general, no?

Pretty cool in and of itself!  But then I was invited to attend a panel discussion at the CNN Grill on Wednesday morning.  Who would have thought that among the tremendous panel of Dana Bash and Amanda Carpenter would be Donna Brazile, whom less than a week later would be asked to assume the leadership of the Democratic Party.  These ladies provided a candid account of the election, the future of politics and where we are as a nation.

I could go on and on about the rest of the week – tours of the various CNN sets within the Convention Hall (we Clevelanders call it “The Q”); running into Trump “spokespersons” Kayleigh McEnany and Jeffrey Lord within minutes of each other or looking across a room and realizing Wolf Blitzer and David Gregory just happen to be there too – just to name a few!

While these experiences will be something I cherish for the rest of my life, at the end of the day, it is SHRM and its dedication to advancing the causes so important to the HR profession that made this happen.  The tireless commitment to providing honest analysis and constructive feedback on policy make this organization the most respected professional HR organization in the world.  I am so proud to be a member of SHRM, and a volunteer leader in our community.

Thank you SHRM for all you do every day!

Stephen P. Ligus, Vice President & Employee Benefits Department Leader


President of Cleveland SHRM






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