Creating an Amazing Conference Experience - Meet Erin Sullivan from the SHRM Events Team #SHRM18


The #SHRM18 Bloggers have already produced some excellent Q & A posts with many of the 2018 SHRM Annual Conference & Exposition speakers and vendors.  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 be able to shine a spotlight on Erin Sullivan from the SHRM Events team.

Erin, tell us more about you and what you do for SHRM.

I have been at SHRM for five years now, which blows my mind. I started my SHRM journey as an instructional designer on the Seminars team. For the past three years, I have been a program manager on the Events team. If you follow me on Twitter (@SHRMErin) you already know this - SHRM conferences and apps are my babies. Well, not technically, but that is how I would describe it. I am responsible for managing the #SHRM18 app and all of our specialty conference apps as well. Additionally, I program the Employment Law & Legislative Conference and the Diversity & Inclusion Conference & Exposition. Next year, I will be taking on our Talent Conference & Exposition for the first time. I recently got engaged to my long-time boyfriend, Brian (yay!). I am proudly from Cincinnati, OH and have lived in Virginia for over eight years now. I am a big Nationals fan, love brunching, live music fills my soul and I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. At #SHRM18 you will see me running around the concurrent session rooms, interacting with speakers and on the Smart Stage.

What do you love most about your job?

I love the moment when we all of our planning comes to fruition. It is so fun interacting with members, hearing the buzz around what sessions/speakers are hitting the mark and getting to interact with everyone (colleagues and vendors) in a different setting other than the office. I feel so blessed to work with such great people and getting to travel to different cities all over the country at the same time.

What’s new for the SHRM app this year?

New this year is the ‘Conference At A Glance’ icon – which provides a high-level snapshot of what is happening at the event. It’s a great way to get a sense of what each day will entail. I must mention some of my favorite features as well:

  1. Info Booth icon – this one has a plethora of information – everything from the shuttle schedule, session type descriptions, and the book signing schedule – just to name a few. I encourage you to peruse this icon before the conference – I promise you’ll learn something new.
  2. Presentations icon – this holds all the presentations provided by speakers (alpha order – also under the Schedule icon). You can add them to your briefcase by tapping the + (plus sign). Once they are in your briefcase you can email them to yourself. Easy peasy lemon squeezy!
  3. Schedule icon – view sessions by date, time, session type and track. You can add to My Schedule so you only have to view the sessions you want to attend.

What advice can you share with first time attendees?

Take advantage of any opportunity to talk to people. When waiting in line at Starbucks, introduce yourself. When sitting in a concurrent session waiting for it to start, say hello to your neighbor. When you see someone that looks like someone you follow on Twitter, say hi. It may seem creepy, but it’s not. I do it all the time. That is what this conference is all about – making meaningful connections. I am a shy person, but I try to use our conferences as a time to get outside of my comfort zone. Let’s do it together!

What are your favorite things to do while visiting Chicago and what recommendations can you share with SHRM18 attendees?

Chicago is one of my favorite cities. The people are great, I have a lot of family and friends there, the food is fantastic and it’s not overwhelming to get around. The Architecture tour is a must. It’s a laid back way to see the city!



The SHRM Blog does not accept solicitation for guest posts.

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