Five Must-See Sessions For High Performing Millennials @ #SHRM17

This blog is going to give you the low-down on sessions you need to attend to be a #Boss. Whether this is your first time attending a national conference for work or you’ve been around the block a few times, there is quite a bit to learn if you pick the right sessions at SHRM17. With hundreds of sessions and thousands of people, the conference can seem intimidating but fear not! Here are my top five picks for sessions you need to attend if you want to become a well-rounded, results-focused game changer at work.


I’ve been attending, speaking at, and blogging for SHRM conferences for the past five years and I get excited every time I walk in these doors for the first time. My upfront advice for making the most of your time here? Go deep and narrow, not wide and shallow. If you want some heavy-hitters that will give you something to think about and implement for years to come, stop by these sessions and be prepared to have tons of action items:

Innovation – Kat Cole, General Session (Sunday, 2:30 p.m.)

Kat is the Group President of Focus Brands Inc. and if you’re not familiar with that name, I know you love their subsidiaries brands Auntie Anne’s, Carvel, Cinnabon, McAlister’s Deli, Moe’s Southwest Grill, and Schlotzksy’s). Kat’s an awesome role model for aspiring high-potential/high performing professionals who really want to build a better world through their organization. Her story is that of a hustling young professional who came in on the ground floor at one organization and innovated and optimized her way to the top. Along the way, she’s bounced back from life’s setbacks and has moved on to be a huge influencer behind one of America’s largest restaurant holdings organizations. She’s truly an innovator for good and how could you not love the woman who helps make Cinnabon the oowie-gooey awesomeness we know and love? Kat’s funny and personable and I promise you’ll leave her talk inspired to think like an innovative leader regardless of where you are in your company’s org chart. When you jot down your takeaways, send her a tweet (@KatColeATL)!

If you’re a reader, check out a book she co-authored: Small Changes: Big Impact - Maximize Your Presence and Leverage the Power of Your Personal Brand

Talent Acquisition & Retention – Tony Lee and SHRM Top 30 Under 30 Winners (Monday, 4:00 p.m.)

Millennials are the future of every organization – and many of us are the “now generation” for leadership development opportunities at work. Come to this session to hear personal stories from SHRM’s inaugural class of 30 under 30 winners and our thoughts on what it takes to retain, recruit, and become the best millennial leaders possible. We’ll cover everything from what drives the best young works and what we look for in terms of compensation and professional development.

Business Acumen – Dan Schawbel, La Nouvelle Ballroom AB (Tuesday, 2:15 p.m.)

Dan Schawbel (@DanSchawbel) is a NYT Bestselling Author and leading voice on millennial career and workplace expertise. He’s one of my mentors-from-afar – a person whom I don’t have a personal relationship with but I study through their books and blog posts. Dan’s will be presenting on the Top 10 Workplace Trends for 2017- which is an important thing for young professionals who “lead up” to know. Why? Because when your manager and executives ask your opinion about an initiative at work, you’ll want to have something impactful to say. Take notes, find two or three things to drill down on, and be ready to bring a “light bulb idea” back to your organization.

You should also grab his book Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success!

Employee Development – Joey Price, Smart Stage (Tuesday, 1:50 p.m.)

Before you make it to Dan’s presentation at 2:15pm, you’ll want to check out my Smart Stage talk entitled “Act Like a Manager, Think Like a Marketer: Employee Management Techniques in the Age of the Conscious Consumer.” This is going to be a valuable look into the role HR plays in delivering on the promises employers make to employees. In my talk, I’ll be setting the table for the next phase of employee development in your organization by outlining the five stages of the employee life cycle and the four areas that matter most when driving staff growth. It will be the framework for employee development strategies for years to come.

Sign up for my free seven-day leadership development course: link

HR Expertise – Tim Mulligan, J.D. (Wednesday, 11:30 a.m.)

Tim is a former guest on my Business, Life, and Coffee podcast and author of the book “Roar: How to Build a Resilient Organization the World-Famous San Diego Zoo Way.” What I like about Tim’s talk about building a resilient organization is that it is focused on being innovative while retaining tradition. When establishing radical change in an organization, it’s rarely a good idea to start from complete scratch and forget the traditions and legacy that made your organization what it is today. If you’re a young professional at an organization with rich history but struggling with operational challenges, you don’t want to miss this talk!

What are your must-see presentations? Connect with me on social media and let’s keep the conversation going using the hashtag #SHRM17.



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