HR on Purpose: A #SHRM17 Interview with Steve Browne


In a series of articles I will be doing on SHRM17 speakers who are authors (or authors who are speaking at SHRM17), I’ve decided to start with one of the more unique voices in the HR world. 

Steve Browne is the Executive Director of HR at LaRosa’s Pizza, a large regional pizzeria chain in the Cincinnati area.  He has also been a volunteer leader for SHRM on the local, state and national level for the Society.  I was fortunate to meet him when we were both serving as State Council Directors for Ohio and Illinois respectively.  He has since risen within the organization to the point where he now serves on the SHRM Board of Directors as one of the members’ best advocates.

Steve’s first book, HR On Purpose is being published and will be available for sale (and signing) at the SHRM Store in New Orleans.  I’ve asked a few questions of him and turned him loose.  Enjoy his answers:

1.      What key highlights would an HR practitioner gain from reading your book? Why do you think that?

I think that HR practitioners will find a practical, simplified and tangible way to practice HR. I also hope that people will rekindle their passion for HR and become geeked!! People are looking for someone to believe in them and I truly do. I love my HR peers and want to see them succeed. I feel my book will help them do this.  (Editor’s note: geeked is Steve’s favorite word, something you will learn as you get to know him….and you will get to know him).

2.      Are there other key points from your session that you feel HR practitioners would learn from that are outside your book?

Yes, my session is going to be about building a brand identity for themselves as HR within their organization. We need to be more confident in who we are and what we do for our companies.

3.      What is a book you’d recommend, other than your own, that HR folks would benefit from? It doesn’t have to be a straight HR book.

I’d recommend anything by Malcolm Gladwell. He’s brilliant and a deep thinker. I think that his viewpoint and take on life is very applicable to all facets of business.

4.      What speakers do you plan to see at SHRM17 and why?

I tend to go to speakers that will stretch me. I want to learn new things, so I make sure to find those that are pushing the boundaries of HR. I enjoy the keynote general sessions as well. One thing I will make sure to see often is the Smart Stage. Those presentations are quick hits full of solid content.

5.      What is your can’t miss recommendation for New Orleans, other than the conference of course?

The people. It may sound cliché, but the main reason I go to SHRM annual is to see old friends and meet new ones. I can’t get enough of it. I’ll make sure to also get with a group to hang out after hours for camaraderie, a few adult beverages and hopefully some New Orleans jazz!!

Steve’s mission is to meet everyone at a SHRM conference and I’ll be darned if he doesn’t give it an honest effort.  Please check out his session and book signing… will have a new friend for life.

Steve will be speaking on Tuesday, June 20 at 2:15 p.m. on Brand Name HR: Giving Your Function Life and Purpose!  He will also be speaking from the Smart Stage, Sunday June 18 at 12:50 p.m.

Steve’s book, HR ON PURPOSE answers the question, can you be in HR for more than 30 years and still be geeked about it?   The answer is -- YES you can!!

HR leader and popular “Everyday People” blogger Steve Browne takes a fresh look at HR through an engaging assortment of real-life examples, insights, and epiphanies to encourage practitioners to drop the preconceptions of what HR should be and instead look to what HR could be.   He will be signing his book at the SHRM Store on Sunday June 18 at 1:10 p.m., Monday June 19 at 1:30 p.m. and Tuesday June 20 at 3:40p.m.

Read this book, rekindle your passion for a vibrant and vital field, and touch the lives of everyone your encounter with HR on Purpose.



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