“Inclusion!” Experiencing my First SHRM Annual Conference! #SHRM18


Is Diversity and Inclusion important within your organization? Do you do it because it is the right thing to do or because it is the smart thing to do?

This was my first time attending a SHRM conference, local, state or national. I was honored to be one of the recipients of this year’s SHRM Foundation scholarship. Moreover, I was touched as an international student from Ecuador, now working in human resources, to experience the theme and feel of inclusion throughout the conference.

Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM’s CEO, opened the conference highlighting how important it is to implement strong diversity and inclusion in the workplace. He challenged us on how we should move forward as HR professionals to focus on hiring the best talent no matter who they are or where they come from.

Johnny Taylor certainly was not the only one speaking on diversity and inclusion. Jeb Bush touched on new immigration policies that would attract talent from abroad. He spoke on paid time off policies for mothers to be able to spend more time bonding with their newborns. He also gave a compelling argument about learning how to be a second chance society. United Airlines CEO, Oscar Munoz, presented about creating a culture to make safety the first priority, but caring a close second.

Sheryl Sandburg, someone I really connected with while she was speaking, empowered women to speak up and keep fighting for equal pay and treatment in the workplace. As the COO of Facebook, she implemented a twenty day paid bereavement leave, ensuring the company commitment to employee well-being.

As a scholarship winner I had the privilege of sitting next to Johnny Taylor during the SHRM Foundation luncheon. We did not talk about compliance and regulation issues. We talked about diversity and inclusion and giving people a chance. I certainly took the opportunity to brag about our amazing SHRM KC D&I Committee!

The luncheon was closed by Steven Pemberton, Chief HR Office for Globoforce, giving everyone chills with his compelling story as an African-American kid growing up in foster care. He was given a chance, outside of his skin color or whatever box society decided to put him in.

I loved and enjoyed every moment of it! HR Professionals -I urge you to look past resumes, degrees, backgrounds, our own biases, to create a true culture of inclusion and diversity within our organizations. I know it is all within our hands to make the right hiring and promotional decisions that are truly equal and fair to all.

Antonella Zavala-Marcks, Talent Acquisition
Consultant-Express Employment Professionals

SHRM KC Diversity & Inclusion Committee Member


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