Joe Gerstandt: Back by Popular Demand

Knowledgeable. Captivating. Authentic. Husband. Father. Teacher.

All words that come to mind when I hear the name Joe Gerstandt. It was at the 2012 SHRM Annual Conference and Exposition that I first experienced the phenomenon that is, Talent Anarchy (Joe and his partner in crime, Jason Lauritsen). In addition to doing the “Dougie” and driving the bus, a couple hundred SHRMies and I were being challenged to think differently about the impact of our relationships and social connections.

Since attending Talent Anarchy’s Social Gravity session, I have had the pleasure of participating in other programs Joe has facilitated and have never been disappointed. Lucky for us SHRMies, Joe is coming back to the Annual Conference. This will be his sixth year presenting! He is excited about being invited back as he believes HR is powerful and that there is a unique energy about this conference.

Joe and I had a chance to connect and talk about him and his work. While his sessions this year are not focused on it, we discussed a topic about which he is particularly passionate and has spent over 15 years evangelizing: Diversity and Inclusion.

About Joe

Before becoming a big time speaker, author, and consultant, Joe spent four years in the United States Marine Corp (Ooh Rah!). His next adventure was to earn his Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Business from Iowa State University. Joe’s career has been “diverse” itself. He started working in sales, then for a non-profit dedicated to HIV prevention. He then went on to lead programs for the National Conference for Community and Justice, before leading diversity efforts for a regional healthcare system. Joe always knew he wanted to be self-employed, but was initially unsure of the industry he would serve. 

Why Diversity?

When I asked Joe about his intense love for diversity, he informed me he found the field of Diversity and Inclusion by accident. He was called towards the work. The fire was ignited in him when he worked for the non-profit in Nebraska. He was always in the minority and had never experienced that previously. He intentionally got to know people, a lot of whom were treated differently. His passion grew through his diversity director role with the regional health system, where he was able to help teams and leaders with D&I.

When Joe started his consulting business, he used speaking as a way to promote his business. He did not think of it as a source of revenue. As a speaker at conferences and seminars, Joe attended sessions facilitated by others and felt like there were things missing. There didn’t seem to be a lot of science, research or application. Joe took that to heart and now incorporates experience, research and data into his teachings. As a result of his incredible storytelling ability and passion for helping others grow and develop, Joe is a successful independent consultant and speaker.

Don’t miss out on your chance to see Joe live and in action at this year’s SHRM show! He is sharing knowledge on human behavior on Tuesday, June 21, in his 4:00 PM session, “Working with Humans: Behavioral Insights for HR,” and making another appearance in “MEGA Session Fight. More. Better. Doing Conflict Well” on Wednesday, June 22, at 10:00 AM.

Be sure to follow Joe on Twitter, @joegerstandt and stay up on the latest in D&I by reading his blog.


Originally posted on SHRM Connect.




For more information and to attend SHRM 2016 Annual Conference & Exposition, visit



The SHRM Blog does not accept solicitation for guest posts.

Add new comment

Please enter the text you see in the image below: