Joe Gerstandt is one, of a group of people, you can find here in the HR/Social Media space who call Omaha, NE home. Joe is a frequent keynote speaker on general HR topics and also in his own area of expertise on Diversity and Inclusion (D & I). Joe is also one half of the duo called Talent Anarchy. Under that banner, Joe works with his partner Jason Lauritsen. Together they speak, host conference events and write books.
Joe has been working the speaking circuit for more than eight years now. This year was the fifth year in a row that Joe has been asked to present at SHRM'a Annual Conference. In addition to the National Conference Joe said that he has presented at state SHRM conferences in more than 30 states. Joe also presents at other events besides SHRM events, such as South by Southwest, as well as in the Health Care and Finance sectors.
Joe enjoys his work, and anyone who has ever seen him present could attest to his passion. I asked him if there was any down side. Joe quickly responded yes; the travel. Joe said he is gone 100 to 120 nights a year. Joe said his family is young and this is something that can make speaking a challenge.
I asked Joe how he got into the topic of D & I. He told me that he grew up in Northwest Iowa, and there was not much diversity going on around there. Joe said after he did a stint in the Marine Corp he became much more interested in the topic. Joe said he got into Not for Profits and really started to learn about D & I. Joe said he was motivated by stories of how people were treated poorly, because of their race, religion or background, and he felt the need to help change this.
In 2011 Joe along with Jason published their first collaborative effort titled Social Gravity. I asked Joe how do you write a book? Joe said the he and Jason sort of wrote down a presentation they had been doing and refined it from there. I asked Joe if there were plans for further publications. Joe said that currently he and Jason are working on a book about authenticity and leadership.
I asked Joe how they got into the speaking game. Joe said that both he and Jason had done a number of break out session, but were told by everyone that they could not or would not let them be keynote speakers at a conference unless they had a book. Joe said he recalls getting a call from John Jorgensen, who was putting together an Illinois SHRM Conference in 2010. Joe said John offered Talent Anarchy the big stage in Illinois, and the gigs have continued to come since then.