Out of the Box Conference Experiences


Wow, you made it to blog number three! Thank you for your dedication and support by reading all three. If you haven’t read “I Survived #SHRM19” or “Top Takeaways from SHRM19” yet, please head to my blog page to find them. They will help this one make a little more sense! Anyway… As I’ve mentioned in blogs one and two, I didn’t make it to a lot of sessions. Do I regret it? A little… I wish I could have seen more of the presentations. I also wish I had the money to buy the conference package so I can catch up on them after the fact, but alas, I just moved to Orlando and went to Las Vegas, so I spent all my money in moving costs and eating! But, I don’t fully regret it, because I got to do a lot of really cool things… Things you may not necessarily think about when you attend a conference. So as I wrap up this awesome mini blog series, I want to share my top seven out of the box conference experiences with the hope you will realize that there is so much more to a SHRM conference than just attending sessions. (At least that’s what I keep telling myself to feel better about it. Enjoy!

Top 7 out of the box conference experiences (In no particular order…)

  1. Lounges: I had opportunities to enter three lounges this year: the Bloggers Lounge, Club VL (for Volunteers), and the Certification Lounge. These lounges are great because not only do they provide coffee, snacks, food, etc., they are great opportunities to network with people that have something in common with you! I finally got to meet a great social media friend, Ed Carpenter, IRL in Club VL! You never know who you will run into or what might be going on. Side note: I won a pack of playing cards with the YPAC logo in Club VL. Thanks Scott.


  2. Convos and Coffee: This is something I wish I would have experienced more, for the networking of course, since I don’t drink coffee. However, it was a really ingenious place! When you walked on the floor, it would give you conversation ideas. I did have an opportunity as a blogger to attend an exclusive press event though; that was pretty neat!


  3. Escape Room: Since I’m a YP, I really didn’t have any interest in Lionel Ritchie… so instead, I invited my YPAC friends and a few other YP friends to do an Escape Room! It was so much fun. We didn’t escape in under an hour, but they let us finish it anyway... and we got out just a few minutes past the hour! It was a great team building event! 


  4. SHRM Studio: This was one of the most unique things I saw at #SHRM19. I know there was always a lot going on, but I got to witness the taping of an #HonestHR podcast that featured my fellow bloggers, Wendy Dailey and Jon Thurmond, and of course the legendary Callie Zipple. It was such a nifty experience seeing my friends all glamoured up (including Jon) and on the TV production screens. I can’t wait to see the final product!


  5. Johnny C. Taylor, Jr. in the Bloggers Lounge: I was heading to the bloggers lounge on Tuesday morning and saw a message from Mary Kaylor that Johnny was going to swing by the bloggers lounge after a press conference. I decided to stick around and wait for him to stop by because I thought it would be a great opportunity. Little did I know he was coming to talk to us and thank us for our influence with social media and sharing all of the great things that SHRM is doing. His message to those of us in the room was so powerful and appreciated. I know everyone doesn’t agree with his actions, but he does know what he’s doing and isn’t afraid to tell it how it is.


  6. Exposition Hall: I spent a lot of my time on Monday walking around the expo hall; mostly because I was trying to get my steps in, but also because I wanted to learn what the vendors had to offer. Before leaving work the Thursday prior to the conference, I asked my boss what would be important for me to bring back. He said, anything free that supports our employees. So, I went on an adventure! Most vendors don’t give away anything for free, but I picked up a bunch of swag and found some brochures on some things that I thought would be beneficial. I’m really excited to say that I’ve already reached out to TicketsAtWork to sign my company up for their benefits, because they are free for employers! On a side note, I want to give a shout out to Jeffrey and John from eFileCabinet. I had a super lengthy conversation with John about blogging, networking, and so much more. It was great! There really are some great vendors out there that just want to get to know more about us, and aren’t just trying to sell their services.


  7. Smart Stage: I just want to throw this out there. If you have a short attention span like I do, the smart stage is where it’s at! The sessions here at 18 minutes and you learn so much! I wish I would have attended more of them, but sadly, #priorities. I did thoroughly enjoy seeing Steve Browne, Mofota, and Erich Kurschat on the Smart Stage!

I know I’m probably missing some life changing experiences that I’ll remember after I hit send and submit, but the fact that these were the top seven things I could think of right off the bat means they made an impact!

I appreciate all of you sticking with me through this mini blog serious journey and I hope if you attended #SHRM19, you have some great takeaways as well! I would be happy to discuss any of the things from this blog or any of my other blogs with you if you want to connect! I am TheHRPanda and can be found on Twitter and LinkedIn! Until next time, have a terrific day! And see you in San Diego!! #SHRM20!



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