#SHRM13 Recap

OK, I realize I am a little late to the party on the SHRM 13 recap.  For the weeks leading up to, and the weeks after, I have learned a lot about empathy and understanding what my employees may be going through from time to time in their personal lives. I will save the empathy and stress management for another post and focus on the SHRM national conference. As a rare conference attendee, my experience in Chicago was one of the more rewarding, humbling experiences I’ve had in a while. 
My weekend started with the SHRM student conference. There were so many great speakers and I was very fortunate to get the opportunity to speak to this group. I was able to share my story and my not-so-conventional way into HR. My session aside, I was so impressed and humbled by the dedication of a group of students who paid their own way, gave up a precious weekend and came to learn about the current and future state of human resources. I challenged them to take advantage of the opportunity and make at least 2 connections among the 15,000 HR professional attendees.  
I also had the opportunity to be part of the Social Media team. To be a part of influential voices (as proven here), was extremely gratifying.  I got a chance to meet and spend time with those I admire and respect. I am always fascinated how this group is able to consistently crank out great content and share their unique experiences through their writing.  
The overall agenda, and especially the group of keynote speakers, was an all-star cast including Hilary Clinton, Blake Mycoskie, Daniel Pink, Captain Mike Kelly and Gabby Giffords. They all talked about the relevance and importance of the HR function in leading the way to solve our problems like unemployment and leadership. I was intrigued that each speaker also commented on the large attendance numbers. 
This got me thinking about the perception problem we tend to have about ourselves. We had 15,000+attendees and were able to pull this caliber of speakers. Do you think the CPA or Bar Association pulled this talent at their annual conferences?  
Our profession is ok and we can stop the never-ending quest for validation. Like Hilary Clinton stated, show up and do the work.  
This was my first national conference since 2008 when last in Chicago. Much has changed in my professional career during that time. This experience opened my eyes to the importance of attending the conference and taking advantage of all that my SHRM membership has to offer.  And, barring any other major life event, I plan on attending all future national conferences.
One of the lasting quotes that stuck with me came from Gabby Giffords.  She said, "Be passionate, be courageous, be your very best."  I’m striving to do this every day and I encourage you to do the same.
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