The Power of Optimism with @RobinRoberts #SHRM14

The 2014 SHRM Annual Conference and Exposition kicked off this afternoon with opening keynote speaker Robin Roberts. Anchor of ABC’s “Good Morning America,” in 2007 Robin was diagnosed with breast cancer and then, in 2012, she underwent a life-saving bone marrow transplant for myelodysplastis syndrome. She needed a bone marrow donation and, in her case, received the donation from her sister Sally-Ann Roberts, an anchor at WWL in New Orleans. (note – although Robin grew up in Mississippi, we in Louisiana have always considered her one of ours; she attended Southeastern Louisiana University and graduated cum laude with a degree in communication).  

Roberts is a motivating force and fierce advocate for the Be The Match (BMT) donor registry and #SHRM14 attendees will be able to sign up to become donors in Hall B1.  Others who are interested can find information about Be The Match at

A few thoughts that Robin shared with the audience:

“I know a thing or two about transformation.  Those experiences, good or bad, have transformed my life.”

The challenge, the tragedy is not what are facing, the tragedy is if we don’t take time to understand the reason, the meaning or the purpose – THAT is the tragedy.  It’s a lost opportunity for us to transform.

“Optimism is a muscle that gets stronger with use.”

“Dream big; but focus small.”  

Don’t become so rigid in your dreams.  Allow for the possibilities that life can provide.

Life is a roller coaster.

“People will forget what you said; people will forget what you did.  But people will never forget how you make them feel.” 


Robin was a great choice as an opening speaker (and perfectly fit the speaker archetype as outlined by Matthew Stollack); the audience was inspired and revved up.

I hope she left HR professionals with a renewed vigor to face challenges head on (whether they be personal or at work) and to do so with a positive attitude.  Let go of the ‘woe is me’ and the ‘we’re not respected or invested with the power to implement change.’

There ARE infinite possibilities.

Now onward with the conference.

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