Lisa Horn, the SHRM director of congressional affairs, kicked off 2018 Law and Legislative conference by introducing Johnny C. Taylor, Jr. - SHRM CEO, and Michael Aiken- SHRM vice president of government affairs, to an overflow crowd of over 600 excited attendees.
Johnny’s opening salvo included his call for the HR community to “Elevate” it’s game. He added that now is the time for HR to stop shying away from workplace issues and show courage. Noting the reality of Sex, Power and Consent at center Stage in business and politics. His 15-minute chat included continual mention of HR having “Ownership” as well as discussion of being non-partisan on legislative issues. Stating HR advocates should take the side of specific issues and not a particular party.
A refreshing and bold introduction to the HR advocacy community.
Michael Aiken followed with a robust presentation filled with data and the 2018 agenda for SHRM in moving public policy issues forward. The presentation was highlighted with several audience participation poles on a myriad of issues. Low approval ratings on Capitol Hill, along with discussion on Immigration, ADA, FMLA, and Work Flex were the lead discussions.
Lunchtime brought one of the best sessions SHRM has ever held. Donna Brazile and Sean Spicer discussed the state of politics in America with several questions from the audience. Done with humor and humility, they both answered questions honestly and found a true middle ground to offer the opportunity for individuals of all beliefs to find ways to have a civil conversation about todays most pressing topics.
Donna stated our youth should “choose hope, choose action," and Sean talked about finding a way for even the most hardline republicans and democrats to listen and ‘thread the needle” with solutions mental health and providing work opportunities to veterans.
On a personal note, I had the chance opportunity to meet Sean Spicer in the speaker’s ready room, where I bumped into him with Erin Sullivan from SHRM. He was gracious, and even spoke to my wife on my cell phone for two minutes. A memorable moment that I won’t soon forget.