“Use these days in Chicago to build your career, invest in yourself, its more than a party, much more than a networking event, hold us accountable for ensuring that you have a meaningful experience” these are some of SHRM’s CEO, Johnny C Taylor Jr.’s words from an encouraging Facebook live chat, that was held for the SHRM18 bloggers by Andrew Morton.
These words kept ringing in my head, they really had me thinking seriously about my trip to Chicago for the 2018 SHRM Annual Conference & Exposition, taking time off work, if I say I am “self-investing” with this entire initiative. What then is the tangible ROI, what are the goals, are they attainable, how will I measure them? How will I know that this specific conference was worth all the resources that I have put into it, and how exactly will I apply my take away’s in real life.
These questions are answered carefully in a very useful tool that a colleague shared with me, a one pager “Post Event and Conference Contract”. It sounds like a cute little thing to do, but it’s actually quite serious. It’s a Learn2Learn document that can be found on the internet. It had me thinking, and reviewing my SHRM18 program schedule.
Basically, the contract requires the user to answer pertinent questions like:
- What will your take away’s be, who will you share them with?
- What will be your post conference commitment, define three new actions and habits?
- Who will support you?
My conference goal is, to learn more about certification and to empower myself with the knowledge I need to design my five-year career plan. The challenge is that the role that I have pictured in my mind does not exist in South Africa, yet. There are elements of it within the Marketing and Communications space. My electives for SHRM18 revolve around Culture (diversity, inclusion, cognitive & implicit biases), their impact on Employee Value Proposition, and Talent Branding & Marketing Strategy. So, I will be spending a bit of time at the Smart Stage, starting with the “Five Tips to Navigate SHRM18” on the first day, followed by the “Developing Strategies for Managing Cognitive and Implicit Biases” session with Paul Meshanko, I am not missing “Beyond Diversity” with Jennifer Payne, and I am super excited about Steve Brown’s mega session “Cultures that ROCK! Five Proven Ways to Develop and Sustain a Phenomenal Workplace”, not because Steve always big’s me up on twitter, but because I know that people hardly leave great places, if the environment is conducive, talent retention is a walk in the park.
Thankfully, there is also a session on how to achieve Certification through the SHRM Learning System. As a global member, this will be highly useful to me. I have a lot of questions to ask and hopefully I will be able to roap map my certification journey. The conference has so many sessions, the schedule makes it so easy to focus on my goals. All my electives are in line with my career and personal aspirations. I need to make sure that I take away global practises that can be applied locally, and to fully understand what my membership can do for me on a daily basis.
Outside of work stuff, I am really excited to be participating in the fit bit challenge, I know the Highsteppers are going to win, I am looking for a Pound class in Chicago, so that I can clock 7,000 steps in an hour. Apparently, I have to have a sundowner at Hangcock Towers and cannot leave Chicago without going to the Cheesecake Factory. I am really grateful to SHRM for what promises to me awesome experience!
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