Wednesday, August 28, 2013

I lost my virginity at HR Florida...my conference virginity that is!

Last week I attended the HR Florida SHRM conference at Hilton Bonnet Creek in Orlando, FL.  It was my very first large conference experience.  And it was a BLAST!

I went in with high expectations and the conference delivered on all fronts.  The accommodations were beautifully appointed and very comfortable, the dining options were endless and most importantly, each day was packed with articulate and insightful speakers who energized us HR stiffs and convinced us we could do more.  Any anxiety I had about being a first timer melted away as I met friendly faces at every turn.  The team leaders who put this conference together did a superb job making sure everything was laid out in a logical manner so that us "virgins" didn't get lost in the crowd.

HR can get a bad rap at times and end up being labelled the HR Nazi, the Grim Reaper and other unfortunate monikers.  It shouldn't be that way friends!  We are in a unique position to influence positive change up, down and across in our organizations.  We are the catalysts for creating a dynamic service culture; an innovative team of motivated individuals working together to meet common business goals.  This conference reminded me of this mission again and again.

The keynote speakers at HR Florida were all excellent, but Peter Sheahan of Change Labs was especially captivating.  His energy was contagious and he really challenged the thought process of conventional HR wisdom.  The main take away from his presentation was realizing that we still get in the way of our own, and our company's, success because of antiquated stereotypes about people and processes.  We have to be more willing to get outside our comfort zones and think through changes from a multitude of perspectives and not just doing something one way because it has always been done that way.

Having the opportunity to network with so many other HR professionals was an experience in itself.  I enjoyed the fact that many speakers made their presentations interactive and provided us with the chance to give feedback in the session, bounce ideas off each other and just talk through situations we were facing with our organizations.  And because these speakers were thought leaders in their respective areas, they were able to give actionable advice that you could take back and implement right away.  Definitely making this conference worth the price you paid for admission!

If you haven't had an opportunity to attend HR Florida, well what are you waiting for?  And if you don't live in Florida, but you are an HR pro, then check out your states' conference next year.  I am sure you will not be disappointed.  Can't wait for HR Florida 2014!

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