#SHRM17 Recap and Cutting the Cord

Jackson Square, New Orleans (photo by Kelly Marinelli)

Jackson Square, New Orleans (photo by Kelly Marinelli)

I brought a cold back to Boulder with me from #SHRM17. Luckily, it wasn’t the only thing I brought back! I also returned with t-shirts from generous resource partners from the Expo-enough for my board at the Boulder Area HR Association. And wisdom (and laughter) from Steve Browne, which seems boundless-now that he has written a book, #HROnPurpose, even more of us can share his thoughts on practicing HR with a human touch.  

But really what stayed with me from the annual conference was inspiration. Nuts, bolts, and updates I can get throughout the year, especially with the tools, articles and blogs that SHRM consistently offers for its members. I feel like the volume of material I consume every day just keeps growing. These basics are also on offer at the SHRM Annual Conference, and that’s why I recommend it to rising professionals all the time. The general sessions were tops this year. I’ve already taken Patrick Lencioni’s advice about considering where we are as a team in the key aspects of humility, hunger and people smarts. It’s helping me communicate with my clients and nudge them toward better performance and satisfaction among their teams, and be sure they are hiring well. Kat Cole shared her triumphs, and her missteps with us-I loved her story and am inspired by her commitment to integrity and trust in leadership. I’m still a huge fan of Lazslo Bock, and have already read his great book, Work Rules. Laila Ali celebrated her victories, and her competitive spirit was infectious!

What I was looking for, and what I found this year in New Orleans, was connection. I met wonderful people in real life that I had already been interacting with online (especially my #nextchat buddies, SHRM staff and Special Expertise Panel colleagues). I had chance encounters with new HR pros I never would have come in contact with if I hadn’t been at the conference. The first was an HR Manager from a small city in Alberta, Canada, who is getting ready to handle the legalization of marijuana, and how it might affect safety sensitive jobs at the city. I also met HR pros from a small municipal electric utility in Lincoln, Nebraska (my college stomping grounds) and talked with them about how different the needs of a 24/7/365 workforce are. And I finally met fellow introvert and amazing HR leader from Colorado, Mary Faulkner, in person. I only had to fly to NOLA to do it!

The #Take10 stage and the #SmartStage were so appealing to me at #SHRM17, because I was able to interact with speakers, find topics that resonated with me, and expose myself to more sessions because they were shorter and easy to fit into my busy schedule of networking and having a great time. The general sessions and concurrent sessions were also amazing. I chose certain topics and speakers I wanted to learn from, and was able to fit a crazy amount of learning into a short period, and still have time for unique experiences like a running tour of the city, and two out-of-this-world vegan meals at fabulous restaurants, Green Goddess and Seed, with my buddies, Sylvia, Dani, Robert and Rhae.

When I got back to Boulder, I realized that my husband had cut the cord to cable. Bye bye, Comcast! We’ve been wanting to do this for years, and we were playing chicken with each other to see who would actually have to pick up the phone and call customer service to do it. Our last bill ($150 for basic digital cable and internet-not even HBO or Showtime) was the straw that broke the camel’s back, and he made the call.

Without the constant barrage of news about the president’s latest tweet, blaring commercials, or reality trash TV, my mind has room for a little more of something else. Coming home from #SHRM17, and cutting the cord, has had the effect of hitting the reset button on my outlook. Doing HR day in and day out takes its toll if we don’t stop to recharge, learn and share energy with each other. The SHRM Annual conference does that for me, and that inspiration is what will keep me coming back year after year. I’ve decided I’m going to use my extra brain space for creativity, and this year I'll push myself beyond what I think I'm capable of doing.

What will you do with your inspiration from #SHRM17? Be sure to meet me in Chicago next year at #SHRM18!