Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Conference Shouldn't End at the Conference Hall Door!

“I’m Brad and I’m an HR conference addict” - Please respond in unison “Hi Brad!"

The reality is that yes, I do enjoy state HR conferences and the reasons really do go beyond what one might ordinarily expect.  There are certainly great speakers to be heard, HRCI credits to earn (I’m not taking the SPHR exam again!) and enthusiastic vendors to meet.  I think it is my parental duty to bring back at least one souvenir to each of my children and my professional duty to have at least one new idea that can improve my workplace (or the workplaces of my clients!)

Beyond those obvious things, I cherish the opportunity to meet and talk to new people.  There are so many interesting stories to be learned and be shared.  I've been to multiple state conferences now of all sizes and times of year.  No matter where or when, I always come away knowing more about someone and getting the chance to see people who love what they do.  This satisfies one of my core beliefs in looking for the best in everybody. 

It bears remembering though that this requires some effort, and often, a little extra time.  Although sessions and time in exhibit halls can bring these moments, they are much more apt to occur after the conference’s official hours are over and attendees are gathered in more informal settings.  

I think back fondly to Louisiana SHRM and my conversation with Laurie Ruettimann and Lizzie Maldonado.  Although I know Laurie, I still learned more about her experience and life beyond HR and her cats.  Liz I hadn’t really known before and now I not only follow her on social media, but know and see firsthand the great vivacious person behind her twitter handle and her work at The Starr Conspiracy.  Moments like these happen everywhere from sitting down with John Jorgensen and Dave Ryan (both from Illinois) while in Ohio to meeting Travis Sinquefield from Michigan while at HREvolution in Chicago.  All great people who are so much more than their Twitter bio can describe!

So, if you’re attending one of the many great state HR conferences coming in the next few months, please take a little time and go out on a limb to meet some new people.  I guarantee that you will benefit from doing so!  I know I intend to meet new folks and gain insight from those I am fortunate enough to get to know during my time at Illinois SHRM from August 18-20 and at my own HR Indiana August 27-30, 2013.

About the Author:

Bradley D. Galin, SPHR,  is an executive coach and HR Leadership Consultant based in Portage, Michigan. In addition to his day job, Brad is also a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources, a 2006 graduate of Leadership Bloomington Monroe County, currently serves as the Director-at-Large for the Indiana State Council of SHRM, recently completed his MBA. Brad spent ten years as the Senior Director of Human Resources and Corporate Compliance Officer for Stone Belt Arc, Inc., a non profit organization with over 500 employees fulfilling its mission to prepare, empower, and support people with disabilities and their families throughout south central Indiana.You can usually find him talking over at RollerCoasterHR. We're happy to have him as part of our ILSHRM13 Social Press Team!