Monday, December 7, 2015

Dive In – My First SHRM VLS Experience

Today's Post is from Mike Spinale.  Mike currently is the IL SHRM Director of Diversity. Look for more posts from Mike as we move into 2016.  We thank Mike for his contribution and look forward to hearing more from him. 

I recently attended the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) annual Volunteer Leaders Summit (VLS) in Washington.  This annual event brings together HR professionals from across the country that volunteer their time in dedication to our profession.  About 800 leaders, of Chapters and State Councils, came together to discuss best practices, share ideas, and celebrate the work we do through these roles.

The ILSHRM delegation at Sen. Kirks Office.
This was my first SHRM VLS, and while I was looking forward to the learning I’d get by attending sessions at the conference – I was even more excited for Advocacy Day, which brought delegations of HR people to Capitol Hill to meet with our respective Senator’s and Representative’s offices about important employment laws affecting the HR field and the businesses we serve.  

My excitement turned to anxiety, however, when I found out that I had been “nominated” (read: voluntold) to be the lead speaker on behalf of our ILSRHM delegation.  “What?  Me!??!  During my first VLS?!?!?  Nooooooo!!”  But with the encouragement and coaching of our leadership and my colleagues, I fought my discomfort and while I was obviously nervous, I was able to muster the courage and make our case.  I felt great and the positive feedback received from my colleagues made me feel proud.  I strolled off Capitol Hill with an extra bounce in my step.

After going through this experience, it reminded me of how important it is to push the envelope, to not be afraid of uncomfortable situations, and to put yourself out there.  I learned so much from the actual doing, much more than if I sat back and observed.  So don’t be afraid – do the talking and take the lead – and you’ll see how much you’ll learn!  

Mike Spinale  ISC SHRM Director of Diversity