Wednesday, November 16, 2016


It's the week before Thanksgiving, deer hunting season opens this week in the Midwest and the SHRM Volunteer Leaders Summit is taking place. This annual event is many things to many people but as I reflect on the event, I can easily group folks into three groups.

The newbies, are the first or second timers. Welcome! These are the folks who are new to their SHRM leadership role and have been dispatched to #SHRMVLS (as we call it on twitter, Facebook and Instagram) to see what this is all about and what is expected of them. At the other end of the spectrum is the "old timers" or veterans. These folks have been attended since the event was called SHRM Leadership and it was held at the Crystal City Marriot. Then the other group would be those that don't fit into these other two groups.

VLS has several objectives. One is to initiate volunteer leaders to their new roles. Another is to update all attendees on SHRM's path and mission. Then there is the Capitol Hill visits, whereupon nearly 500 volunteer leaders go to Capitol Hill and offer the SHRM position on the legislative issues that are "in play". It would also be the hope that the trips to Capitol Hill result in some deeper relationships with our elected representatives. Lastly I think the conference is about "amping up" the leaders before they are sent back home. This is usually accomplished though the keynote addresses.  Most of the speakers at these events are damn good. They motivate us and tug at our heartstrings.
For the long-term volunteers, there is one more aspect to the event. Us "old dogs" get to see our old friends, the ones we have met over the years. These are the like-minded people who share a passion for Human Resources, volunteering and networking. We seem to gravitate to one and other.  These relationships run long and deep!  (I challenge you to meet 50 new people at the event.)

Having said all of that, I may have totally missed the mark, for you; but this is what VLS is all about but these have been my takeaways over the years.

And just in case you didn't know this SHRM's Martha Ramirez was the lead person on this event for last year (2015) and this year. In Illinois, last year we were so proud of Martha for doing a great job with the event, the Illinois State Council of SHRM presented Martha with a board resolution congratulating her on what an awesome conference she assembled. She has set the bar high for this year.

Don't forget to download SHRM's new conference app. It is available in the iTunes Store of the Google Play Store.  This app will keep you plugged into all that is going on at each SHRM event.

Looking forward to a great conference, I hope to meet all of you!!

- Dave Ryan ISC SHRM Director Elect

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