Tag: ongoing learning

#SHRM17 Upon Arrival

\We flew from Minneapolis to New Orleans with a three hour layover in Atlanta. I would have preferred to have a conversation/fan girl moment with Jimmy Carter, but for whatever reason, he’s never at my gate waiting for me in all of the times I’ve had a layover in Atlanta.

But almost just as awesome, the #SHRM17 Twitter feed started blowing up and it was as ah-maz-ing. I legit started geeking out. Some dude (actually Matt behind True Faith HR) tweeted about having Chick-Fil-A at the Atlanta airport and HOLY CRAP, I was right by there. Next thing I know, I’m in line at the Southwest gate saying hello to Matt, which turned into saying hello to a handful of other SHRM-goers.

Someone sat next to me on the plane and asked how I knew Matt and I paused momentarily before I just decided to own my answer: TWITTER. I’ve met people from the internet before (e.g. my wife, my best friend, way too many people that have recognized me as “Wendy from the internet”), but it was a whole different opening of a door that I didn’t know was even there.

We landed, got our luggage and checked into our conference at the airport (!!!) before heading to our adorable hotel (the Dauphine Orleans) just a block off Bourbon Street. Unpacked, settled in and headed off to find dinner. Both Killer PoBoys locations were less than two blocks from our hotel, so that seemed like fate. And, yes, they were killer.

We went back to our hotel rooms with tentative plans to stay in for the night and catch up on a few work things. I lasted until about 7 before I went into full on #SHRM17 Stalker Mode. There were people out and about all over the place, so I hit the French Quarter on my own determined to find another HR/SHRM person somewhere.

I saw Kate post about being at a bar only a few blocks from my hotel room, so that’s where I headed. And I walked past the bar because, NOPE – couldn’t muster up the intestinal fortitude to go in. I KNOW, RIGHT? I sat down on a bench and texted my co-worker who was back in her room finishing up some homework to see if she wanted to join. She was game, so we were off. I totally needed a wingman to meet HR people. Best thing I convinced myself to do the entire conference.

Pat O’Brien’s kept the hurricanes flowing and so did the HR twitter people. A couple of folks I’d followed on Twitter for a long time ended up joining us, along with their spouses. And then randomly enough, the lady I sat next to on the plane showed up because, wouldn’t you know it, she’s there for the SHRM conference, too. I mean, there were over 15,000 of us. I guess I shouldn’t have been that surprised. She recognized me. I did not recognize her and I still can’t remember her name, but her husband and I definitely talked about whatever PGA golf tournament had just happened.

Day 1 in New Orleans and I was pretty jazzed (oh man, no terrible New Orleans pun intended, I swear) to have put names to faces, actually talked to other conference attendees and realized not all HR folks are like the “standard” HR folks. The conference hadn’t even started and I was already feeling the energy.

#SHRM17 Bound

I’ve been looking forward to this for months – it’s my first Annual SHRM Conference. I went to the SHRM Talent Management Conferencr in 2016 and it was incredible. Since then, I’ve moved into a leadership role within HR and have been seeking all the knowledge I possibly can to level up. (Sorry – the dudes next to me on our Southwest flight are playing Pokémon Go, so that phrase felt right. 

My conference last year was eye opening in a lot of ways, some in incredible ways (so many great takeaways!!!) and some, not so much. The biggest thing I regretted from the whole conference was just not putting myself out there to meet other HR people and not realizing the value of an HR network. It’s shocking to a lot of people because I am not a natural networker.  Not without a couple of drinks anyway. I’m a fan of cider, by the way. 

Enter Twitter. Despite my penchant for drunk tweeting when it first rolled out, it’s been an immeasurable tool in learning how HR works outside the confines of my office, which is all I really know. Outside perspective in genius, you guys. And Twitter has ultimately put me in touch with so many of these folks that share the same passion as I do for the entire Human Resources field. I’m really hoping to finally connect with some of them over the course of the next few days. 

I’ve got my eye on a couple things to take care of over through Wednesday:

  • Learn all the things. Or at least some of the things! 
  • Implement some of the some of the things when I get back to work on Thursday. Or, you know, maybe Friday. I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself…
  • Meet some of these people I feel like I’ve gained so much knowledge from for the last year!
  • Meet some new people, too. I hear 10 a day is a good goal from one of my favorite HR bloggers, Steve Browne
  • Have fun. 

I never in my life thought I’d wind up in HR. I didn’t even know what HR was until I walked into an HR office and got fired for being absolutely terrible at sales. I would imagine there are thousands of people headed to New Orleans right now that might be in that same boat. Probably without the firing part, but hey, it’s all part of my story, right?

More from this conference to come and I’m hoping this outlet gives me a chance to do more reflecting of the things I learn. 140 characters on Twitter just isn’t enough sometime.