Great Expectations and SHRM

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I flew in yesterday and immediately started hanging out with friends old and new. I see a lot of familiar faces, many recognizable topics in the handbook and the sizzle on the steak that is conferences, LOADS of swag (and free food, don’t forget the food). But here’s my dirty little secret: despite having been in the industry long enough for it to be downright shameful, I have never been to a SHRM event. Despite serving on a committee within my local SHRM chapter in the Midwest (HRAM shout out!) I’ve never been a card carrying member of SHRM. (gasp! intrigue!)

So here I am, ambassador for BraveNewTalent, humbled guest of SHRM’s own Curt Midkiff and brand spanking newbie at the whole SHRM shebang. What do I have to rely on? My past longing gaze at the twitterstream from SHRM’s I’ve missed, friends and colleagues I respect presenting and sharing their notes and ideas with me beforehand and of course, the opinion of people I’ve known for years, who come to SHRM and keep coming to SHRM…why? Is it for the Keith Urban concert? For the chance to win an iPad? Or is it simply the mass of the thing? A global gathering of HR professionals and everyone and everything associated with…well…working.

When I tell people that I’ve never been to SHRM I either get an incredulous look or a “You’ve gotta be there!” response. So, I’m here and not without a certain level of expectation from the conferences and its organizers. There’s a great deal going on behind the scenes and a lot for the conference to live up to (at least in my mind). A global gathering of HR minds, yeah, this oughtta be good.