It’s hard to believe, but the 2014 SHRM Annual Conference is only about a week and a half away. This year’s location is right in the heart of tourist mecca Orlando, Florida, at the Orange County Convention Center, and runs from June 22nd to the 25th. Once again, I’ll be heading down and reporting in as part of the SHRM Social Media and blogging team.
One would think that the location alone and general ease of travel from most points to the Orlando area could tend to draw quite a crowd, especially anyone with an affinity towards anything Mickey, Harry Potter, or anything else Disney or Universal Studios related. But beyond the obvious entertainment value draw, hopefully attendees of this annual gathering of all things Human Resources will walk away refreshed and recharged with at least a few new ideas and a few new connections in their network.
This year’s general session keynotes, as always, are big name speakers who are brought in to inspire and motivate us as attendees to look beyond the day to day functions of our jobs and consider larger business and global issues and trends, and how we can be making a bigger impact not only as HR professionals, but as business professionals. I’ll be highlighting key points from each of those speakers: Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts, NY Times columnist and author Tom Friedman, CEO of Yum! Brands David Novak, and Former First Lady Laura Bush.
I also plan to hit at least a few of the concurrent sessions. These are where much of the practical tips, tricks, and lessons learned are shared, often by fellow practitioners who are or have been right there in the trenches with attendees. I’ll be sharing some of the highlights of those sessions as well.
One of the new and exciting components of this year’s conference is The Connection Zone, an evolution of what had been known as The Hive in conferences of late. The Connection Zone is a place for attendees to come to well, as the name suggests, connect. Within The Connection Zone will be the Smart Stage where 15-18 minute TED-like talks will be given on a variety of topics. I’ll be joining in the fun and speaking on “So I’m a Time Starved HR Practitioner….Why Should I Care About Social Media?” at 10:20 on Monday morning. Stop by if the topic interests you, or even just to say hi (there will be able Q&A and networking time after the presentations).
And of course, we can’t forget about the networking and social opportunities, which abound at a conference such as this. One that’s not to be missed is the #SHRM14 Social Bash, happening Monday night at the Hard Rock Café at Universal CityWalk. Back by popular demand after last year’s success, DJ Jazzy Jeff (yes, THAT Jazzy Jeff) will be once again spinning tunes at what’s sure to be the highlight of the conference social scene. And what better way to get to know your new connections better than dancing and singing along to all of your favorite party tunes together?
So if you’re attending the conference, be sure to engage in all of the opportunities available to you. Tweet along with the #SHRM14 hashtag; last year we managed to trend on Twitter, let’s see if we can do it again! If you’re not able to attend, check back here throughout the conference as I’ll be posting updates on what’s happening, and what’s being talked about. And follow the hashtag on Twitter for instant, real-time updates too!
See you in Orlando!
About the Author: Jennifer Payne, SPHR has over 16 years of HR experience in employee relations, talent acquisition, and learning & development, and currently works in talent management in the retail grocery industry. She is one of the co-founders of Women of HR, and is currently the Editor of the site. You can connect with her on Twitter as @JennyJensHR and on LinkedIn.