As I write this column, it’s been only a few days since the conclusion of the Society for Human Resource Management’s 65th Annual Conference & Exposition (hashtag #SHRM13). And I’m pleased to have participated in an event that many who attended are calling the best conference in the history of the Society.
Our first conference in 1948 attracted 67 attendees. This year, we set an all-time record of more than 15,100 attendees from 78 countries and the United States, and our exposition had 700 exhibitors.
The largest-ever gathering of HR professionals inspired more than 3,000 Instagram photos and 25,000 tweets—putting #SHRM13 among Twitter’s top 10 globally trending topics for two straight days. And, it prompted coverage in more than 1,100 blog posts, newspaper articles and television stories, including from the Associated Press, NBC’s "Today" show, ABC News and The Wall Street Journal.
We promoted this conference as an opportunity to "become more"—to find ways to be better at your job, smarter in your work, savvier in your decisions and bolder in your commitment to be an effective business leader. Based on initial reports, we delivered on that promise.
One blogger wrote, "It was one heck of a conference," and another called it "Epic … what SHRM accomplished was spectacular in every sense of the word."
Our general session speakers, ranging from former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, to Captain Mark Kelly and former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, provided unique global perspectives. They dared us to dream and they challenged us with ways to improve our communities, our workplaces and ourselves.
All of them—plus speakers at more than 200 concurrent sessions—epitomize what it means to "become more."
There was something important happening everywhere I turned in Chicago. And it all demonstrated what an incredibly engaged and thoughtful group the SHRM community is. We joined with AARP in honoring the 2013 winners of the Best Employers for Workers Over 50 award; hundreds of members spontaneously pitched in to assemble 3,000 personal hygiene kits for underprivileged individuals in the Chicago area; and the bloggers even organized a kickball tournament that raised $11,000 for NoKidHungry.
My point: Now, more than ever, the call to action for HR professionals is to be innovative, creative and proactive. We are expected to lead, and that is why we must "become more."
SHRM’s job is to help you reach your goals. The SHRM Annual Conference is a giant step forward in that journey.
I invite you to join us next year and see for yourself what’s so special about the Society’s annual conference, and how SHRM can help you transform into the business leader you want to be. Our organizations are counting on us to be more.
We’ll see you at SHRM 2014 in Orlando.