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Betting on Talent Management

By Theresa Minton-Eversole  3/1/2013
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I’m betting that come April 14, many of us would be happier heading off to Las Vegas for some serious professional development (and fun) than we would be making that eleventh-hour, last-ditch effort to file those income tax returns.

Chances are good that come April 17, not all of what happened in Vegas will need to stay in Vegas—at least for those who attend the Society for Human Resource Management’s Talent Management Conference & Exposition at Mandalay Bay. There are dozens of sessions and events slated for the conference that will provide plenty of takeaways that attendees will be able to implement before you can say “tax refund.” Read on to learn some of the planned conference highlights:

Keynote Speakers

Where better to discuss the good life, gaming and the importance of play at work than Las Vegas? And who better to discuss these concepts than Life is good Company’s Chief Creative Optimist John Jacobs; game designer and futurist Jane McGonigal; and social change agent, sought-after speaker and author Kevin Carroll?

Life is good is a $100 million privately held Boston-based business that spreads positive vibes. Jacobs created Jake—the company’s iconic hero. The three simple words—“Life is good”— beneath that icon became the company’s name in 1994. Since then Jacobs and his brother Bert have been spreading the power of optimism and growing their brand into one of the hottest and best recognized in the apparel industry. Life is good products are sold by more than 5,000 retailers nationwide and in 32 countries worldwide, and Jacobs will share the company’s secrets to success in his keynote presentation on April 15 at 3 p.m.

Jane McGonigal is harnessing the power of games and gaming techniques in new ways to help solve some of the world’s biggest challenges. She believes that the gamer spirit—an attitude of fun, dedicated, collective problem-solving—is our greatest asset. In fact, she says, when we play a good game, we become the best version of ourselves—the most optimistic, most creative, most focused, most collaborative, most goal-oriented and most resilient in the face of failure. She’ll discuss how game designers are effectively experts in making difficult tasks engaging, and how we should draw on their smarts as we frame the challenges of our time. Her keynote takes place at 8:30 a.m. on April 16.

Kevin Carroll no doubt would agree with the positive influence of gaming on people. He says play was serious business in our youth, and it should be even more serious business in our professional lives if we hope to unleash the creative genius that spurs organizational growth. Drawing from childhood lessons, Kevin Carroll will close the conference at 11:30 a.m. on April 17 by revealing the relevance of play and how we must continue to tap into those lessons for our future success.

But wait, there’s more! Focus on the hottest topics in talent management by choosing from among the 49 concurrent sessions, broken out into the following topic areas:

California and employment legislation.


Personal leadership and development.


Retention and engagement.

Social media and technology.

Workforce planning.

And don’t forget to check out the 70-plus exhibitors hosting product demonstrations and programming throughout the Exposition Hall, starting with the grand opening on Monday from 4-7 p.m. The Exposition will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday as well.

There’ll be time for networking with your peers, too, after the day’s programming. Follow #SHRMTalent on Twitter for example, for details regarding the Meet, Eat and Tweet event.

So start making arrangements to trade time spent with Uncle Sam for time spent in Las Vegas with your colleagues. You never know; they might be feeling generous and have already received their tax refunds from the IRS.

Theresa Minton-Eversole is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

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