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SHRM President and CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., Highlights the Impact of One HR

Frontline Workers, Heroes of 9/11 Honored at SHRM21 in Las Vegas

A man in a suit and orange tie.
Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., at SHRM21 Conference & Expo in Las Vegas.Photo Credit: Chris Williams

Las Vegas – SHRM President and CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., addressed the SHRM21 (the Society for Human Resource Management) Annual Conference & Expo today virtually and in-person at the Las Vegas Convention Center in a keynote speech that called on the importance of acting as one HR—no matter the discipline—from inclusion, equity and diversity to recruitment and employee relations.

"We have discovered the outer limits of our bravery, what we are capable of in our practice of HR and in our leadership," said Taylor. "Whether you are hiring, developing, or firing people, restructuring your benefits packages for a post-COVID reality, or working through intense conversations about race and bias, all HR --ONE HR-- knows the world isn't going to wait until we get it just right."

Taylor also paid tribute to the heroes of 9/11 for their service and sacrifice and acknowledged the heroes working on today's frontlines.

"Every American vowed to never forget, and we have kept our promise to remember our heroes," said Taylor, who stood on stage with first responders and frontline workers. "But we are living through another historic moment right now, unfolding in slow motion, and bringing forth a community of new heroes. Not just health workers serving on the front lines. We saw heroes in grocery stores, in delivery vehicles, in distribution centers and warehouses, driving our buses, trains, and planes. Yes, everywhere, people showed up for work, some in person, some remotely, day after day, in a world turned upside down."

Taylor also expounded on the importance of empathy and the role it plays when it comes to creating a more inclusive, accessible and equitable workforce. This conversation comes as new data, the Harvard Business Review Analytic Services Survey, conducted in partnership with SHRM and sponsored by Trusaic, found that, while some businesses have successfully implemented measures to increase diversity, equity and inclusion within its workforce, many others have failed to follow through on organizational commitments. In fact, two-thirds (67%) admit their organization is, at best, only somewhat successful in its attempts to create a more diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace.

The SHRM21 Annual Conference & Expo also featured Ms. Opal Lee, a retired teacher, counselor, and social impact leader in the movement that made Juneteenth a federally recognized holiday, and continues tomorrow with Life is Good Co-Founder and Chief Executive Optimist Bert Jacobs as he discusses the importance of optimism over adversity, detailing how a culture of optimism can fuel innovation, risk-taking, and growth in the face of hard times.

RSVP: Media interested in covering SHRM21, happening September 9 to September 12 in Las Vegas, can contact the media affairs team at

About SHRM

SHRM, the Society for Human Resource Management, creates better workplaces where employers and employees thrive together. As the voice of all things work, workers and the workplace, SHRM is the foremost expert, convener and thought leader on issues impacting today's evolving workplaces. With 300,000+ HR and business executive members in 165 countries, SHRM impacts the lives of more than 115 million workers and families globally. Learn more at and on Twitter @SHRM.




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