SHRM Conjures Up Some Magic in Orlando

By Bill Leonard Jun 20, 2014
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Whenever the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Annual Conference & Exposition comes to town, magic just seems to happen. With more than 200 concurrent sessions, dozens of networking opportunities, the world’s largest exposition of HR-related products and an exciting concert, this year’s conference is sure to dazzle and mesmerize thousands of human resource professionals from around the globe.

Get into the Zone

Something new and exciting is always part of the SHRM Annual Conference, and this year is no exception with the Connection Zone. Located in Hall B1 of the Orange County Convention Center between the SHRM Exposition and the general session hall, the Connection Zone serves as a hub for activities that connect and engage conference attendees. The SHRMStore is located in the zone as well as the SHRM information and housing booths. Booths for the conference’s popular networking and volunteering opportunities, such as the Meet to Eat program and the Clean the World community service project, will also be part of the zone.

The Smart Stage, another addition to the conference, will be a centerpiece of the Connection Zone. The Smart Stage will feature 18-minute sessions on a variety of topics that will be presented by SHRM staff and affiliates, concurrent session speakers, and bloggers. The stage offers an exciting new way to reach conference attendees by providing the latest information and trends about the HR management profession and SHRM.

A World-Class Lineup

This year’s lineup of keynote speakers promises the excitement, entertainment and education that HR professionals have come to expect at the SHRM Annual Conference. The conference kicks off at 2:30-4 p.m. June 22 with opening general session speaker Robin Roberts.

Roberts became co-anchor of ABC’s “Good Morning America” in 2005. During her tenure, the popular news show has won three Emmy awards for outstanding morning programming. In her keynote address, Roberts will share her inspirational story of surviving cancer and rising to the top of her profession.

Thomas Friedman, a well-known writer and winner of three Pulitzer Prizes, will keynote the second general session at 8:30-9:45 a.m. June 23. Friedman, who has written extensively on globalization, will share his unique and insightful perspectives on the global economy. In 2008, the Wall Street Journal called Friedman “the second most influential business thinker.” U.S. News & World Report has ranked Friedman as one of America’s best leaders.

The conference’s all-star cast of keynote speakers will continue to shine when David Novak, chairman and CEO of Yum! Brands, takes the stage for the general session at 8:30-9:45 a.m. June 24. Novak will talk about his success as CEO of one of the most popular and profitable restaurant chains in the world. He will share his insights on how organizations can continue to grow and achieve excellence by setting big goals, getting employees on board, blowing past targets and celebrating successes.

Former first lady of the United States Laura Bush will be the featured speaker for the conference’s closing general session at 8:30-9:45 a.m. June 25. Bush will talk about her passion for improving literacy, education and women’s rights throughout the world. During her speech, she will discuss her ongoing work to promote health care innovations and to empower women in emerging democracies.

Masterful Learning Opportunities

The SHRM Masters Series will continue its tradition of featuring top-notch speakers and high-quality educational sessions that explore the boundaries of innovation and learning in the HR profession. The series’ schedule is a bit different this year, with two in-depth sessions on June 23.

Americus Reed II, the Whitney M. Young Jr. professor of marketing at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, will kick off the 2014 Masters Series at 10:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Reed’s discussion will focus on the HR implications of creating identity and brand loyalty for companies.

The second session of the Masters Series will take place at 1:45-3:45 p.m. when Olivia Fox Cabane, best-selling author and director of innovative leadership at Stanford University’s StartX Program, explores the science of charisma and the keys to making strong first impressions.

Jonah Berger, the James G. Campbell associate professor of marketing at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, will conclude this year’s series at 2:15-4:15 p.m. June 24. During his session, Berger will discuss the science behind word-of-mouth and the six key factors that push people to share content and ideas.

The SHRM Foundation sponsors the Masters Series, and all sessions will be held in the Chapin Theater (room W320) of the convention center.

Main Street SHRM

The SHRM Exposition is the world’s largest tradeshow of HR-related products and services and always the heartbeat of the Annual Conference. With more than 600 exhibitors, every attendee should find something of interest. The Exposition’s grand opening reception will begin at 4 p.m. June 22 immediately following Roberts’ opening general session. The Exposition is located adjacent to the Connection Zone.

Tuesday Night Magic

Country music superstar Tim McGraw will treat conference attendees to a concert at 8 p.m. on June 24 in the Orange County Convention Center. With album sales of more than 40 million, and 34 No. 1 singles, McGraw will certainly be a highlight of this year’s conference.

Full-conference registrants receive one ticket for the show in their registration materials. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m.

Head Out West with SHRM

Next year, the SHRM Annual Conference & Exposition will head west to Las Vegas. The conference will be held June 28-July 1, 2015, at the Las Vegas Convention Center, one of the largest and most modern conference facilities in the United States. For more information about the SHRM 67th Annual Conference & Exposition, please visit the Las Vegas booth located near the prize-drawing area of the exhibit hall.

Bill Leonard is senior writer for SHRM Online.

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