#SHRM15 Will Be a Winner in Las Vegas

By Bill Leonard May 15, 2015
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Los Vega Sign

The well-known ad line “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” doesn’t apply when it comes to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) 2015 Annual Conference & Exposition. The SHRM Annual Conference is the biggest and best human resource management conference in the world, and it always provides an experience that attendees will want to share (#SHRM15) with their co-workers and colleagues.

With more than 200 concurrent educational sessions, the world’s largest expo of HR products and services, an all-star lineup of keynote speakers, multiple networking opportunities, and a dazzling Tuesday Night Concert, veteran and first-time attendees always come away from the conference energized and enthused about all that the HR profession has to offer.

Bet on These Speakers’ Insights

The Annual Conference will start with a bang at 2:30 p.m. June 28 when Mike Krzyzewski, head coach of the Duke University men’s basketball team, takes the stage for the keynote address of the opening general session. Krzyzewski is the winningest men’s basketball coach in NCAA Division I history with more than 1,000 wins, and in April 2015 he became one of only two coaches in history to win five or more NCAA basketball championships. In his keynote speech, Krzyzewski will talk about his recipe for success and what he believes it takes to become an effective leader and to sustain excellence year after year.

The conference’s lineup of top-notch keynote speakers will continue at 8:30 a.m. June 29 with a dynamic presentation by Marcus Buckingham, well-known author and business thought leader. Buckingham has dedicated his career to capitalizing on the strengths and talents of individuals to make workplaces more efficient and business leaders more competent. During his keynote address, Buckingham will provide his unique insights to identify the key drivers of successful and high-performing organizations.

The conference’s third general session will begin at 8:30 a.m. June 30 with television journalist Mika Brzezinski, co-host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” She is a best-selling author, as well, with her fourth book, Grow Your Value (Weinstein Books, 2015), offering women the tools needed to advocate for themselves and grow their financial future.

Dr. Mehmet Oz will deliver the keynote address for the conference’s closing general session at 8:30 a.m. July 1. Oz is the Emmy Award-winning host of the popular television series “The Dr. Oz Show.” In addition, he is director of the Cardiovascular Institute and a professor of surgery at the Columbia University Medical School in New York City. Oz will share insights on achieving excellence. All the conference general sessions will be held in Halls N3/N4 of the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Learn from the Masters

Through the years, the SHRM Masters Series has become one of the most popular educational sessions at the Annual Conference. This year’s lineup of presenters for the Masters Series sessions will continue the tradition of excellence. The two-hour, in-depth educational sessions will begin at 10:30 a.m. June 29 with a presentation by Amy C. Edmondson, the Novartis professor of leadership and management at Harvard Business School.

Edmondson’s topic will be “How Organizations Learn, Innovate, and Compete in the Knowledge Economy,” and she will focus on how all businesses must face and meet the challenges of continually improving, understanding complex systems and promoting innovation. Edmondson will demonstrate that the most successful organizations are flexible and focus on fluid collaborations that allow employees to learn and grow within their jobs. Teams don’t learn together naturally because of fear of failure and information hoarding by individuals and workgroups. Edmondson will show how HR leaders can build stronger work teams by creating psychological safety and overcoming defensive interpersonal dynamics that inhibit the sharing of ideas and information.

The second session of the Masters Series will start at 1:45 p.m. June 29 with a presentation by Luke Williams, professor of innovation at the NYU Stern School of Business. Williams’ presentation is titled “Disruptive Thinking: Fostering a Culture of Game-Changing Leadership,” and it will focus on how reaching unexpected solutions can help businesses develop and maintain a creative and competitive edge.

According to Williams, “disruptive thinking” fosters a culture of innovation leadership and is an essential skill for business leaders who are hoping to transform organizational processes and behaviors. Once this process starts, Williams says, business leaders typically ask, “Why haven’t we ever thought about our business and corporate culture this way before?”

The third and final session of the Masters Series will begin at 2:15 p.m. June 30 with a presentation by Nicholas Epley, professor of behavioral science at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. Epley’s topic will be “Mindwise: How We Understand What Others Think, Believe, Feel, and Want.”

Epley will explore questions about the true nature of human behavior that have puzzled people for centuries: “How good are you at knowing the minds of others?” and “How well can you guess what others are really thinking and feeling?”

Epley says his presentation will not give session participants the ability to read others as though they were open books but instead will offer insight and wisdom to change how participants perceive their friends, their co-workers and themselves.

All the Masters Series sessions will be held in the South Ballroom of the Paradise Event Center at the Las Vegas Westgate Resort.

SHRM’s Rival to the Vegas Strip

With nearly 700 exhibitors displaying and demonstrating the latest HR products and services, the SHRM Exposition may feel like an indoor version of the world-famous Las Vegas Strip.

Attendees are invited to a grand opening reception in the SHRM Exposition immediately following the conference’s opening general session.

Attendees visiting the exhibit hall should plan on stopping by the SHRM booth (No. 1922) to meet with SHRM staff members who can answer questions about member benefits and the Society’s wide array of products and services. After the opening reception, the SHRM Exposition will be open 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. June 29 and 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. June 30. Lunch will be served in the exhibit hall both days from noon-1:30 p.m.

It’s Show Time!

The Tuesday Night Concert is a great way to cap off a full day at the SHRM Annual Conference. This year’s concert will feature Jennifer Hudson, a Grammy Award-winning singer and Academy Award-winning actress. Hudson rose to fame in 2004 as a finalist on the third season of “American Idol” and eventually finished the season in seventh place.

Hudson’s self-titled debut album won a Grammy Award in 2009 for Best R&B Album. She was nominated that year for three other Grammy Awards: Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals, and Best R&B Song. Her debut album has sold more than 1.1 million copies worldwide. The concert will start at 8 p.m. June 30 in the Las Vegas Convention Center. One ticket to the concert is included with a full conference registration. Additional tickets can be purchased for $95.

Bill Leonard is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

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