Gabby Giffords, Mark Kelly to Speak at SHRM Annual Conference
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Gabby Giffords, Mark Kelly to Speak at SHRM Annual Conference

By SHRM Online staff  1/16/2013
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Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle “Gabby” Giffords, D-Ariz., and her husband, Capt. Mark Kelly, a retired Navy pilot and astronaut, will appear at the June 19 general session of the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) 2013 Annual Conference & Exposition in Chicago.

Giffords vaulted to international attention after surviving a gunshot wound to the brain on Jan. 8, 2011, that left her fighting for her life, missing a piece of her skull and suffering difficulty in speaking and a loss of about 50 percent of her vision in both eyes.

About a year and a half later, on Sept. 6, 2012, she led the Pledge of Allegiance during the Democrat National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.

The shooting rampage occurred in a grocery store parking lot where Giffords was meeting with constituents; six people were killed and 13 others wounded. In January 2012, slightly more than a year after she was shot, she resigned from her Congressional seat to devote her time to her recovery.

On Nov. 8, 2012, the couple was in the courtroom when the 24-year-old gunman received seven life sentences without parole plus 140 years. He pleaded guilty in a deal that allowed him to avoid the possibility of a death sentence, according to ABC News.

While the couple has written a book and speaks about the shooting and Giffords’ recovery, their lives prior to the assault were focused on very different pursuits. Kelly flew combat missions during the Gulf War and flew his first of four missions in 2001 aboard space shuttle Endeavor, the same shuttle he commanded on its final flight in May 2011. He commanded the space shuttle Discovery, is one of two individuals who have visited the international Space Station four times, and is a prostate cancer survivor.

Giffords, a third-generation Tucson native, served on the U.S. House Armed Services Committee and the Subcommittee on Air and Land Forces and Military Readiness, was chairwoman of the Science and Technology Space Subcommittee, and vice chairman of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition. In November 2010, she was re-elected narrowly to Congress.

In their international best-selling memoir, Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope (Scribner, 2012) which the couple wrote with Jeffrey Zaslow, they recount their lives together before and after the shooting and their story of hope and resilience.

TOMS Leader Joins Speaker Line-Up

Giffords and Kelly join an Annual Conference line-up of speakers that includes Blake Mycoskie, founder and chief shoe giver of TOMS, and the person behind the idea of the global One for One movement.

The Texas native created the shoe—and now eye-wear—business in 2006, after he was inspired during a trip to Argentina where he observed the “extreme poverty and health conditions” and children without shoes. TOMS gave its one millionth pair of new shoes to a child in need in September 2010, according to the company’s website.

Mycoskie is the author of the New York Times best-seller, Start Something that Matters (Spiegel & Grau, 2011), and with his sister Paige competed in the CBS primetime TV series “The Amazing Race.” He will address the June 17 morning general session.

Daniel H. Pink, best-selling author of Drive (Riverhead Books, 2011) and other books, will address the June 18 morning general session. In his book, he examines the elements of motivation and the secret to high performance and satisfaction.

His articles have appeared in such publications as The New York Times, the Harvard Business Review, Fast Company and Wired, and the Washington, D.C., resident has appeared as a news analyst on CNN, CNBC, ABC and NPR.

The conference’s June 18 concert will spotlight “American Idol” winner and pop star Kelly Clarkson. A ticket for her concert is included in the conference registration; extra tickets are available for an additional $85.

Registration and housing for the conference are open.





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