Monday, November 23, 2015

SHRM 2015 VLS Wrap Up

The SHRM Volunteer Leaders’ Summit is wrapped up, and we are about to turn the page on another year.  This year I found a new and different SHRM.   SHRM is listening to its member and changing. SHRM members are not nearly as combative this year as they were in 2014.  So, IMO as we say on twitter, I think most of those who attended, came, participated, lobbied, listened and were energized, which I think is the purpose of the event.

SHRM CEO Hank Jackson at the VLS.
Gone were the distractions of the SHRM “Certification”.   Changes were announced to the Volunteer Leader’s Resource Center (VLRC), we saw changes in the name and the styling of the entire event now call VLS (even though the hashtag #SHRMLead) still remains, and this is strictly a personal observation of mine, but I saw a new and different CEO.  The Hank Jackson we saw in 2015 is the guy who runs SHRM.  He is totally comfortable with that, and that he has a bunch of Human Resources Pros around him at the events.  Hank laughed and joked with us and even cracked a joke or two when talking about problems.  He has assumed the role and it just feels like he has become very comfortable with his staff and his membership and his role at the top.

Steve Browne at the VLS.
We also saw at this meeting where our collective friend Steve Browne made the transition to the “other side.”  No longer is Steve a chapter or state council official, he is now on the board of directors of SHRM.  Those of us who know Steve are proud of him and look to him to share our vision of HR with the board.  I am sure he will excel in this role, and I wish him well.

For those who are new to chapters or state council operations, an appropriate amount of learning and resources was offered up. The sessions I attended were spot on and offered me a lot of ideas and ways to attack problems in my upcoming role as State Director. As best as I can tell from a show of hands, it looked like about 50% of the attendees were first time attendees.  The more veteran members could work on being a little more welcoming IMO.  And we need to get more millennials at these events!! (Repeat that last sentence!)

A concept of #HR two point oh or 2.0 was rolled out. What is it? I am not sure we know. Things are changing rapidly and I feel we are being asked, to be ready, to deal with these changes.  Tom Peters spoke of these coming days in “Thriving on Chaos” in 1987; I think we are there and HR 2.0 looks a lot like that.

For me thought the best part of this, and any other SHRM conference is seeing old friends and making new ones! That is simply grand and cannot be replaced by anything else.

ILSHRM Members in the Headshot Lounge
Like most of the other attendees, I am going to head home and pour this renewed vim and vigor into my role and do my damnedest to make #ILSHRM the best we can be. The event allowed me to spend a lot of time with my #ILSHRM people and build a stronger bond with all of our board members, which is great as I am going to need their knowledge, skills and abilities to move ILSHRM forward.

I nearly forgot to mention this, the Marriott Marquis is simply over the top - top notch facility.  It is a prIivileged to stay at properties of this caliber.

Lastly for me, this is simply fun, I enjoy the whole conference atmosphere (meetings, airport delays, drinks, sleep deprivation, smiles, knowledge, being out of town, the SHRM Store… you get the drift) and I think that is why I stay involved.  Being a SHRMie and attending these events gives me something I don’t get anywhere else – so I have to keep coming back.

This is not to be patronizing in anyway, but I also want to thank all of the SHRM staff for being so engaging and making these events the way they are. By reading this you know how I feel about SHRM Conferences, and it is all of the work that you do that creates those feelings in me – and I am sure I am not alone!

Dave Ryan ISC SHRM Director Elect

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

SHRM VLS 2015 - Continued

Yesterday I posted about attending the SHRM Volunteer Leaders’ Summit (#SHRMLead) and talked about the Pinnacle Awards.  And while the Pinnacle awards are a big part of the event, there is another aspect of the event that continues to take place year after year.  I am going to call it SHRM Lobby Day.  Every Thursday morning on the week of the event the SHRM ATeam  (Mike Aitken and his most capable staff) very quickly turn HR pros into amateur lobbyist. 

SHRM trains and equips these folks for a trip to Capitol Hill, to talk to their Senators and Representative and provide them with SHRMs position on the Legislation d’jour.  Every time I have ever attended I share’s SHRM’s position on these issues to a tea.  What this does is it not only allows the HR pro to articulate SHRM position on the matter, but they can then embellish that position with stories from their state or HR shop – adding to SHRM’s credibility as the go to source on HR matters. I am convinced this impacts our legislators.

I have had the pleasure of making this trip six times.  Five times were as a part of the SHRM Leadership event and I attended once as part of the SHRM Legislative Conference.

The trips are empowering and make HR pros feel like you actually can have an impact on the going ons in Washington DC.   So if you are afforded the chance to go to Capitol Hill … do it, the experience will be most enriching.

Now for a different prospective on the event I want to share/recycle an older blog post written by someone I think very highly of, my son Danny Ryan.  Danny got to hang out with his dad for a couple of days at the event in 2012, and see what it really goes on at the event.  So for a different prospective on the event, please click through and check out this post called On Vacation at SHRM Leadership.

Monday, November 16, 2015


I don’t know how many times I have written this post, and I don’t really care to go count them, but this week is the annual SHRM Volunteer Leaders’ Summit (VLS).  Previously this event has been known as SHRM Leadership (and the twitter hashtag remains #SHRMLead).  I have attended this event in many different capacities. And each time as I attended I felt a different set of responsibilities with my attendance.  This year I somehow feel like I am carrying a larger load, although I am proud to do so and it is of my own choosing.

To the best of my recollection the first SHRM Leadership I attend was when Johnny Taylor (2005-2006) was Board Chair. Mr. Taylor was quite an engaging fellow, and was very passionate about HR’s role in the workplace. He pumped me up and made me a proud SHRMie. I was also introduced to the Pinnacle Awards at my first Leadership Conference.  I recall being so moved.  The work these HR pros had done and continued to do brought tears to my eyes. They were amazing! I knew then I wanted more of that – whatever that was.

Today I have gotten more, a lot more. Ten years after my first leadership conference I was asked to be a one of the judges for the Pinnacle awards for 2015.   I was truly humbled, and accepted without question.   This meant I got to read about all of the work that fellow HR people were doing out in their world.  Upon completing my review of the submission, I was reminded of how awe inspiring these activates truly are. Most of the submission came in the areas of workforce readiness, assisting veterans and generally helping people better themselves for their jobs, their work or the task of finding work.

The part that resonates so with me is this.  Nobody told these people, to do this or how to go about it.  There were no specific templates to follow.   These HR pros in their chapter, saw a need and took the bull by the horns and with tremendous tenacity and grit they tackled these issues, in ways that worked in their communities.

So when the awards are handed out, sadly not every chapter will get an award, but this in no way diminished what they have done.  They are all winners as I see it because they had the guts to take on some tough problems.  If you do not know about the Pinnacle Awards I suggest you Google them and learn a little more, so when the awards are handed out, you really understand why the winners cry, scream, shout, jump and down and hug anyone within reach – because no matter what they have done, to even be considered for this award is nothing short of amazing!

Let’s connect in Washington DC

-       Dave Ryan ISC SHRM Director Elect