HRevolution 2011 – Rants and Raves

I like to post a blog after attending a conference called Rants and Raves. Here’s an example, in case you didn’t know,or, more likely, you have forgotten because I haven’t posted in so long.

RANTS

HRevolution Polo Shirts – Sure, it was nice of the organizers to give everyone who has been at all three events a white polo shirt with the neat HRevolution logo on the chest. But, folks – come ON! You have known me for over two years now and I am pretty sure you can figure out my proper size.

Stuffed Monsters – Yeah, Eric Weingardner and his Monster.com team had those big stuffed monsters laying all over the place. They didn’t have ONE little one, though. The last time I took home a big stuffed monster I thought someone from the TSA was going to shoot me in the Louisville airport. Besides, my dogs like the little monsters better.

Meet-Meme Trading Cards – Okay, the people at Pinstripe had a great giveaway in those cards, so email or message Sue Marks and thank her, as I did.  BUT – 50 cards for 130 people? Sheesh. We don’t have to remind the world that HR people can’t count.

If you haven’t figured it out, I’ll spell it out – these are ridiculous rants and I was planting my tongue firmly in my cheek while writing them. Truth is, I could not find one legitimate thing to rant about, and I didn’t want to give up my post title.

RAVES

Trish McFarlane – The Queen of HRevolution, Trish acts as the true ringleader of the HRevolution planning crew. She is also directly responsible for getting sponsorships that help this event come to life.  Her work in attracting Monster.com, Pinstripe, Ceridian, Aquire, Inc., SHRM, and PeopleMatter creates a big value for the attendee buck.

Steve Boese – Most people had difficulty deciding which concurrent session to attend, and I was no different. They all sounded wonderful, and they were. Steve was responsible for assembling facilitators and sessions, and he deserves a huge round of applause for making this a learning and giving event like no other.

Crystal Peterson – Great space, nice traffic flow, good food, plentiful snacks and drinks. Crystal deserves the nod for making attendees so comfortable that all of that heavy duty brain power could focus on the discussion and not on discomfort.

Ben Eubanks – Ben kept all of the HRevolution information in your face and up-to-date, so you knew where to discuss an issue on Linkedin, or send your Meet-Meme information. Oh, and he brought his beautiful family with him to HRevolution, so the attendees got to meet Melanie, Bella, and Bree. That’s rave-able by itself.

Special Sponsors – All sponsors are special, really, but I have to single out Eric Weingardner of Monster.com and Lois Melbourne of Aquire.  Eric and Lois have both attended all three HRevolution events, adding their considerable smarts to the discussion. Both represent a corporation that sells product to HR folks, but they have been there to participate and learn, not to sell and shill. They epitomize the best of HRevolution.

Attendees – Caring, warm, intelligent, thoughtful, insightful, enthusiastic, and a little bit naughty. It was my pleasure to spend a couple of days with you.

 

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Why I- And You Should – Love Sponsors

Last week I went to a conference called the Institute for Continuing Legal Education‘s 35th Annual Labor and Employment Law Institute. Given that exasperatingly long name, I don’t think I have to tell you any more about what material the conference covered.  Hundreds of Michigan attorneys and HR pros descend on this conference every year to receive updates, information, and training related to employment and labor law developments.

Even though I have attended this conference several times in the past, this year I paid attention to something totally new.  Something that I either ignored, or, even worse, scoffed at during previous conferences.  This year I paid special attention to THE SPONSORS.

In conferences past, I paid no mind to sponsors.  I always thought that sponsors were money-hungry vultures, looking to make a buck from a captive audience that probably didn’t have a choice about whether or not they really wanted to hear the sponsor’s name or message. Look the other way and walk by fast – that was my motto.

I had a change of heart this year.  Several months ago I was asked to be a part of the planning committee for HRevolution, an unconference of cutting edge, forward-thinking HR topics.  I had been an attendee at the very first HRevolution last November, and I was thoroughly delighted by the experience.  I was humbled when asked to participate, and more than happy to help.

During these past few months of planning, I learned something very critical –  a conference, or even an unconference, costs a lot of money.  There is the facility cost, food costs, programming, signage, badges, perks or prizes (swag), and lots of little things that attendees have come to expect and that good planners want to provide.  The downside is that you can’t charge the full cost to the attendee, or they never would be able to afford to participate.  What can be done?  Ask a sponsor for donations to help defray your costs.

This is why I paid special attention to the sponsors at my employment law seminar last week- they gave money so that I could learn something new.  And this is why I am profusely thanking and loving the HRevolution sponsors.   They are giving money or items or food so that the attendees can gain knowledge and professional development.  They certainly hope for more business, but are not assured in any way of receiving it.  They are believers in the message and goals of HRevolution, and they are opening their hearts and pocket books to prove it.

Sponsors, I have learned, are the angels of the conference world.  The sponsors of HRevolution, shown below, are special angels.   If I ever need the kind of service they provide, I’m calling them first, because I already know they “get it.”   Join me if you can.

Unbridled Talent, LLC

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HRevolution – Beginnings

I attended a strange and amazing “unconference” two days ago.  It was called HRevolution and it was a collection of HR and recruiting pros coming together to discuss social media and its intersection with their professional life.  It was the first out-of-town HR conference I had ever attended, made up mainly of bloggers (including Twitter micro-bloggers).  The ideas flew fast and furiously, and I already have several HR University lesson plans in the works based on thoughts generated at the Revolution. Those lessons will have to be spread out over several posts, but I want to start here with some introductory remarks about the Revolution in general:

  • One of the attendees at HRevolution, Frank Zupan, lives and work in Cleveland.  He eats corned beef at a deli called Slyman’s; they buy corned beef made at United Meat & Deli (UMD) in Detroit.  The corned beef is injected/pumped with pickling brine with a machine operated by Joaquin Arredondo.  Joaquin is a permanent resident alien (has a green card) – a status that I helped him obtain as the HR manager at UMD.  That circle (Frank to Joaquin to me to Frank) of connectivity wasn’t created by HRevolution or Twitter, but it was discovered there.  It makes a compelling argument for the continuing exploration of social media, and it slaps the argument that “people only connect on social media because they can’t connect in person” right in the face.
  • Laurie Ruettiman of Punk Rock HR is a true superstar of the HR blogosphere.  Ooohs and aaahs were audible when she arrived, and I am old enough to be her mother.  In fact, I discovered through conversation with her that I am older than her mother. But she, like the other Gen X and Ys present (which was most of the room), was absolutely energizing.  Boomers like me can learn a lot from these smart kids, if we will listen.
  • None of the attendees at HRevolution had met me before; they only knew who I was because of my Twitter presence. Yet almost everyone who knew who I was (because of my avatar) hugged me. It was marvelous because I really like hugging.
  • HRevolution attendees have an absolute fascination with bacon.  I have no idea what the origin of this fascination is, or why it continues.  I am happy to indulge the fascination, though.  The first HRevolution attendee who comments (10 words or more required) on this blog post will receive the book “Zingerman’s Guide to Better Bacon” as a gift from me.

bacon-book

More lessons to follow; stay tuned!