Day 1 of the 2010 SHRM Annual Conference in San Diego, California is in the books and in my opinion, it’s off to a great start!
In the Opening Session, the event kicked off with a surprise Flash Mob dance before SHRM President & CEO Lon O’Neil and SHRM Board Chairman Robb Van Cleaves welcomed everyone and shared that attendance for this year’s event is up over 4,000 from 2009 – topping 11,000 attendees and including over 800 international members from 73 countries!
O’Neil and Cleaves were followed by a brief message from Assistant Secretary for Veteran’s Employment & Training Services – Ray Jefferson, a true American Hero who lost all five fingers on one hand while serving his country and protecting his teammates from a hand grenade prematurely detonating. Jefferson offered up one of my favorite quotes of the day – “The death of a dream can be the birth of a destiny”. Nice.
Next up, O’Neil introduced SHRM’s “We Know Next” initiative, positioning HR at the center of changes taking place in business today. He also encouraged HR professionals to use the latest communications tools like LinkedIn and Twitter (yeah, Twitter!). He’s even jumped on Twitter himself and you can follow him at @SHRMCEO.
Steve Forbes was this year’s Opening Session keynote and while his talk sent a few heading for the doors early and a few in my row to focus on the back of their eyelids, when I spoke to many of the attendees later on the Exhibit Hall floor, several mentioned that they really enjoyed what he had to say and felt his talk was very good. Blogger John Hollon begged to differ and quickly shared his thoughts via a post on the new (and very good) HR & Talent Management site TLNT.com – illustrating the challenge of an organization as large as SHRM to find a speaker that can please everyone. They can’t.
After the Opening Session, it was time to hit the SHRM Exposition. This year, I’m attending the conference as part of the Monster.com Social Media Street Team and my goal was to capture some of the sights and sounds of the chaos in the Expo Hall once the doors were opened. I was lucky enough to grab Laurie Ruettimann of Punk Rock HR for some commentary on various vendors and their swag and I’ll share a video of her adventures at a future date. (It’s late here ya’ll.) I also did over 20 brief video interviews with some interesting folks I stopped throughout the evening to ask about their plans for the conference or just to comment on their copious or outrageous swag finds. Below are a couple of my favorites that give a flavor of what it’s like. (Email subscribers – click here to view.)
Stay tuned for more live coverage of SHRM 2010 here on Unbridled Talent from me, and follow the conversation via Twitter using the hashtag #shrm10 and #monsterlive. You’ll also find posts daily from the Monster.com Social Media Street Team on the Monster Thinking blog, from fellow Street Team member Ben Eubanks on Upstart HR and the SHRM Blog Squad over at the official SHRM Conference Blog!