The SHRMmys – My 2010 SHRM Annual Conference Awards

The 2010 SHRM Annual Conference is officially in the bag and after making my way back across the country, I’ve taken some time to reflect on the conference, the experience and what I took away from it all. There will be more information to share in the coming days, but as someone who attends quite a few conferences, I can safely say that this was one of the best that I’ve been to!

To share some of the highlights of my experience, I thought I’d give out some Awards – all voted on and selected by a committee comprised of yours truly. So without further adieu, I present to you, the first annual (assuming I get to go back) SHRMmys!

Category: General Session/Keynote Speakers

Best Keynote SpeakerMarcus Buckingham. If you’re a fan of the strengths-based movement, have read any of Buckingham’s books or have seen or heard him speak before, Marcus didn’t share anything new. What he did do was focus his talk on the audience (HR pros) in an entertaining and engaging way. It doesn’t hurt that he’s pretty handsome, speaks with an English accent and used lots of humor. The ladies weren’t the only ones who noticed. There were quite a few Marcus #fanboys in attendance as well.

Most Surprising Speaker – Al Gore. The former “next President of the United States” skipped the Power Point for his keynote on the second day and won over the audience with a talk that was about 75% focused on challenges and issues that businesses and HR pros are facing  today. He lost a little momentum when he moved into sustainability and global warming, but that was brief and not unexpected for a guy who won a Pulitzer Prize and an Oscar for his work in that area.

Rising Star Ray Jefferson. In his brief moment before the keynote by Steve Forbes, Mr. Jefferson was well-spoken and inspiring, speaking directly to the audience and calling for HR to make a difference by hiring our nation’s Heroes. “In this time where it’s critical to do more with less, it’s more important than ever to hire great talent.” More than a few attendees suggested that Mr. Jackson would have been a better choice for the opening session speaker.

Best Speaker at Some Other ConferenceSteve Forbes. Someone forgot to tell Steve that this was the largest HR conference in the world, not a stop on his 1996 or 2000 Presidential bid tours. We definitely need to understand business/economic issues in HR, but an inspirational/actionable keynote this was not.

Category: Exposition Hall

Best Booth – Since I was a part of the #monsterlive Social Media Street Team, I’ll recuse myself here, but let’s just say the Monster booth was pretty awesome. Check out my Behind the Scenes Tour of the SHRM10 booth before the Expo Hall opened and I’ll let you be the judge.

Most Intriguing BoothCorporate Lactation Services, Inc. With a tag line like “Professional Excellence in Corporate Lactation”, what’s not to love about this entry? In my book, they deserve an Award just for that.

Best Swag – iPads dominated the giveaways and drawings, but branded USB’s, hand sanitizer and carryalls useful to haul tons of swag that can be repurposed as “green” grocery bags ranked high on my list.

Most Coveted Swag – The focused swag grabbers quickly headed for the headgear (Dr. Suess style hats, toboggans, crowns, etc.), Hawaiian leis and Monster Trump dolls. Where this stuff ends up is anyone’s guess, but on Sunday night, they were “must-have” items.

Lamest Swag – Nothing says “we’re in the low budget section” like having a booth full of pens, key chains and refrigerator magnets. My recommendation? Spend less money next year and buy one i__ (insert name of hot Apple product) and do a drawing for a giveaway. You get names for lead generation and up your cool factor exponentially.

Category: Event Coverage

Best Official Event Coverage – SHRM. From the official Conference Daily’s waiting outside hotel room doors in the morning to General Session opening videos (including 3 attendee’s journeys to the event, the opening session Flash Mob and Undercover Boss with SHRM CEO Lon O’Neil and Board Chair Robb Van Cleave) – everything was top-notch. SHRM also embraced social media coverage this year with the implementation of the first “official SHRM Blog Squad”, the first tweet from the SHRM CEO and SHRM10TV “On the Couch” interviews with Manager of PR & Social Media Relations Curtis Midkiff in the Social Media Lounge.

Best Video CoverageThe Interview series. SmartBrief Senior Editor on Workforce Mary Ellen Slayter and the MonsterThinking crew teamed up to offer a high-quality, informative and well-done video interview series with HR thought leaders, authors and bloggers like Libby Sartain, Gerry Crispin, Dave Ulrich, Nicole Williams and more. Extremely well done and a great resource archive!

Best Social Media Coverage – went all out this year to provide coverage for SHRM10 from an attendee’s point of view through blogging, vlogging and tweeting. Ben Eubanks and I were fortunate to be a part of the #monsterlive Social Media Street team and were encouraged to tweet, blog, video and comment on the conference activities in our own voices and as practitioners to provide a sense of what it was like to be there for those unable to attend. I was super impressed with the planning and effort that went into the Street Team coverage, as well as the participation of the Monster crew – SVP of Global Communications & Social Media Janet Swaysland, VP of Client Adoption Eric Winegardner, Director of Social Media Relations Kathy O’Reilly, Social Media Relations Manager Matt Charney and Manager, Client Training Lisa Watson – and therefore can’t take them out of the running for the top prize in this category just because I was involved. Well done!

Rising StarsLaurie Ruettimann and Jennifer McClure. (Yay!) While trolling the Expo Hall on the first night doing video interviews with attendees, Laurie and I happened upon SHRM Board Chairman Robb Van Cleave and snagged an exclusive interview with him, where we “broke news” about the next day’s General Session speaker. I’m sure he’ll never forget us and will always cherish the sombrero that Laurie gifted him with at the end. As budding serious journalists, we’re now looking for Agents to handle all of the requests for live event coverage…

Best Blog CoverageCharlie Judy of HR Fishbowl and John Hollon of A fixture in the Press Lounge with headphones and game face, Charlie was on fire covering the event with speedy and insightful commentary and observations. John Hollon brings a seasoned journalist slant to his coverage of the conference each year ripping Steve Forbes, praising Al Gore and summing up his thoughts in straightforward posts.

Most Tweets – For sheer volume, it was a close race between Jessica Miller-Merrell of and myself. Hopefully, our followers and those keeping up with the #shrm10 hashtag found some value in the volumes of information and observations that we shared.

Best Twitter CoverageEric Winegardner and Mark Stelzner. It’s always a pleasure to follow Eric and Mark at any event that they attend. Both are able to provide useful, informative, critical and often hilarious insights in 140 characters or less. Favorite tweets include Eric’s observation following SHRM CEO Lon O’Neil’s Tweetup announcement and Mark heading off the rails during a “social media is evil” session.

Funniest TweetsLaurie Ruettimann. Laurie’s Twitter stream is a riot most any day, but at conferences, she can be particularly fun to follow. She does a great job of sharing her cynical and educated views in few words and hilarious photos on Twitter.

Category: Social/Networking Events

Best Party – The SHRM / Monster Social Tweetup & Afterparty. This was the first year for SHRM to hold a Tweetup and they teamed with the Tweetup experts – From the bacon chocolate cupcakes, drinks with glowing neon ice cubes, swag bags for attendees and lively networking, this event was first class in every way. Check out photos from the evening and see for yourself.

Best EntertainmentHall & Oates. For all of the pre-conference bashing that the Hall & Oates choice received, there were plenty of attendees who were jazzed about showing up to hear the duo sing classics such as Private Eyes, Maneater and Rich Girl. While I didn’t personally care to relive the 80’s by attending, those who did all had a great time.

So there you have it, my picks for the 2010 SHRM Annual Conference. If you’re a winner, we’re reducing our carbon footprint and going “green” this year, so consider this a virtual high five for your efforts.

Overall, it was a well-organized event in a fantastic location. I’m already looking forward to SHRM 2011 in Las Vegas!

What Awards did I miss? Award some of your own in the Comments!

President & Chief Talent Strategist

Jennifer McClure is a Keynote Speaker, Talent Strategies Expert and Executive Coach who works with clients and companies in the areas of leadership development, communication and talent strategy. Jennifer McClure offers keynotes, workshops and training that inspire and empower business leaders to be more effective in their careers and as leaders of their organization’s most valuable resource – people.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

26 thoughts on “The SHRMmys – My 2010 SHRM Annual Conference Awards

  1. How ’bout best new SHRM employee-Curtis Midkiff, Director of Social Media? Best non-HR moment-watching an aircraft carrier sail by the conference hall. Best new idea-Laurie Ruiettmann for SHRM Board

  2. I really enjoyed being a part of the team with you, Jennifer! I hope you never forget the great moments we shared laughing about corporate lactation and other oddities of the SHRM10 experience. 🙂 I’m writing a whole post about the advice you gave me at the tail end of the tweetup. I really appreciate it!

    • Yeah… about those other oddities… Remember, what’s said at SHRM, stays at SHRM. 🙂 You did an awesome job Ben and I have now officially moved from a Ben supporter to a huge raging Ben Fan! Keep up the great work. You’ve got time on your side and many people who believe in you and want to see you succeed.

  3. Awesome post Jennifer, I wish I had attended this year. First miss in 10 years. I’ll see you in Vegas. Cheers and Happy 4th of July.

  4. I’m just honored to have been nominated in the same category as some of these prestigious attendees, pundits and new media gurus. I’d like to thank my parents for attending that key party in the early 1970’s – without which I wouldn’t be here today. 🙂 Great post Jennifer.

  5. This was a fun round-up, Jennifer.

    I need to Google Corporate Lactation Specialists. I’m certain the images in my head are NOT the branding they seek. (Tagline “Wet Nurse’s ‘R Us”) 😉

    • Oh. I think they are… The secondary tag line was “never waste a drop”. I’m sure that this type of service fills a need, especially in lieu of some recent law changes, but they were killing me with the tag lines!

  6. Very creative recap Jennifer…when we host events with thousands of people and the world’s brightest speakers/attendees I will ensure you are running point! Great coverage and just simply a great event (even for those who sat on the sidelines and watched the twitter streams #shrm10! I felt like we were there live.

    Great point on the swag…although I love unique swag…go large at a conference of this magnitude or stay home!

    Thanks @mikesipplejr

    • Definitely sign me up when Centennial hosts that huge event! Of course, we’ll need to make sure we get some huge and gaudy swag for that event as well! 🙂

  7. Gosh, I had so much fun at this conference with you. We need a TV show sponsored by Monster. STAT.

    • Let’s get our people to talk to their people and make that happen! The world most definitely needs a TV show with you interviewing strangers and me behind the camera!

  8. This was great fun, Jennifer, and a really nice all-around recap for those of us who didn’t get to go. I’m already looking forward to your SHRM11 coverage!

  9. I’m honored to be nominated. Just wondering if I get a cool badge to put on my blog. I’m adding the most tweets award to my coveted list of credentials.

    Good stuff. You were hard core and was impressed with all the sessions you attended. I tried to cover the non-conference stuff like the Meet and Eat and the massages. The rough stuff, ya know!



    • Oooh… A cool badge for the blog. That’s much better than a virtual high five! I’ll get my technical team right on that. 🙂

      I think that your take on the conference and some of the peripheral events was awesome. I’m still in awe of you signing up to attend a dinner with 19 strangers – which us introverts would never think to do!

  10. Jennifer, it was an honor & a privilege serving on the frontlines with you! Great coverage from you and @beneubanks! Hope to see you again soon!

    — Kathy
    @kathyoreilly @MonsterWW

    • Thanks Kathy! It was such a fantastic opportunity to participate on the #monsterlive Social Media Street team and I really enjoyed it. The passion and professionalism that you and the rest of the Monster team put into the project really showed in the output. Great stuff and I look forward to more great things in the future!

  11. Great post! P.S. For next year, since it’s in Vegas, you might have to add one category: “Best immitation of the movie “The Hangover.””

    Anyway, I have to admit, I was very surprised by Al Gore’s speech. I liked it and I didn’t think I would. Sometimes I get upset when I see the list of speakers come out and I didn’t want to sit through some lame quasi-political discussion. But that couldn’t have been farther from the truth. Al did his research and his spin worked.

    I heard that some vendors spent more than $50,000 on their booths. And while that blows my mind, it shows their commitment to our profession. So kudos to them. I always take the time to walk through the exhibit hall and look at every single booth – it’s the least I can do, considering their investment.

    Speaking of which, I won a DVD from one of the booths – that’s a first. So a shout out to Pre-Paid Legal. But I really wanted that iPad. LOL.

  12. Pingback: SHRM and TweetUp Partners at SHRM10, HRFlorida | MonsterThinking

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