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Get excited for #SHRM18! Villanova HRD will see you in Booth 3255!

The SHRM18 Annual Conference is just a few days away and once again, Villanova HRD will be attending!  If you are planning to be in Chicago for the conference, stop by Booth 3255 for some Villanova swag and friendly basketball competition!

If you have been to the SHRM Annual Conference before, you know how important it is to go in with a plan.  For first time attendees, the conference experience can be a bit overwhelming.

With hundreds of sessions, workshops, expo hours, networking events, cocktail parties and concerts, deciding where to go and what to see truly requires planning and prioritizing opportunities.  But don’t worry, there are tons of resources available to help you make the most of your conference experience.  Here are just a few resources to get you started:

  • For a better understanding of the different types of sessions offered, check out this blog post by #SHRM18Blogger Jazmine Wilkes (@HRJazzy)!  

  • Take advantage of the SHRM18 App that is available for the conference.  This App will keep your schedule close by and give you information on all the speakers and exhibitors!

  • In this blog post, #SHRM18Blogger Carlos Escobar (@Cescobar78), shares advice to make the most of your conference experience.

And just to add my own two cents, here are five things I am most excited for at SHRM18:

  1. Networking! Networking! Networking! The SHRM Annual Conference is attended by over 15,000 HR professionals every year.  Get that many “people" people in one space and there will be plenty of opportunities to chat, drink, make introductions, be introduced, and forge connections for the next year.  The only trouble with networking at SHRM is picking from all the options.  If you are a member of a local SHRM chapter or HR association, it is likely that your group will be holding a happy hour or reception during the conference at some point.  I’d actually recommend you skip this opportunity.  Why travel across the country to network with people you can see at your next monthly meeting?  Instead, find opportunities outside of your current circle.  I've already done some connecting and am excited to meet several of the #SHRM18Bloggers like @HRJazzy and @Cescobar78!  There are dozens of parties and cocktail hours that are open to guests.  Check out the SHRM18 Unofficial Party Guide from Workology for ideas.  Get on the lists early, make a schedule, have a drink, and start mingling!

  2. Tuesday Morning’s General Session with Adam Grant!  I am a huge Adam Grant fan.  His research in organizational psychology is changing the way we think about work.  Grant’s research (check out a few of his articles here) and new podcast WorkLife by TED will challenge you to think critically about the assumptions you hold around work and organizations.  As HR professionals today, we must challenge ourselves to think outside the box to solve problems.  Adam Grant will most certainly help you do that!

    As HR professionals today, we must challenge ourselves to think outside the box to solve problems.  Adam Grant will most certainly help you do that!

     

  3. The early morning Mega Session with Barbara Glanz!  Just because this session starts at 7 am, don't think it won't be packed.  With 15,000 people, you are guaranteed to find several hundred motivated to get moving early.  I’m hoping to make at least one early morning session during the conference, and this one with Barbara Glanz has caught my eye.  Glanz is a speaker and consultant who, according to her bio on SHRM’s website, lives by a motto of “Spreading Contagious Enthusiasm.”  That sounds like the kind of session I need at 7am.  (Well that, and a giant latte!)  Glanz’s morning session focuses on simple truths of appreciation and recognition.  Appreciation has been a focus of mine this past year (read my post on appreciation on the Villanova HRD blog here), and a topic that I think will motivate me to rise early for this session.  If you aren’t sure about the 7am session, you can catch Glanz again on Tuesday afternoon in her “Spreading Contagious Enthusiasm” presentation.

  4. The Final Closing General Session with Sheryl SandbergSheryl Sandberg is the Closing General Session speaker on Wednesday morning, the last day of the conference. Sandberg’s career is not specifically one in HR.  A Harvard grad, she served as the Chief of Staff for U.S. Secretary of Treasury, Larry Summers, grew Google’s marketing team from 4 to 4,000 people, and has now served as the COO of Facebook for the last ten years during some of the most challenging times Facebook has experienced as an organization.  One thing I truly believe is vital for every HR professional is to learn from individuals outside the HR function.  There will be plenty of opportunities to hear from HR experts during this conference, but I am excited to close out SHRM18 learning from someone with vast experience outside the HR function like Sheryl Sandberg. I hope you choose to stay through the final General Session.  I’ll see you there!

    One thing I truly believe is vital for every HR professional is to learn from individuals outside the HR function.  There will be plenty of opportunities to hear from HR experts during this conference, but I am excited to close out SHRM18 learning from someone with vast experience outside the HR function like Sheryl Sandberg.

  5. The EXPO, especially Booth #3255 with Villanova University! (Yep, shameless plug!)  The SHRM Expo is more than just an opportunity to pick up swag and see the latest HR products and services.  If you want to get the most from the expo, take time to study the list of exhibitors, find a few who offer products that you might consider for your business or your personal development and stop by the booth to have a conversation.  While the exhibitors might look like they are just there to capture a lead, I promise and personally know, they are genuinely looking to connect with you not just sell to you.  Exhibitors are interested in hearing from you and building relationships with those HR professionals who have an interest in their services.  This year will be the second time the Villanova HRD Program will be exhibiting at the Expo.  Last year was such a fun opportunity to meet alumni from the program, current students, and connect with prospects.  Given the exciting changes to the Villanova M.S in HRD over the last year, including four new graduate certificates that will be available online beginning in Fall 2018, I am excited to connect with prospective students looking to gain knowledge and leadership skills in HR for their careers!  Stop by Booth #3255 to meet with Villanova HRD Faculty and Staff during the Expo!

 

Alright, hopefully these resources and ideas have you as excited for SHRM18 as I am!  If you are attending, find me in the crowd or in Booth 3255!  See you in Chicago!

 

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Bethany J. Adams, MA, SHRM-SCP is an Assistant Director in the Graduate HRD program at Villanova University. Learn more about her here or connect with her on Twitter @BethanyJAdams.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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