Expanding my world

I’m so excited to be part of the SHRM18 blogging team as I count down the days to the 2018 SHRM conference in Chicago this June 17 – 20. The theme for this year’s conference is ‘Expand Your World’. That is the perfect theme for my journey to this conference.

Like so many, I came into HR through the back door, and for a long time I didn’t even realize I was doing HR. When I figured it out, it was time to get serious and get an education. For most of my career I’ve been a department of one (DOO), and that can be an isolating position, especially if you fell into the job and don’t have a built-in network. Being a full time HR DOO and going to school is not super conducive to networking – when is there time? – so while I was gaining important knowledge, I was still alone in my profession.

After graduating and obtaining my SHRM-SCP, I knew I needed to get out there and meet people, so I registered for the SHRM 17 conference in New Orleans. I didn’t know anyone! But once I registered, I started getting email about how to prepare for my conference experience. And then magic happened: I got an email from some woman I’d never heard of, Mary Kaylor, telling me that I could join the SHRM 17 bloggers on something called #nextchat. So, I dusted off my old, unused twitter account and joined in. Can I just say, #nextchat is a little scary for a twitter newbie.

But the #nextchatters and the #SHRM17 bloggers were so welcoming and gave me so much good info about what to expect in New Orleans, I felt confident as I packed my bags. SHRM 17 was amazing! I made friends, I learned SO much, I left feeling more confident and equipped as an HR pro. While at SHRM17, I attended the #nextchat reception to meet my virtual colleagues IRL. It was wonderful to put a face and a name to a twitter handle. At that reception, that same Mary Kaylor encouraged me to start blogging. I was hesitant, but the conference experience and the consistent conversation on #nextchat helped me find my voice.

I started the blog, and people read it. And now, as I prepare for SHRM18, I’m part of the blogging team. My HR world has expanded beyond my wildest dreams, and now I’m part of the team that gets to welcome others to learn and grow and find their HR voices as well – whether you start a blog or make new friends or learn new things, you’ll leave the conference more connected to an amazing HR community. You’ll be energized and excited about your profession, and you’ll be equipped to be a better HR pro. Come to Chicago and expand your world!

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