#SHRM17 Recap from New Orleans

SHRM 2017 Recap in New Orleans

The SHRM Annual Conference & Exposition was hosted in New Orleans this year. Over 15,000 HR professionals were in attendance from all different human resources functions, industries and states and countries. For a behind-the-scenes view of the conference, check out my takeover of the TicketsatWork (@TicketsatWork) Twitter account.

The must-see speakers certainly impressed with a recurring theme of hard work and humility. Kat Cole, Group President at FOCUS Brands Inc. (parent company to Cinnabon, Inc.), shared a variety of lessons with the large crowd during the opening general session. One of her thought-provoking, inspirational quotes stuck with me more than the others, “Never forget where you came from but don’t you dare let it define you.” In a humbling approach to kick-off Day Two, Laszlo Bock, former SVP/Head of HR/People at Google, encouraged the audience to help employees find purpose and meaning in the work they do every day.

The following day, Patrick Lencioni, founder of The Table Group, discussed the three ideal values of a team player: “Be hungry, be smart and be humble.” This solidified the trend of the importance of humility in leadership and human resources. Lastly, early Wednesday morning featured professional boxer and entrepreneur, Laila Ali. She inspired the audience with a detailed story of her athletic and entrepreneurial journey through her dedication and constant reinvention.

Attendees had the opportunity to check out vendor solutions and collect branded swag in the exposition hall in between the speaker sessions. The expo hall itself was massive; it seems to get bigger and more overwhelming each and every year. The TicketsAtWork booth had lines around the corner with many excited attendees waiting in line to get a picture taken with Gru and the Minions from Despicable Me. (Not surprisingly, the Minions were a hit! Check out the snaps from our popular photo booth.)The TicketsatWork team also stayed busy showcasing live demos of the platform on large computer screens or chatting with attendees about the importance of corporate rewards and the impact on employee engagement.

Of course, what would a conference be without some fun and networking? On Sunday evening, TicketsatWork and Universal Orlando Resort hosted a cocktail reception at Generations Hall – a lavishly decorated venue originally built in the 1820s as a sugar mill. The attendees, full from a delicious dinner, were shown a sleek and intuitive Reward Management Solution that allows business leaders to plan, schedule and distribute rewards to their employees all in one platform.

Up next during the reception was a special presentation from Project:Time Off, a nonprofit initiative that was born out of the U.S. Travel Association aimed at transforming America’s thinking and behavior about vacation time. I was blown away by some of the stats, like this one: There were 662 million days of unused vacation time in 2016 alone. It inspired me to book a weekend vacation over the Fourth of July holiday, and hopefully a few more throughout the year! The evening wrapped up with a generous raffle for gift cards and a trip to Universal’s Volcano Bay. It was great to experience how the TicketsatWork organization treats and rewards their customers and conference attendees.

Hope to see you for the 2018 SHRM Annual Conference in Chicago. If we’re lucky, we’ll have another photo opportunity with the Minions!

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