• Jim Knight Keynote Speaker at Illinois SHRM

    I am getting really excited about our Illinois SHRM Conference coming up in August for many reason.  Some of the reason are purely selfish and some are a little more esoteric.  I have all of the garden variety reasons like getting meet up with a bunch of friends in the HR community, that have become like family to me.  I, like all of you, relish all of the strategic “business”  credits  I can get for my re-certification.  And it is always invigorating to get your batteries charges at these events.  Do you know what I mean?  After you heard a great speaker or sat through a fabulous session – don’t you feel like you can go back to your facility and leap tall buildings and the like.  Yeah I know it is silly but I still get that and I hope you do too. BUT the biggest reason I am geeked about ILSHRM14 this year is I personally had a big hand in landing one of our keynote speakers for this year’s conference.  I am talking about Jim Knight.   Jim is going to be somewhat of a deviation from our recent line up of HR Speakers.  He is a worldly, well spoken fellow with some great insights into talent management.

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    Jim Knight (L)  Mike Vandervort (R)  at SHRM14

    Jim had the good fortune to speak at HR Florida in 2012.  This dude helped them out something fierce.  In the late summer of 2012 there was a hurricane blowing around down that way. Hurricane Isaac caused a keynote speaker to be unable to attend HRFlorida and they were without a keynoter.  They had less than 48 hours to cover the slot, and there were lots of people waiting to here a great opening keynote.  As it turns out, Jim lives in the Orlando area, and was around town and available.  He came and gave the opening presentation and just killed it. The audience loved him. After my return from HRFlorida,  I spoke with ILSHRM conference boss Sabrina Baker (she likes it when I call her boss) and told her we have to get this guy.  Well last year was a down year because the big show (SHRM Annual) was in Chicago so we had to pass.  But then when I heard that Jim would be coming to ILSHRM14 I was stoked. He will be new to the Mid-West HR conference speaking scene and I am sure several other states will pick him up after they see or hear about his presentation, which will of course put Illinois SHRM in the position of being a trend setter.  So if you have not registered yet for ILSHRM14 yet, I am telling you this. Do it! Jim Knight is worth the  price of admission alone.

     
  • HR Florida The Keynotes

    It was toward the end of August and I headed down to Florida to attend HR Florida 2012.   At the time of my departure Issac was rolling around south of Florida and no one really could say for sure where it was going to go.  So after a couple conversation with Mike Vandervort I became ok with the hurricane thing and the fact that it was only a “Cat 1″ (that’s how the Floridians talk).

    Now as it was suggested to me it probably won’t hit here and it’s only small.  As best I could tell the hurricane threat only kept one person from attending.  That was Mitch Joel. He was scheduled to be the opening keynote speaker. He did not attend.  I tweeted about this, and then he responded to me on twitter.  While he wanted folks to think it was out of his control, HR Florida folks told me  that he had already been paid and chose not to attend.  My opinion is that, he exhibited exceptionally bad form by not attending – and then engaging the tweet stream, during his keynote slot.

    Nonetheless, it turned out to be just fine, in fact the opening keynote was awesome. Jim Knight who is from the Orlando area, is an aspiring young speaker. He stepped in and really did a great job. Jim had been a trainer with Hard Rock Cafe for many years. He drew on many of his experiences with HRC.  The ironic thing about this is, is this. I would bet that this presentation at HR Florida will be a great thing for Jim.  This may lead him to other SHRM engagements. I wish him well. He stepped in and stepped up.

    Regarding the breakouts, I will speak to them in another post.  I would like to move on to day2, and the second keynote.  Personally I was very much looking forward to hearing Soledad O’Brien.  Well not too long after the session

    Carol McDaniel on the big screen

    opened our emcee Carol McDaniel started likening today (Tuesday) to Monday, and then I thought oh S#!t, she ain’t coming either.  At this point I felt really bad for the HR Florida board. They,  like those of us in Illinois work hard all year to pull off  these events, and then the circumstances of the day/week tear apart your best laid plans.

    Well the HR Florida team went right to work when they got the bad news. They needed to find another speaker.  I don’t know how they did what they did, or decided how to pick the speaker that they did, but Chris Gardner stepped in for them and he too just killed it.  Chris is the person behind the book and the movie The Pursuit of Happyness. If you saw the movie or read the book, you know what a compelling story this is.  Well the guy who lived this, is even more compelling.  Chris’ presentation was phenomenal.  He was so good he didn’t even use power point and got a standing ovation.

    Now unfortunately I had to go home on the afternoon of day two and I did not get to hang around to hear the day 3 keynote John Foley. He was the only keynote orginally booked who made it to speak. If the tweet stream is any indication of how his presentation went, I would give him an “A+”.

    As I said, I had to head home on Tuesday. Funny thing so did Chris Gardner.

    The HR Czar & Chris Gardner talking social media at MCO.

    But even more curious was the fact that I saw Chris in the airport.  I wondered up to him, introduced myself and chatted with him.   I told how well his presentation was received.  I asked, “did ya see the twitter stream?”   Chris told me he wasn’t on twitter.  I sat down with him and showed him what the twitter chatter looked like during his presentation.   He remarked, “All this was going on while I was there?”

    He was please to see all of the kind remarks, and hinted that as a speaker he probably needed to delve more into Twitter and Facebook.  I agreed with him. Soon, he had to head off to his plane.  I agreed to follow up with him and see if I could engage him on twitter. I also told him I hoped to cross paths again with him.

    Now wrapping up my post on the HR Florida keynotes, I have to really give it to HR Florida (in a good way).  They got handed lemons and they made lemonade – nice recovery gang!