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Lifetime Learning

Updated: Jan 26, 2023

Updated 1/26/2023

When prepping for a conference, I like to look at the sessions being offered and identify those topics that will help me learn and grow in my own business.

Getting the Most out of Conferences

Between Sessions at SHRM 22

What do I need to learn more about? What has changed since I last walked away from a powerful session? What is the latest trend and how do I stay ahead of the curve? How can I modify what I am doing to make myself more valuable to those who look to me for advice?

Choosing the right sessions and getting answers to these questions helps me invest in my continued education.

My Five Keys to Success

About 10 years ago, I heard a speaker talk about finding your “why,” determining your guiding principles, and developing a personal mission statement. It got me to thinking about what drives me and gives me a reason for the things I do. After mulling this over for a couple months, I developed my Five Keys to Success.

When I speak at a SHRM Chapter meeting or a business event, the end of my introduction includes these five keys. They are important to me and serve as a reminder to keep my focus when growing my business, leading HR Florida and spending time with family and friends.

My Five Keys to Success are Devotion to God, Dedication to Family, Continuous Service, Lifetime Learning and Always Remembering to Laugh. Last summer I continued my journey of Lifetime Learning by attending SHRM22.


The first time you attend SHRM’s Annual Conference, you may get overwhelmed by the throngs of people surrounding you. This year’s attendance soared to over 15,000 in-person attendees. While we can debate the pros and cons of getting back together as such a large group, there is something special about gathering with fellow HR professionals.

Conferences like SHRM’s Annual Conference and Expo in New Orleans, Louisiana are important. I have attended countless concurrent and general sessions and, after having as many years in HR as I have, I’ve seen just about everything. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t teach this old dog some new tricks. Every session I attend I discover some new bit of information that helps me become a better HR professional and a better consultant to my clients. This year I attended Richard Finnegan’s session on employee retention and learned about five industry examples where companies made practical changes to reduce turnover by 20% or more.

HR Florida's Conference & Expo

Folks in Florida had the opportunity to continue their lifetime learning at #HRFL22, HR Florida’s Conference and Expo which happens at the end of August.

In terms of HR conference quality, I am proud to say that we provided an outstanding experience for all who attend. Whether you like conferences with 15,000 people, or the 2,000+ that show up for HR Florida’s conference, there is something for everyone.

Last year’s theme of Reimagining What’s Possible, was perfect for my Lifetime Learning key to success. We had over 110 concurrent sessions ranging from Phillip Russell and Dee Anna Hays’ session on what to do when OSHA knocks, and Lonny Butcher’s session on engaging the next generation of leaders, to Louis Lessig’s adventures in the ADA and Rick Goodman’s solutions-oriented organizations and leaders. I hope you found value in what we had to offer, be it our leading-edge education sessions, moving and inspirational general sessions, time to network and make new relationships, or catch up with old friends.

I look forward to seeing each of you when you Seize the Opportunity at HRFL23.

When Is Your Next Conference?

As I continue to attend conferences, I find more value in the time I get to spend networking with new connections as well as the long-time friends I continue to make over the years. Whether I am attending an HR conference in Florida, embarking on a conference cruise or heading to DC, I am constantly pursuing more avenues for learning. I may be attending as the keynote speaker, leading a break out session or showing up ready to listen and learn. No matter what my role is, every conference creates a space for seeing the faces that make up our HR community.

While chats via Zoom or over the phone are good, not much beats sitting face to face and catching up over dinner, a craft cocktail, or even just a few minutes in the hall between sessions. One time I even reconnected with a high school friend at a SHRM conference that I hadn’t seen in 25 years! These moments often contribute to my fifth Key of Success, Always Remembering to Laugh. I have come to value these encounters and hope to find even more opportunities for building these relationships. And I hope to see you at in August!

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