Out Now: Episode 414: Being Comfortable Claiming Space With Eliza VanCort

Episode 401: What You Need to Know Before the SHRM Annual Conference

Summary:Workology Podcast interview with Steve Browne, Paula Harvey, and Gena Champagne, talking about all things SHRM Annual Conference.

Episode 401: What You Need to Know Before the SHRM Annual Conference

Summary:Workology Podcast interview with Steve Browne, Paula Harvey, and Gena Champagne, talking about all things SHRM Annual Conference.

Table of Contents


I want to have fun at the conference and do the fun things, but, you know, my company is investing in me. They want me there to learn. So I take it seriously because I think this is my investment in me as a HR professional. So I want to be the best HR professional I can be for my company. They are paying for my time to be there. You know, I don’t have to take PTO to do this, so I feel like it’s important to me to use my time wisely for my company so that I get great ideas and things to bring back to the workplace. And I give a debrief to my staff when I come back.

Episode 401: What You Need to Know Before the SHRM Annual Conference

Welcome to the Workology Podcast, a podcast for the disruptive workplace leader. Join host Jessica Miller-Merrell, founder of Workology.com as she sits down and gets to the bottom of trends, tools, and case studies for the business leader, HR, and recruiting professional who is tired of the status quo. Now here’s Jessica with this episode of Workology.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:01:00.68] This podcast is powered by Ace The HR Exam and Upskill HR. These are two courses that Workology offers for HR certification, prep and recertification for HR leaders. It’s no secret that one of my favorite conferences and events every single year is the SHRM Annual Conference. This is my third or fourth or maybe fifth time in Las Vegas just for the SHRM Annual Conference. I feel like I’ve lost count. The Las Vegas conferences for SHRM are always really fun, let me just say. And they have higher attendance, which is why I wanted to devote an entire podcast to talk about the SHRM Annual Conference and everything that you need to know before you go to the SHRM Annual Conference this year. But before I get started into this special SHRM Annual Conference episode, I do want to hear from you. Text the word”PODCAST” to 512-548-3005. Ask me questions, leave comments and make suggestions for future guests. This is my community text number and I want to hear from you.

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Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:02:04.91] So, today is a different kind of podcast. It’s a conversation. Not too long ago I had a great convo with some of my favorite SHRM friends about what you need to know, what you need to do, how to get there. All the things about the annual SHRM conference, which as I mentioned this year happens to be in Las Vegas. And before I dive into all things SHRM, first things first, I want to direct you to our After-Hour SHRM VIP Event List. This is the place that I cultivate all the parties, happy hours, events and activities like the best booths, the best cocktails, the best swag, everything you need to know that’s happening at SHRM. I will release the list, the first list in just a few days and I add to the list the more we get closer to the conference and I continue to let you know the insider secrets for all things SHRM Annual Conference. Here’s how to get there. Text the word “SHRM”, “SHRM” to 512-548-3005. That’s “SHRM” to 512-548-3005. You do that, you’re going to get access to the information first. And let me tell you, it is fast and furious when I release this list. I will keep you in the loop as I add more happy hours, cocktails, cocktail receptions and other fun things that you need to know about to make this your best SHRM ever. It’s the unofficial SHRM insider list for all things after-hours and just fun events. So now that we’ve got that out of the way in this episode of the Workology Podcast, I’m sharing the conversation that I recently had with some SHRM veterans, they’re SHRM veteran conference goers, and that includes Steve Browne, Paula Harvey, and Gena Champagne.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:03:58.49] We are talking about all things annual SHRM conference. Now, before I introduce our guests, let me not only direct you to the SHRM Party list, but the Workology Podcast transcript for this episode. I’m going to include links of all the things that you need to get to, including the SHRM app, restaurants, and the best things to do in Las Vegas along with other conference resources you need to know about. And let me tell you, if you haven’t been to Vegas since the pandemic, or maybe it’s just been a while, things have changed. So let’s talk about our guests for today before we get into the conversation. First up is Steve Browne. He’s the Chief People Officer at LaRosa’s, Inc. Steve Browne has devoted 30+ years of his career to human resources. Steve is an accomplished speaker who has been featured at local, regional, and national conferences, chambers of commerce, HR chapters, and businesses. He has also testified on behalf of SHRM before Congress and has led advocacy efforts at the state and national levels. He is the author of HR on Purpose, which is a best seller for SHRM and also Amazon. Outside of Steve’s professional HR environment, he has had leadership roles in a host of civic groups, including the Boy Scouts of America, the Southwest Ohio Region Workforce Investment Board, and the Great Oaks Business Partnership Council. So excited to have Steve in on the conversation.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:05:26.81] Next up is Paula Harvey. She’s the VP of HR at Schulte Building Systems, Inc. and she has more than 30 years of experience as an HR generalist in the retail services, construction, and manufacturing industry. She’s also owned her own HR and safety consulting firm for many years. In addition to her teaching business and leadership topics, she does this for Rice University as an adjunct, including the SHRM Learning System, Paula is an internationally recognized speaker on global and strategic business issues. Her work has been published and appeared in articles on HR topics, and she’s co-authored three books with other HR professionals. They include What’s Next In Human Resources, Evolution of Human Resources, and Compassion @ Work. Love, Paula, known her for years. Last but not least, is Gena Champagne, franchise owner at Spherion based in Greater New Orleans. Gena has a strong, skilled, and long profession in operations management, coaching, executive search team building, and technical recruiting. She’s an active SHRM member and volunteer, and Gena is a Louisiana Society for Human Resources Management Board member. Welcome to Steve, Gena, and Paula to this episode of the Workology Podcast.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:06:59.16] How can we connect with the right people, Paula?

Paula Harvey: [00:07:02.38] I don’t, I don’t really believe right is maybe the right word necessarily because it’s the people that will be the best for you. So it’s the, the fit for you, the, the person that, you know. And, and I totally, I am a introvert in the sheep’s clothing of an extrovert. So I’ve just forced myself to be an extrovert, especially when it comes to these SHRM conferences, because it’s really important to make those connections. And I have made connections that have, you know, now that are all over the world. And thank goodness for Twitter and Steve Browne and his, his group of friends, too, that have also adopted me, that it is you know, I’ve got these friendships now that are life-changing and I’ve traveled to there, I’ve traveled to Calgary, I’ve traveled to various places just to visit some of the folks that I’ve met. I met a lady from Bermuda at a SHRM conference a few years ago, and so I went to Bermuda and we hung out and talked and had a high tea together, which was really fun. So there’s a lot of groups that they’ll meet. You find out that, hey, you’re from the same area and then they have little get togethers. I know there’s a state line group or somewhere with Wisconsin and somebody else, and there’s, there’s a lot of people that you can make some meaningful friendships that are so helpful in your career. I’ve been working on various projects, and when I have things going on here at work, I go to my network and say, Hey, what are you doing for this?

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:08:32.89] I will also say that I’m a little bit of an introvert too. That’s why I like the Internet, because I can do research beforehand. And then the best thing for an introvert, introvert is when you already know people that are in the room, which is why Twitter is so great, because you can walk into a session and you probably already know someone there that you’re connected to on Twitter, so you’re never alone. The other thing I will mention, because it’s in the comments here and this is a great tip. Basha says there are colored buttons for each field of business and yes, there are colored buttons. When you go into the conference at the beginning, you can pick up a button and then just put it on your lanyard and you can let people know that you’re in health care or you’re in hospitality or a different field. So you can kind of look for those people to connect with to. What about you, Steve? Connecting with the right people.

Steve Browne: [00:09:24.68] I think you need to find an extrovert. And what happens is the extrovert will meet people. They will, they will pull around and go, Hi, you need to know, hi, you need to know. They’re not doing it for themselves. They’re doing it to get you connected to other people. So if you feel a little more inhibited, get with somebody who this is natural for. And trust me, they’re easy to find. They kind of pop out. If it’s about them, they may not be the best people to connect to, but honestly, you can connect others to connect others. The people who are the bloggers. We are working really hard and this has been true. Jess knows this for years. You can’t just come blog. You have to connect. So there are people who are already there trying to pull people together. I love the idea of talking to people next to you at your session. My rule of thumb is just like it’s church. Sit down and you have 3 to 4 people around you. Just introduce yourself. Click, click, click. What are you doing? Ask them something good. What’s something good today that you heard? You know what’s bringing you to this session? Not just. Hi, I’m Gena. Hi, I’m Paula. Hi. I’m this and I do this. Skip the how-tos, get to the whys. Then the people that respond, they’re the ones to connect to. If people go, nice to meet you and they kind of shuffle off, then respect that. But you could do that at the smart stage. You can do that at the vendor hall and the other part is at the social events, and I’m sure we’re going to get to social events, Jess. At the social events, it’s, it’s less guarded. Just, just get to know people by name. You’re not who they are and what they do, just as humans because you won’t remember what they do and where they’re from anyway. You just, you know, get to know them as people.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:11:10.17] Great suggestions, great ideas. A couple other things I will say is that it’s always great to lead with a compliment if you’re trying to make friends. So somebody has nice shoes, a nice purse. What is that lipstick color? Just say it. No one is going to go like, Hey, I don’t want to talk to you that you’re starting with, with a compliment. So it’s a great entry point for those who are new, one of my favorite things to do is, and I hope they have it this year, is the Meet to Eat. And so in my first SHRM Annual, which was San Diego, and I didn’t know anyone. I was a member of the blog squad but back then there were, I think four of us or five. It was a very small crew. And I, I wasn’t as networked as I, as I am today, and so I went to the Meat to Eats almost every night. And you just go to dinner with strangers who are attending the conference. So it’s a lot of fun. You meet some new people, connect with them on LinkedIn, get their phone number or whatever, and maybe you’ll have something to do after dinner together. Yes, business cards, too.

Steve Browne: [00:12:19.95] One other thing, know your capacity. If you’re a person that knows 2 or 3 people and that works for you, be good with 2 or 3 people. If you’re someone that likes to know a ton of people, then be good with that as well. But don’t, don’t meet people just to like have a collection. Get to know them, but know your capacity. If you don’t know that yourself, it’s, you’re going to struggle and there’s no reason to.

Paula Harvey: [00:12:43.04] Don’t just collect business cards. Yeah. No, I don’t give out that many. But those who I make a meaningful conversation with, I carry them with me. And I rarely give out any business cards in the Expo hall because usually they just scan your badge. So I’d rather hold those for like a meaningful thing. And then when someone hands me a business card, I too hand it to them and too hand it back because that’s kind of how you do it in global HR for sure. And I really look it over so that I show that I really have the interest. And then I go back usually that evening if I’m sober and go, and, what? And, and, you know, go look them up on LinkedIn and put it and send a request if I can or within a couple of days.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:13:29.34] I love that. What about you, Paula? How do you prioritize your time?

Paula Harvey: [00:13:33.63] Well, I have quite the master schedule because I’m a super organized person. So it starts Friday night because I have the SHRM board dinner and then I have the SHRM board meeting all day of Saturday. And then my lovely HR friends are taking me out to dinner and going, I’m going with the influencers because it’s my birthday on Saturday. So I get to this, be one of the first times I’ve been at the, SHRM conference is usually about a week later, so it’s usually after my birthday, so it’s kind of exciting that I get my birthday at a certain conference this year at my favorite place of New Orleans. And so because I do have a lot of things going on with the executive network and other things, I actually have quite a master schedule. And I was even laughingly telling somebody earlier that I had to even schedule time to change clothes so that I know to do that because I just have a lot of it scheduled. But I also know that sometimes I have to throw it out to the wind and that I have to be flexible and sometimes I’ve just been too exhausted to do some of the things that are on the schedule. And so I know what our priorities, and what are not priorities. I will tell you that I used to go to that 7 am everyone meeting, and I learned that I’m just not a morning person, never have been. I am definitely a night owl. I instead usually buy the e-learning package from the conference. So it’s usually $200 or $300 or something. And it’s worth it for me because then I can go back and see those 7 am ones that I didn’t want to get up for. So it’s, you know, I think that that can be very helpful if you just schedule what you can. I remember the first, my first years, everything was color-coded and everything was, you know, exactly where I’m going. And then I’d get in a session and go, Oh, I don’t want to go here. So I’ve learned also to have 2 or 3 different other choices for every time slot. That way, in case I want to go to something else so I would make, you know, a star by one of them and then things, we used to have it by paper, but so. But now that you’ve got the conference app, I’ll put 2 or 3 in for a time slot just so that I know what I’m going to. But, you know, I try. I also, you know, I want to have fun at the conference and do the fun things, but, you know, my company is investing in me. They want me there to learn. So I take it seriously because I think this is my investment in me as a HR professional. So I want to be the best HR professional I can be for my company. They are paying for my time to be there. You know, I don’t have to take PTO to do this, so I feel like it’s important to me to use my time wisely for my company so that I get great ideas and things to bring back to the workplace. And I give a debrief to my staff when I come back.

Break: [00:16:20.76] Let’s take a reset here. This is Jessica Miller-Merrell and you are listening to the Workology Podcast powered by Ace The HR Exam and Upskill HR. Today we are talking all things SHRM Annual Conference, which this year is in Las Vegas, Nevada. Vegas baby. Today we are talking with SHRM conference veterans Steve Browne, Paula Harvey, and Gena Champagne about what you need to know for annual conference. To get the skinny on all things to do at SHRM after hours, these things that SHRM doesn’t have on their mobile app, text “SHRM” to 512-548-3005. That’s “SHRM” to 512-548-3005. I will be releasing our VIP after-hours list very soon. I keep you updated on all things that you need to know, including happy hours, cocktail parties, the best booths to go to, things to do, including a surprise book signing by me. I can’t wait to tell you more about. So it’s going to be a great conference.

Break: [00:17:25.85] Personal and professional development is essential for successful HR leaders. Join Upskill HR to access live training, community, and over 100 on-demand courses for the dynamic leader. HR recert credits available. Visit UpskillHR.com for more.

Focus On Your Growth, on the Stuff That Makes You Move Ahead

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:17:40.91] What about you, Steve? How do we prioritize?

Steve Browne: [00:17:44.78] I think you need to come to terms with a few things first. You won’t get everything done. Just know that going in. Don’t, don’t get upset because you’ll get more anxious and miss more things. Secondly, prioritize what works for you, for your role, and how to stretch yourself. This is a time to find sessions that make you grow in your profession, not just learn the stuff that you can find on the Internet. So if you’re already doing background screening, why are you going to a background screening session? You know, find the stuff that makes you move ahead. Third is be intentional in the vendor hall. So when you go, don’t go just to get the swag. And a lot of them have done different things. Just I need to have a benefits thing at my place. I need to have a new HCM at my place. I need to have this go to those first and then catch all the other stuff, the big booths that have all the wild stuff. But understand, they’re going to talk to you on purpose. They’re trying to sell you, so don’t get upset with that. That’s what they’re there for. Understand that you’re bringing resources back to your job, like Paula said, to make your job and your company better. And the third thing is build in personal time. So if that’s sitting down and grabbing a cup of coffee, if it’s, you know, having dinner with somebody and not the group, this is not a competition. It’s not a comparison. The ones that run and run and run, let them run and run and run. I’m one of those conferences. I’ll open the day and I’ll close the day. That’s me. You don’t, that’s how I will do the conference, is how I’ve done all the conferences. See what works for you and stick with it. Try and do it with 2 or 3 people, though. Doing this conference on your own is just a missed opportunity. Basha had asked too, Jess, do you have to get scanned into each session? I don’t think you do. I don’t think they do that. Basha Where, I think you’ll get credit for the whole thing there. It’s the, it’s the trust system. Because it’s not by session. It’s for the conference.

Paula Harvey: [00:19:51.97] Yeah. The state, a lot of state conferences and even local might have to do that where you scan in.

Steve Browne: [00:19:58.15] Right. I don’t think they will.

Paula Harvey: [00:19:59.29] But now that they’re annual, it’ll be a bucket of hours that you’ll get because it is by the trust system.

Steve Browne: [00:20:05.35] Right.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:20:06.09] And then someone said the name of the conference app. I think it is the SHRM Events app and it’ll log you in and then you’re going to be able to be connected to the SHRM,Annual Conference. So that’s the right one, Eileen. So many good nuggets and thank you for your comments and questions here. So I mentioned it earlier, we run the unofficial party list. And the reason that I did this is because I can’t keep track of everything that’s happening after hours. And honestly, I, I know people think that I’m at every single party, but I’m not. I just might appear that way because I run the list. But really, I just want to go to 1 or 2 events and then go home and go to bed and then be able to get up and do it all again. So in order to do that, I want to organize my time effectively with sessions, with after-hours events so that that I can make the most of the, you know, four days really that we have together. So if you text 512-548-3005 with the with the letters “SHRM” you’re going to get added information on the party list. And so I go in and aggregate people email me the parties and stuff, and then I put that into a list. And so this year it is only for people who are on the VIP list. In the past I’ve published it and it just cause, there’s too many people who get to the parties and I don’t want to be in trouble with vendors because we have driven 700 people to an event from a text. And so you’ll just sign up there and then you can stay in touch with me if I find anything out or if fun, you know, hurricane, buy-one-get-one free event somewhere, I will send that out and then you can decide what, what you want to do.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:21:56.08] So and then I’ll also like tell you where the good swag is and maybe somebody has Bloody Mary’s in the morning at the Expo Hall. So the important things, right? Because you need a little hair of the dog before you go to your first session in the morning, especially in New Orleans. But I do want to promote having fun and I feel like you can learn and have fun at the same time. And the reason for the party list is mostly because I don’t know what’s going on. So I’m already doing this, so I might as well share it with everybody else. So if you’re like, I didn’t catch that number, just send me a note and I’ll get you. I’ll get you connected or go over on Twitter. I feel like we’re tweeting it every five minutes. So just letting people know about the list. And I’m adding a new whiskey, whiskey tasting to the list today. And that is an unusual one. There is 25 events right now that I have on my party list, and there’s probably another 15 to 20 more that I haven’t yet discovered. What’s one tip that you want to share? So I’m thinking like, you learned the hard way about something at Sherm, whether you had blistered feet or something went wrong, what tip can you share so that others don’t have to go maybe through the pain or agony that you had, Gena?

Gena Champagne: [00:23:11.35] So you hit the nail on the head with me. I’m a shoe person. I have lots of shoes. I don’t wear flats. Everyone asks me about flats like I don’t own flats. The hardest lesson learned is buy a good pair of conference shoes. When I say buy them, have them already bought and worn and, and shaped to your feet and are comfortable no matter what. Bring Band-Aids because it’s going to happen. If you haven’t heard me say it a couple of times already, there is a lot of walking. It’s very far across the conference center. Comfortable shoes. I had to just bite the bullet and realize that you must wear flats at these events as flat as I can wear them anyway, so comfortable shoes. And the other thing I realize is the app when I first started attending the app was just kind of coming in and wasn’t downloading it, and I would like to have everything organized. I had my little color-coded thing going on there, but things changed quickly and they have, they may be closed, so don’t waste your time walking across the conference center if that room is already closed. That will all be updated in the app. They may move which room a session is in. Same thing there. So download the app, have it on, keep your notifications open so that you can see when things change quickly. Shoes and the app, my best two tips.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:24:30.52] Have new platform like wedges that I bought and I’ve been breaking them in because I have the cutest outfit I want to be able to wear. The other thing I’ll mention, Band-Aids are good. I’ve also found like, it’s this, it’s like a deodorant stick. It’s basically for thigh rubs, but you can put it on your feet and it keeps the blisters from happening. So if you want a recommendation, it’s, it’s like, I don’t know what it’s called. I’ll have to find it, but I have it in my makeup bag, so it’s always with me. And you just put it on your feet before you go out and you put your shoes on. No blisters.

Gena Champagne: [00:25:07.49] Great idea.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:25:08.27] Yeah. Oh, it’s called Glide. Thank you. Yeah. See, y’all are more informed than me. But I found this out, and it has changed my life for conferences. You just put it on your feet. You can put it on your legs or wherever and everything. No blisters, no rub, no uncomfortableness. So it’s a, it’s a beautiful thing. What about you, Paula? What’s a tip that you want to share with us? Maybe you learned the hard way.

Paula Harvey: [00:25:33.66] Well, definitely. I have had feet problems at these conferences and just killing me. But I actually am a person who wears lower-heeled shoes anyway. But I’ve got, you know, good Clarks sandals and I’ve got some things like that that are really important, some Skechers sandals that are cute to wear with cute outfit. And but I, it’s really important. I also I put lotion on my feet every night, make sure that I keep my feet soft. And then I have some friends that also put you know, they have had, you know, like they were some SHRM staff that would tell me there was some different types of lotions you can put that really hurt if your feet are throbbing. So luckily, I really haven’t had that that bad. But one of the things that I do, I’m already doing is I’m walking on a treadmill here this week ahead of time just to get myself used to walking, you know, a long period of time. So I’m trying to do about 30, 30 minutes every day just to get myself ready for walking as much as, as I’m just glad we’re not doing the Fitbit challenge right now because that was really painful.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:26:40.64] And when you’ve been drinking, I feel like it’s really easy to get dehydrated because you’re just sipping up the vodka and whatever else, and you’re not thinking about the agua. So personally, my tip is I have an, Instacart is such a beautiful thing. I will have them deliver a case of water to my room, and then every morning I will drink 2 to 4 servings of water before I even go out. So I, and this is too much information, but so I can go to the bathroom so I don’t before and then I go out into the world and I’ve already had four servings of water. So that then as I hit the conference, I can just kind of refill as needed. But I won’t get dehydrated.

Paula Harvey: [00:27:20.54] Yeah. I’m so with you on the water, it’s just I drink 100oz a day and track it in my Fitbit. It’s really important.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:27:28.52] Same here. That’s why I had this today, because I was like, I got to get it in because it’ll mess with you. And I say this as someone as we get older, it gets harder. So you youngins like I remember when I was young at, at SHRM, it’s a lot different the water situation. So take care of yourself now. What about you, Steve? What’s one tip that, that you had to learn the hard way?

Steve Browne: [00:27:53.30] You’re going to get overwhelmed and quit the, you know, all the physical stuff and the medical stuff. Fantastic tips. But you’re going to get overwhelmed. You’re going to go, oh, my gosh, this is too many people or, oh, my gosh, I won’t get to my session in time or, oh, my gosh, you do. Breathe, slow down, and just go with it. Having a plan is great, having a framework to work in, but you’re going to get overwhelmed. Um, so just kind of learn that and, and embrace it. And when you, when it’s too much, as we said before, take some time for yourself. If you’ll see people sitting all along the side on their phone, there might be people working while they’re there. There might be people who just are taking a time out. That’s their thing. Let them do it. Don’t. Don’t. Do I have to do that? It’s not. It’s a you experience. It’s not an us experience. Make it work for you and then everything will come together. But being, the first time I went when I saw and like I said, I’m a crazy extrovert, I was like, Wow, this is a bunch and 15,000. We’re like, Oh, it’s just 15,000. Most of us run into like, what, 5 to 10 people a day? So it’s a little bigger.

Paula Harvey: [00:29:07.86] It’s just a little.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:29:09.27] What is the appropriate attire or not appropriate attire to wear at SHRM? Gena, you want to talk through what your, what your plans are?

Gena Champagne: [00:29:17.92] Yeah. So walking from your hotel to the convention center is going to be hot. Prepare yourself. Um, so I would wear something that has a cooler, a cooler type of top, whether it be something which really short sleeves or, or, you know, with, nothing with long sleeves for sure. And then bring a sweater or a light jacket because the conference halls do get cold. And it does seem to be the biggest thing that people use. It’s hot outside and then they get inside and then they’re, they’re super cold. It was a challenge for me and I was just talking about it with a friend of mine that’s also going with, you know, you’re used to wearing slacks to work and then that usually comes with heels or, you know, so your pants are a little bit longer. So be prepared for the length of your pants compared to the height of your shoes. That was something that I didn’t think about the first time that I went either. The first time I went with flat shoes but haven’t dressed in cool enough that when you’re outside it’s not like death on you and then having a little light sweater to put on when you get in, I would definitely recommend.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:30:26.16] And I think you need to have multiple options because you are going to get sweaty and you don’t want to wear something that is stinky, right? I mean it’s already going to be stinky, but like don’t try to rewear. So I would say like a couple extra outfits you should have prepared in the event that it is really hot or it does rain or something happens.

Paula Harvey: [00:30:47.46] For sure.

Gena Champagne: [00:30:48.09] Yeah. And you would think about, you know, some, I always bring deodorant in my bag because it does get hot throughout the day, walking around in and out of the convention center, going back and forth to your hotel, whatever the case may be. So just so you can feel fresh and when changing again, when you go, you know, to the parties in the evening event. So a lot of times people want to pack light when they travel and especially on airplanes. But think about the multiple outfits for sure.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:31:12.84] What about you, Steve? What, what, what attire are you going to be wearing? It’s not all suit jackets, is it this time?

Steve Browne: [00:31:23.68] No. Comfortable. I mean, the big thing, I’m wearing short sleeves. Um. Yes, there’s business casual or whatever, but you’re there to conference. You’re not there for a fashion show. If there’s something that you are preparing for that’s more of a VIP thing or a theme thing. Yeah. But be comfortable. There’s just no reason to not be. And I know we’ve talked a lot about hygiene, but I’m telling you, if you, if it goes bad, you feel bad the rest of the time. So do what you need to do. So it’s a positive experience.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:31:59.50] Agreed.

Steve Browne: [00:32:00.01] And I, and I won’t be wearing my heels. No, I will be wearing Chuck Taylors, but I will not be wearing heels.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:32:06.79] That’s good to know. I never thought that you would look really good in heels anyway.

Steve Browne: [00:32:11.17] Too tall. Yeah.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:32:11.83] Yeah. You’re even taller than yours. I think, I think the main thing is comfort, and asked this question because even saw it yesterday in a Facebook group, it’s like I’m going to SHRM. I don’t know what to wear. What’s the business attire? I don’t have a lot of clothes. Just wear jeans and a nice shirt, right?

Steve Browne: [00:32:32.11] You’re going to see.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:32:32.11] I mean, that’s enough.

Steve Browne: [00:32:33.61] You’re going to see people in shorts. You’re going to see people in dresses. You’re going to see people in t-shirts. It’s not, there’s, it’s not this rule-type thing. It’s a conference. You’re there to learn.

Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:32:46.03] I, I have been a little stressed because really my wardrobe consists of yoga pants and athletic leisurewear because that’s, I work from home most of the time, so I do have to like plan because I’m not going into the office or it’s my office, so I am my own business owner, so I make the rules in terms of what we wear. But I have had to think a lot about it because I just don’t have the things that one would normally wear in a conference. So I had to do a little shopping.

Closing: [00:33:14.49] I love SHRM annual. It is one of my favorite events and I can’t wait to connect with you there. Don’t be a stranger. I love connecting with new friends and veterans like my friends here on the podcast. It really, the SHRM Annual Conference is that time where we can finally connect with people who are like us, HR leaders, and we can really be among people who just get us and are friends. Because, I mean, honestly, we have been working hard and not just this year, but I feel like since the beginning of the pandemic or longer and we deserve a chance to let our hair down a little bit, catch up with old friends and new, have some fun and get insights into what’s changing in our profession because, I don’t have to tell you, but it is changing every single day. So thank you for joining this episode of the Workology Podcast. It’s sponsored by Upskill HR and Ace The HR Exam. This podcast is for the disruptive workplace leader who is tired of the status quo. My name is Jessica Miller-Merrell and I want to hear from you. I want to meet you at the conference or reconnect with you. You can text “SHRM” to 512-548-3005 to get access to the after-hours VIP event list. Be sure to take a look at the episode transcript for this Workology Podcast episode to get more information on must-access resources and information to make this the best SHRM Annual Conference for you ever. We’ll see you in Las Vegas.

Connect with Steve Browne, Paula Harvey, and Gena Champagne.


– Steve Browne on LinkedIn

– Paula Harvey on LinkedIn

– Gena Champagne on LinkedIn

– SHRM23 Mobile Events App | SHRM 

– SHRM23 Program Overview | SHRM 

– SHRM23 Party List | Workology 

– Doing Vegas The Right Way at #SHRM23 | Workology

– Vegas for Beginners #SHRM2023 | Workology

– Top Ten Things to Do in Las Vegas During an HR Conference | Workology

– Top 10 Las Vegas Restaurants for Conferences | Workology

– Episode 398: Apprenticeship as a Pathway to Employment With David Fazio From Helix Opportunity

– Episode 399: AI and the Future of HR With Kara Kelley, CEO Founder and CEO of Clinical HR

– Episode 400: Manager Training With Cornelia Gamlem and Barbara Mitchell, Authors of The Big Book of HR

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