After the previously mentioned Monster Tweetup it was difficult to wake up early on Saturday morning for the “big event.”  Needless to say we all piled on to the shuttle bus that just so happened to be sponsored by SHRM.  (See, they know who we are – they actually reached out to sponsor the event from what I heard.)  We made our short trip through downtown Chicago to the Catalyst Ranch, which is by far the best creative meeting place I’ve experienced.  Check out their website and follow them on Twitter.  As we exited the elevator we were bombarded with vibrant colors, classic tunes playing on radio and a million art deco nick knacks - all aimed at a encouraging our synapses to snap, crackle and pop.

Catalyst Ranch

Prior to the event starting attendees filled up the tables and chairs your grandma sold in that yard sale years ago and noshed on various breakfast treats, including some pretty fantabulous doughnut holes and some “eh” coffee.  This was the fun part – finding people to sit and chat with that I hadn’t met before.  Enter Rob Lockard.

Let’s just say I still am not used to people recognizing me from Facebook, Twitter, HR Florida, my days with HR Gumbo or this new venture HR whY?  With that said, while waiting for the shuttle bus from theWit I was standing in the lobby attempting to check email on my phone when this guy walked up to me and said “Hey Steve!”  I looked around and totally did the “Who…me?” thing.  We chatted it up at breakfast where I learned about his background and his blog.  If you get a chance to meet Rob you will not be disappointed – he’s full of energy, funny and has a lot to offer related to HR and social media.  Also joining our table, the infamous Victorio Milan, the mind behind Creative Chaos Consultant.  I’ve exchanged tweets and blog comments with Victorio before but this is the first time I’ve ever gotten a chance to meet him.  Needless to say I was very impressed. 

Once breakfast was devoured the breakout sessions began.  Luckily there was a little bit of time to connect with other attendees between sessions.  This is where I chatted with Franny Oxford.  Point blank, Franny makes me laugh.   I’ve had a few conversation with Franny, more so recently as she will be one of the featured bloggers at the 2010 HR Florida Conference & Expo.  I look forward to working with her more in the future.

Throughout the rest of the day I was able to introduce myself to or chat with other individuals who were on my list including Charlie Judy from HR Fishbowl, Paul Smith from Welcome to the Occupation, and Mike Krupa from InfoBox.  It was great to catch up with Jennifer McClure and discuss her new company Unbridled Talent – wishing her much success in the future! 

As the day went on it was great to be able to listen to everyone as they provided feedback and asked and answered questions from a wide variety of backgrounds.  In addition to getting to know eachoter in sessions, some of the best conversations happened between sessions when we were able to debrief or just relax while munching on some bourbon, bacon, and caramel popcorn.  Yes, it exists!

Following the event Sue Marks from Pinstripe Talent hosted a “debriefing” tweetup (or after-party) at a local swank bar and restaurant Hub 51.  After a day full of taking everything in, it was an awesome way to unwind.  Attendees were greeted with some munchies and plenty of adult beverages.  While venturing around the room I had an opportunity to meet and talk with Kyle Lacy, author of Twitter Marketing for Dummies and  CEO of Brandswag.  We chatted about SHRM and social media – basically how things could be much better.  Very cool guy and I would recommend following him.

Later on in the evening I stumbled across Dave Carhart.  I’m jealous of Dave.  He’s working on his MBA/MILR at Cornell University and still has time for social media.  Dave and I chatted about a session we attended earlier in the day on the topic of “generations.”  I don’t know if it was the beer talking or not but we had a seriously in depth and interesting conversation that I will be writing about in the future.  If you don’t follow him yet on Twitter, do so and engage him in conversation.  Dave is a very smart guy.  I look forward to more chats in the future.

In summary,  HRevolution brought together over 120 human resource practitioners, consultants and social media advocates from across the country to one event that exuded networking opportunities.  Yes, it may have been difficult to meet everyone, but seriously how many times have you gone to an event and actually met every single person and engaged in worthwhile conversation?  I made an effort and am please with the results.  It was an extreme pleasure to meet and share with each and every one of you all.  Looking forward to continue the conversation in the future!

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5 Responses to “Networking@theBIGevent”

  1. John Jorgensen says:

    Steve, it was great to meet you, even though it was just a brief moment. I hope we can continue the conversation as time goes on.

    PS Love the hat

    John Jorgensen

  2. Thanks for sharing your perspective on how you were able to make a relatively large event (over 100 people) smaller and make some meaningful connections/meet some new people! It was great to see you again and catch up – and I really enjoyed following your road trip adventures via the tweets and your blog. See you at the next HRevolution – if not sooner!

  3. Dave Carhart says:

    It was great meeting you too and I’m excited to see your generations post!

  4. [...] travel buddy and all-around good friend Steve Harrison wrote a piece on networking at the big event. I love reading stories about the new [...]

  5. Way behind on my blog reading…Was great to meet you as well. I have stated in my blog a couple of times how networking is one of the most important things about attending a conference. HRevolution was no exception. The ability to meet and network with great minds including yourself was an incredible opportunity. Thanks for the shout out and using the word “exuded” in a blog post.

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