I’m super excited to share today’s interview with you. China Gorman is a friend, colleague, and well-respected business leader. You know her from the leadership roles she’s held with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and Great Place to Work. I had the opportunity to interview China back in 2009.
But today, China is here to share with us an exciting new professional development event for human resources professionals. The event is called UNLEASH and is being held May 15-16, 2018 in Las Vegas.
China, before we start talking about UNLEASH, let’s talk about professional development in general. Why are conferences a good professional development forum for HR pros?
[Gorman] Well, not every HR pro is interested in the conference experience, and not every HR pro has the budget to attend a national or global conference. But when the interest and budget exist, conferences can be a great way to learn and grow professionally for three reasons.
First of all: content, content, content!
Second: solutions, solutions, solutions!
Third: networking, networking, networking!
Content, more and more, is King and Queen in the live event space. Organizers need to bring diverse, expert speakers to the stage in short bursts.
How does UNLEASH provide participants with the content, solutions, and networking opportunities you’ve mentioned?
[Gorman] UNLEASH America 2018 is taking place in Las Vegas next month (May 15 – 16, 2018). In our conference format, most of the speakers have between 20 – 30 minutes for their presentations or discussions. This means the attendees can learn from nearly 3 times the number of speakers than at other events!
Our conference format means that we can attract true thought leaders like Mo Gawdat, Rachel Botsman, and Gary Hamel, along with executive leaders from the some of the world’s most innovative organizations (i.e. Microsoft, GE Digital, Genentech, McKinsey, Cisco, Amazon, etc.). We also have academics and analysts from IDC, Bersin by Deloitte, Bloom & Wallace, etc. More than 100 of the smartest leaders, thinkers, and influencers on our 9 stages over two days.
(Editor’s Note: For your own professional development, you can check out the full speaker line-up on the UNLEASH website.)
Additionally, the UNLEASH Expo is second to none in the live event space. We will provide participants with a curated solutions expo, not open to just any company who can afford the experience. More than 100 exhibitors and sponsors in the larger organization effectiveness ecosystem ready to engage with our attendees, who are senior level decision makers (and not just in HR!) and organization influencers.
Finally, attending live events that cater to your peers is a critical characteristic for networking success. You want to meet your peers, talk with them, and compare notes. You want to be in a more human environment, as opposed to a cattle call environment. You want to meet like-minded leaders with whom you’ll stay in contact long after the event is over. You want an environment conducive to learning, connecting, and discovering new solutions.
Happily, UNLEASH America 2018 provides all of these.
What makes UNLEASH different from all the other HR conferences available?
[Gorman] Good question. UNLEASH’s focus is wider than HR technology. Its premise is that, to unleash the power of an organization’s people, it needs great technology, great leadership, and a focus on the future of work. So, UNLEASH isn’t just an HR technology event. It brings together leaders from the C-Suite of large, medium, and start-up organizations, academic pioneers, and some of the smartest innovators in the people solutions space into one venue for two full days of discussion, engagement, demos, and knowledge sharing.
That sounds like a lot, but this event is truly about bringing organization leaders together with thought leaders and solutions leaders for in-depth discussions on the many stages, at round tables, in the expo, and in the start-up zone. There really isn’t another event like UNLEASH.
How do I sell my boss on attending a conference, especially when it’s in a fun city like Las Vegas?
[Gorman] Sure, Las Vegas is a fun city. But it’s also a hugely affordable conference city. Airfare and hotels tend to be cheaper in Las Vegas than most other locations which is why so many conferences – big, medium, and small – are held there.
Frankly, as a resident of Las Vegas, once you’ve stayed in a couple of casino resorts in Las Vegas, the allure of the slot machines, lights, and table games fade quickly. It’s quite a hospitable and efficient conference town. With the airport literally on the Strip, even taxi, Uber or Lyft fares between baggage claim and the conference hotels are super affordable.
Once you’ve handled the expense side of the equation, then you handle the content features. Just print out the list of speakers at UNLEASH. You’ll be hard pressed to find a more diverse or more senior speaker lineup anywhere in the live event space. This is an investment that will more than pay off.
Last question, If I can’t make UNLEASH, are there other conferences that your organization produces (or webinars, etc.)?
[Gorman] UNLEASH Group produces live events all over the world! The largest of its kind is in Europe in the autumn every year. This fall (October 23-24, 2018) the UNLEASH World Conference & Expo will return to Amsterdam. Earlier this spring it hosted a very successful event in London.
Additionally, it is providing a robust ‘Future of Work’ newsfeed on its website: www.unleashgroup.io. With a robust number of original content pieces edited by Mary Ellen Slayter, and fascinating shared content, our website is becoming the go-to site for news, opinion, survey results and a broad array of content covering the future of work and technology.
I want to send a HUGE thanks to China for sharing a lot of great information about this new professional development opportunity with us. I’m always looking for new events to challenge my thinking and UNLEASH sounds like one that would do just that. I would also be terribly remiss if I didn’t mention that China has her own terrific blog, so if you’re not already subscribed you should check it out.
Sometimes as human resources professionals we’re so focused on everyone’s else’s training and development that we forget our own. Finding time to get away, think, plan, strategize, and learn is key to our success.12