If I Were Running A Company…SHRM16 Day 1 Recap

Sunday is the busiest day with people registering and the most well-known keynote taking the stage on Sunday. Sunday is also the most inspirational. You have to view it as going to church on a Sunday.

Super Sunday Session

Commander Drew Brown was the Super Sunday session I attended. I will say it wasn’t the most elaborate of sessions since the talking points were cliche and you heard of it millions of times. but his delivery and tone made it that the cliches didn’t matter. Also, wearing his fighter jet pilot suit makes it genuine and real.

Keynote Speaker

Before I go into the keynote speakers, the theme for SHRM16 is “BreaktHRough.” On the slides, SHRM uses one of the Metro stations. I know SHRM doesn’t mean it, but to me (as a local), that’s bad optics knowing the Metro situation going on. If you want “BreaktHRough,” I would have a picture of the White House because Obama has signed into law like healthcare, pay, and diversity (specifically sexual orientation, race, and gender) that has a huge impact on HR.

Anyway, as for the keynote speakers, Alan Mulally gave a stump speech about how to rebuild a company that was bailed out and the more stunning admission was Mulally suggest the companies need to be honest for themselves. As an example, When he came in, and trying to see what are the issues, all the reviews were “green,” not “red.” Then, Mike Rowe spoke and told a story of his last of reporting in San Francisco what all the crap happens: poop, rats, bugs. Thus, that’s how Dirty Jobs was born. He also said that infrastructure, pay gaps, and other issues are really symptoms and not solving the real issue. I hope that he’s throwing shade at Metro.

Afterwards, there was a fireside chat and Mike Rowe made an interesting point that millennials want a dose of truth and that employers are overreaching to attract millennials. I was thinking about it, then I watch the NBA Finals Game 7 and saw J.R. Smith’s press conference and Scott Van Pelt’s epilogue that their fathers were construction workers and they showed both of them that they can have better futures and being a construction worker is not as fun you might assume. I think Rowe has a point that millennials do need a challenge, but it’s up to the parents (and managers) to be realistic with them.


It was big and, as you expect, a party. You have the fun giveaways and games. The best giveaway is InfoMart Root Beer floats and their cups, but that’s not saying a lot. The best booth is actually Quidel. They had hand sanitizers, but they had a big virus molecule and had a rep dressed as a superhero and there, you know what their message was

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As for Day 2, it’s the first full day of SHRM16 with concurrent sessions, Amy Cuddy as the keynote, business picking up at the expo, and which Monday night party to go to.

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