Last week thousands of HR professionals from across Ontario came together to share ideas, network and learn. Tim Baker provides his insights into why the HRPA is such an important Conference and the work which goes into creating it.
For the past 3 years, I have volunteered with the HRPA in one capacity or another. This year is something new for me and the HRPA. We are piloting an official Blogging Team. More than 10 HR bloggers will be doing their best to cover all aspects of the conference. The blog can be accessed via the conference website or directly at LiveHRblog.
What most people don’t see is the months of planning that goes into pulling off an event of this size. Every aspect including exhibitors, sponsors, session speakers and the hundreds of volunteers. This is not an event that is pulled together in a few weeks.
There are 3 main reasons why I volunteer at the conference:
This is a great place to meet new people, or people with whom you’ve connected during the year. For seasoned HR professionals, it’s a great time to collaborate and share experiences. For new HR professinoals and students, it’s a fantastic opportunity to connect with peers or seasoned professionals.
But it’s important to keep those connections alive. Don’t just take a business card or contact info. Make plans with 2 or 3 people to meet after the conference. Then take it one step further and let those people know “why” you want to connect. Create an agenda. Let them know what you want from them, but more importantly, what you can offer.
There are many opportunities to attend sessions on topics in which we are already comfortable. And that’s OK. We all need to gain new perspective and hone our skills and knowledge. But I much prefer attending the not so main stream topics. Some are actually on the periferal of HR. I find these topics motivate me to draw parallels to my work and my life. Ultimately, I strive to become more innovative about the works of work. I would highly suggest stepping outside your comfort zone. Sure, you might not find what you thought you were looking for…but you’ll be surprised at what you may discover.
So why not apply this same concept of stepping outside your comfort zone to your own career, work and life. Take the opportunities to learn somethig new. This can be a catylist for creating something amazing.
One of the things I value the most about being an HR professional is the people. Within the large community of amazing people, I am fortunate to be part of an amazing little group. These people are simply the best. We all work in different aspects of HR, but there are certainly common threads. We enjoy each other’s company on a personal level. Each time I meet with them I learn a little bit more. Each and every one of them would not hesitate for a nanosecond to help the other. Whether it be for personal or professional reasons.
Some I only see once a year, with interactions through social media in between. We have started to gather informally throughout the year and we always have a great time. Sure, we talk shop and contemplate the future of HR. But for the most part, we socialize. And it’s fantastic.
I hope everyone attending the conference, whether as a delegate or a volunteer, gets the most out of what it offers. There are many people that pour all of their energy into this event to create an environment that fosters learning, networking and friendships.
About the Author
People have described Tim as a connector, a coach, a mentor and taller than he appears in his avatar.
He leverages his experience to partner with clients and offering a range of services and support. He works with organizations to create solutions resulting in a high performance workplace. Tim also works with new job seekers and seasoned professionals who are in career transition. He truly empathizes with the personal and professional challenges people face.