FOT and Kathy Rapp are Rock’n at HR Southwest…

Kathy Rapp Kathy Rapp

Everyone get their lighters out as I’m coming to you this week from Ft. Worth, Texas where the HR Southwest conference, “HR ROCKS” is currently underway.  This conference has historically been the second largest HR conference in the country after the national SHRM convention – and attendance this year was still high despite budget cutbacks.  I think that tells you something about the caliber of this conference and (so far) it gets the devil horns from me.  Ronnie James Dio would be so proud.

For those of you who couldn’t make it down this year, I thought I’d give you some insight into myBush_rock_horns experience.  I arrived from Houston in a downpour and went straight to the opening night reception hoping for some good networking and a drink or two.  The crowd was mildly lively, made worse by too many tables which only encouraged people to pop-a-squat, hindering mingling. 

The “opening ceremonies” hit on all cylinders with Victoria Labalme, a performance artist turned speaker who also studied with the mime Marcel Marceau, talking about how we look, listen and love. Victoria integrated comedy, dance and even some mime (but not the creepy kind) into her presentation.  She used the entertainment term “follow your through line” which is essentially that imaginary thing that gives you focus.  For actors, it focuses them on their character and for the rest of us it is our purpose or reason for doing what we do.  The take-away for me was that most HR pros “through line” is/should be humanity, and all the ER, PM, PE, TA, TM stuff we do is fundamentally about humans – and how hopefully to make the most of their talents in our organizations.

The exhibit hall was full – and caused me to ask, “Seriously, how many benefit brokers/consultants are there? AND, why do they think I need another stress ball or water bottle??!”  I think that industry is ripe for consolidation, and the sooner the better!  Oh and speaking of mergers- a shout out to PDI Ninth House, or as they now call themselves – –  PDI “in the house”.  Nice.  I also applaud the team that dressed up as KISS – hair, make-up, platform shoes and all.  Certainly caused you to look at their booth!

I ran into a “friend of the FOT show”, William Tincup.  He only cussed twice in our 5 minute convo, so I guess KD rubbed off on him a bit (ok – bad visual).  But damn it, I forgot to ask him if yellow tinted glasses caused me to look like Tweety Bird.  I’d have to imagine they create some sort of funky effect?!!

As a good conference attendee, I went to THREE sessions today.  Scorecard: 1st one – snoozer; 2nd one – awesome – made even more so as I know the presenter was asked to pinch hit for someone who called in sick and she had all of 12 hours to put together a prez.  Incredible job, Alice Dendinger; 3rd one – stellar tips from AIRS trainer, Lisa Brusack.

Strong first day overall….and tomorrow (especially at 10:30 in room 202D – note: blatant self-promotion for my session) I expect things will continue to ROCK!