I had a chance to catch up with Jennifer McClure who will be presenting two separate programs at SHRM 2017 in New Orleans this June. Jennifer is well known to many in the HR community as a speaker, writer and innovator.
Jennifer, give us a 30 second elevator pitch, tell us who you are and what you do.
I’m a professional speaker, and a leadership success coach who works with growth-oriented leaders to encourage and equip them to build careers that they love, relationships that matter, and lives that have maximum positive impact.
You have been involved with SHRM and affiliate organizations for a long time. How did that all start, and what are you doing now in the HR volunteering and programming space?
I first became a member of the student chapter of The American Society For Personnel Administrators (SHRM’s original name) way back when I was in college. Unlike many people who work in HR, I didn’t land in HR by accident. I actually chose to pursue a career in “Personnel”, because I thought that would be the best place to get the opportunity to have as much influence and impact on all employees as possible – without going straight to being CEO. See, I was a millennial, before being a millennial was cool. 🙂 And, I was right! HR was, and is, a great place to be in an organization to be able to make a big difference, and to positively impact a lot of people.
I’ve been a member of my local SHRM chapter (The Greater Cincinnati HR Association) for many years, and have served on several committees, as well as the Strategic Planning Team for a couple of years. GCHRA is in very capable hands now, and these days, I spend quite a bit of time leading programs or workshops for SHRM chapters all over the US.
In 2013, along with two friends in Cincinnati (Chris Ostoich and Steve Browne), we decided to hold an event to offer something in addition to traditional SHRM/HR conference programming, and held the first DisruptHR event. DisruptHR is an information exchange designed to energize, inform and empower HR leaders, business professionals, and community leaders who are interested in disruptive ideas, and moving our collective thinking forward when it comes to talent in the workplace.
We didn’t have a plan beyond doing something fun for the business community in Cincinnati when we first started, but DisruptHR has since grown to over 80 communities in 18 countries that are holding annual or semi-annual events where ideas are shared. From those events, we have over 1,000 five-minute talks online. I’m tremendously proud of the ideas that have been shared, the relationships that have been built, and that we’ve provided an opportunity for people to have a voice/share an idea that might not be interested, or invited, to share at some of the more traditional events.
Tell us about your program at SHRM17, and what is the one take away you hope every attendee has?
I’m really looking forward to speaking at SHRM17! It’s truly one of the biggest honors for me as a speaker, to have the opportunity to share at our profession’s largest event. I cry every year when I get the speaker acceptance letter. 😉
This year, I have the opportunity to have double the fun, as I’ll be speaking twice! My first program is on Monday at 2pm – Disrupt HR! Approaching HR, Talent Acquisition (& Your Career) in a Whole New Way. In this session, I’ll share new ways of thinking, and ideas that have been implemented in a variety of organizations by leaders who are changing the way that they approach people and talent in order to achieve competitive advantage. Several of the ideas and concepts I’ll be sharing have been highlighted in DisruptHR Talks, so they’ve been implemented by real people, in both small and large companies. So everyone should be able to take something back that they can try in their organization.
The second program will be on Tuesday at 4pm – Getting The C-Suite’s Attention: Seven Strategies For Transforming From HR Leader to Business Leader. This is one of the most popular programs that I deliver, and my goal is to encourage and equip HR leaders to be effective business leaders who understand how they/HR can directly impact major business initiatives and influence organizational decision-making by focusing on 7 high-impact areas that HR traditionally owns.
Shorter presentations seem to be more popular these days (Your Disrupt HR format at 5 minutes, SHRM Smart Stage at 18 minutes), Do you think this is a trend or do you think we will see more of this with SHRM conferences in the future?
I definitely see a lot more short presentation formats, and shorter presentations on conference agendas, and I think that’s great for both speakers and attendees. A good speaker should be able to convey a powerful message, and inspire people to take action or want to learn more in a 5, 10 or 20 minute talk.
In the future, I think successful conferences and events will include at least a few shorter talks in their programming – like SHRM does with the Smart Stage. But I think there is still a place for traditional keynote talks and longer workshop-style sessions as well. Attendees will benefit from the variety – and they can also get inspired, have fun, and do some deeper work.
Do you have favorite programs or speakers from the national conference over the years ?
I’ve attended the SHRM Annual Conference every year since 2009, and I always stay for the full event, and attend as many sessions as I can. I’m typically looking to learn about topics like leadership, effective communication, and building influence. As a professional speaker, I also try to choose a few sessions given by speakers that I can learn from in terms of style and effectiveness, so I can become a better speaker myself.
A few of my favorites over the years have included Dianna Booher in 2009. I wrote about what I learned in her “Creating Executive Presence: Communicate with Confidence in the C-Suite” session, and it remains the most popular post on my blog today. I also really enjoyed Brand Karsh’s mega session in 2014 – “Once Upon a Time…” 4 Steps to Using Storytelling to Deliver Unforgettable Presentations.” My favorite keynote speaker has been Mike Rowe in 2016 – because I love him. He was incredibly funny and engaging, but also delivered a great message about appreciating workers who perform seemingly thankless jobs that are critical to our day-to-day lives.
How can someone get in touch with you or follow you on social media?
I’m all over the internets and social medias, and would love to connect!
Thank you Jennifer, we look forward to seeing you in New Orleans!