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    A Recap of HRA24: Two Coasts, One Community

    6 mins

    Curiosity and connection were the driving forces behind two exciting and energetic HR get-togethers on opposite coasts this year. In San Diego and New York City, HR professionals from across the globe gathered for our third annual HR Advisory Meeting. This year, HR Advisory topped 10,000 members, and that impressive number was well reflected in the diversity of experience and opinions shared at our in-person meeting.

    The in-person meetings were a chance for our community to collaborate across industries, network, and share new ideas. Attendees brought their unique perspectives into every discussion, workshop, and panel. Even the space between sessions saw chances to link up and chat. No matter where you were in either venue, someone happy to connect wasn’t too far off, eager to discuss the day and chat about new discoveries made while attending our wide variety of informative breakout sessions.

    Wrangling us all for the third year in a row was our excellent event emcee, Danika Davis, CEO and Managing Partner of Merit HR. With contagious enthusiasm, humor, and great aplomb, she guided us from session to session, steering us through two highly productive days of learning and exploration.

    We Set the Stage with a Look at the Future of Work

    HRA24 opening keynote speaker brad shuck
    HRA24’s opening keynote speaker, Dr. Brad Shuck.

    After breakfast, we started the day with an inspiring and informative opening keynote from Dr. Brad Shuck, an internationally recognized thought-leader in the fields of employee engagement, leadership, and employee health and well-being. He amped attendees up for a day of new connections, asking everyone to watch out for their “pink elephant moment” – times to be curious, to be open, to wonder, to take chances. In doing so, he encouraged us to embrace the possibility of transformation.

    From there, he led listeners through a look at the future of work, talking about the new-but-not tech revolution and the growing importance of boundaries and work-life harmony. Attendees got a glimpse of what to watch for on the horizon; everything from AI to taking steps to embrace employee side-gigs.

    “How do I give more without giving all?” 

    Dr. Shuck’s keynote talk pointed us toward three things HR professionals will want to embrace in the years ahead: intentionality, individuality, and intimacy, and tasked attendees with engaging someone new during the course of the day.

    “We must be intentional in steering our ship. Things will happen even without intervention.”

    We Emphasized the Importance of Individuality, Intentionality, and Intimacy

    hra24 panel discussion
    A panel discussion on “The Power of Questions.”

    Breakout sessions, an impressive variety of panels, round tables, and working groups, filled the rest of the day, and covered the buzziest topics in HR right now. Whether you were looking to learn about mentoring and coaching, wanting to watch a spirited debate on remote versus in-office work, or were seeking actionable ways to better harness data, there was something for everyone.

    This year, we embraced interactivity with warmth and enthusiasm, giving attendees even more opportunities to have their most pressing questions answered by expert speakers and their peers, and they were more than happy to engage. Attendees had the chance to have their specific questions answered in Q&A sessions during panels, but the talk didn’t end there. 

    Q&A spilled over between sessions, with speakers and attendees hashing out topics in the hall during breaks. Roundtables and work groups pairing HR professionals from across industries, organizational sizes, and experience levels together, ensured ample cross-pollination of ideas, inspiring no end of exciting new avenues to explore.

    hra24 roundtable
    Roundtable sessions gave attendees the opportunity to share their experiences.

    Just as Dr. Brad Shuck predicted at the start of the day, those three big ideas threaded themselves through every session. Speakers and attendees emphasized the importance of individualizing everything from flexibility to data, of acting with intention and authenticity in all things, and of intimacy, persistently keeping the human element at the center of all things HR.

    “Bennie’s HR Advisory Meeting gives me the opportunity to network with experts in all fields, which allows me to leverage knowledge and insight in my own field.” - Kaitlin Moore, HR Manager

    We Wrapped with an Important Reminder: Take Care of Yourself

    HRA24 closing keynote speaker Natasha Bowman
    Natasha Bowman’s closing keynote focused on HR professionals and their mental wellbeing.

    At the end of the day, we gathered back up at the main stage for an electric closing keynote from author, speaker, and President of leadership development firm Performance ReNEW, Natasha Bowman. In telling her own story and sharing her mental health journey, Natasha illustrated the importance of safeguarding personal mental and physical well-being as an HR leader, asking attendees to “engage in the power of ‘now.’”

    “We’ve got to lean into empathy. Empathy for mental health, just like you do physical health.”

    With hard numbers, enthusiastic interactive exercises, and actionable advice, Natasha encouraged attendees to make a commitment to self-care. Reassuring everyone that “it’s okay to be disappointing” when your own mental and physical health are on the line. After all, self-care is sometimes about doing uncomfortable things like saying no.

    “If you have a commitment that is impacting your mental and physical health, it’s okay to be disappointing – to say ‘no.’”

    hra24 san diego lunch break
    Attendees had the opportunity to network and connect with their peers.

    The landscape of work may be changing, and our roles as HR leaders with it, but as we saw at both of this year’s HR Advisory Meetings, people operations professionals continue to adapt and thrive. More than ever, acting with intention, with openness, and with individual well-being in mind – even, and perhaps especially, when the individual in question is you – will be of vital importance to people ops success. It’s a good thing you’ve got a network in HR Advisory! We look forward to seeing you next year, and until then, you can check out some of our other great virtual and in-person events! Want to get involved? Join HR Advisory today! Core membership is now and will always be free. You’ll gain access to an invaluable network of HR leaders, exclusive resources, and in-person events just like this one.

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