2010 Florida State HR Conference Gets Ready for Liftoff

By Michael VanDervort

The word of mouth has been building for months. The buzz on Twitter is growing louder and louder. The hotel is almost completely booked. Potential sponsors have been calling at the last minute, hoping to find a way to get involved. The number of registered attendees has blown past expectations. The exhibition hall is completely sold out.

The 2010 HR Florida State Conference and Exposition is ready to roll!

All that remains is for the crew to show up in Orlando to launch what promises to be the single most important SHRM state chapter conference in the country this year. The HR Florida State Conference and Exposition begins Sunday August 29 and runs through Wednesday September 1, 2010 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando, Florida.

HR Florida is one of the most active state SHRM chapters in the country, with over 14,000 members. At last count, nearly 1,400 attendees will attend the 2010 conference, an elaborate event that mirrors the activities, tenor, and tone of the annual SHRM national conference.

State conference director Carol McDaniel and her team have put together an event that promises to push the envelope in ways the larger SHRM event has not. Other state chapters would do well to observe how HR Florida operates, because they can teach everyone a lesson or two.

“We want to be on the leading edge of the state HR conference experience for our members.” said McDaniel ” Many organizations are watching HR Florida hoping to learn from what we are doing” Conference directors from several state chapters, including Illinois and Louisiana will be attending to share in some best practice benchmarking with HR Florida planners.

The show is ambitious, kicking off on Sunday with an array of pre-conference sessions, and a special HR student-focused HR Road Trip event, featuring Brett Farmiloe of Jobing, author and founder of Pursue the Passion.

Keynote speakers include “The Fonz”

The regular conference event is an amazing educational opportunity that offers more than 100 concurrent sessions, as well as keynotes speakers, actor/writer Henry Winkler, former SHRM COO China Miner Gorman, and author Robin Koval. Dave Ulrich, author of “The Why of Work” will be conducting a Master’s series presentation as well.

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What really separates this event from others is the integration of social media throughout the conference.

The leadership at HR Florida are early adopters, who understand that social media is rapidly becoming part of work life. Over the past two years, HR Florida has used social media to promote their conference, and to extend the conference experience through blogging and tweeting. In 2010, the leadership at HR Florida is taking this effort to the next level with a number of new initiatives in place this year.

HR Florida is partnering with Voice of HR and the HR Happy Hour to provide a live experience in the Expo Hall, and live coverage via Twitter from many of the sessions. This will extend the conference experience for those unable to attend. For the second year in a row, HR Florida is sponsoring a group of bloggers at the conference to provide coverage of the event, and speak as part of an expert panel on social media.

I’ll be moderating the panel, which includes Steve Boese from Steve’s HR Technology, Trish McFarlane from HR Ringleader and Women of HR, Franny Oxford from Do the Work, Mark Stelzner from Inflexion Point, and William Tincup from JPIE and That’s All You Had to Say.

HR Florida is partnering with Monster.com as the official sponsor for the 2010 HR Florida #MonsterSocial TweetUp. This event offers HR Florida members an opportunity to interact with active participants in the HR/social media space, and to learn more about social media.

This event is sure to be lively, and promises to break new ground for SHRM state conferences. Tweets and blog posts will be flying from Orlando, starting this weekend. If you can’t make it to the event, and want to keep up with what is going on, you can follow all the comments with the hashtag #HRFL10. I will be tweeting as @MikeVandervort, blogging on my Human Race Horses blog, and of course, filing daily reports for you here at TLNT.

Michael VanDervort is a labor and employee relations strategist at a Fortune 100 company headquartered in Florida. Drawing on his 25 years experience in HR, he frequently writes and speaks about how businesses can utilize social media tools to protect their brand, and promote positive employee relations, as well as other human resources topics and trends. His website is called the Human Race Horses. (www.thehumanracehorses.com). Contact him at michael.vandervort@gmail.com.

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