Tag Archive for hrfl13

Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Aron Ralston #HRFL13

2013_HRFlorida_AronRalston_125x171This morning’s kick off keynote speaker at the HR Florida State Conference & Expo was Aron Ralston – the man who inspired the film “127 Hours.”  In 2003 while hiking in a canyon in southern Utah, Aron was pinned by a half-ton boulder for nearly a week in a remote three-foot-wide slot.  He narrowly escaped death by severing his right forearm with a dull pocketknife. After applying a tourniquet, he hiked and rappelled for five hours through Blue John Canyon before searchers in a helicopter miraculously rescued him.

Taking us through the story, Aron pointed out that we all are faced with boulders in our lives and everyone finds themselves placed between a rock and a hard place.

As he told his amazing story, punctuated with jokes and humor, the audience was enthralled and silent..  As he talked about how we all face choices in our lives  he also encouraged us to be in those moments and accept the accompanying challenges.  In the moment of his decision, before cutting off his arm, he realized that doing nothing –  not acting – would  be a “small act of suicide.”

“That boulder gave me a gift; it showed me what was really important in my life,” Ralston said.

How can we turn despair and hopelessness into a will to survive and live?  Or  can we turn it into, as Aron did, into a will to love

When taking one final look at  boulders – obstacles – that have been in your way can you say “thank you” to them?  Give thanks and acknowledgment to those things that have stood in your way and presented challenges?

Aron Ralston did just that.


Will There Be Mermaids? #HRFL13

WEEKI_WACHEE_MERMAIDSWhen I was about 8 years old my parents loaded up the car, packed  provisions, tossed me in the back seat, and we set off to Florida for a vacation. We did the whole deal – took a drive to St. Augustine to look at forts and cool old buildings, spent multiple days at Walt Disney World (smaller than it is now of course – it had only been open for a few years) and endlessly trotted up and down a bunch of beaches.  I remember I got a wicked sunburn.

The part of the trip that has really stuck with me however, even after all these years, was a visit to Weeki Wachee.  I remember setting out to sea  – or so it seemed – in a glass bottom boat (freakin’ terrifying!).  We watched a mermaid show and I bought the whole deal. I thought they were absolutely the most glamorous creatures alive and I wondered how it was possible they could be among us mere mortals.  I was convinced – absolutely convinced – that mermaids truly existed and they all lived in Florida.  When we got back home I made all my friends ‘play mermaid’ with me whenever we went swimming.

Good grief – I was insufferable.


I’m going back to Florida today as I’m heading off to the 2013 HR Florida Conference & Expo and I’m totally looking forward to the entire event.  There’s a fabulous line-up of keynote speakers – Aron Ralston, Sheila C. Johnson and Peter Sheahan.  I’m also thrilled to be speaking at 2 sessions and serving as a member of the Social Technology Team.  I predict massive sleep once I get back home.

Sadly the conference is in Orlando which, according to mapquest, is 103.29 miles from Weeki Wachee via the Turnpike.  Damn it – no mermaids.  Unless I can gather my friends together and convince them we need to ‘play mermaid’ in the Hilton Bonnet Creek swimming pool.

Stranger things have happened at HR Conferences.

Sun, Sand and SHRM: #HRFL13

hrfl13After a brief lull following the SHRM Annual Conference it’s time to gear up for the fall HR Conference season – and I am ready!

Next week’s stop will be the HR Florida State Conference & Expo and nothing says “stay cool” like August in Orlando, am I right? Well, other than June in New Orleans when SHRM rolls into town every 5 years or so…

I had the pleasure of attending HR Florida once before and it is a fantastic conference with amazing and far-reaching content, a huge Expo Hall and lots of opportunities for meeting, greeting and networking.  This year promises to be another great event and wow – am I going to be busy!

I’m honored to be a member of the Social Technology Team along with Chris Ponder, Holland DombeckJohn Nykolaiszyn and Sarah Williams.  Not only will we work to bring you live content via Twitter, blog posts and other social channels, we’ll also participate in a panel discussion on Monday August 19th – “Making Social Media Work for You.” We’ve all had a lot of fun working with the HRFlorida team preparing for the conference and you can read some blog posts from the entire crew over at the HR Mouth of the South blog.

In addition to the Social Technology Team activities, I’ll also be presenting at two concurrent sessions when my friend Bill Boorman and I discuss “HR’s Turning Point” on both Monday and Wednesday.  We’re looking forward to having this conversation with attendees and we’ll be discussing everything from the evolution of HR to the changing world of work including the why, the how and the when.

So slather yourself up with some sun tan lotion and slip on your flip-flops!  If you aren’t able to make it to Orlando make sure to follow the hashtag #HRFL13 for all the news.  It’s entirely possible there will be tweeting from a pool cabana.