People ask how I built a career as a speaker and writer.

It was easy, actually. I worked hard, took a risk on smaller events that led to bigger events, and I never said no to an audience — no matter how big or small.

I hate sounding like an old woman who walked uphill both ways to school, but hard work yields big dividends. I paid my dues, built a decent reputation, and now I get to travel all over the world and do cool things.

Do you want to be a speaker? I have a friend named Jennifer McClure. She’s kind of a big deal. If you are interested in building a speaking career, you should talk to her. She runs a thing called DisruptHR, which is a crowdsourced HR event that looks like a TED Talk but faster.

DisruptHR applicants are asked to pitch significant HR-related ideas in cities around the globe. You get 20 slides. The slides rotate every 15 seconds. And you have to be brilliant or GTFO the stage.

I decided to go back to my roots and hit the DisruptHR NYC stage in September. We’re all beginners, right? What did I have to lose?

Well, I walked into the event and was humbled by the experience. The venue, a hotel ballroom with a heavily stocked bar, was so tightly packed that Jennifer could practically lean forward and pour champagne into my mouth while I gave my five-minute, rapid-fire speech.

And the audience, all recruiting and HR leaders who have a budget, were enthusiastic and engaged. Might have been the gin & tonics, but I’m not sure.

Here is my video, which is NSFW if you work for The Stasi or Ben Carson’s campaign. Otherwise, it’s fine. We’re all adults.

Laurie Ruettimann – Cult or Culture – DisruptHR New York 1 from DisruptHR on Vimeo.

If you want to be an HR public speaker, hit the DisruptHR website and apply to speak at a local event. Don’t see an event in your city? Host one. It’s pretty easy.

If you have something to say, the world needs to hear it. If you are waiting for a sign, this is it. I’m rooting for you and hoping you make it big.


  1. I’ve often thought about doing this, but doubt my ability to come up with a topic interesting enough for people to want to hear. Or that my thoughts are either too simple or too twisted to have value.

    • Jen,

      For DisruptHR, twisted is never a bad thing.
      We are doing Disrupt Cleveland 4.0 in February. (yes, our 4th)

      Its a blast. Seriously. Do it.

  2. I feel you, Laurie Ruettimann. Thank you for being unapologetic.

    P.S. We have cultural anthropologists at ADP #BonusPoints

Comments are closed.