I am just back from the 17th Annual HR Technology Conference and Expo. I think it was the best one yet.

gergenIt was a supportive environment for women.

Very rarely do I attend a tech conference that doesn’t deserve to have an anti-harassment policy, and HR Tech is typically lumped into this category of offenders. This year, the tone was different. There were more women in attendance and more women on stage than ever before. (David Gergen made a comment about HR being a handmaiden, which is unfortunate, but I always take what he has to say with a grain of salt. On the HR conference circuit, David Gergen is a poor man’s Fareed Zakaria.) I was able to connect with smart women who openly praised the work of other women in my industry. Nobody made fun of HR ladies in my presence. It was refreshing.

The expo floor was more attractive than usual.

I feel like every expo floor should be laid out like a grocery store. Give me an end-cap and show me where I can find ketchup, pickles and HR technology vendors who are focused on wellness. (You get my drift.) While this year’s layout was not perfect, it made much more sense than in years past. Some vendors told me that the traffic was light; however, they say that every year. Attendance was up, and the qualified leads seemed stronger than in previous years.

The sessions were useful.

I can see Steve Boese‘s influence on the symposium by the improved quality of the sessions. Content is king, and everybody loved the diversity of the session topics. I was stuck in a briefing room for an entire day, but I was able to hear glowing reports on the quality of the material and subject matter covered at the event.

My take?

I didn’t get roofied. The expo floor was solid. People learned something new. If you ask me, that is a solid foundation for the transformation of the HR Technology Conference and Expo.

I am looking forward to what Steve Boese gives us in 2015.

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