Forgive me for the inside baseball, but I have something to say.

Every year, several hundred human resources nerds across the world vie for an opportunity to speak at an event called SHRM’s Annual Conference and Exposition.

Much like an RFP process — with no ROI for anyone involved and no transparency — SHRM selects speakers for mega sessions and concurrent sessions. Nobody gets paid, but airfare and hotel are included for a few nights.

This year, SHRM selected its speakers in its normal veil of secrecy. I’m not complaining because there are some new names on the agenda, which is great. Unfortunately, among the people who were not selected in my little HR community, there are some sour grapes.

I looked at some of the comments online from people who are clearly aggrieved — but don’t know how to set their privacy settings on Facebook — and I thought that, in light of what I know about the professional development of my colleagues in the HR social media community, SHRM did okay.

You didn’t get chosen to speak? The HR coach in me wants you to look inside yourself and think about the reasons why you weren’t selected. The legacy HR blogger in me wants you to say something nice about someone else who was selected. And the HR leader in me wants you to come to Las Vegas determined to learn, grow and contribute in a different way.

But mostly I just want you to suck. it. the. fuck. up.

Be gracious. One day, you will be selected to speak. You wouldn’t want people saying nasty things about you, would you? (I wouldn’t tolerate that, either.)

So please snap out of your #shrmennui. Lighten up. And live to speak for free at a different mediocre conference on another day.


  1. Nice post Laurie. Well said. Sorry my friends didn’t get selected but not everyone can. There is always next year and plenty of other conferences and speaking opportunities. Besides, who wants to go to Las Vegas in the middle of the summer.

  2. Bravo, Laurie. They should be thankful that those of us with busy enough day jobs let the deadline pass without submitting. At least we gave them a better chance to get their crappy proposals through.

  3. Hi Laurie. I was encouraged to pitch this year, and I didn’t make the cut. My sour grapes on Facebook went like this:

    ‘I just got my SHRM 2015 thanks but no thanks letter. Disappointed not to make the cut. Onwards and upwards. Hope others I know get a yes.’

    Not too sour as far as I’m concerned. I wasn’t surprised to get the note, even though the proposal was based on previous concurrent sessions which have gone down well and been given extra credit (or whatever the official term is), I’m an unknown quantity to SHRM National. Honestly I’m not sure I’d pick me if I didn’t know me, but then how does an event develop if it doesn’t take a few risks? I hope they have – somewhere in the mix.

    I’m unfamiliar with most of the people speaking and I’m really pleased to see Joe Gerstandt and Steve Browne both got in too.

    I love your question about why I and others weren’t selected, I need to think about that for myself thanks.

    And I don’t know who Jeremy Ames is, but in response to his snarky comment I do know we all have a choice. I chose to find time in my busy schedule to submit a ‘crappy proposal’, he chose not to. Simple as that.

    Cheers – Doug

Comments are closed.