Back in 2008, I felt like a rock star. I had a blog, and I was going to take on the world. The first destination for world domination? The annual SHRM conference.
I sent an email to Sue Meisinger, the CEO of SHRM at the time, and was pretty direct. I wrote something like — Hey, I’m Laurie Ruettimann. I write a blog called Punk Rock HR, and it’s awesome. You should read it. Can I come to SHRM for free? Will you give me a press pass?
That’s not an exact quote, but it’s close. Lots of “I”s and “me”s and not much else.
Sue wrote back almost immediately, and she was equally direct. It was like — I’m busy with some personal stuff, and, also, I’m retiring. I know what a blog is, duh. Have fun at the conference. Find William Maroni if you need anything.
Again, I’m paraphrasing the exchange, but I was in awe of her leadership skills. She was like Jean-Luc Picard, and people truly listened to her.
“Make it so.”
Her team was awesome, and they “made it so” for three white guys who thought they invented blogging and me. I had a great time at that event, and I formed relationships with people who work for big HR technology companies that still exist today. And Sue continued to stay in touch, and she always donates to my Hustle Up the Hancock race in honor of her sister. I think about them both as I climb nearly 100 flights of stairs to beat lung disease.
Sue Meisinger has long since retired from SHRM, and she just wrote her final column over at HREOnline about what it takes to be a successful practitioner and leader in human resources. You could do worse than to follow the advice of a woman who kicks ass and takes names like Sue, and I hope you read it.
I also hope Sue finally follows through on her threat to retire from the HR world. Good grief, this woman deserves a break from the world of performance management and talent acquisition software. And, while she has big shoes to fill, I’m sure she has trained and inspired enough people who will follow her common-sense-style and make life a little better for the next generation of HR professionals.
I know she has inspired me.