Inspiration. Bravery. Passion. Advocacy. Activism. Charity.
These are a few words that come to mind when I think of Ms. Opal Lee, the “Grandmother of Juneteenth.” At almost 95 years young, she owned the stage at #SHRM21 in Las Vegas and had the audience gripped by her stories about growing up in Texas and her dream of Juneteenth being celebrated as a national holiday. On June 17, 2021, that dream was realized as she watched President Biden sign the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, commemorating June 19, 1865, the day that Union forces arrived in Galveston, Texas to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation that President Lincoln had issued on January 1, 1962, over two years prior.
She greeted the audience with an enthusiastic, “Hello, young people! And you are young people if you’re not 95!”
Ms. Opal Lee shared how in 1939, when she was about 12 years old, her parents bought a house in a mostly white neighborhood in Fort Worth, Texas. A mob of 500 destroyed that house. Her parents sent her and her siblings to stay with friends a few blocks away, and her parents left “under the cover of darkness.” That was on June 19th, a day that was a big deal in Marshall, Texas – as big as Christmas, she described, with fairs and parades and food (“and food and food”)! But it wasn’t a big deal in Fort Worth. She was surprised as she got older how most of the country had never heard of Juneteenth, and how it became her passion to make Juneteenth a national celebration. She was often asked, “Isn’t July 4th the day we celebrate freedom?” She would say in return, “My ancestors weren’t free on no 4th of July!” She feels that freedom should be celebrated from June 19 to July 4 because “none of us are free until we’re all free.”
Ms. Opal Lee has worked for over six decades – as a babysitter, teacher, school counselor. Even after she retired, she continued to work, starting a food bank that serves over 500 people. She’s seen drastic changes over the 60 years she has worked, but she has also seen older people brushed aside because people think they’re too old to work. Why would anyone work beyond retirement age? “Because we still have knowledge and ideas to contribute. Work brings us dignity and purpose, and it keeps us sharp.”
She acknowledged being in a room full of HR professionals, and humorously declared, “I am an HR Trifecta: I’m a woman. I’m Black. And I’m old.” She passionately articulated how diversity and inclusion is about making sure that everyone finds a place and a voice in companies where people can reach their full potential regardless of where they started in life.
After thousands of attendees returned to their homes and places of business, after the conference stage has been disassembled and stored away for the next big event, Ms. Opal Lee's words still ring: “If people can be taught to hate, they can be taught to love.”
She challenged each of us to take what we have learned back to our workplaces. “Please don’t let what happened here in Vegas stay in Vegas!”
As Ms. Opal Lee pointed out, we’ve come a long way. But we have a long way yet to go. “Change is possible if we just hold the course.”
#SHRM21 #SHRM21Influencer #SHRMNMTE #Juneteenth
I can count on one hand the number of keynotes that I’ve attended that have left a lasting impression. I’ve attended many that are entertaining, and some that were… seriously meh. But when someone stands on a stage with a message that strikes a chord with every word, leaving you standing on your chair, yelling "YASSS!" - that’s rare.
Enter Michael Phelps.
I’ve seen every Olympic event where he won a medal. And I watched as the world judged and condemned him after a photo surfaced of him smoking marijuana, and his very public DUIs. (We’re so quick to jump to conclusions, aren’t we?)
It was easy for most of us to sit on our couches, remaining anonymous, never remotely understanding the pressures and rigors that athletes face, and to hop on the judgmental bandwagon. Maybe you were like me and never really stopped to think what he may be going through. I certainly never imagined how anything he could share could make an impact on thousands of HR professionals.
One of the best outcomes of the last 18 months is that the topic of mental health has catapulted to one of the most important topics facing our organizations. Finally.
Mr. Phelps spoke so eloquently and openly about his struggles with depression and thoughts of suicide. I was blown away by how candidly he was able to share that one of the hardest things he ever did was to ask for help – something that so many of us (me included) find almost impossible. He passionately advocates for treating mental health the way we treat physical health, and how we need to be prepared physically and mentally in order to show up at our best every day. He shared how showing vulnerability isn’t a weakness, it’s a sign that you want to learn. He has used his experiences as an opportunity to help others so that, he hopes, they don’t ever feel what he felt.
Michael Phelps was funny, articulate, compassionate, tender, vulnerable and 100% relatable. And I hope that we continue to engage in this conversation so that we stand up to the stigma.
There was a lot to take away from this year’s Annual Conference. But I can’t think of anything more important or more relevant to our profession at this very moment than to help our employees be both physically and mentally prepared.
#SHRM21 #SHRM21Influencer #mentalhealth
I had the great pleasure of connecting through a Zoom with Greg Schwem, Business Humor Speaker, to talk about his session: Is It OK to Laugh? Understanding How Stifling Humor Can Also Stifle Workplace Productivity.
As I was perusing the speakers and sessions, I was immediately attracted to the topic of humor in the workplace. (Seems appropriate, considering I am the HR Shenanigator....) I immediately added his session to my calendar, and I reached out to see about an interview. I offered up an email Q&A, and slyly (that's a word, right?) offered to connect via recorded Zoom. He was agreeable, and I'm so glad! We had a great conversation, and I'm thrilled to share it with you.
Find the full video interview here.
Kyra: I have the great pleasure of speaking with Greg Schwem today - the engaging, funny, relevant and relatable speaker to talk about his upcoming session at SHRM21: Is It OK to Laugh? Thank you so much for being with me today, and on a Sunday, no less. I'm super excited to learn more about you and your session.
Greg: Well, I'm excited to be there. This has been three years in the making. I submitted back in 2019, I was confirmed for 20 and then, of course, you know what happened. There were cancellations and postponements and so forth. I'm not even sure I'm going to have a whole lot prepared; I didn't think we'd get this far! I might just come out and say, "Hi thanks for joining me." That's really all I came up with because I figured they'd pull the plug again, but no. It's finally here and I just cannot wait because I've really been looking forward to speaking for SHRM for a very long time. I've done other HR groups, but this to me is the Broadway of HR.
Kyra: What is it about HR that attracted you to SHRM?
Greg: I am a corporate speaker; I am a corporate humor speaker too. I think there are a lot of misconceptions about integrating humor into a corporate event or just a corporate environment, and that's really what this presentation is about. I thought it would be nice to deliver that presentation in front of who I call the gatekeepers. That's not an offensive term. It is important to add humor into the work environment, so this is a chance for me to do that both live and in a virtual setting.
Kyra: Where did you start your career and how did you make a transition into corporate comedy?
Greg: When I started, I was a journalist, back in a different life. That was what my college degree was in, and I was working in journalism. I was a newspaper and a TV reporter. I had been dabbling in stand up comedy since I was 16. When I was working as a journalist, it became more than a hobby and, eventually, I decided I liked entertaining people more than depressing them, which is what I was doing. I hate to say it, every night as a journalist, particularly a TV journalist, because you were on the air live telling about what horrible thing happened in South Florida. So I decided to quit my job and give it a whirl as a stand up comedian, as a club comedian per se. I started doing a lot of material in my comedy club act about computers and learning to work at a computer, and it was really resonating with people, and they would come up to me afterwards and say, "Can you come down to our office and do that bit about being on hold with tech support?" I started getting hired by these companies and I realized that I kind of had a knack for making them laugh at themselves; having some good natured fun with them. Eventually I just transitioned my entire presentation and, really, my entire career into the corporate sector and that's what I've been doing for the past 25 years.
Kyra: That is quite the transition! You had mentioned earlier about some misconceptions about humor in the workplace, what are some of those misconceptions, or some of the biggest challenges that you've noticed?
Greg: I think everybody has had a bad experience. It affects all of us who work in my environment. I always get the, "you know we had a comedian two years ago and we specifically told him not to talk about this, this, and this, and wouldn't you know, he went out and did it, " or "we took everybody to a comedy club and we thought it'd be fun, and the comedian just made fun of the CEO for 25 minutes." So, I think it's a misconception that it's going to be bad. You introduce humor and there's like a little bit of a trepidation factor. I have spent years trying to break that down.
Kyra: So why do you think that humor has gotten a bad rap in the corporate world?
Greg: Because of just different incidences that have happened, you know if somebody said something that offended somebody, and then they had to apologize, and things like that. Some of the biggest comedians in the world have had to go on apology tours because of something they said. And that's becoming more and more prevalent. I'm not saying it's becoming more prevalent that comedians are saying things, but I think it's becoming more prevalent that people are getting offended. I can't really explain why that is, I think we've become a very sensitive society to a lot of things. I mean obviously in HR you want to create a healthy work environment, you want to retain the best employees. I feel humor can certainly do that, but I think there's a misconception in a lot of cases that it does the opposite. It is going to be my job to kind of break down that misconception. I think the benefits of humor far outweigh any potential negative ramifications. I always think humor in a corporate meeting is the biggest hit and the toughest sell. I have to assure all my client, "Just trust the process; trust me. I'm not going to tick anybody off.' And then, everybody walks away and goes, "Man, did we need that. We never had something like that before, and boy did we need it, and thank you so much."
Kyra: Why do you think it's important to bring humor into a work environment and can you describe some of those benefits that you're talking about?
Greg: We've all heard the studies about how humor releases endorphins. That's been beaten to death and I'm not going to bring that up because we've all heard that, you don't need me to say that. But I feel like you're now seeing a lot of studies, in fact SHRM just came out with a study talking about how many people are burned out at work, how many people are stressed - not just in an in-person, environment, but virtual work has stressed people out too because they feel like they're never off the clock. You're doing all these zoom meetings and your kids are in the other room and it's 8:30 at night and why am I doing this? Humor has certainly helped an awful lot of us get through this situation. It has helped people get through the pandemic, and that is a proven fact. I don't for one minute want anybody to think that I'm going to come out here and make you laugh at COVID. COVID is not funny. There's an awful lot of stuff that we have had to deal with, as a result of COVID that we certainly need to laugh at. I believe you can find humor in any subject, even if you're not making fun of that subject - virtual school, zoom meetings, all of this kind of stuff. I think people desperately need to laugh, and that's what I've heard from an awful lot of clients and potential clients as well. We could sure use a laugh right now.
Kyra: Agreed, 100%! So, I'm going to go in another direction for just a second, and then we'll get back to SHRM. You also have a TV series called A Comedian Crashes Your Pad. What led you to start that show, and what is the premise?
Greg: The premise is that I got very fascinated a few years ago with the home sharing market - AirBNB and VRBO. I was intrigued with the idea of who opens up their home to strangers, and it has to be a very interesting person who can do such a thing. I mean it's one thing to be an Uber driver and pick up strangers. But to live with them, with no vetting whatsoever, just, "Oh, you want to come stay? Okay, perfect." I always loved that when they say you've been approved. You don't even know me! I mean I couldn't do that. I can stay at those places, but I couldn't let anybody into my house. But I am a people person - that's how I get material, that's how I write, I have to be out talking to people. So I thought, as long as I'm going to be in all these cities doing corporate gigs, why not take an extra day, find somebody who's kind of interesting - an interesting profile and interesting property? I didn't look for the most lavish or the most expensive. I wanted something or somebody who sounded unique. And I thought this would be just a fun thing to put up on social media, but the more I did it, the more I thought there's really something here. I started doing more episodes. Eventually, the episodes got a little longer. Eventually, I brought in a crew. I'm shooting one in San Antonio next month. I'm going to be doing my presentation for a group of funeral home directors, and no, that is not a joke. The funeral home bit will be hilarious. I guarantee you.
Kyra: You also have a couple of books that are published. Tell us a little bit about those.
Greg: My first one, called Text Me If You're Breathing, I published, during the market meltdown of 2008 when I had some downtime like everybody else. It's about observations, frustrations and life lessons from a low tech dad. I wrote that because my children were starting to get to the age where they were becoming very intrigued with things like cell phones and social media and so forth, and this was all completely foreign to me and I thought there's a lot of humor in here. And I started just writing about all my experiences trying to stay one step ahead of them. Then I wrote another one called The Road to Success Goes Through the Salad Bar. (I'm going to offer a free audio download of that book to anybody who attends my presentation on Saturday live or virtually.) The Road to Success Goes Through the Salad Bar is probably more for HR people. I was talking to one of my clients after a show, and he was talking about hiring people and he said, "You know, I wish I could observe all my candidates at a salad bar because if you watch people at the salad bar you really get an insight into their personalities; how they approach everything, how quickly they make decisions, are they prepared to move quickly, are they wasteful, do they thumb their nose up at everything?" I'm listening to him, and that's really kind of a cool analogy, and then I wrote a column about it because I write a biweekly column for the Chicago Tribune syndicate. And then I thought that could be a great book title. So the book is really more business related. It's just funny business stories that were a little too long to make it into my live presentation.
Kyra: Let's bring this back to the SHRM Annual Conference. You'll be presenting in Las Vegas this coming Saturday, and you know that your audience will be primarily HR professionals. Why do you think your message is relevant to that audience?
Greg: Because, as we talked about at the beginning, I do believe they are in some respects the gatekeepers. I think they are the most hesitant of including humor at an event, and that's, not to say that they're not funny people. I want people to know if you're if you're thinking about attending, or if you're on the fence, you will laugh harder than at any SHRM presentation. I don't even know what most of them are, and I still believe you're going to laugh harder. However, if you're coming to see a straight stand-up show, that's not what you're going to get. I'm going to make you laugh at HR because that's what I do, but the presentation is also going to be thought-provoking. I'm going to give them some suggestions on how to incorporate humor into their events and into their normal work environment.
Kyra: What do you think HR professionals can do within their organization to foster that spirit of fun and laughter?
Greg: I think you have to kind of almost let your employees drive it. If for a team building project, put different age groups, different generations together with one another and have them come up with a funny presentation Put them together; have them work together; have them find a common denominator of what they think together is funny. It could be a one minute almost like a Snapchat type of a clip. Let them work together, let them find out everybody has a sense of humor. More than anything, I think humor brings people together, just like good music can bring people together.
Kyra: What do you hope to be the number one takeaway that the audience will take with them back to their workplaces after your session?
Greg: Not to be afraid of humor. I think not to be afraid of comedy. I want people to see that the positive benefits of humor should not be overlooked, and if you're going to constantly look at humor as something that would be better left on the curb, you're doing yourself, you're doing your company, and you're doing your employees a tremendous disservice. That's what I want people to go away with. I want them to leave and go "That was really fun." I just want people to go away and say that we did get some good ideas from this guy and and obviously, I would love to come to any company and talk about it.
Kyra: Is there anything else that you'd like people to know about you or your session?
Greg - I think, know that you're going to see a comedian and that you're going to get a different perspective. This is not going to be a typical SHRM presentation, because 1) the subject matter, and 2) the guy that's doing it. I guarantee you, you're to get some surprises things you never thought about.
Kyra: Thank you so much for spending time with me today. If people would like to connect with you, what is the best way for them to do that?
Greg: That would be GregSchwem.com. My website has all sorts of video clips. I want people to see me in a lot of different situations for a lot of different companies and also talking about the methods that I use to create a presentation for companies, so I hope people spend some time on my website.
It seems like it should go without saying (considering the name of my blog) that I love to laugh. Greg has such a fun spirit. Work shouldn't be void of laughter. I hope you will join me for Greg's session on Saturday September 11 from four to 5pm Pacific to learn more about ways you can cultivate a culture of humor in your workplace.
Also, it's not too late to register for SHRM21! Visit the Annual Conference website: https://annual.shrm.org/ for more information.
Additionally, if you use the discount code SHRM21Influencer, you can receive $150 off registration and a SHRM21 and Life Is Good co-branded T-shirt.
I had the chance to connect with Buddy Bush, an Executive Coach and Team Accelerator with JB Training Solutions. Buddy is presenting The Change Curve: Managing Uncertainty and Ambiguity Within Your Organization at #SHRM21 on Saturday, September 11, from 7:30-8:30 AM Pacific.
The topic of change has always been relevant to the workplace. As the old saying goes, "The only thing that stays the same is nothing stays the same." Change is inevitable. How we manage through change, and support our teams/employees through change is where the rubber meets the road. Buddy has identified the following learning objectives:
What were the factors that led you to speak on the topic of change?
Just like a black cashmere sweater, the topic of change management is timeless and looks great on everyone.
Why do you think change in the workplace can be so difficult to manage?
We are humans, not computers. We can not expect to run a system update overnight and think everyone will reboot at the same time. (Hummmm… it is sounding like I have an IT background with this analogy, but I do not.) We bring our past experiences, our current mindset, and our future priorities to each situation. This means that each member of the team is going to respond in a different way at a different time. This unpredictability makes change feel difficult to manage.
Do you think that organizations, leaders, HR and employees were ready for such drastic and swift changes to the way we work from the start of the pandemic to now?
Most of my clients were already moving towards more flexible/location-agnostic work environments. The pandemic acted as a rapid accelerator. What many leaders and organizations learned is that they could move faster than they thought and their people were far more resilient than they expected.
What are some of the main challenges that leaders face as it relates to change in the workplace?
Setting a tone of realistic optimism, prioritizing initiatives, managing the balance of empathy and accountability, taking the time to celebrate successes…. This could be a very long list.
What are some of the ways that HR can support their companies through uncertainty and ambiguity?
Constant updates, even when the update is that there is no update.
What are some of the biggest mistakes that leaders/HR can make in this area?
Spending too much time defining the future state and rolling out the up-front communication, but not adequately supporting their people in the transition. It is the transition that is challenging. Not the change.
What is one of the ways that HR can have the biggest impact on the change curve?
HR can help leaders think through the stages in advance. If we can anticipate objections, we can better cushion the fall.
What is the #1 thing you hope attendees of your session will take back to their workplace?
We can not jump from phase 1 to phase 4. We have to work the curve and the best way to deal with change is to help create it.
To connect with Buddy Bush, find her on LinkedIn, at www.JBTrainingSolutions.com, or by emailing: email@example.com.
Learn more about Buddy's session and other fantastic learning and networking opportunities at SHRM21 by visiting the SHRM21 Conference website.
#SHRM21Influencer #SHRMNMTE #HRShenanigans #HRCommunity
The 2021 SHRM Annual Conference and Exposition is a week away. **GASP** A WEEK!
Let’s go back for just a moment to 2020. There was so much anticipation and excitement around SHRM20 in San Diego – which started during SHRM19 in Vegas.
And then…. COVID19.
The world as we knew it completely turned upside down and inside out. The world of work was changed in an instant – forever. Leaders and HR professionals were trying to figure it out on the fly. None of us have ever seen anything like this before. Some companies were models to follow in their response to the pandemic. Some companies woefully failed in the way they treated their people. (I had a friend who was furloughed and subsequently laid off via an email after 20 years with the same company. Y'all, this is an example of what not to do!) Conferences were cancelled and/or postponed, including SHRM20. **sad face**
SHRM21 was originally to be held in June 2021 in Chicago. Sadly, this too was postponed. **sad face**
Now, here we are, just a week away from SHRM21 in Las Vegas. The conference is offered both in person and virtually. You can attend all. You can attend for a day. There are so many options! **happy face**
By the way, there is still time to register for whatever works best for you and your schedule. Check out the SHRM21 Annual Conference website for a list of speakers, concurrent sessions, pre-conference sessions and networking events. Use the discount code: SHRM21_ INFLUENCER to receive $150 off registration and a free SHRM21 + Life is Good co-branded t-shirt.
I will be attending the full conference virtually. This was an incredibly difficult decision for me to make considering I’m an extreme extrovert and mingling in person is my jam. I’ve never attended a conference of this magnitude virtually. Additionally, I was invited to participate as an official #SHRM21 Influencer (previously the SHRM Bloggers). (I invite you to meet and connect with this year’s team: Now More Than Ever – Introducing Your SHRM21 Influencers. Follow them on LinkedIn, Twitter or wherever you mingle on social media, and buckle up for all of the amazing content they’ll be pushing out! Follow the hashtags: #SHRM21 #SHRM21Influencer #SHRMNMTE to make sure you don't miss out on any info!)
I started to think about how I can make the most out of this experience. How would I engage with speakers and their content during general sessions and concurrent sessions? How would I meet new people virtually? How would I keep my energy up in a virtual environment without succumbing to all of the possible distractions?
In order to prep, I want to share a few action items that can help you make the most of your virtual conference experience - before, during and after. Here's a countdown of 5 ways you can prepare for a great virtual conference, share your takeaways with your team at work, make amazing life-long friendships, and continue to build that momentum long after the conference is over.
#5: Prepare Your Session Schedule
The SHRM21 Annual Conference website is a great place to peruse speakers, pre-conference offerings, networking events, and all general/concurrent sessions. Click on “Program” at the top, and select “Full Schedule.” This takes you to a page where you can scroll through the entire conference from beginning to end. You can also search by keyword, the type of pass (Virtual or In Person), by day, by event type, by learning track, and by competency. If you’re new to this, it can be quite overwhelming, so take it in bite sizes. Consider your own career track and professional development. What are some gaps and areas of opportunity that could help advance your career? If your company is paying for your attendance, think about the most critical needs of your company and what sessions you could attend to help support those needs.
The conference spans 4 days. There is a LOT of learning that takes place. Don’t feel like you have to attend intense learning sessions all the time. (I did that one year. I was exhausted! That’s a lot to take in!) Mix it up a bit!
On each session description, you’ll see a little calendar icon next to the event time. Click on the calendar icon and add the session to your calendar.
Here are a few recommendations:
#4: Prepare your space
Create your “conference space” in a way that makes you want to be there. Considering lighting (natural vs artificial, light tone, brightness), potential distractions (kids, pets, significant others, coworkers), audio/video options, and furniture.
With technology, there are ways you can simulate an in-person experience. Connect audio to a sound bar or external speakers so you can crank up the volume! (I’m all about the surround sound soundbar. We’ve had many a Taylor Swift concert in our living room!) Consider the size of your monitor – the bigger the better. Are you able to mirror your screen on a smart TV or large monitor so you’re not struggling to see a small laptop (or phone, eek!)?
Set up your furniture in a way that you’re comfortable – but not TOO comfortable. (Don’t lounge on the sofa, risking a mid-session snooze.)
How do you take notes – paper notebook, tablet,. or other device? Have everything ready – paper, pens, charging cords.
Limit possible distractions by placing your phone on silent, closing a door, placing a sign on your door stating that you’re unavailable until X time, and keeping your work apps CLOSED. (Don’t even consider opening work email until break times and/or scheduled office hours. That’s a sure-fire way to get sucked into work unintentionally.)
#3 Schedule Self-Care
Self-care is as important during a virtual conference as it is during an in-person conference. Make sure you’re scheduling breaks. Get up and stretch. Grab a snack. Eat healthy meals to keep your body and mind ready for all of the information you’ll need to process. Drink plenty of water. If you’re a coffee/tea drinker, have your favorite ready to go.
Also, vary your position during the day – sitting/standing. During your break times, go for a short walk. Do some mindfulness. Keep your morning/evening exercise routine.
#2 Protect Your Calendar
It’s understandable that even during an in-person conference you may be called away to attend to an urgent work matter. It’s even more likely during a virtual conference. This can be quite stressful in both scenarios. To the extent possible, prepare your team and your leaders for your absence. Let them know ahead of time that you are going to be unavailable during certain times. If you want to get really fancy, schedule office hours for when you can be available.
Avoid looking at your cell phone, responding to emails and text messages during sessions. You think you can multitask but you can’t. You will miss out on great nuggets of information and insight if you’re trying to do two things at once.
Protect your time. Protect those sessions that you feel are crucial to your professional (and/or personal) growth. Model this behavior for your team and your leaders – it gives them permission to do the same. This alone can have profound impacts on work culture.
Calendar creep has long been an issue. Prioritize this time so that you can continue to have a positive impact. It’s good for you. It’s good for your company. Go all in.
#1 Invest In Your Professional Network
I cannot stress this enough. Invest in your community. Before. During, After.
If you’re on LinkedIn and/or Twitter, follow the hashtags: #SHRM21 #SHRMNMTE #SHRM21Influencer. Engage with the author by responding and sharing. Consider attending the virtual networking events, as well! There are some entertainment/game options, as well as idea-swap options with others in similar industries.
Be intentional. Be curious about others. You never know what insights you’ll gain from others’ experiences and wisdom, or what friendship can develop from a common interest. Remember, you are in HR. HR is about (wait for it…) PEOPLE. (I know… shocking.) Take the time to meet your colleagues and learn from one another. I have said this before, and I’ll say it again: One of the most powerful tools in your HR toolbox is your network. Networking isn’t about exchanging business cards. It’s about intentionally building relationships for the purpose of giving – not getting.
Make it a personal challenge to connect meaningfully with at least one person whom you do not know each day you attend. Schedule a virtual coffee break or happy hour. (I invite you to connect with me! I would LOVE to meetup for coffee/cocktails!) Keep those connections going after the conference.
Do not underestimate the power of human connection.
The SHRM Annual Conference is an opportunity to grow your community, challenge your assumptions, stretch your mindset, and take purposeful steps towards a more meaningful career. The workplace has changed dramatically in a short period of time. There is no “going back to the way it was.” (And why would we want to?) Now more than ever, our organizations need us (HR) to lead, model, provide sound counsel, and walk alongside the C-Suite to help guide the business. Our profession is on the brink of something wonderful. We are poised to be the business leaders we have wanted to be for decades. Take the bull by the horns and embrace the challenge!