LinkedIn Talent Connect 2013: Being Transformative in an Age of Health Reform


As I walked through the doors of the 2013 LinkedIn Talent Connect conference in Las Vegas (the largest global talent acquisition conference in the world), I felt relatively optimistic that this event would live up to its mission to Connect. Inspire. Transform. However, I reminded myself that a cool venue and impressive list of keynote speakers seldom results in a call to action beyond the flight home. I was pleasantly disappointed, to say the least. Not only did I glean great professional nuggets as an executive who is charged with helping organizations optimize their talent acquisition strategies, but I was personally inspired to think differently about talent acquisition, talent management and recruitment as a whole.

In this age of financial and healthcare reform, many capable professionals that thrive on innovation and strategy fall prey to status quo due to budgetary constraints and compliance protocols. Whether it is intended or not, this can spawn conformity and complacency in day-to-day business practices and the overall performance of an organization.

Now don’t get me wrong, being a budget-conscious steward of your organization is admirable. But I have learned that one may be far more productive by being a creative disruptor. This thought process sounds counterintuitive, but at its core is the notion that unleashing the power of creativity will spark innovation to drive performance. This mindset challenges you to be transformative—while also being compliant but not letting the latter always govern the former.

No leader has better articulated and visualized the power of creativity than graffiti artist, author, corporate thought leader and Talent Connect presenter, Erik Wahl. He connected, transformed and inspired us all through his “Art of Vision,” which challenges people to “unthink” so that we can “rediscover our creative genius” (which happens to be the title of his book, a CEO Reads #1 Bestselling Book). 

At its core, Erik’s philosophy believes the best sustainable edge in business is the ability to differentiate yourself from the competition. More specifically, “Talent acquisition has a unique opportunity to lead differentiation through great talent.” During his presentation, Erik explored ways to help leaders become more creative, innovative and ultimately profitable. He believes “unthinking” or being illogical and potentially disruptive as it pertains to the way you think about talent, employer brand and employee engagement, among other keys to organizational success, can:

  • Amplify your employer brand and voice
  • Enable you to be better storytellers across your organization and industry
  • Help attract high-quality talent to your organization
  • Illustrate how to be passionate and creative about what your organization can do to connect with others
  • Force you to ask the question “What is the return on investment (ROI) of risk strategies?”

To put this thought in motion, Erik speed-painted iconic thought leaders throughout the  presentation (Albert Einstein, Bono, and the Statue of Liberty); he also showed examples of organizations he has worked with that have embraced this innovative style of thinking and therefore amplified their brands in a very transformational way. The videos below offer a taste of Erik Wahl’s artistic form of thought leadership.



In my 20+ years of professional experience, I have attended countless national and global conferences, but I have never seen a speaker influence a large group so provocatively. We all left excited to tap into our creative abilities to drive results, while keeping the experience human in order to inspire and connect.

Post contributed by Lauren Cabral-Gagne, Vice President and Practice Leader for Pinstripe Healthcare.  

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