My Kind of Town

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In just over a month’s time I’ll be stepping onto the runway at Chicago’s O’Hare airport, Illinois SHRM 2013 is getting closer.

One of the most exciting things about conference going is catching up with friends. I can’t wait to say hi again to Dwane, Susan, Sabrina, Broc, Laurie, Nicole, Crystal and John all of whom I’ve been fortunate to meet before, and to have the chance to say hi to the likes of Paul, John, Kris, Andi and hopefully many others for the first time. I’m going to channel my great friend Steve Browne and try to meet as many people as I can, and more importantly, encourage others to do likewise.

I’m excited to be talking on the Monday morning about connections, and how HR can become better connected with colleagues and customers alike. Neil Morrison and I often talk about HR as the oil in the machine when we see each other, and I want to play with that idea, and explore aspects of creativity and vulnerability as powerful connection points too. I’m looking forward to listening to other speakers also, and to enjoying many good conversations.

I visited Chicago earlier this year for the first time, and it left a wonderful mark in my memory. I shared a lovely lunch with Susan, Sabrina and John, I walked along the frozen edge of Lake Michigan down Lakeshore Drive (from where I took the above photo), and I was bowled over by the Picasso exhibition that was running at the Art Institute, and the fabulous giant sculpture Picasso donated to the city which stands in the Daley Plaza. This picture below is of Francoise Gilot, who Picasso met in 1943. They had two kids together during their ten year relationship, and this lithograph, made in 1946 is for me a wonderful example of how a great artist can capture so much from a few simple lines.

It’s no secret I’m a big fan of the USA, I think I’ve visited seventeen states so far on my travels across the years, and from my experience they all have different things to offer. So I’m revisiting Chicago both with the expectation that I will again see at least part of what made my last trip such a powerful experience, and the hope of something new too. Like Sinatra says in this video as he introduces ‘My Kind of Town’, ‘What a wonderful moment is it when you get to sing for a real live, right now, breathing type audience’. Illinois SHRM – live in Chicago – 19th and 20th August 2013. Bring it on.

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