We had an amazing experience at the HR Technology Conference in Vegas last week. Part of what made the week so great was getting to meet awesome new people and spend time with excellent old friends.
In the lead-up to HR Tech each year, attendees are inundated with blog posts and newsletters telling them who they need to meet at HR Tech. Most of these lists include the same big-name analysts, bloggers and influencers, and they don’t say anything new. When’s the last time you looked at one of those lists and thought, “who the hell is that?” The big names are wonderful and we love them. They are great people and important to the industry, but they’re just the tip of the iceberg of people worth getting to know in the HR Tech industry.
With that in mind, I created my own list of people I’m glad I met and connected with at HR Tech. Here it is with my explanation for why you should make an effort to get to know these folks too.
Who You Should Have Met at HR Tech
One of our conference favorites, Amy is the vice president of product and she’s incredible. Yes, we said “product.” You probably know Marcus Buckingham from his writing, or you’ve taken the Strengths Finder, or maybe you’ve heard about him from Oprah, or you just know him from his basic awesomeness. But, you might not know his company is building products as well. Actually, they are building a really cool performance product called StandOut. We think it’s awesome. You probably will too.
How often do you meet a human capital analyst who is doing her doctoral work on social network analysis and also happens to be an actress? Only at HR Tech. Mike is the director of research, human capital management at Aberdeen. In just minutes, you’ll see that Mike has a passion for understanding what motivates people at a deeper level, and finding a balance between a growing business and treating people the right way. You should connect with her. Trust us.
Anyone willing to launch their product at HR Tech is worthy of praise in our book. BrandAmper was one of the companies recognized as an “Awesome New Startups for HR” in Friday morning’s session. Jason and Lisa also won “Best Looking at HR Tech,” which was an award we created but didn’t actually give out. Their product is a new spin on helping organizations crowdsource their employer brand. It’s employee-centric and cool, and they are good people.
Now the vice president of brand and demand, Rob was one of the early employees at Achievers, and he was nice enough to share some of his stories about the early days and what it’s been like to scale up the business. He’s doing big stuff, and he’s a hell of a nice guy to boot.
We’re admittedly a bunch of data nerds. So Gene is a bit like the Godfather. He’s published two books on Human Capital Analytics and is building a great company as founder and CEO of Vestrics. Something you don’t know about Gene: He studied architecture at the University of Cincinnati. A Bearcat. Sweet.
Where do we begin on these two? JPK is a super-connector and force of nature that everyone should know. She’s an enterprise sales exec — but she’s also on the cutting edge of what ADP is doing with their analytics platform, and how it could impact business performance. Mark is vice president of development, analytics — and is building one of the coolest things we saw at HR Tech. Imagine what kind of data the leader in payroll processing has on workforces around the country. Then imagine a mad scientist getting his hands on that data and figuring out a way to turn it into storytelling. Bananas. Just bananas. Look them up.
These guys. Steve Boese made a great choice by putting these guys first at the Awesome New Startups for HR session because they certainly got everyone’s attention. Not just because of founder and CEO Sam’s dashing good looks and British accent, but because their product might have been the most beautiful interface at HR Tech. They are taking organizational data and turning it into gorgeous, interactive displays. We were drooling. You should meet Sam and dm-g.
You may not know Mary Ellen, but she and her team are responsible for creating, crafting and or publishing content from lots of the companies you met at HR Tech. Formerly at The Washington Post and at SmartBrief, Mary Ellen and her team produce some of the best content marketing in the space.
OK, you might know Trish. But we had such fun with Trish and Ben that we thought we should mention them here. How often do you get to play “Top That” HR stories with industry analysts??? Not often! Trish and Ben are hosting HREvolution in November — and if you’re not going — you should make plans to.
Ben Martinez of HireVue
Talk about a guy who’s connected. As vice president of HR, Ben runs the people side of the incredible organization at HireVue, and he simultaneously writes a great blog and is incredibly connected to the right people in the space. If you haven’t met Ben and read his blog, go do that now.
Our good friend from north of the border. You likely know Jeff from his writing on SocialHRCamp or Blogging4Jobs — but Jeff is really a connector. He’s all about getting people plugged in to the right places. Looking to meet another vendor? A blogger? Jeff is your guy.
She was a last minute show at HR Tech, so you could have missed her. But, Betsy and her team are doing really cool things at The Good Jobs. They’ve built a turnkey solution to help employers articulate and display their employer brand. We have a feeling that they will be out in full force at HR Tech next year. You should meet Betsy before then.
Josh is one of our favorite guys in the game. You might know him from his days as the vice president of sales at HireVue, but Josh has moved to a hot new startup in the Windy City called QUESocial. They’re all about helping companies leverage social to find better talent. The product is slick and looks like it’s going to give recruiters a new tool to get out there and leverage social media effectively.
When a startup has an opportunity to meet someone from the WSJ, I would guess it’s like a standup comedian meeting Seinfeld. Well, Lauren was not only all over HR Tech, taking briefings and attending sessions — she was even out walking the expo floor to see what companies were up to. If you didn’t meet her, you should definitely follow her work. She covers careers and the workplace and she’s also written a book, “In Cheap We Trust”. Super lady. We were honored to meet her.
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