The Countdown to #HRFL19 is On!

Lorena and Amanda have been asked to join the 2019 HR Florida Conference and Expo Social Media Team this year alongside HR colleagues and friends, Wendy Dailey, Jon Thurmond, and Jazmine Wilkes! We are both honored to be a part of this incredible journey and we want to share with all of you everything that the HR Florida conference has to offer and why YOU should attend!

First the basics:

What: The 2019 HR Florida Conference and Expo

When: August 25 – 28, 2019

WhereGaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center

Who: HR Professionals from Florida and beyond

Why: The HR Florida conference offers a unique experience that allows HR Professionals from the state of Florida and beyond an opportunity to create connections, learn innovative HR techniques that can change how you work, and celebrate with friends and colleagues!

Now… a word from your favorite “The Future of HR” blog writers…


I’ve got to be completely honest with you all, I’m not sure where July came from! These last few weeks have been so hectic; between packing, moving, unpacking and traveling to Las Vegas for #SHRM19. It was a blur, that’s for sure! And while I would love to sit here and reflect on everything that has happened, I am finding myself excited for the next thing coming soon! As I write this, we are only 53 days away from the largest HR conference in the state of Florida, #HRFL19! And I am so excited to be a part of the Social Media Team with my friends! I love seeing Jon and Wendy at the SHRM conference every year, and to find out I get to see them two times in 2019 was fantastic. I of course am excited to see Jazmine again, since it’s been a little over a year! We all keep up on social media though. 😊 Hence, why we are on the Social Media Team. 😉

Anyway, I admit, I haven’t done as much promoting as I would have liked, but I had a lot of responsibilities for the SHRM conference, so I haven’t had much free time. However, now that we’re less than two months away, I can’t wait to share with all of you the things I am most looking forward to. SO! Make sure you are following me on Twitter and LinkedIn because I’m going to be highlighting one thing per day until the day leading up to the conference of things that I am looking forward to; whether it’s a session, a speaker, an event, a person, etc., I am committing myself to that! In the meantime, sign up for the conference! You wouldn’t want to experience the FOMO that comes from not being there. #NotAtHRFL19 ☹ #HRFL19 😊



Hey everyone !  I’m so excited to be part of the HR Florida Conference Social Media Team.  Let me start by telling you that HR Florida is a blast.  I personally love local conferences more than national ones because they are easier to navigate and everything is so close.  This is the second year the conference is being hosted at the Gaylord Palms and let me tell you, you are in for a treat.  I am especially looking forward to working with my friends Wendy, Jon, Amanda, and Jazmine.  I will be tweeting about the sessions I will be going to and the activities going, on so be sure to follow me at @lpabonhr and don’t forget to follow #HRFL19, but before we get there I want to help you get ready for such an exciting event!

  • First of all, USE COMFORTABLE SHOES! I cannot say this enough, your feet will hurt if you don’t and that can definitely ruin the experience.
  • Plan day and night outfits, once the sessions are over we still have entertainment for the night and definitely do not want to miss out.
  • Unless you registered for VIP upgrade, lunch will be in boxes; if you are not into that make sure you bring snacks.
  • Very important, if you do not have a twitter account, create one. Trust me on this, part of the conference fun is tweeting and reading people’s tweets.  Also if you follow #HRFL19 or anyone on the social media team for that matter, you will be in the loop on what is going on.
  • Take time to visit the EXPO Hall, even if you aren’t looking for anything new this time around or if you aren’t the decision maker in your organization. The EXPO Hall always has fun stuff happening, plus it is a good place to catch up with attendees and network!
  • Even if you live in Orlando I highly recommend you stay at the hotel (Gaylord is full but there is an overflow hotel that offers shuttles to and from Gaylord Palms). Sessions start really early and evening activities can last till really late.
  • This last one is for all my introverts out there (aka: me). You are going to be around people for a few days so be sure you have charged yourself up for this event, don’t get me wrong it is a good time but in order to enjoy and survive it you have to be in a certain mindset.

I’m sure there’s a bunch of other things I forgot to tell you, but again follow me on twitter
@lpabonhr and I will be sure to get the information you need out there.



-Amanda & Lorena


I’m so busy!!! Update post

Hey everyone!
I have been a bit MIA these past few weeks.  I haven’t participated in Twitter chats in quite a while which makes me sad.  There is a lot going on right now which is great news though since I love being busy.  I really didn’t think about what to write this week so bear with me as I put my thoughts into words.
The reason I have been so busy lately is work, we have added a new provider to our practice, which means we needed to hire Medical Assistants and Front Desk Receptionists for her team.  That means I have been to a lot of career fairs, advisory boards, meetings with local schools, and A LOT of interviewing.  I do love this part of my job because it allows me to be out of the office and change scenery but when you have multiple events one after the other it gets exhausting especially since I am a Department of One, when I got back from those events my inbox was filled and I had to play catch up on the projects I was already working on.  In the middle of all of this, I had planned a trip and was taking 2 days off and it wasn’t a lot of time off, but since hiring consumed so much of my time I really was in a time crunch.  I wanted to cross all my t’s and dot all my i’s before I left.  So I decided it was time to delegate some tasks, as HR there isn’t a lot I can’t delegate without breaking confidentiality but there were a few things I was able to do:
1.    Asked supervisors to do their write-ups according to the organization’s standards and not send me an email with the issues for me to write them up for them.  That way I could just revise quickly and sign for approval.
2.    Additionally, I requested them to have easier conversations on their own w/o me as a witness.  (Sensitive subjects were still being handled with me).
3.    Initiated an employee referral program.  Employees recommended people they knew who had the skills and qualifications for the job, which saved me some time with candidate searching online.
4.    Finally, created a “celebration committee” for birthday, anniversary, and holiday celebration planning.  (This was actually a huge hit and employees were much more engaged than I ever imagined).
I still had a lot to do but these things definitely helped lighten my load.  The best thing about delegating was being able to leave for my trip without the stress of going back to candidate searching and coming back to a lot of unfinished work!
    As I mentioned I took 2 days off from work and went to Puerto Rico.  I hadn’t been to Puerto Rico in 3 years so I hadn’t seen anything after hurricane Maria.  The trip was for mother’s day weekend.  I went to visit my grandmothers with my parents and sister and it was fun and emotional all at once.  It was nice to be around family, see a few of my friends, and visit my favorite hangout places and of course my alma mater, but the impact this hurricane had on the island has been humongous.  It has been over a year and a half since this tragic event happened and you can still see the damage, I can’t even imagine what everyone went through and I can see why everyone was so desperate to leave afterward.
(Cute picture of me in University of Puerto Rico- Rio Piedras)
    Speaking of trips… I am headed to Las Vegas in a few weeks for #SHRM19! I am super excited about this trip since I have never been to Las Vegas. I know I will have lots of fun and learn a lot.  I have met so many people in the last two SHRM national conferences and I am excited to see some of them again this summer as well as meeting new faces!
So that’s about it for the updates.  Thanks for reading!

Health & Wellness Fairs 101

When I started my new role a couple months ago, one of the things that my manager told Image result for health fairme I’d be responsible for was coordinating a Health & Wellness Fair, happening in June. I’ve never done anything like this before, so I had no idea where to start. I received a lot of great advice from my connections and started to run with it. Even though the event hasn’t happened yet, I still wanted to write about my coordinating experience while providing advice on how to coordinate your own Health & Wellness Fair.

Get advice: One of the first things that my connections told me was to utilize my insurance broker because they would be able to help secure vendors and maybe participate themselves. However, I wanted to try a different direction. It’s a great piece of advice though, so don’t knock it just because I did.

Know what you have to work with:  Image result for not enough room funnyFind out what your budget is for your event. It sucks to start talking to possible vendors, get excited about what they have to offer, and then realize you have no budget. Get an understanding of the space you have available too. You wouldn’t want to overbook vendors because you don’t have enough space.

Brainstorm vendors: Once you know your budget and your space and what you want to accomplish at your fair, determine the types of vendors you want to participate. At first we thought we wanted people that could check blood pressures, do biometric screenings, give flu shots, etc. But I quickly learned, a lot of vendors charge for these things (and it’s not the right time of year for flu shots.) So, I began thinking outside of the box.

Utilize Connections: Once I started doing that, I utilized my connections to find the right people. I figured I would reach out to an HR rep at a local hospital that has sponsored our local SHRM chapter meetings before. She connected me with someone in my area that handles these types of events, and that person connected me with five other people from different healthcare related divisons. I also reached out to the health department that had sponsored our meetings in the past and confirmed them as well.

Additionally, a friend of mine knew that I was preparing to do this health fair and he met someone while networking that does this for a living, so he connected me with her. Unfortunately, we have a $0 budget and her services cost money. However, she connected me with someone she knew that had put on successful health fairs for the county that she works for. She connected me with another five vendors and gave me some additional out of the box ideas for vendors that she’s worked with.

I also reached out to my own chiropractor, dentist, eye clinic, and a retirement planning colleague. If you haven’t yet, start building your network! It will come in handy, I promise!!

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Reach Goals: My goal for this event was 15 vendors. We’re still about three weeks away from the event, but as of today, I have 16 confirmed vendors. Some of the services that will be available for our employees include chair massages, a blood drive, tongue and pulse consultations, joint screenings, plus they will be able to learn about many local organizations that can help them with health issues, continuing education, retirement planning, airport parking, and so much more. I even heard that some vendors will be bringing some swag and prizes, which I know will excite the employees!

The Day of: Once I am feeling confident that I have confirmed all of the vendors that will attend, I will create a vendor bingo card. All of the employees will get one and will be asked to have the vendors sign off that they attended their table. At the end of the day, I’ll have a drawing with a cool prize for the winner. Gotta have motivation for them to visit all of the tables!

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I know this is the first time I am experiencing this and there is probably a lot more that I could have done, however as a smallish company with only about 70 employees in the office, I think they should have a good experience.

If you have held a health & wellness before, I would love to learn more about your coordination efforts. This is a learning experience and I plan to take what I’ve learned this year to make next year’s health & wellness fair even better!

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Unpopular Opinion: Resumes

So my post today is about how we, HR Practitioners and recruiters go about filtering resumes. I know my opinion is not very popular but bear with me here. According to various articles, hiring managers/recruiters/hr practitioners/whatever you want to call them take up to 6 seconds to decide if the candidate is qualified for a job. I find this to be absolutely ridiculous! Yes, there are certain resumes out there that you just know, but are we being too quick about scanning our candidate’s resume? Recently, I was participating in a thread that talked about how people name their resume files and a #HRPro said that they disqualify a candidates based on the name on their resume file, if it is too generic it must mean that the candidate really isn’t motivated or passionate about the job they’re applying for. That doesn’t even make sense to me, basically, this candidate’s resume wasn’t even looked at because their file name was FirstNameLastNameResume, who cares if they actually have the skills needed to perform this job am I right? No actually, you’re most definitely wrong. A file name is simply that, a name you put on a file and unless the file has the name of another organization or it is distasteful it really doesn’t matter what it is, what matters is what is inside that file.

There are a few things I want to unpack with my post. Firstly, we need to acknowledge that different jobs require different skills and although many jobs require good or even excellent written communication skills there are other jobs where that is completely irrelevant. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be disqualifying candidates because of how they spell things, but if someone has a strong customer service background, has excellent references, passed the skills assessment required for the job, should we be disqualifying them because they misspelled a word or because their resume is more than 2 pages? Think about it, they have the skills, they proved that by passing the pre-employment assessment, they are employable, which leads me to my second point…

…Is there really a skilled workers shortage? Don’t get me wrong, I know we have a very low unemployment rate which is great but there is still a 3-4% unemployment rate nationally. Could it be because these people don’t know how to write a resume? I know it is a candidate’s responsibility to create, build, and find resources to correct their resume, but what if we as employers help them a bit, and I don’t mean fix the resume for them, but actually pay more attention to those resumes. I work in a medical office and I am constantly looking for medical assistants or paramedical aestheticians who have worked with botox, fillers, hair restoration, etc. So it is natural for supervisors to send me resumes from people who have worked in dermatology offices, beauty salons, spas, and anything that has to do with hair or skin care, but a few weeks ago one of the supervisors put a resume in the “not qualified pile” (they literally looked at the resume for a few seconds) and when I went to grab it I saw that the candidate worked at an ophthalmologist’s office in which they had to administer fillers and botox injections! The only reason I saw this is because I actually was looking at the resume, not just scanning it. The best part of this story, we actually hired her and she is better at injecting botox than most of the other medical assistants and aestheticians in our team.  And to think we almost missed her because she was working in an ophthalmologist office.

Finally, let’s stop relying on our Applicant Tracking Systems so much! I mean they’re great! I can organize candidates and see what stage of the hiring process their in, but let’s be real, while Applicant Tracking Systems are great at certain functionalities there’s other stuff that can be improved and instead of waiting for someone to improve the system for us why don’t we proactively try to help our candidates get through the ATS. I do not think it is fair that if there aren’t certain keywords in a resume, the resume gets lost in translation and the candidate risks that their resume will never be seen. I love technology, but sometimes it makes us lazy, myself included. Which is why I actually go one by one and check the resumes submitted in my ATS and I have found some of the best candidates by doing just that. Let’s help people find their dream jobs, let’s not make it so hard on them.


Never Stop Learning

For those of you that know me or have read my previous blogs, you know that a lot of my writing inspiration comes from real life experience. Which is good news for you because as we grow, we’re always learning new things and going through life lessons every step along the way. Which means I still have a lot to learn, which I’ll in turn pass along to you through writing.

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As a lot of you also know, I am heavily involved with A LOT. I’m on the board of directors for the Greater Orlando SHRM, I am on the SHRM Young Professionals Advisory Council, I blog for this blog and for SHRM, and I say yes to almost anything else that comes up (#SHRM19 blogging, #HRFL19 social media team, DisruptHR talker, etc.) It’s not that I say yes because I feel like I have to be involved in everything, but I really enjoy what I do. But eventually, being busy all the time catches up to you.

After my diabetes diagnosis last year, I decided it was time to cut back. At the time, I had just joined the HR Florida conference committee, so I decided to remove myself from that as a start. However, I had already committed myself to another year with GOSHRM and the SHRM YPAC. Because I felt like I could continue to manage those commitments with everything else, I decided to give both at least one more year. I kept saying to myself, just wait until 2020; 2020 will be your year to just take a break from it all.

So with that said, I recently had a chat with a colleague about my future in our local SHRM organization. I let him know that after this year, I was going to take a much needed break from the board. Though he was sad to hear it, he wasn’t shocked; he knows how much I’m involved with. He and I chatted about how it takes some people a long time to realize the importance of taking time for themselves and it really got me thinking.

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I think a lot of people in my generation feel the need to work constantly; to impress whoever they are trying to impress. I used to think that we felt the need to always be connected because we feel like it is the expectations of our leaders, but I think that we are the ones that show our leaders that we can be available all of the time, so they just end up expecting it. We answer their emails in the evening, on weekends, and when we’re on PTO. We do work when we should be relaxing and doing something fun. On top of that, we take on extra commitments because we think it’ll help us move up in the world quicker. That’s not an admission of why I do it though. I started getting involved with extracurriculars because I had just moved to Florida and I didn’t know anyone. I wanted to grow a network of professionals in my desired industry in my local community. Getting involved is a great way to start, so that’s what I did. Then I realized how much I loved what I was doing. I was helping young HR professionals get ahead. So I continued to get involved in more so I could continue to grow my network; and I started meeting people in my state, then around the country, and I have even met some international friends. It wasn’t that I continued to stay involved because it was getting me ahead in life (even though it really was), I was staying involved because of the connections I was making.

I’m just going to take a quick break here by saying this isn’t where I envisioned this blog going, but sometimes when you get on a kick you just go with it.

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But anyway, what I really wanted to say was… take time in life to get to know yourself, like your true self. Listen to your mind and don’t ignore anything that your body and mind tell you. No one knows you better than yourself, so when it’s time for you to slow down, you will know it; you will feel it. Don’t wait until someone tells you to stop because either you get a negative health diagnosis or because your kids are telling you they don’t ever see you because you’re spending too much time doing other things. Do what you do (or stop doing what you do) for yourself and no one else. It’ll help you feel like you’re making the right decision because you’ll know that you decided to do or not do something for you.

I hope my rant makes sense, especially since I went off in a couple different directions… but the reason I kept it as is, is because it’s all applicable and relatable. And even though I write because I want to teach and share experiences with others, I also write for me. I want to be able to look back in a year from now, or maybe ten years from now, or whenever I need to be reminded of life’s little lessons, and I want to know that everything I’ve done has led me to where I am at that very moment and life is good because it is all about learning and teaching. Life is good, ya’ll. And that’s all that matters.

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How do I do it?

If you follow me on social media, specifically Twitter you will see that from time to time I will tweet about random things that happened in my workplace. Hilarious resumes, random things people say that I overhear, and general role your eyes moments. Obviously, I only share things that can be shared, because as an HR professional I have learned that there’s a bunch of things that just have to be kept confidential. Now, those things that are appropriate to share in social media I also share with my cousins in our “group chat” and every single time they read my hilarious and crazy stories at least one of them will ask how do I do it and usually follow up that rhetorical question with: only a special kind of person has the patience to deal with so much human interaction.
Although they aren’t seeking a real answer from me when they ask that question, it got me to some thinking. How do I do it? Why is it that I enjoy doing what I do even when I have to deal with a lot of crazy or annoying situations? I fell in love with HR in an unconventional way I guess.
As I have mentioned in past posts, when I graduated high school I was looking to end up in hospitality, but since no university in Puerto Rico had a strong hospitality program I opted to do a bachelor’s in business and decide to focus on Operations Management. I took the introductory class, and was bored out of my mind! I don’t think the subject matter was the problem, I honestly think the professor just wasn’t good at his job. He had you read 3-5 chapters before every class for us to be ready to discuss in class. Once class came he would write a few key words on the board, literally read the definition of the words from the textbook (which we already read), and then call it a day. A class that was supposed to be 80 minutes long barely lasted 30 minutes and we wouldn’t discuss anything. Exam day would come and as long as you memorized the textbook you were pretty much guaranteed a good grade, but I never felt like I learned anything.

That same semester I was taking an obligatory introductory to human resources course. I wasn’t too excited about it because it was a Mondays and Fridays and I hated taking Friday classes, but a friend of mine had recommended a specific professor and she only had that one session. This class was completely different for me, we were still expected to read the textbook but the professor had a completely different approach to teaching. She would start of class discussing any questions we might have from reading the textbook and once that was over she had cases that related to the different topics discussed in the chapter and she would be creative on the way she approached those cases. The class was a blast, suddenly I was excited to go to school on a Friday and I was so engaged that I would stay after class and talk to my professor about her career and the challenges that came with it. By the end of the semester, I had applied to change my major.

Once I continued to take HR classes I learned everything it entailed legal, benefits, payroll, employee relations, training, talent acquisition, corporate branding, and the list goes on. I was in love with all of it, but I needed to put what I learned into practice to see if I really enjoyed working in HR as much as I liked studying the theory behind it. So, I decided to apply to an internship at Walmart’s corporate office in Puerto Rico; the internship would focus on compensation and benefits, but also allow me to shadow other HR specialties. I came during a time where they were transitioning annual enrollment from paper to online enrollment. During this internship I was activating employee discount cards, explaining the online enrollment process to members of management, answering employee inquiries, auditing the enrollment process once everyone had chosen their benefits, and planning health fairs. I later got to shadow the recruitment manager and got to see her perform employee evaluations, I assisted in running payroll, helped the learning and development team plan their onboarding and training presentations, and was able to visit stores and talk to the store associates about different employee relations issues. After that internship, I knew no questions asked, human resources was the perfect career for me.

To be honest, I don’t think I will have an answer to my cousins’ question, I don’t know “how I do it”. All I know is that I love doing what I do and even when I get annoyed or irritated I know that working for my organization and its employees is something I truly enjoy to do.

I Love Talking to People!!

Can you believe it’s been a month since I started my new job! Seems like much longer, haha! I know people have a lot of different opinions when it comes to starting a new HR job and what you should do first. I don’t think that any one opinion is correct, because I think a lot of it has to do with what is important to the organization and what needs to happen quickly. For instance, in my role, they needed me to come in and do payroll right off the bat. I have also created and conducted a new hire orientation (something they’ve never really done before), reviewed the handbook that an attorney has been working on for several months, and successfully survived my first workers comp audit. I’ve been keeping pretty busy doing a lot of things that are normal in any HR role. But earlier this week, I got to do something that makes me remember why I got into HR. I got to talk to the people!

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Yes, I know talking to the people is part of the HR role too and we talk to people everyday. But I had an opportunity to sit down with a group of randomly selected individuals (selected by me) and just listened to what they had to say about their satisfaction working for our organization. I knew that there are concerns around the office and that the morale is low. But I wanted to find out why, I wanted to hear it directly from the employees’ mouths. Before I went into the meeting, I reviewed the results of an Employee Engagement survey that everyone took back in January. It helped me create the questions that I would ask if there became a lull in the conversation. I also came up with a few stats in case I wanted to reference them. Then I went in and introduced myself, asked everyone else to introduce themselves (because I only knew a couple of them,) and gave them a short intro to why we were there. Soon after, the discussion began.

Image result for cat blown awayAnd I just have to say, I was blown away by the feedback I received. I had scheduled one hour to have this discussion, and after the hour was up, I allowed people to leave if they wanted. However I said I would stay as long as they wanted to and would keep listening. No one left and we ended up talking (and laughing) for a total of 90 minutes. The best part was how happy they were to have someone (that seemed genuine) to listen to them. To me, it felt like they were finally glad to have someone on board that cared about their feelings.

So as all of you know, I love it when I can turn my blog into a learning experience too. So, if you are in an organization where it feels like the morale is low, create a focus group of random individuals from each department so you can get an equal feel from the whole organization. For my focus group, I wanted to include one person from every department and it ended up being 16 people; so I split the group in two so everyone wouldn’t feel so overwhelmed. I also tried to make sure there was an even mix of male/females and a variety of levels of seniority. I am meeting with the second group tomorrow. I am hoping that I receive similar feedback from the second group and that they are able to be as open and honest with me as the first group.

Looking to create your own focus group? Here are a few additional tips that may help you out.

  1. Image result for cats eating cookieProvide Food: Depending on the time of day of your meeting, provide your focus group with food. You may want to avoid lunch time where you’d have to provide a full meal, if it’s not in your budget. But try the morning, with something simple like muffins, donuts, fruits, etc. Or if you prefer the afternoon, get a tray of cookies and some chips. People love free food, no matter what it is.
  2. Provide a Safe Space: Find a room that is away from others in the office so they can’t be heard or seen. Explain that they are in a safe space and can be as honest as they want. Tell them you will listen to everything they have to say, positive and negative. And let them know that you can’t make changes overnight, nor can you grant every wish. But make it your goal to be their advocate and do everything in your power to make their work experience a little bit better.
  3. Follow Through and Follow Up: Take lots of notes during your meeting. Afterwards, arrange them in a way that it’s easy to follow. Come up with some solutions and talk to the decision makers to make your solutions a reality. After you’ve had an opportunity to make some quick wins and come up with longer termed solutions, follow up with your focus group (no more than 2-3 months), and give them some updates. Also, if there was anything discussed that you can’t change immediately or at all, make sure you explain why. Finally, if you have the ability to, include them in rolling out your solutions. Talk about a morale boost when your employees are included!


If you decide you’d like to conduct a focus group after reading this and have any questions please don’t hesitate to reach out! I love helping people out when it comes to the thing I love most about Human Resources, the employees! Even though it’s only been a month since I’ve started this new role, I have a feeling I am going to live long and prosper here. 😊 Have a great weekend everyone!

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3 Speaking Engagements in 6 Days?! Challenge Accepted!!

WOW!! Last week was a whirlwind. My goal every other week is to have a blog ready to publish by Friday at noon, but this week I wanted to share my experiences throughout the past week. I hope you’ll forgive me for being a little late. 😊

If you keep up with me regularly, you may know that one of my fears is public speaking. With that in mind, one of my 2019 goals was to do more public speaking so I could become more comfortable. This past week, I had three opportunities to speak in public and I would love to share the experiences with you.


  1. Rollins SHRM Student Conference – Last Saturday (3/23), the Rollins SHRM Chapter held their second annual student HR conference. Last year, I played the role as advisor, so I was there in a support function. This year, I was asked to speak. Since I was their guest speaker in January, I had to come up with a new topic to present. I was told that the theme was innovation, so I came up with this idea that I would give 26 reasons why Team Building is important. I know 26 seems like a lot and also seems like a strange number. But 26 is significant because that’s how many letters there are in the alphabet, which was my strategy. I gave 26 reasons why Team Building is important using each letter of the alphabet. Within my presentation, I created a well thought out scavenger hunt, a popular team building activity. My ulterior motive? The students had to learn about SHRM, HR Florida, GOSHRM, and the Rollins SHRM chapter to complete the scavenger hunt. I ended up with eight students in my session. I know most of them preferred the other session, but I kind of sold them on my presentation. (Sold sounds better than bribed 😉.) I hope they got something out of the session. I know that they at least learned more about SHRM, so bonus points for me!


  1. DisruptHR Orlando – Wednesday was the day I was dreading for weeks. I know, I know… I signed myself up for DisruptHR. No one was twisting my arm, but I was the most nervous than I think I’ve ever been for a speaking engagement. My presentation title was KISSES, HR. If you were there, you know what it was about. If you weren’t, I can’t go into too many details until the video comes out. But what I can do is give you some preparation tips based on my experience. 

If anyone ever decides to talk at a DisruptHR event, here are my top 3 practice tips.

  • Know your material! Choose a topic you are passionate about. It will make it easier to remember and easier to talk about.
  • Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse!! Practice your speech multiple times. Practice by yourself, with your family, your friends, your pets, your boss; anyone that will let you practice on them. Listen to their advice and enhance your presentation each time.
  • Remember to Breathe!!! Don’t try to get out your entire 5-minute speech in one breathe. Take your time, take deep breaths, pace yourself, and smile.


  1. Rollins Certification Class – On Thursday evening I had another chance to return to my alma mater and give back by speaking to one of the MHR Certification classes. The students in that class are preparing for taking their SHRM Certification exam within the next couple months and they wanted a chance to speak to professionals that had passed the SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP exams recently. I thoroughly enjoyed this talk because it was much more informal and conversational. I got to give them some great tips on how to pass the exam and got to answer a lot of great questions about what the exam was like. Looking to take the SHRM-CP exam in the near future?

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Here are my top three preparation tips.

  • Know the vocabulary. Vocabulary is super important! There are a lot of questions that ask about certain terms. Some of the knowledge base questions have the vocabulary within the question. If you don’t know what something means, you may struggle with the question.
  • Think like SHRM. It is sometimes hard for HR pros to take the certification exam because we want to answer the question with an answer of what we would do in real life. Sometimes this isn’t the best strategy. You have to study the materials that SHRM publishes and learn the strategies of how they would do something. See below for specifics.
  • Understand the strategy. Do you struggle with test taking? Remember that if any of the answers talk about a company’s stakeholders, gathering data, collaborating with management, aligning with strategy, or loving your employees… those are probably the right answers!
  • Bonus tip: Make sure to prepare! But also make sure to have confidence in yourself. Tell yourself that you can do this!!


So there you have it. I have survived four speaking engagements so far in 2019, so I feel like I’m off to a great start! But I think I’m going to enjoy the next few months even more because I get to do what I love and I know I’m good at, blogging! Between my SHRM Blog, this blog, #SHRM19 blogging, and #HRFL19 blogging, my little fingers are going to be typing away a lot… doesn’t look like I’ll have much time for speaking… 😉 Anyway.. I hope this was informative for you! I love talking about my personal experiences, but if I can throw in some life lessons with it, I feel accomplished!

Have a great week everyone!

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Acknowledging your Employees

This week I read a tweet that made me both laugh and feel slightly irate.  Those who know me know that I hate when people generalize certain characteristics when it comes to the different generations in the workforce, especially when it comes to Millennials.  This week someone tweeted that during a conference session the speaker said that what Millennials want is to be acknowledged, be heard, and want to hear that they’re doing okay.  As I read this I couldn’t help but roll my eyes a bit.  Of course, we want to be acknowledged and heard! But let’s be real for a second, it’s no secret that Millennials have a reputation of needing constant feedback (which in my experience isn’t necessarily true), but come on, I think it is safe to say that people from all generations want these same things at work.

When we talk about acknowledging our employees a lot of managers think this is a huge expense. In reality, there’s a lot of things that you can do for little to no cost to satisfy this solely Millennial need (eye roll *sarcasm*).  There are a lot really simple things you can do to make employees feel acknowledged, heard, and even appreciated at work.

  1. Say Hello: Sounds painfully obvious but many times I see leaders walk in into their offices, passing many desks and people and literally not saying anything, not even a mumbled hello.  It almost seems like they’re avoiding eye contact. Obviously, nobody should be expected to go to every single person and say hello but a general good morning as you walk in can go a far way.  Also, if you manage a team, make sure to stop by and say hello to them at some point during the day.  Trust me when I say that your team notices whether or not you say hello to them.
  2. Say Thank You: This should also be obvious, but this isn’t said enough.  When you see someone working hard on completing their tasks, thank them for what they do, especially do so when you see a frontline employee doing their job.  Frontline employees are almost as crucial as your customers; they are the face of the organization.  Frontline employees literally work directly with customers and/or the product.  To be honest, without frontline employees there wouldn’t be a product to sell or customers to buy it, and without a product or customers, there is no need for leaders and managers.  When you thank an employee you are letting them know that their efforts matter and make a difference.
  3. Shout Out Employees when They go Above and Beyond: If you see an employee going that extra mile for the organization, team or customer shout them out. It could be by sending them a simple email; include their teammates so they can cheer the employee as well.  The employee will feel acknowledged and the team can see that hard work does get recognized, which can motivate them to work harder.
  4. Have Ongoing Conversations: Some employees want to grow within the organization; other employees don’t care about growth and are just happy doing the same thing for years.  Use this information to your advantage; make work more versatile for those who care about growth.  Train those who want to stay within the same area to become subject matter experts in their area.  Now the only way to get this information is by starting a conversation.  These conversations will give you a good idea of what your team’s strengths and weaknesses are, but they also lead to them opening up about other things which leads me to my last point.
  5. Follow up and take an interest in their lives: There is obviously a fine line between work and personal and as leaders we need to be very well aware of what that line is; realistically speaking we spend more time with our coworkers than with our family members so obviously the personal will bleed into the professional and that isn’t all that bad.  Make sure to show some interest in what is happening in their lives, if they’re juggling school ask them how that is going, if you knew their kid was sick, ask them if they’re feeling better.  Employees want to work in a place that not only cares about them as professionals but also acknowledges them as humans.

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Oh, the Places I Have Been!

The last few weeks have been pretty exciting for me, to say the least. My guess is if you’re reading this, you are connected with me on at least one form of social media, so you’ve probably seen all the exciting things I’ve announced in the last few weeks. I don’t normally use this blog space as a place to reflect on what is going on personally, but I felt like I wanted to share it this week. I also wanted to have something that I could look back on in the future and be like, wow! In no particular order, here are some of the things that have been going on recently.


  1. Left my old job: Not a lot that I can say about this, other than it was time to move on. New opportunities were waiting for me. I do miss my team there though.


  1. Was offered a new job: On February 26th, I was offered an HR Generalist position with a company in downtown Orlando called Radixx. I knew from personal resources and through the interview process that I might have some challenges to face in this role, but I was ready to take them on! I started the role this past Monday, March 11th, and so far it’s been great! It’s been very busy, don’t get me wrong… like I said, challenges! But I successfully ran payroll for the team, made six offers to interns, researched a lot of stuff, and so much more (just in my first week.) Best part, I feel so appreciated! Not just by my direct supervisor, but the team that surrounds me. I also find it funny that I was able to just jump right in. Maybe it’s because I have more experience now than I did when I started my previous job, but it took about three months to feel like I was making a difference at my previous job. Here, it took about four hours. I don’t think I’ll have any time for watching Netflix at this job. 😉 We have an open floor plan anyway, so wouldn’t be able to get by with doing that with all of the people around me. 😃


  1. Took a week off: Before I was offered the new job at Radixx, I already knew my last day at my previous job would be March 1. So I started thinking about some things that I needed to get done. I had doctor appointments and presentations coming up. I just knew that I could use a break. So when I was offered the position, I said, ya know, could I start March 11? I could really just use a few days for myself. So that’s what I did.

New job

  • I had a few hours of PTO left from my old job, so I left after lunch on Friday the 1st, and went to Disney! I hadn’t really announced on social media about my career changes, so I used that as an opportunity to quietly mention it.
  • I got a haircut and spent time with a friend on Saturday; then I talked that friend into getting an annual pass to Disney so she could go with me on Sunday.
  • She and I joined a friend for a trip to Animal Kingdom on Sunday where we pretty much conquered the entire park!
  • Monday was a trip to the doctor.
  • Tuesday and Wednesday were lazy days at home with the cats.
  • Thursday was a GOSHRM board meeting & another doctor appointment.
  • Friday was a trip to Tampa with a friend to see Blake Shelton, Lauren Alaina, Trace Adkins, the Bellamy Brothers, and John Anderson. AMAZING concert, btw.
  • And Saturday and Sunday were more lazy days with the cats.


  1. Was nominated and selected to be a Rising HR Star in 2019. A couple months ago I was told that Jon Thurmond, a wonderful HR idol, had nominated me to be an HR rising star, an honor given by Sage People. I am humbled to Jon and Sage People felt that I deserved this, and I hope I can fulfill the criteria that Sage People set for us (i.e. to an inspiration, a role model, a future HR and People leader, etc.) To see the whole article, click the photo below.


  1. Was asked to be a #SHRM19 blogger. Earlier I posted on social media that last year I stood outside the bloggers lounge looking in, just wishing that I was inside with everyone else. This year, I get to go inside because I get to be a #SHRM19 blogger! One of the things I love most about blogging is using my unique perspective to tell stories, and I love the SHRM conference, the speakers, the vendors, and the whole experience. So to be able to write about it just makes me giddy (my version of geeked)!


  1. Was asked to be on the Social Media team for #HRFL19. Just like with the SHRM conference, I love attending the annual HR Florida Conference, so I’ll have a similar opportunity to promote #HRFL19. Still waiting on some more details about it, but I’ll be happy to share once I know more!


  1. Speaking Opportunities. One of my goals for 2019 was to speak at more events to help with my fear of public speaking. Afterall, I feel like one of the only ways to do something is to step out of your comfort zone and just do it! So, at the end of January, I spoke to a handful of people at a Rollins SHRM meeting about the transition between being a student to a professional. On March 23, I return to Image result for disrupthr orlRollins to speak at their 2nd annual student HR conference and will be speaking on the importance of Team Building. Then on March 27, I’ll be making my debut appearance at DisruptHR Orlando. My presentation title is KISSES, HR. However, I can’t tell you what it’s about yet; it’s a secret. 😉


If you made it this far, I really appreciate you going through my journey with me. A lot of good happened within a short amount of time, and with all good things, there are sometimes some not so good things, but I don’t feel the need to share about those. Just know, everything happens for a reason, and I am excited to be on this journey of life! Thanks for letting me share, and I can’t wait to see what is next!

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