2010 Professional Peeps: HR Edition

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These are the folks who made my work year rock. Whether they were HR Pros who gave of their time, Travel Genii who welcomed me with open arms, or Marketing Minds who gave opinions freely, these are the cream of the crop in their fields:

First UP….HR/Recruiting

@imsosarah- Sarah White is a rare breed. Smart, fun and energetic, she stands by those she deems talented and doesn’t shy away from sharing her opinions. I really admire that about her and in 2011 will try to emulate her fearless questioning spirit. Not only that but she’s a great friend and fierce texter 🙂

@gerrycrispin- Gerry Crispin has always been one of my favorites. No not because of his hat, but because of his generous and warm spirit. He’s one of the wisest minds in our industry and focuses tirelessly on the candidate experience. He is passionate about our space, veterans and his large cousin-laden family. He’s never, EVER afraid to pick up the phone.

@chinagorman- I don’t know China that well but I connect with and admire her business sense. Apart from her intelligent and gracious exterior, she’s questioning, focused and (seems to me) to eschew to Tony Robbins-esque thinking that covered the conference circuit in a blanket of schlock in 2010. She’s a smart woman to watch closely and I will.

@jasonlauritsen- I’ve known Jason for some time and while he blows me away in sheer Human Resources experience, he is always willing to pick my brain on marketing and social media. He doesn’t need my help but consistently welcomes it and I appreciate that. When he speaks, people are inspired and it’s not just because he’s tall 🙂 His inspired take on the unconference (HR Reinvention) was a pleasure to attend.

@ewmonster- Eric Winegardner is never too busy for anyone, although to look at his Twitter, Facebook, Monster Thinking contributions and sheer volume of work, you might think he was. It matters little if you can do him a good turn professionally, once you’ve made a friend in Eric, you’ve made a friend for life. With all his social gifts, it’s tempting to forget that he’s technically a genius. If the HR space is a game, Eric is the ULTIMATE player.

@jdakers– Josh was one of the first guys I ever met in Recruiting and he’ll never let me forget what I called him then (**see below). What I call him now is a great friend and a hell of a salesperson. His love of all things HR, Recruiting, Sales and Entrepreneurial brought us together as co-workers in 2010. If you ever have the chance to work with Josh, do it. He’s hilarious, humble, brilliant and well-rounded (orchids and architecture anyone?). Beyond has him now and they are very lucky.

@jjbuss- Jason Buss continues to be the guy to follow but 2010 brought us closer as friends. It’s hard for any of us to keep multiple social media plates spinning but Jason has done it with aplomb over the last couple of years. Add to that the fact that he has a really hard, high level ACTUAL job, he spends tons of time with his kids and never lets a phone call from a friend fall through the cracks. His presentations, blog posts and lists continue to be a mainstay of much of my reading and after three years, I’m still impressed. Plus he tans well.

@therecruiterguy- Chris Hoyt loves his family, people and social media, in that order. Our high profile famous guy, he made the move from ATT to Pepsi-Co this year and did it all with discretion, grace and without missing a beat. Never one to sit idly by, Chris tries every new tool, learns every new platform and quickly discards those that don’t work for him. His work never suffers for his online presence and I don’t think I’ve ever heard ANYONE say a bad word about him. He also sent me food. I love food.

@JohnSumser- If there is one man who doesn’t get caught up in the popularity contest that is rife in any professional niche and made even more apparent by social media, it’s the guy that makes the lists. The great thing about John is that’s not all he does. A consummate watcher who understands and identifies HR Tech before lots of us are even invited to the beta, John simply calls em like he sees em. That attitude goes double for friendships. John provides tons of support but is always willing to play devil’s advocate, something sorely needed for real and TRUE growth. He also rocks a ponytail better than I ever could.

@LeanneChase- I’ve learned more from Leanne about work life balance simply by watching the way she lives her life. The fact that she writes a killer blog about it is just a bonus. Her commitment to her local market, her family and choosing projects that make sense for her lifestyle is something I sorely need more of in 2011. She’s smart, consistent and experienced and doesn’t need to toot her own horn about it. In addition, she helps out when asked and really dives in. I love that about her.

@TrishMcFarlane- Trish is the queen of “getting it done”. I’ve never seen her “at work” but I can’t imagine that she’s any less dynamic and impressive than when you see her “at play”. Along with her team, she was the driving force behind HR Revolution and made it into a real revolution. It goes without saying that she is supportive and passionate not only about our industry but about the people IN IT. That’s rare and I cherish it in her. It’s also really courageous to put yourself out there the way she has at the front of a conference franchise. It’s much harder than people think and it truly takes a team (I want to be clear that I am not discounting her team’s work but that Trish and I have connected in the past year, which is why I am naming her here. All props to all involved.)

@Fishdogs- Craig Fisher is really a gentleman. Because he knows how to have fun, it’s easy to miss that he’s a smart guy with an idea a minute. He landed this year with a great company that is lucky to have him and I’ve been increasingly impressed when I’ve heard him present, blog and speak. And because he doesn’t go in for a bunch of high-falutin jargon, you might just not realize that the idea he’s floating past you is one you should really be paying attention to. We got lost in London and debated Powerbars in Vegas (I won, they are gross) in 2010.

@theredrecruiter- Michael Long and I technically met in 2009 but it wasn’t until I got to hang out with him and his lovely wife Kelly that I realized how smart they both are (see below). Michael has transformed the SM and HR culture of an already blog worthy company (Rackspace) and continued to blaze trails (which is slightly irritating, I think he is younger than me…) in both areas, not by throwing things to the wall and seeing what sticks but by careful analysis of the market and the numbers and by never forgetting that we’re talking about people. He is also a killer San Antonio guide.

@kellylong- A lesser woman might get lost in Michael’s shadow but Kelly (who is DEFINITELY younger than me) holds her own in the training and development department. Her positivity, intelligence and curiosity make her a great blogger and contractor (also at Rackspace). I also appreciate her devotion to 1) her daughter and 2) margaritas.

@kgrossman- Kevin is probably the most empathetic and compassionate person in the HR Space today. I’ve watched Kevin go from wonderful husband to proud papa in the last 3-4 years (thank you social media) and I find it fascinating that his commitment to domestic violence prevention and family values only enhances his writing and scope on our industry. The fact that he lives in Santa Cruz (my old stomping grounds) and has always been available when I call are also huge bonus points in his column. I read his stuff, which is nearly always incredible.

@williamtincup- There’s a special place in my heart for people who paid attention to me before there was anything to pay attention to. William Tincup was that guy. He was heading up THE HR Marketing agency(**) and I practically hitched my way to semi-annual conferences. Our meeting was pure happenstance that sparked a professional friendship that has been extremely rich and rewarding (at least for me). He’s never afraid to 1) cuss 2) humble himself or me 3) tell it like it is 4) confirm my worst fears or wildest dreams or 5) post adorable pics of his children. I really should put him in the marketing category because he’s truly a brilliant and articulate marketing genius.

@aliciasanera- It is rare to meet someone who has examined their life so thoroughly and as honestly as Alicia has. This deep insight into her own motivations and path enables her to coach like no other and tell the truth like no other. However, even when this soft-spoken Texas gal with the big laugh tells you what you may not want to hear, it nearly ALWAYS works. Her professional demeanor, breadth of experience and strong faith allow her to immediately assess a situation and work with you to resolution, a truly valuable skill in both a leadership coach and a friend. Alicia also turned me on to San Antonio’s best chocolate restaurant!

@watsonlg- Lisa Watson has one of the most infectious laughs I’ve ever heard. I generally have SUCH a good time with Lisa that I’m often surprised by her industry insight. Her wit and hilarious former job anecdotes make her a great addition to any party. Her razor sharp focus on the industry and epic work ethic make her a fantastic discussion partner and one to watch in HR. Together, she and I slogged through Vegas’s WORST piano bar EVER. Where do they even HIRE those people?

@billkutik- Bill is arguably one of the more important people in the industry. At HR Tech conferences, I frequently see people jockey to get his ear or by his side. What I don’t see is Bill avoiding any of them. He answers emails, returns calls, engages in conversation about the industry and never EVER dumbs down the message so it’ll be more SEO friendly. He’s the boss that makes you want to work harder, read more, listen deeper and do your research. He is ready to hear what’s happening no matter who it comes from. He is ready to question the direction, no matter who’s championing it. Bill has (more than) a touch of old school managing editor in him and he adheres to old journalistic standards even while paying keen attention to new standards (not rules) as they form. I respect him enormously.

@mnheadhunter- Paul DeBettignies or Pauly D or my bro. He’s an old school recruiter who has lived through this BS before. He loves his mom and introduces her with pride to his friends. Paul is always willing to help and talk through anything. He knows how to ask for help (for anyone but himself). He has integrity and takes care of the people he loves. Paul is smart and an innovator and has been doing social recruiting unconferences (without compensation or adulation) since before either thing had a name.

@lruettimann- Laurie Ruettimann and I have been friends, coworkers, colleagues and whatnot for so long that I finally learned how to spell her last name 🙂 Laurie is honest, smart and never lets anyone fly under the radar. Her special gift is that you always believe she is talking directly to you. It’s backed up by real world experience and a comfortableness (word??) in her own skin that can only be achieved by the truly humble. Laurie is wickedly funny and an intelligent mentor. I nearly always read her blog posts and I don’t really read anything besides old school print anymore. Having Laurie in my life means I always try to do better, and I always have someone to call me on my crap.

@dmanaster- It’s always hard (for a narcissist like myself) when you realize that someone has made a far larger impact in your life than you have in his or hers. I believe that to be the case with David Manaster. His community site shaped my views, his conferences shaped my relationships, and his friendship eluded me while we were competitors. But there are few who have built something so needed and so important to an entire industry. He understands (and can articulate) the difference between business and friendship and sees voids and bubbles in product and service offerings alike from his unique vantage point. He has entrepreneurial spirit combined with a consistent commitment to excellence and he never allows himself or his team to become complacent.

@dkerken-Doug Kerken has an inner blogger. It doesn’t come out often but when it does, I always read. Not only that but he’s very, very funny. His commitment to recruiting and technology is impressive and has grown throughout the years. Although he doesn’t need to be the center of attention, his laid-back approach to understanding the ins and outs of the industry often make him someone I (and others) watch closely. He’s a blast to be around and is passionate about every idea that moves him. All this and he’s determined to bring me to the Jersey Shore someday 🙂

@cincyrecruiter-Jennifer McClure measures twice and cuts once and what a swath she’s cut through the HR and Recruiting industries. A constant voice of reason and uncompromising values, her contributions are not only that of a successful consultant but of a smart mentor and intelligent speaker and debater. A kind and compassionate animal lover, she understands the value of persistence, practice and consistency. Jennifer is also the patron saint of lost and stranded travelers (namely ME) and I just love her. She holds her own in any room and on nearly every topic. What she doesn’t already know, she learns or asks. And even though she drops her G’s like Palin, she’s way, WAY smarter.

@krisdunn- Ah Kris. I don’t think I even met Kris Dunn until 2010 but his Alabama hand has been on my career since 2007. We’ve batted around idea after idea and watched each other ebb and flow in our careers, sometimes collaborators and fellow community builders, we speak the same language I think. I must say that then and now, Kris’ belief in my abilities has forced me to think more of myself and given me faith that I wasn’t just another fly-by-night blogger. I honestly believe that Kris’ ability to find, select and develop talent is sorely undervalued in our space and credit him largely for putting passion into the HR Blogging space.

@georgelaroque- George LaRoque is a great friend and a really smart person. We’ve had conversations on everything from marriage and parenthood to marketing and HR. He has a unique and brilliant approach to how products come to market and understands the landscape better than nearly anyone. There are times when priorities can become muddied and work, family, friendships or all three can fall between the cracks. I have never seen that happen with George. An exemplary father, husband and marketer, he has been a mentor in how to put things in their proper place.

@radicalrecruit- Geoff Webb keeps on going. From RecruitFest to TRU to his own Radical Events, he brings people together. Geoff is also a remarkable friend and never ever forgets a birthday. And ssshhh, don’t tell anyone, he’s (or so I hear) a pretty good sourcer.

@devoted2HR- Traci Deveaux is one of the most positive and generous people I know. While she has considerable sales and business development gifts, rarely do you see her flaunt them. Traci is a professional who knows how to make friends and influence people. Her bubbly personality and persistent devotion 🙂 to HR make her one of my favorite people to be around and visit.

@blogging4jobs- Jessica Miller Merrell is one of those about whom you wonder “How does she do it all?” Multiple blogs, a radio show, popular twitter chat and speaker are just some of the things she does on a daily or weekly basis. I don’t get to chat with her often but when I do it’s always a pleasure. I will never forget the first time I heard her speak. I remember thinking “YEAH!” to several of the things she said and not only respecting the points she made but feeling that she was not only a great speaker but an excellent facilitator (two very different skill sets). I’m looking forward to learning more about how she juggles all of the above and her toddler and hubby in 2011 🙂

@mervyndinnen- I never tire of my conversations with Mervyn. Whether we’re being disruptive in the back of the room at HR Revolution or grabbing 2 for 1 drinks at a pub in London, we always have something incredible to talk about. And I gotta say, it’s mostly him. His deep diving ideas and well thought out responses are part of the art of conversation (not to be confused with social media convos, twitter chats or one way speaker monologues). He’s just a beautiful conversationalist and I never pass up and opportunity to chat with him on any medium I can.

To those I might have forgotten, I apologize, I look forward to getting to know you better in 2011!!

**Please see the post below for my initial ERE conference post wherein I refer to Josh (and lots of other…) Google doesn’t have it cached or whatever:

Well for those of you who follow my schedule on Plaxo, Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, (am I missing any? I feel like I need to try and get all my little kids in the van there are so many. . .) you may have noticed that at the last minute I was invited to ERE in San Diego. Since ERE is supposed to be one of those great recruiting conferences where you meet people like Shally Steckerl and Lou Adler and John Sullivan, I (literally) jumped at the chance. So with 24 hours notice, I jumped on a plane and jetted off to sunny California (my home state).

There is a classic story arc in many films (mostly with Emilio Estevez in them) where the silent (shut up I’ve been silent), nerdy newcomer gets invited to the ball/prom/cute guy’s apartment. It happened in Cinderella, it happened in Sixteen Candles and it happened in Carrie (wait, that’s a little off). Anyway, since I frequently wore a mask due to my asthma and an eyepatch due to my lazy eye, I found myself channeling Ally Sheedy a bit when I walked into the cocktail party that kicked off the ERE conference.

If we’re going with the high school theme, I should introduce the cool kids. Jason Davis, head of RecruitingBlogs.com (a great community for anyone involved in human capital) is the guitar playing, sweetly humble guy that knows EVERYBODY. Dave Mendoza is the class clown (but a very handsome one with enviable dimples). I can’t decide if he’s the class president or not. I have to say that were it not for these two gentleman, I would not have been able to go to ERE in the first place. So thanks guys!!

As the kickoff dinner (read the full ERE blog regarding winners and other fun stuff) segued into the evening, other types became clear, Neal Bruce, the self-effacing-but-I-secretly-know-I-live-a-charmed-life-type. The overly effusive newbie who cheers rather obnoxiously when someone points out the Cheezhead. (oh wait, that would be me).

But the real networking happens after hours, at least it did for me. You might wonder (as my husband did when I pitched going to the conference in the first place) “Why would you want to get a bunch of recruiters together? How can they help each other?”
The truth is, conferences like ERE (eerily similar to high school plus brightly colored swag) further promote recruiting as a profession and not just a side-on tag to technology or HR or even consulting. Hearing what recruiters across the country (and those that market to them) are seeing across the industry serves as a pretty cool social experiment. And when you compare what’s happening in say finance recruiting or software talent and you realize that while there are some differences, you’re all solving similar problems and uniquely able to share solutions. Now when you throw a few heartily made mojitos into the mix, it helps.

I also met some brainiacs, guys too smart for me to understand but definitely cool enough to hang out with. They’re the people coming up with amazing tools to make our jobs easier. Ben, Donato, Shally and Charlie, I’m looking at you! Call them the chess club of recruiting. Watching their minds work as they perceive holes in the marketplace and go about creating supercool ways to solve them is a highly interesting thing to watch.

Everybody wants to be in marketing right? The party-hardyingest of all the recruiters/vendors (a tough title to win, Starr Tincup managed with their serious commitment to bowling even whilst on the road. . . ) would have to be the dudes that came up with marketing just for the human capital management space. Can I say if wasn’t such a super awesome marketer myself, I would use them. Joke. I can’t afford them. Yet.

Head of the Jaycees? Certainly Josh Akers. Look him up.

I also want to mention Michael Homula of Bearing Fruit Consulting. He is the smart jock. The one who’s broad smile and enthusiastic exterior hide that the fact that he’s pretty brilliant. No I am not just saying that because he has the best wine stash of any recruiter I’ve ever met. (Nebraska shout-out: He loves 311 so much, he has a tattoo of them on his back.)

And of course on my last day (after oversleeping from the incredibly long poker game the night before) I MISSED the prom queen. The vivacious and funny Penelope Trunk, who’s presence was the reason I was so excited to be there in the first place (don’t get mad John and Lou). Actually, I did introduce myself, and after stumbling through a garbled and surely cantaloupe scented intro, proceeded to drop my blackberry and cards while gushing that Pen was the first person I ever RSSed. You never forget your first.

Especially in high school.

Plus, checkit, I made Dave Mendoza’s Top Ten. Sure, it’s just for the week but it’s my moment!

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