9 Minute Read

Two HR Conferences and a Microphone

No lie. I was sitting in a castle in Italy when the email came through asking me to host the LinkedIn Talent Connect Livestream. Suffice to say, screaming in castles is discouraged these days, so instead of continuing to freak out, I decided to reach out to my friend Lars Schmidt (@ThisIsLars), who you may remember as one of the best ever Talent Connect Livestream hosts of all TIME (a short list, sure, but it’s growing!)

And he said, in short: ‘Go for it!’

I was, and am, thrilled to announce that I am the livestream host for the 2016 LinkedIn Talent Connect event. And not just because I get to interview Richard Branson (@richardbranson) and Jeff Weiner (@jeffweiner), among other business and talent luminaries during the event.

I’m a Talent Connect attendee, and sort of a LinkedIn fangirl. While I haven’t always used the service exactly as intended (what recruiter does?) I do love the ability to be able to search and learn more about colleagues, vendors, applicants and prospects…on one platform.

I love writing for LinkedIn’s Talent Blog (read my various musings here) among personalities who have long been mentors to me (even without them knowing it) like J.T. O’Donnell and Lou Adler. And I’ve been on the site itself since 2006, not as long as some, but longer than others. I’ve long been an advocate of the way recruiters and salespeople organically grew the site. I might even go as far to say that recruiters created the idea for LinkedIn Recruiter and assisted in making it one of the most ubiquitous tools in the recruiting and sourcing (yes, sourcing) arsenal to date. Even if you don’t agree with me, ask yourself this: Would we have the LinkedIn we have today if it weren’t for recruiters, sourcers and HR professionals voicing their opinions at every turn? I think not.


Here is a quick hit list of reasons I am psyched to host the Talent Connect Livestream this year:

I get to follow in the footsteps of people I really respect. Lars Schmidt did this last year and he’s the best of the best. So I’m basically going to do what he did, but backwards and in heels. I don’t know Matt Jeffrey, Jeremy Tipper, or Ed Nathanson as well, but I’ve read just about everything Matt’s ever written, I think I like his concert recaps the best, though!

I finally feel like one of the cool kids. I’ve sat in the back row and cheered on Stacy Zapar, Danielle Monaghan, Jenny DeVaughn, Chris Hoyt, Carrie Corbin, Jonathan Campbell and many more beloved friends and colleagues who were asked to speak at Talent Connect. So basically, I’m the nerd at the end of a John Hughes movie, all swan-like…I hope.

I get to buy new shoes. Sorry, not sorry. If I’m going to be chasing after important people whose sole goal is probably to get away from me because they just spoke already….I’m getting some killer shoes that are comfy and look amazing. I’m pretty cheap in general so I don’t know if they exist, but I bet if they do, they are EXPENSIVE. I’m not trying to meet SIR Richard Branson in some Payless shoes. No offense to Payless, you’re still my 2nd grade spirit animal.

I’m better with a foil. Look speaking by myself to a big crowd, I am not…my best self. Maybe it’s because I’m one of five kids, maybe it’s because I started performing with my dad at ten, either way, I’m a big proponent of BETTER TOGETHER. This way, people can see how rad I am and focus on someone else when I get sweaty and weird.

I want to know too! Like you, I also have questions about where LinkedIn is going, what it plans to do to reach out to the skills-strapped blue collar workforce and any updates it has in store for the branding and university products in particular.


Here’s why I am scared to death to host the Talent Connect Livestream:

What if I trip? I mean it, this is numero UNO on the list. What if I don’t get great shoes or they are great but one of them gets caught in a grate on the stage (ERE 2008)? What if I fall going down the stairs, a la Jennifer Lawrence? I’m not 22, people will not find it adorable.

What if I act the fool? I have this thing around famous people, even semi-famous people, where I get a little…not really tongue tied but kind of, idiotic? Hopefully, the LinkedIn Talent Connect people are aware of this and will have cue cards with pictures on them.

What if I CUSS? I mean, not like at someone like Wade Burgess or anything but if I trip, then I will probably cuss and Lars says your mic is hot for a long time sometimes. Oh my gosh, I’m gonna cuss.

What if something is stuck in my nose/teeth/hair? I’m like a human tumbleweed by nature. So things get stuck on me. I just finished a presentation to a city organization where I had basically a nickel sized…thing…stuck somewhere. I probably just will not eat or breathe.

All things considered, I am thrilled they asked me to do this and I cannot wait to start filming promos in New York or writing my script for Vegas. I know that the likelihood of ALL the things I listed aren’t going to happen and even if they do, I get to attend Talent Connect in a very unique and different way, and the best part is, YOU get to come with me. Sign up here for your digital front-row seat.

Whether you’re planning on being there in Las Vegas, or you’re too far away to make the trip and will be watching from the office; whether you’re attending another conference at the same time or trying to decide if Talent Connect is a good investment for you and your team, I hope I can help you get a sense of what an incredible event this is.


Any tips for me as I prepare? What can I ask that will help you do your job better? What can I show you that might give you unique insight into a product you (probably) use every day? And how can I bring the experience to you in a way that makes you feel like you’re right there? Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter (@marenhogan) #TalentConnect