paul smith pasmuzI first met Paul at HRevolution 2010, but I had been following his blog for quite a while before that. We were able to take a few minutes to share blogging strategies amidst the bustle of activity, and I am looking forward to seeing him again in Atlanta. This is a post in the Meet the HRevolution Speakers series.

  • Who are you?

Paul Smith

  • What do you do (day job, any blogging/social media stuff, volunteering, etc.)?

I’m the HR Manager at the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission. I blog on a site called Welcome To The Occupation and can be found on Twitter ( @pasmuz), Facebook, LinkedIn and dot429. I am currently on the SHRM Standards Task Force for Diversity and Inclusion and am the Committee Chair of the Philly SHRM Thought Leadership on D&I

  • What is your session title and topic?

My session is entitled, “How Do I Get There From Here” and, in short, it is about influence: exploring the notions of how one becomes an influence, what it means to be an influencer and, in general, what is influence?

  • Who is your co-facilitator and why/how did you choose that person?

I chose China Gorman because China has had a big influence on the HR blogging community. As the former COO of SHRM, her approachability, talent, smarts and charm have influenced many people to stay with SHRM or come back to the organization.

  • Why did you submit to speak at HRev?

During the closing session at HRevolution2010, Laurie Reuttimann made the comment that everyone in this room should be in high-ranking HR positions making $200,000 a year. As much I was in total agreement with this, especially the money part, I think the gist behind her comments was that each of us needs to be in positions of influence in our organizations or our communities. I think this was a great takeaway for the end of the conference. Yet, after HRevolution, it was a challenge to maintain that charged feeling after a few weeks back to work. I think this is common reaction to attending any great conference and I thought it would worthwhile to explore this.

  • What are 5 words that describe you?

Just another human on Earth.

  • What is one fun/strange/interesting thing about you?

I am creating an archive of popular music. I currently have over 18,000 songs on mp3 and am collecting approximately 2,000 songs a year. My goal is to get to 30,000 within the next five years.

  • Why do you think you are so passionate about your session topic?

HR people always have a great opportunity to a big influence in their organizations. Sometimes that notion evades us or is difficult to believe.

  • If people only remember one big takeaway from your session, what would it be?

Recently, a colleague said to me, you probably have no idea how much of an influence you are with your blog. For me, I am still trying to get to the place where I know this to be true. If it’s true that pomposity is when you think you are right, and arrogance is when you know, then, despite how strange this sounds, I want everyone’s takeaway to be arrogance. I want them to all know they are an influence.

If nothing else, this session is going to leave you feeling like you are a million bucks, I hope. Knowing you are making a difference and really, truly influencing others is a joy like no other. Thanks to Paul for his time and I hope you are planning to attend his session!

Jason LauritsenI had the opportunity to meet Jason at HRev 2010, and I can still remember the big crowd of people who lined up to hear his session. He has some great ideas! I am pumped about seeing him at HRev and can’t wait to participate in the session he’s co-facilitating. This is a post in the Meet the HRevolution Speakers series.

  • Who are you?

I’m a husband, father, friend, community activist, HR leader and advocate, catalyst for change, speaker, writer and Talent Anarchist.  I’m also a bit of a sports fanatic and bicyclist when there’s no snow on the ground.

  • What do you do (day job, any blogging/social media stuff, volunteering, etc.)?

My day job is leading the Human Resources division for an 800 employee bank in Nebraska.  I helped create and lead some human resources efforts in my community as well, one being the Nebraska Strategic Human Resources Forum and also the HR Reinvention Experiment (www.HRReinvention.com).  I regularly write for a couple of blogs (www.jasonlauritsen.com and www.talentanarchy.com) in addition to doing some professional speaking with Joe Gerstandt as Talent Anarchy.

  • What is your session title and topic?

(from Steve’s info)  The title is “If HR sucks so bad, what are YOU doing about it?” – it’s going to be an intensely interactive session that will challenge the group to look at ways to lift HR up instead of tearing it down.  The difference will be a true “call to action” vs. endless theories and catch phrases.

  • (Only for co-facilitators) Who is your co-facilitator and why/how did you choose that person?

My co-facilitator is Steve Browne.  I actually didn’t know Steve well personally when we decided to do this, but I knew of his work within the HR community and his passion for our profession.  We are both passionate and intense guys with a calling to transform HR, yet we have different styles and backgrounds.  Selfishly, I wanted an opportunity to get to know Steve and to learn from him.  This seemed like the perfect excuse and way to do it.

  • Why did you submit to speak at HRev?

I attended the event last year and was blown away by the experience.  I met so many awesome people who have become such great friends and colleagues since, that I had to come back.  One of the ways I left unfulfilled last year from the event was that I didn’t feel like there was enough conversation about actually “evolving HR” and slaying the elephant in the room.  I also left missing a distinct call to action in this regard (i.e. how should we all go back to our respective corners of the world and continue the evolution?).  So, I called Steve and we put together this proposal to be a part of filling that gap for this year’s event.

  • What are 5 words that describe you?

Catalyst, Innovation, Vision, Passion, Curious

  • What is one  fun/strange/interesting thing about you?

I am a diehard Duke basketball fan and I have infected my 13 year old son with the same passion.  This year, I was able to take my son to Kansas City to see Duke play in a tournament there.   We got to share the experience of seeing our first live Duke game together.  It was awesome.

  • Why do you think you are so passionate about your session topic?

I am tired of hearing about how much HR sucks.  The buck has to stop with HR leaders and progressives who need to courageously engage in the fight to lift our profession up.  The only thing standing in the way of HR being the profession we want it to be is HR.  We have to hold ourselves and each other to a higher standard.  That starts with us.  We own the change.  We are the change.  That’s what our session discussion will ultimately be about.

  • If people only remember one big takeaway from your session, what would it be?

My goal is that they will leave the session with at least one thing written down that they will do when they get back to the office the following Monday to become a part of the solution.  There will be a distinct call to action and people will leave with homework.

Anyone else pretty much drooling about this? I’m so pumped about the hands-on stuff. Theory is nice and all, but having something tangible to do makes a lot of difference!


Steve Browne SPHRI have only known Steve for a few short months, but he is an amazing guy. From the first moment I spoke with him on the phone, I could tell how much passion he has for what he does. I’m really excited to meet him for the first time at HRev and can’t wait to see the session he’s co-facilitating. This is a post in the Meet the HRevolution Speakers series.

  • Who are you?

Steve Browne, down-to-earth HR practitioner who doesn’t follow the norms and rules of our profession very well.  Also, husband of the best wife ever, father of two amazing kids and someone who genuinely loves knowing as many people as possible !!

  • What do you do (day job, any blogging/social media stuff, volunteering, etc.)?

I’m the Executive Director of HR for LaRosa’s, Inc. – a Cincinnati pizzeria and cultural icon.  I am active as a volunteer through SHRM as the 2011 Ohio HR Conference Chair, the incoming State Director of HR for OHSHRM, a Scoutmaster for Troop 941, sit on 3 civic/business boards and also active at church.  I run an international HR message board accompanied with weekly HR song parodies and have just started the blog Everyday People.

  • What is your session title and topic?

The title is “If HR sucks so bad, what are YOU doing about it?” – it’s going to be an intensely interactive session that will challenge the group to look at ways to lift HR up instead of tearing it down.  The difference will be a true “call to action” vs. endless theories and catch phrases.

  • Who is your co-facilitator and why/how did you choose that person?

My co-facilitator is Jason Lauritsen and he actually chose me.  Jason is a fellow practitioner and we had heard that the HRevolution group wanted to hear from more practitioners.  Jason and I think alike and yet have different approaches to stretching the boundaries of HR.  We haven’t “met” yet, but I feel like I know him extremely well !!

  • Why did you submit to speak at HRev?

I’ve always believed that you should be “all in” if you’re going to do something. I plan to fully participate, but I also felt that Jason and I were two folks who could bring a fresh perspective that mixes the trenches of HR with the vibrant world of social media since we live in both arenas.

  • What are 5 words that describe you?

Creative, genuine, tall, laughter, spontaneous

  • What is one  fun/strange/interesting thing about you?

I have a sword hanging in my office which is pretty intimidating when employees come to see HR, but it’s balanced with my lava lamp and Magic 8 Ball.

  • Why do you think you are so passionate about your session topic?

I’m passionate about everything (literally).  This isn’t a get up for HR, rah-rah, passion.  I love HR and have for 25 years.  It’s the field I chose and wouldn’t be in any other.  When I met Jason, I sensed the same things.  I just have a few more years on him.

  • If people only remember one big takeaway from your session, what would it be?

That one person does make a difference in HR and it’s time for YOU to be that one person !!

Wow! If that doesn’t get you pumped about hearing Steve and Jason’s session, I don’t know what will! Have a question or comment for Steve? You can find him on Twitter: @sbrownehr.

In the coming weeks, I will be highlighting presenters here on the HRevolution blog. I purposefully dug deep with the questions so you can find out more about what makes them tick. I had fun asking the questions and I hope you have fun reading the responses they put together!

Plus you’ll also have some great ideas to kick off a conversation with them when you’re there. No random, awkward silences at HRev!

We work very hard to make HRev feel like a “small” event. It’s not that the content isn’t impressive or the people aren’t amazing. It’s that you can walk up to anyone, whether they are an attendee, facilitator, or planner, and you can feel perfectly comfortable getting to know that person. I have a feeling that is one reason people enjoy coming back again and again.

Stay tuned! And as always, thank you for your support!