Speaking at DisruptHR: Feels Like the First Time

Since I recently presented at DisruptHR Cleveland in early February, I’ve had some time to reflect on this unique and awesome experience.  Being a presenter at this movement which is taking HR by storm was an honor, completely exhilarating, and perhaps the closest I have ever come professionally to the “first time.”

Once invited to present, DisruptHR dominated my thoughts for a good part of each day leading up to the night of the event.  All of the potential scenarios (from incredible triumph to the most humiliating scenario) constantly swirled throughout my brain. And because I ran all these scenarios through my mind, my preparation for the presentation was intense to minimize the chances of completely humiliating and embarrassing myself.

The night of DisruptHR, I had a nervous anxiety coupled with a calming confidence as I knew it would be over very soon.  Frankly, I just wanted to get it over with as it started to make all of the really, important stuff in my life become very cloudy and secondary.  The build-up in my mind had overtaken the potential joy of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  That said, just before going on stage, I shared a drink with a fellow presenter (thanks Seth!) and said “cheers” to success.

As soon as I got onto stage, it seemed like I was walking off. With all DisruptHR presentations, it lasted all of five minutes… about 1/10 the amount of my typical speaking engagements. My presentation included stories about my kids, my dad, Jack Welch, Marcus Lemonis, and Vince Lombardi. Not to mention, drinks were spilled, people laughed, I cried, and the crowd was on its feet at the end yelling (we have video to prove it).

I would love if you take five minutes (well a little bit more as I was trying to be disruptive) to watch the replay of my professional “first time” presenting at DisruptHR. The premise of my presentation was that everyone in HR (from a CHRO to an intern) has the potential to be a leader in his or her organization.

In my opinion, to become a leader and make a difference, the HR professional must lead by example, do the right thing, be purposely passionate, understand your business, take calculated risks, surround yourself with great people and have a vision. If you do that, you will DISRUPT HR!


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  1. John,

    Lauri told me about your motivational speaking engagement in Cleveland. I just watched it and you were great! It was exciting to see what has become of the little guy who was Lauri’s playmate while growing up.
    You were so right about your Dad being such a big influence in your life – always putting experiences out there for you to excel in; for example your potential golfing career. Not to leave out your wonderful, loving, caring and generous Mother. Your family helped me get through some rough times and I am so thankful for that.
    Lauri has excelled with her positive, caring and entrepreneurial skills in every position she has had in sales and the medical field and was a natural for Plexus because she is caring, motivated and truly believes in the product from her own results and those of others. I am so proud of her and she is lucky to have found such a great company as Plexus to be a part of. Her enthusiasm just bubbles out of her when she is telling people how it can help them lead a healthier life with weight loss as a bonus.
    I am so proud of her and proud to see how well you are doing.

  2. John,

    Nice presentation. I saw a different side of you…pretty cool….but what does that have to do with golf?? Haha… talk to you later.

  3. John…u rocked it…love ur vision statement!!! Completely agree with your insights on this topic & would love to see ur presentation in person 🙂 Oh, and I’m hoping to hang out with you more often…lol ; )

  4. You knocked it out of the park John! That sure was a fast 5+ minutes, wasn’t it?! I appreciate your sharing this with me. On an unrelated note…you need to get another card game together this summer…it’s been too long since the last one.

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