The 55th Annual HR Conference + Tradeshow was organized by CPHR BC and YK and was held during the first week of May, attracting over 800 HR Professionals from across Canada and from various industries. I was fortunate to attend the conference as a student, thanks to the support of the Beedie Career Management Centre’s Business Career Coaches program. As part of this opportunity, I attended various breakout sessions, met many inspiring Human Resources professionals and was inspired by keynote speakers. Being in the last year of my undergraduate degree, the conference was an inspirational experience as it provided me with the platform to see things behind the lens of HR and understand how things are done in the industry. The conference allowed me to become familiarized with various career opportunities, insights and the diversity of roles within the Human Resources discipline.
Day 1 – Day one of the HRMA Conference + Tradeshow started with a welcome address from the CEO and President of CPHR BC and YK followed by a keynote by Mike Walsh on the theme of What does it take to lead a 21st-century company? During his keynote, Walsh explored how “we can re-imagine the way we do business” and how companies can adapt to the growing needs of millennials and the 21st-century workforce. Mike also touched on how companies should use the strategies to recruit, retain and motivate future employees, how to align corporate engagement with a people focus and how it will lead to extraordinary employee engagement. He also shared insights regarding emerging market trends and how they can be applied to a firm people strategy. One of the key lessons from his keynote was the importance of data, and why leaders should not ignore the importance of data usage and the benefits of using it efficiently.
After the keynote, I attended Social Media – An HR Power Tool session where I learned about how companies can leverage social media to attract top talent. The next session, Workforce Planning: Challenge Accepted!, I learned about the challenges being faced by HR professionals and the strategies to overcome them. The day ended with a keynote address by Margaret Heffernan where she explored the theme “The One-Firm Firm: How to Get the Best from Everyone”.
Day 2 – After an inspiring first day, I was very excited to attend Day 2 which started with a keynote presentation by Josh Bersin. He talked about ways HR should adapt and how it can “add value in organization design, driving new models of leadership, driving engagement and improving organizational culture”. Following the keynote presentation, I attended two breakout sessions and the HR Celebration Gala Lunch where some of the leading HR professionals received awards for their extraordinary leadership and service in the HR profession.
The conference was a great experience for me and I would say one of the best of my undergraduate career. The conference has helped me better understand the HR profession and provided me with the opportunity to learn from inspiring HR professionals. I am very proud of my mentor, Heather Claridge, who was also the chair of the conference and I want to congratulate her and her team for putting together a great conference.
Ali Najaf is in his final year of pursuing a Bachelors of Business Administration degree with a concentration in Human Resource Management. He has recently completed two co-op terms working as a Business Consultant with Small Business BC. He likes to assist others in overcoming the challenges that they face because he believes that: “Life is not measured by the number of days you live, but the number of lives you inspire, so be someone’s inspiration.” He has volunteered more than 2000 hours with over 25 organizations in Canada and Pakistan and has mentored many students at Simon Fraser University in different capacities. If you have any questions, please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.