Pan-African In Chi-Town!

SHRM18Growing up in Maseru, Lesotho, we played a lot of dodgeball during break time in primary school. During school holidays, I would visit my cousin who lives in the South Western Townships of Johannesburg (Soweto). In Dobsonville, we played exactly a similar game, but on these streets it was called something else. We would pretty much do the same thing, build the blocks as high as possible in the centre of the demarcated space, and whichever team had the ball and managed to knock them all down with one shot, would scream “CHICAGO” to announce their victory! I just loved the name Chicago, I thought it was so cool, our relatives in Joburg always seemed to be trendier than people in Maseru. So, naturally when I got back home, I had to boast about this new cool game that I learnt in Soweto.

How ironic is it then, that the first American city I would visit, would be Chicago. To attend the biggest Human Resources gathering on the planet. I shared space with 22,000 people, the energy at McCormick Place was electric and highly energizing. As a first time attendee, I took it a bit easy. I was so impressed with how well a conference that of that magnitude was organized. Everything ran like clockwork, the SHRM18 app made life easy, so navigating the venue was a breeze. All the sessions I attended offered cutting edge global practises. My perspective has been shifted in that I no longer view HR from a local context, I have global goggles on. I am so inspired, I find myself dreaming bigger than ever before, and I have found new possibilities and ways of doing things. I came back slightly more assertive, and stand my ground more than I did before. America has given me this attitude where I think it can all be done, my way. #BeYourselfNoMatterWhatTheySay

The best part of the trip, was meeting all the SHRM18 bloggers. The bloggers lounge was like a family sitting room, I never knew who was going to be there at the same time as me, I was always pleasantly surprised when I met in real life, some of the people I engaged with on #nextchat. It was such a humbling experience to be amongst HR professionals who are all beasts in their own rights. The most beautiful thing, is that my positive perceptions were realised, everyone was what I thought of them, and more. The family room also meant great food, the breakfast spread was out of this world, I had an unforgettable slice of lemon poppy seed cake one morning, and endless supply of candy every day.

 

People in America just seem to be happier, loving what they do and doing what they love. They will go to war for the HR profession. If there’s anything that we still need to learn, it’s to be passionate about our industry, because it is seen as a career of last resort and one for rejects in South Africa, our self-esteem tends to be low, we have a way that doesn’t build people up, but rather retards their growth. If there is just one thing we could take from the US, this is it.

It was such an honor to be a blogger this year, I hope that my global voice will be heard again. In the meantime, I will be doing the most to make sure that I make it to Las Vegas for SHRM19.

My world has been expanded!

#SHRM18 #SHRM18Blogger #Global #HRTribe

 

What’s Cooking in my African Pot for #SHRM18

“Use these days in Chicago to build your career, invest in yourself, its more than a party, much more than a networking event, hold us accountable for ensuring that you have a meaningful experience” these are some of SHRM’s CEO, Johnny Taylor’s words from an encouraging Facebook live chat, that was held for bloggers by Andrew Morton. These words kept ringing in my head, they really had me thinking seriously about my trip to Chicago, taking time off work, if I say I am “self-investing” with this entire initiative. What then is the tangible ROI, what are the goals, are they attainable, how will I measure them. How will I know that this specific conference was worth all the resources that I have put into it, and how exactly will I apply my take away’s in real life.

These questions are answered carefully in a very useful tool that a colleague shared with me, a one pager “Post Event and Conference Contract”. It sounds like a cute little thing to do, but it’s actually quite serious. It’s a Learn2Learn document that can be found on the internet. It had me thinking, and reviewing my SHRM18 program schedule.

Basically, the contract requires the user to answer pertinent questions like:

o What will your take away’s be, who will you share them with?

o What will be your post conference commitment, define three new actions and habits?

o Who will support you?

My conference goal is, to learn more about certification and to empower myself with the knowledge I need to design my five year career plan. The challenge is that the role that I have pictured in my mind does not exist in South Africa, yet. There are elements of it within the Marketing and Communications space. My electives for SHRM18 revolve around Culture (diversity, inclusion, cognitive & implicit biases), their impact on Employee Value Proposition, and Talent Branding & Marketing Strategy. So, I will be spending a bit of time at the Smart Stage, starting with the “Five Tips to Navigate SHRM18” on the first day, followed by the “Developing Strategies for Managing Cognitive and Implicit Biases” session with Paul Meshanko, I am not missing “Beyond Diversity” with Jennifer Payne, and I am super excited about Steve Brown’s mega session “Cultures that ROCK! Five Proven Ways to Develop and Sustain a Phenomenal Workplace”, not because Steve always big’s me up on twitter, but because I know that people hardly leave great places, if the environment is conducive, talent retention is a walk in the park.

Thankfully there is also a session on how to achieve Certification through the SHRM Learning System, as a global member this will be highly useful to me. I have a lot of questions to ask and hopefully I will be able to roap map my certification journey. The conference has so many sessions, the schedule makes it so easy to focus on my goals. All my electives are in line with my career and personal aspirations. I need to make sure that I take away global practises that can be applied locally, and to fully understand what my membership can do for me on a daily basis.

Outside of work stuff, I am really excited to be participating in the fit bit challenge, I know the Highsteppers are going to win, I am looking for a Pound class in Chicago, so that I can clock 7000 steps in an hour. Apparently, I have to have a sundowner at Hangcock Towers and cannot leave Chicago without going to the Cheese Cake Factory. I am really grateful to SHRM for what promises to me awesome experience!

#SHRM18 #SHRM18Blogger #ProudlyAfricanBlogger #8MoreSleeps #HRConference

Yo, Happy Afrika Day!

May 25

Growing up speaking English with a Sesotho accent was sometimes a struggle, a few times we were judged for not being African enough, accused of not wanting to be African, too much judgement from people of the same continent. Surely we could find a reason to love, to stop the hate.

It bugged me sometimes, I won’t lie. Until I heard Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame speak at a conference, I was fully emancipated when he reminded us (people from different parts of Africa) that most of us were colonised by different colonist’s, and as a result we have adopted different ways of living, our respective cultures’ have been diluted. His thing, was that to move forward, it didn’t make any sense to continue fighting each other, trying to prove who is more African that the other, he said it didn’t matter who spoke with what accent, who knew which languages, who was male or female…what we ought to do was to take what we have, and collectively move forward.

So, Africa, your eclecticism, nuances, all these crazy differences, they make you beautiful!

“Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds” –Marcus Garvey

#HappyAfricaDay #Africa #25May2018