Whoah…there are 400 of us?

I think that I mentioned that last week was our staffing summit, or what we call GSS (Global Staffing Summit). We love making up acronyms for stuff. I was on the planning committee and helped with some of the content. Would it be wrong of me to say that this was the best Microsoft event I have ever been to? Too bad, I'm, saying it. It was awesome. I played a small role relative to other people on the committee.

Whenever I go to any kind of industry event, in-house or external, the greatest value I derive is from the networking.  In my blog-noob days, it was cool just being recognized. You know, when someone starts off a conversation with something you wrote about on your blog (that plays better than someone just telling you they read your blog). When it's still kind of a novelty...before you receive some creepy e-mails and have someone try to step on your neck because they think you are too sassy/bold/cute (hee, OK, the last one was aspirational). I've been the beneficiary of a ton of blog juju at conferences. It's led to some great opportunities, relationships and conversations. Like I said, it's not *all* good but the positive far outweighs the negative. I feel pretty fortunate. Anyhoo, that wasn't the point of this blog post.

For me, when it comes to events, I am always thinking about what I am going to get out of it (or what I got out of it). Sometimes it's what I talk about above, but that's really the icing on my sugar free, whole wheat flour cake-like thing. There are some events I go to, even speak at, where it's just about the networking; making or strengthening the networking relationships. I also admit that I use many of these events to form an opinion on whether someone is or is not an "industry leader" (especially the ones who profess to be). Can they tell me something I don't know (but should care about) or challenge me to think about something differently? Many (if not most) can't.  Anyway. this process helps me focus in on where I get my information and tune out the rest (boy, is there a lot of self-promotion going on in the staffing industry but I digress).

OK, so about our event last week. I got 2 things that are really making me feel great about my work. First, Keith Harrell spoke and as I told you before, I don't get into motivational speakers, but I'm definitely buying what that guy is selling. He refers to it as an attitude "tune-up" and that is exactly it. You kind of need to remind yourself not to be a grumbly sour-puss sometimes. You can read about his stuff yourself. The man can actually get me to say "super fantastic!" out loud and mean it.  Unreal. This was the third time I saw him speak and it still works for me.

So the second thing is that I am impressed as hell with the caliber of the talent we have in the staffing organization at Microsoft right now. I believe we have the best staffing professionals in the industry working at our company. Best. Of. Any. Company. You know, I am a natural skeptic and hardly a "rah! rah!" type (my notes above about Keith Harrell notwithstanding), but seeing people win awards for really awesome work and feeling a real sense of pride around introducing great people that I met at the event to other great people that I know at Microsoft was a really new and motivating experience. Note to our competitors: "bring it!".

Despite leaving last weeks events totally exhausted, I'm pretty excited about what we have coming and our ability to compete for talent. Did I mention that my team is fully staffed? We talk about people being our biggest asset and last week I sat in a big room with over 400 people and that totally resonated with me. It's not just our hires, it's us (OK, I'm not *that* arrogant...I've never thought I was all that great, myself: )). I'm just proud to work with these people. Don't tell them, OK? I'd be a little embarrassed : )

Anyway, the ultimate point I'm coming to is that a few years ago, my big thrill at events was being introduced and now it's introducing. It kind of changed from having a need for some kind of professional affirmation to recognizing what's awesome about other people, especially because I am surrounded by people that amaze me. What just happened here?

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