Magazine article Workforce Management

Meisinger Cherishes 'Sense of Community' at Show

Magazine article Workforce Management

Meisinger Cherishes 'Sense of Community' at Show

Article excerpt

AFTER MORE THAN 20 years as a Society for Human Resource Management executive, Sue Meisinger has plenty of annual conference anecdotes from which to draw her most memorable moments.

What stands out for her, though, is not a specific speaker, dinner or session. Instead it's the atmosphere created when about 15,000 HR professionals gather.

For a function that is often characterized by silence surrounding sensitive office matters like personnel moves and salary determinations, the annual conference provides a demilitarized zone where its practitioners can speak freely and know that that they're not alone on the HR front lines.

"The high point has always been the sense of community when you walk into conference," says Meisinger, 55, who is retiring at the end of June following six years as the organization's president and CEO. "There's an energy to it that I just love."

Meisinger's role at the conference has evolved as she has moved from being a vice president to COO to CEO.

As SHRM's chief executive, she's in constant motion. Going from event to event means traversing hallways full of friends from her career at SHRM and in the government. Her assistant is always at her side, keeping her on schedule and not letting her linger too long.

"I'll stop and catch up until the cows come home," Meisinger says.

Her peripatetic approach has both drawbacks and benefits. It can be physically draining. But getting out and about also provides opportunities for rewarding interaction.

"It is not good for my feet, but it's great for my spirit," Meisinger says. …

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