Humentum Annual Conference 2018: Volunteer Recap


Humentum Annual Conference 2018: Volunteer Recap

By Amavi Acolatse, PHR

HR & Support Associate Women for Women International

When I first received the e-mail from Humentum offering up the chance to volunteer at their Annual Conference, I was very excited. I quickly pulled up my personal and work calendar to check my availability to attend. After confirming my availability, I promptly submitted my application. A couple weeks later, I received an e-mail from Leanna (Event's Coordinator) at Humentum, congratulating me and letting me know that I had been selected. I became more excited as I could only imagine how impactful this conference was going to be.

I had attended HR roundtables with InsideNGO and Humentum in the past, so I anticipated that the conference was going to give me a chance to interact with more amazing professionals from the world of non-profit HR. From my experience attending the HR roundtables, I knew that Humentum had compiled a great member network filled with professionals who are passionate about what they do. As a young HR professional, it is important for me to network, seek advice, and learn from others in my field. By attending Humentum roundtables and conferences, I get the opportunity to do just that. It meant a lot to me that Humentum reached out to its members for this volunteering opportunity because otherwise, as a junior member at my organization, I probably wouldn't have gotten the chance to attend.

The week before the conference, Leanna and the events team at Humentum held an Orientation & Happy Hour for all the volunteers. The Orientation was well coordinated. We got the chance to go over all the volunteer responsibilities, expectations and meet the people we'd be working with throughout the conference. We also had the opportunity to get to know each other a little more at the Happy Hour, which I personally felt made the experience more comfortable and enjoyable because we were able to connect with one another before the big day.

Upon arriving at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on the morning of the Conference, I was in awe of the team that put it all together. I really liked how they incorporated the social media feeds on the TV screens near the entrance. And don't get me started on the awesome Humentum app that was created for the conference! It was so easy to use. The app allowed me to add the sessions I was assigned to work to my conference schedule and download it to my regular phone calendar. I was also able to bookmark all my favorite presenters and take notes all in the app.

The conference offered four great tracks this year, Foundation, Impact, People and Sustainability. I really liked that the Humentum staff encouraged people not to follow one specific track because they each have something great to offer and one can only learn how to make an impact once they get out of their comfort zone. As a volunteer, I appreciated the fact that Leanna asked and worked hard to get the volunteers to be Room Monitors for sessions we were interested in. When we weren't in a session we had the freedom to visit the Exhibit hall, network, and just enjoy the conference experience like the rest of the attendees.

My favorite sessions at the Conference were:

  • Never Enough Time: Manage Your Time Like a Pro
  • Getting the Most Out of Microlearning
  • Avoiding the Pitfalls to Re-Engineering Performance Management

My biggest take away from the Never Enough Time Session was when the speaker, Ryan LaPrairie, said "important and not urgent tasks are the things that make us better employees." The reason that stood out to me was because I often create my best work when I know it's important, but I don’t feel the pressure of having to complete it by a certain time. Oddly enough those are the tasks I enjoy most and often get completed before they are even due. Prioritizing certain not urgent tasks/projects gives me the room to be more creative because I feel as though time is on my side.

Attending the Microlearning session, presented by Pavlina Simurdova, really opened my eyes to the world of Microlearning. The session showed me how important it is for companies, no matter how big or small, to offer their employees a chance to continue learning and developing new skills to thrive in their careers. As a young HR professional, it made me want to explore and learn more about learning & development, especially in my field. I’m also interested in how learning management systems are impacting the lives of people in the workforce.

The Re-Engineering Performance Management session introduced me to the tool called "Employee Performance Continuum." I thought it was an impressive tool to use when managers are checking in with their employees regarding their performance. During the session, Jamie Resker (speaker) said two quotes that really resonated with me. "Managers should be coaching people forward" and as HR professionals "We want to set up managers and employees for success." I completely agreed with her! Employees are the most significant asset to any organization. If we aren't setting them up to succeed by coaching or providing them with the right tools to do so, then how can we expect them to lead us forward?

My overall experience at the Annual Humentum conference was a memorable one! It's one that impacted me personally and professionally. I am truly thankful to everyone at Humentum for putting together such a wonderful event and for giving me the opportunity to volunteer my time while learning a couple of new things along the way.


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