Image by Heather Bussing #SHRM12

I’ve just got back from #SHRM12 in Atlanta, a fantastic event that attracted close to 20,0000 people. I managed to catch a few sessions but I spent most of my time for the first two days in the hive. The hive was a brilliant collaboration between Dice.Com and SHRM, providing support and advice to any of the attendees on social media topics on a one to one basis. taking the theme and inspiration from Apple, with three genius bars, staffed by 80 members of the blog squad who volunteered to give up time to get others started on their social media journey. I found it really rewarding spending time with HR professionals getting them started. It was a great reminder of starting out, and the pure joy that comes from connecting. Before thinking about R.O.I, tools, applications and strategy, it is about connecting with others and sharing. The hive reminded me of this.

It was through the hive and the blog squad that I first came in to contact with Curtis Midkiff. Curtis is the Director of Social Engagement for SHRM, the society for human resource management. The role seems to be a catch-all covering all things social, This means promoting SHRM through the social channels, providing opportunities for members to connect with the organisation and each other, as well as supporting the members use of social media. It is a challenging role with diverse demands, and one that Curtis does well. I’ve had some involvement with the trade organisations where the pace of change can be slow. It is a balancing act between progress in small steps whilst respecting the existing brand and set up. What struck me about #SHRM12 was that social media was referenced in virtually every session, and the # trended for 4 days with over 25,200 tweets coming from over 3,800 contributors, and just over 700 new twitter  accounts set up. I think the stats speak volumes about the excellent job Curtis is doing in moving the social conversation. This volume of brand exposure illustrates how SHRM, lead by Curtis, are putting SHRM at the center of HR conversations with not only the members, but more importantly the HR audience at large.

Curtis joined SHRM in 2010, and has been making steady progress since. Before joining SHRM, Curtis was Chief Marketing Officer for JCM Enterprises.  Among  Curtis’s responsibilities at JCM was helping not for profit  organisation develop fund raising strategies through the emerging social media channels, as well as supporting companies with product marketing and other initiatives. Curtis worked at JCM for over 4 years, and was at the forefrount of the switch from e-mail to social marketing. experience that would serve him well on moving to SHRM.

Prior to joining JCM, Curtis founded and ran the BAMPAC Bulletin, an on-line website, bulletin board and newsletter. BAMPAC is a non-partisan political action group who work towards change in communities, and supporting local students with education. This was the start of Midkiffs marketing career, after studying political management at The George Washington University and English at Morehouse College. His career to date has been one of exploration and innovation, propelling him towards his great work at SHRM.

I really enjoyed spending time with Curtis and getting to know him a little better. He is full of optimism and leads from the front, a quality that no doubt has served him well with the many obstacles he has no doubt faced in turning SHRM in to a social organisation. The success of SHRM12 in generating social buzz is testament to his work. Blogger Dwane Lay of LeanHR and Dovetail software sums up Curtis’s contribution on LinkedIn with the following recommendation:

“As a member of the blogging community, I’ve often found that we are at best tolerated and at worst scorned at conference time. Curtis took the lead in moving Social Media to the forefront at the SHRM12 conference. By building a structure that was not just welcoming but engaging, he captured the attention of a wider social network than ever before. 700 new Twitter accounts, 25K mentions from 4k contributors and 103 million impressions don’t lie. 

Curtis was also very generous with his time, constantly engaging with the community from the beginning of the planning to well after the execution phase. He is held in very high regard for the work done in marshaling resources from media and vendors to provide an outstanding experience for the people who really count, the conference attendee. There are few in the industry who have that kind of reach, and fewer who can turn it into results. 

Curtis is at the top of that game, without question.” June 28, 2012

I agree with the sentiment. Thankyou Curtis for all you do, looking forward to meeting up again soon. Keep rapping!



Curtis Midkiff