Every June for the past 4 years, I’ve gone off to Summer Camp. It’s a week I look forward to all year. The camp is hosted by TDn2K (Transforming Data into Knowledge), which provides workforce, sales, and social data analysis and reporting for the restaurant industry. Originated to focus on ever-blurring line between consumer and employment brands, Summer Brand Camp brings together service sector leaders from HR, Marketing, and Operations to listen to thought leaders and innovators, while sharing our own ideas as well. Here are the top ten reasons this HR leader would never miss Summer Brand Camp:
- 10. It’s not your typical HR conference. In fact, it’s not like any conference you’ve ever attended – that’s why we call it “camp”.
- 9. It renews my faith in capitalism. Every year I get to hear from innovative, passionate leaders about how they are changing the face of business by creating connected, socially conscious workplaces focused on culture and customer experience.
- 8. The snacks. A lot of people really look forward to the S’mores. Since I’ve been eating vegan, I get all excited about the Hail Merry Snacks. They donate their amazingly delicious vegan, non-GMO, gluten-free, raw snack products. Don’t rat me out, but I stuff my travel bag full of them! This year’s favorite was the sea-salt caramel macaroon.
- 7. The good deeds. We don’t just talk about social consciousness, we actually get out and volunteer. This year’s activity was at a Salvation Army location. I was so moved when Celton Hayden, president of CeCe’s Coffee House, shared that he grew up in that neighborhood and hung out at that rec center. It’s truly a small world!
- 6. The convergence. In order to survive, much less succeed, HR professionals have got to embrace their role in building brand. To do that, we must stay current with changing relationships between marketing, Ops, and HR. We need to know as much about branding as we do about talent management. Speakers such as Jonathan Wolske (Zappos), Scott Stratten (Un-Marketing), and Dr. Bob Deutsch (Brain Sells) taught me things I would definitely never learn at a SHRM conference.
- 5. The talent show. Can’t describe it – you’ve just got to be there! Who knew these biz stars are also rock stars? Leave your corporate image at the door…..
- 4. The Worklabs. So many great choices, so little time! This year I attended “Can You Win the Culture Wars?” where Chris Ebbeler (Brinker) and Jason Lauritsen (Best Places to Work Quantum Workplace) taught us how to use storytelling to communicate our brands inside and outside the business.
- 3. I don’t want to be left behind. Summer Camp helps me stay on the leading edge of workplace and branding innovation. Experience is a good thing, but the world is changing so fast that much of my HR “background” is becoming irrelevant.
- 2. The tribe. At Summer Camp, I’ve not only networked, I’ve made friends for life. The casual atmosphere and small size means that everyone feels welcome and included. My tribe is my support and inspiration year-round as I work to bring change to my clients. And drumroll….
- 1. I want to make a difference. After years in the executive suite, I know for certain that success can’t be measured in terms of titles and money. I believe that workplaces can be places of growth and fulfillment and that businesses can help solve social problems. That’s what Summer Camp is all about.
Are you a change agent? Want to leave your company and your planet better than you found it? Then Summer Brand Camp is the place to be.