Meet The Disruptors: Barnaby Cook of DisruptHR New York City

Barnaby Cook

Who are the people that are taking the lead in disrupting the future of work?

They’re the official Disruptors (Organizers) of DisruptHR events held in cities around the world.

Each week, we’ll introduce you to one of these intelligent, inspiring, and beautiful people (okay, pick two) who have stepped up, and volunteered to organize a Disrupt HR event in their city.

Meet Barnaby Cook – DisruptHR New York City (Disruptor #10)

Website –

LinkedIn – Barnaby Cook

Twitter – @CasualFilms

Who are you, and what do you do in your “day job”?

Barnaby Cook, Managing Director US of Casual Films – a video and animation production house that specializes in films for employer branding, recruitment marketing, and learning & development.

How did you first hear about DisruptHR?

When I moved to New York I took a look at the HR events that already existed and wasn’t particularly inspired with what I saw. I came across DisruptHR via a Google search, and instantly liked the look of the format and the brand. So I got in touch saying I’d be interested in running the NY chapter.

Why did you decide to raise your hand and become an organizer for DisruptHR events in New York City?

Being relatively new to the US market, we wanted to create a tight-knit and engaged community that were interested in doing things just a little bit differently in the HR space. We considered doing something ourselves, but the fit with Disrupt seemed so strong that we decided to partner with them.

I see lots of opportunity for the movement to grow – I’d love to do an annual DisruptXL in NYC and can see a national conference happening within the next 5 years. It would be great to schedule a Disrupt Organizers’ symposium towards the end of the year where we can start to make a plan for global domination.

How many events have you organized?

So far, we’ve done 4 events in NYC, and it’s been growing steadily. We had 60 at the first event, 100 at the next, 120 at the 3rd, and 120 at our 4th (but had to turn away 80 people due to restrictions in venue size).

What types of people typically attend your events?

A mix of senior HR leaders, recruiters, start-up CEO’s, blue-chip leadership development, etc. Ssome surprisingly senior decision makers have made their way down to Disrupt in the last year.

What are you most proud of that has come out of organizing DisruptHR events?

We get really strong feedback from our attendees. We’ve developed a loyal following, and it’s great seeing familiar faces at the events now.

It was great getting the support of New York City SHRM as well. They’ve been solid since the beginning in promoting to their membership of over 2,000 HR practitioners in the Greater New York City area.

The Ayers Group have also been fantastic supporters of the event. They reached out when I announced the first #DisruptHRNYC, and have been on board as a sponsor ever since. We’re happy that they’ve decided to take their support to the next level starting in September 2016, by committing to a year-long sponsorship agreement with us.

Tough Question: What is your favorite DisruptHR Talk – and why?

Vadim Liberman‘s talk (Nobody Cares If You’re Authentic) from our very first event is just fantastic. It challenges the assumption (that’s oh so pervasive these days) that you need be your authentic self.

Vadim had some hilarious slides and his delivery and comic timing is just excellent.

Vadim Liberman – Nobody Cares If You’re Authentic – DisruptHR New York 1 from DisruptHR on Vimeo.

Based off of the Talks and conversations at your events, what do you feel are the areas with the biggest opportunity for disruption?

I’ve had quite a few people ask if they can take the Disrupt name/format for other things – Innovation and Sustainability are the two that I recall.

What excites you or frustrates you about the future of work, your career and/or DisruptHR?

I think Disrupt has got so much potential. It’s really exciting to see it grow, and I’m ready to help push it forward!

For more information on DisruptHR New York City (#DisruptHRNYC) and future events (next one is September 22, 2016:

DisruptHR New York City Community Page

DisruptHR New York City Facebook

DisruptHR New York City Twitter

#DisruptHRNYC Twitter mentions

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