Meet The Disruptors: Meredith Masse of DisruptHR Denver

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 Meredith Masse – DisruptHR Denver (Disruptor #5)

Website – ICC – Innovate, Coach, Consult

LinkedIn – Meredith Masse

Twitter – @ICC_Meredith

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

Meredith Masse – SVP at ICC-Innovate. Coach. Consult.

Natural strengths cultivator, Kolbe zealot, talent development evangelist, compassionate outplacement maven.

How did you first hear about DisruptHR?

An attendee at the very first DisruptHR in Cincy (Mary Faulkner) came back to Denver, said “Denver needs this!” She told me about it, and I knew that I, and ICC, were IN!

We were city #2 in the DisruptHR family!

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

DisruptHR is 100% in line with my personal values and the values of ICC (my employer, and the original sole sponsor of DisruptHR Denver).

In short, we couldn’t NOT do it because “doing talent and HR the same ol’ way” is not in our DNA. We were already disrupting with our clients supporting them in thinking about their talent strategies in out-of-the box ways.

DisruptHR was a natural extension of our “why we get out of bed every morning” and values.

How many events have you organized?

DisruptHR Denver will have its lucky number 7 event on March 16, 2017!

We’ve been having events twice a year in Spring and late Summer since 2014.

As a founding co-organizer, I’ve been intimately involved in every one. Now that we have a Board of Weirdos of three, my main focus is sponsor recruitment, venue liasoning, shouting about DisruptHR from the mountain tops to get butts in seats, and talking my colleagues into volunteering at each event. (It is NOT a hard sell!)

We’ve grown from an audience of about 120 at our first DisruptHR Denver in 2014 to registrations in excess of 350 at both events in 2016! Clearly, Denver was CRAVING something other than the traditional HR conferences…

What types of people/industries attended your event?

The vast majority are indeed in the wide HR field (HR generalists, talent management pros, talent acquisition, OD… you know), and we’ve had CEOs, COOs, external recruiting partners, HR services partners, spouses, friends and more.

I’m STILL trying to get the Denver Mayor and the Colorado Governor to attend and do a kick-off talk!

What are you most proud of that has come out of being involved with/organizing DisruptHR events?

Honestly, when people meet me or any of my ICC colleagues and they say, “OH! You all are part of that DisruptHR gig, right?!”

We LOVE being affiliated with the one HR event that’s changing… everything! That and recruiting Curt Coffman to speak. He’s one of my heros!

What kind of feedback did you receive from those who have attended DisruptHR Denver events?

There have been SO MANY comments about the high-energy vibe since the beginning of DisruptHR Denver!

This one pretty much sums it up: “The energy, the spirit of ‘what’s next and what’s after that?’, the no-bullshit attitude.”

We’re doing SOMETHING right. 🙂

What is your favorite DisruptHR Talk, and why?

JUST ONE?! Dang… (Editor’s note: Watch how Meredith seemly chooses one, while also choosing three others, and then adds a fifth in a following comment. That’s skillz. 🙂 )

Well, I LOVED that I somehow sweet talked THE Curt Coffman (author “First, Break All the Rules and “Culture Eats Strategy for Lunch” ) to speak at one of our events. He’s crazy smart, witty and super kind… and KNOCKED IT OUT OF THE PARK with his “Culture Eats Strategy For Lunch talk, as you can imagine.

Culture Eats Strategy For Lunch | Curt W. Coffman | DisruptHR Talks from DisruptHR on Vimeo.

Then, there was former Denver Bronco Reggie Rivers who was a HUGE hit in the Mile High City (#duh), talking about “Leadership Lessons From The Gridiron”.

Leadership Lessons From The Gridiron | Reggie Rivers | DisruptHR Talks from DisruptHR on Vimeo.

And, securing Chief Marketing Officer (now CEO) of Denver-HQ’ed Red Robin (Denny Marie Post) talking about my favorite topic – “Leading From Strengths”. #loved

Denny Marie Post – Leading From Strengths – DisruptHR Denver 2 from DisruptHR on Vimeo.

BUT, if I had to truly only pick ONE talk as my so-far-all-time favorite, it’s Greg Roche‘s talk on “Idea Sex in Talent Management.” HANDS DOWN BRILLIANT!

Idea Sex in Talent Management | Greg Roche | DisruptHR Talks 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?

The topics that have resounded most for me from our events that are RIPE for disruption include:

“Fixing” the candidate experience. I host a networking group for HR leaders in transition, and one gave a DisruptHR talk about how she had been treated during a couple of job searches. She called hiring organizations and their talent acquisition professionals out on the way they treat candidates, and how bad it can make the entire company look. She reprimanded strongly, and reminded that “Candidates Are People Too”. She accurately pointed out that the process in most companies needs a lot of attention.

Also, I want to see someone talk about the critical importance of TRAINING managers to be better at giving real performance and career development feedback, and opportunities. In our work at ICC, those pesky managers present a big ol’ barrier because no one has ever taught them to get comfortable with this part of their job.

And finally, while we’re all sick of hearing questions around whether HR can change it’s brand to prove HR is so much more than a necessary evil, there’s still room for talking about HR professionals getting out of the old role of enforcer, and creating a new brand of HR that’s known for its creative business problem solving. BOOM.

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

The opportunities to “do talent better” are limited only by our imaginations (OK, well, and budgets). And I LOVE that we have a Slack group for all of the organizers to communicate directly and share ideas! WOOHOO!

The most frustrating part of the present and future of work is that all too often leaders at the highest levels still don’t “get it.” I mean, how many more leadership books have to be written that, essentially say to treat employees like the valuable resources you took time to hire? It’s time that we put them in roles that REQUIRE them to use their best, innate talents toward achieving the organization’s goals, to course correct using their collective intelligence, and to get rid of (FAST!) the “talented terrorists” who wreak havoc no matter how good they are and reward a job well done.

It baffles me that there are still top-level leaders who refuse to believe what the books have researched and proven. You know the ones… they insist that culture is crap and everyone should just come in, get to work and do their jobs. Period. They don’t see value in development no matter how many dots their people pros connect for them. It’s maddening. Hey, don’t get me wrong, I don’t disagree that people need to be accountable to producing results… but when will leaders at all levels embrace that they fuel or douse the fire with the norms (read: culture) that they create intentionally or accidentally?

My only other frustration about DisruptHR is that I haven’t been to any of the others!!! Maybe I’ll start a gofundme campaign to get to Australia and work my way back…

Follow What’s Happening With DisruptHR Denver:

DisruptHR Denver Community Page

DisruptHR Denver Facebook Page

DisruptHR Denver Twitter Profile (@disrupthrDENVER)

#DisruptHRden Twitter mentions

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